Groan-worthy gag triumphs over efforts from Stewart Francis, Adam Hess and others, including the prize’s youngest ever nominee
“I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.” With that one-liner, and subsequent weary groans across Edinburgh, Darren Walsh has won the award for the best joke of this year’s fringe festival – beating the youngest ever nominee for the prize in the process.
12-year-old comedian Grace the Child snuck into 10th place in the public vote, with her joke: “They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for.” It’s taken from her debut solo show, Playground Politics, though her standup career started when she was eight – she has since delivered sets at Greenwich comedy festival, Camp Bestival, Norway’s Toumazeing festival, and the respected London comedy venue Soho Theatre.
Walsh was voted the best by 2,000 members of the public, surveyed by comedy TV channel Dave, which drew up a shortlist from suggestions by comedy critics; the 39-year-old secured 23% of the votes. In second place was Stewart Francis with a slightly cruel aside – “Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse ... but enough about Kanye West” – while Adam Hess came third by wondering: “Surely every car is a people carrier?”
Walsh’s joke was part of his show Punderbolt, and his success follows his 2013 win at the inaugural UK pun championships, as well as the publication of his pun compendium Cheep Laughs. On receiving the accolade, he said: “I am delighted to win this award. What a punderful feeling.”
He succeeds last year’s winner Tim Vine, who was voted top with the following gag: “I’ve decided to sell my hoover. Well, it was just collecting dust.” This year’s runner-up Stewart Francis won the award back in 2012 for, “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks”, but was also listed in the worst trio of puns this year for, “I am Canadian. But if you think I’m Russian, Soviet.”
This article was written by Ben Beaumont-Thomas, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 25th August 2015 00.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010