BBC Introducing Radio 4 Comedy Award winner 2019
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BBC Radio 4
Janine Harouni has been announced as the winner of the BBC Introducing Comedy Award 2019.
Five acts competed in the final of the competition, which was hosted by Mark Watson at the Edinburgh Fringe and broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday evening from 6.30pm. An expert panel of judges, comprised of Zoe Lyons, Nina Conti, Simon Evans and Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Comedy, Sioned Wiliam, grouped together to crown the next winner after a competitive final. Last year’s winner Stephen Buchanan and musical duo Flo and Joan performed special sets on the night.
New York native Janine Harouni has been performing stand-up for less than three years but is already one of the UK’s fastest-rising newcomers. Winner of both the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year 2018 and The 99 Club Female Comedy Bursary 2019, she has been featured on Comedy Central, Comic Relief, and BBC Three.
Janine says: “I’m very surprised, I knew a lot of the comics before I went on and they’re all brilliant so it was a bit terrifying, but I was on a lot of prescription painkillers because I had kidney stones so that helped keep me calm. Thanks to everyone at BBC Radio 4 and especially to my parents who have given me so much material throughout the years”
Sioned Wiliam, BBC Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Comedy and judge of the Radio 4 Comedy Award final, says: “This year’s BBC Introducing Radio 4 Comedy Award had such a high calibre of finalists, each with their own distinctive styles. All five performers absolutely deserved their place in the final and I look forward to hearing more from all of them in the future. In the end, Janine shone with confidence from the very beginning, and had some incredibly original material. I’m so proud that Radio 4 is able to provide a platform for the best new comedians to launch their careers.”
Mark Watson, who once again hosted the final, says: “As usual, everyone stepped up superbly to the daunting task of going live in front of a large room and a massive radio audience. It must have been a tight call, but Janine held her nerve to open the show - which is a very tough ask - and was extremely accomplished. She’s going to have a great comedy career and I’m delighted (but also jealous) to see these comic voices going into the world.”
In addition to the much sought-after accolade, Janine takes home £1,000 and a 15-minute script commission from BBC Studios. Janine and the fellow finalists will also be mentored by the BBC Studios comedy team across the year and receive advice, guidance and the chance to write for and appear in slots across the BBC.
The Comedy award exists to discover the most exciting new comedy talent, offering a springboard into a career in comedy. Its track record speaks for itself with previous winners and finalists including Alan Carr, Sarah Millican, Peter Kay, Joe Lycett, Tez Ilyas, Lee Mack, Sindhu Vee, Rhod Gilbert, Shappi Khorsandi, Ken Cheng, Russell Howard and Josie Long.
More than 750 hopefuls applied for this year’s competition, with just 50 making it through to one of the five regional hearts held across London, Cardiff, Leicester and Manchester. Ten of the best acts from the heats were put through to the semi-finals, also held at Edinburgh Fringe.
The other four acts to make it through to the final, held at Fringe Venue #25 George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, were:
Source BBC Radio 4
August 16, 2019 9:09am ET by BBC Radio 4