Comedy festival announces Breaking Talent Award 2016 shortlist


  • Five acts in the running for esteemed award. 
  • Judging panel includes comedy legend Jasper Carrott. 

Five of the best emerging comedians from the West Midlands region are in the running for the third Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.

The prestigious annual competition aims to recognise and support ‘breaking talent’ from the region, offering the winner a vital step-up on the comedy career ladder.

A collaboration between Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club, the award officially kicks off the 10-day festival on Friday 7 October 2016.

The nominated acts are Ali Warwood, Harv Hawkins, Moses Ali Khan, Richard Quarmby and Tom Christian.

Born and raised in Walsall, though now living in Cambridge, Ali combines autobiographical stories with one-liners.

Harv hails from Solihull, currently works in an estate agency, and cites deadpan US comics such as Steven Wright as an inspiration.

Birmingham-born, Moseley’s Moses only made his official stand-up debut at Stirchley’s Roadhouse in December 2015, and has already won Liverpool’s Hot Water Comedy Club New Comedian competition.

Presently living in Harborne, Richard’s anecdotal comedy style draws on the slightly neurotic side of his personality to create a skewed world view.

Tom works for an overnight delivery service, hails from Sutton Coldfield and explores the mundane problems of modern life

The group were nominated by a panel of comedy professionals based on live performances over the last year, and also their potential to ‘break out.’

A spokesperson for Birmingham Comedy Festival said: “The Breaking Talent Award showcases the very best new and emerging comedians from across the region – these are acts who are in the early stages of their careers, but who are already showing signs of serious promise.

“We’ve seen some incredible performers over the last two years, so have high expectations for our five acts. We wish them all the best of luck … though there can only be one winner!”

The Glee’s Mark Tughan said: “The award is the festival and club’s way of highlighting and supporting the next generation of West Midlands’ comedy talent. It’s always a well-attended night, and thanks to the quality of the nominees, the judges often struggle with their decisions – tensions can run high.”

Participating acts have been nominated by James Cook (comedian, mac Birmingham comedy course tutor), Adam Jaremko (The Glee’s comedy promoter/ booker), Maureen Younger (comedian, MY Comedy), and Jay Handley (comedian, Fat Penguin Comedy Club).

The Judging Panel on the night will consist of comedy legend Jasper Carrott, Birmingham Comedy Festival’s Dave Freak, The Glee’s Mark Tughan, and Daz Hale from BBCWM.

Winning 2015’s competition was Josh Pugh, from Atherstone, Warwickshire, who has since been crowned English Comedian Of The Year 2016.

Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2016 takes place at The Glee, The Arcadian, Birmingham, on Friday 7 October 2016. The night is compered by James Cook and also features a set from Andy Askins. Tickets are £10.50 (£6.50 NUS) from 0871 472 0400. For more information see:


Friday 7 October 2016
Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club present:

A hand-picked selection of emerging acts from across the West Midlands compete for the prestigious award. Each has been chosen by the city’s best comedians and clubs, selected for their crack gag writing skills, observational chops, deft delivery, and their potential to break out. With contestants Ali Warwood, Harv Hawkins, Moses Ali Khan, Richard Quarmby and Tom Christian. Compered by James Cook and featuring a set from Andy Askins.

The Glee Club, The Arcadian, Birmingham B5 4TD.
T: 0871 472 0400.
£10.50/ £6.50.


The Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award was launched in 2014 as a co-promotion between the festival at The Glee, the city’s multi-award winning comedy club. The first competition was won by Andrew McBurney, the second by Josh Pugh.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Birmingham Comedy Festival. One of the UK’s longest running comedy festivals, the event was launched in 2001 to highlight the city’s vibrant (and then often overlooked) comedy scene. It’s since welcomed some of the biggest names in stand-up comedy and entertainment, and established itself as a vital and popular mainstay within the region’s event calendar.

The latest edition of the festival runs from Friday 7 to Sunday 16 October 2016 and includes appearances from Romesh Ranganathan, The Boy With Tape On His Face and Kerry Godliman, plus a high-profile revival of the Rocky Horror Show, the Breaking Talent Award, and two free half-dayers on consecutive Sundays.

For full line-up see:
Twitter: @BhamComFest

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