Kildare comedian wins in Edinburgh

Sat, Aug 25, 2012, 01:00

A KILDARE comedian and actor has won the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny? competition at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Aisling Bea (pronounced Bee) (28), who has appeared in Fair City and The Savage Eye on RTÉ, won the talent competition for first-time performers at the fringe.

In past years winners of the award – Peter Kay, Tommy Tiernan and Dylan Moran – have used it to propel themselves to greater things, and Bea is already being talked about as a comedy star in-waiting.

She wins a cash prize of £2,000 (€2,520) and a trip to the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival. She is only the second woman to win the award in its 25-year history. Judge Ruby Wax singled out Bea as the “stand-out” winner.

“I’m not a competitive person at all so when it came to the final, the nerves did kick in, but it was a great evening and there was a little disco on afterwards,” said Bea last night. “When people started taking my photograph I did feel like the comedic Rose of Tralee or something!”

Based in London, Bea featured last year in the BBC sitcom Dead Boss starring alongside Sharon Horgan and Jennifer Saunders.

Bea studied French and philosophy at Trinity, where she was part of a comedy sketch group that later went on to become Dead Cat Bounce, who are also appearing at this year’s festival.

She trained as a serious actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, but has always specialised more in comedy. At the Fringe she is appearing in an ensemble play called The Intervention as well as her stand-up shows.

She’s done just two stand-up gigs in Ireland. “Both . . . went really well, but within an hour of being on stage I got a phone call from my mother in Kildare and she said ‘I hear you’re on stage in Dublin telling jokes about me’. That’s just the way Ireland is”.

Progressing through the heats of the So You Think You’re Funny?, she won the overall award at a ceremony in the Scottish capital on Thursday night.