Japanese comedian Yuriko Kotani has won the bbc Radio New Comedy Award 2015.
The final, hosted by Patrick Kielty at the Comedy Store in Central London, was broadcast live on bbc Radio 2’s Steve Wright In The Afternoon show between 2-5pm on Friday 20 November, and saw six comedians battle it out for the coveted accolade.
On being announced the winner, Yuriko said: “I’m speechless… This is so wonderful!”
Yuriko was named as ‘One To Watch’ by Time Out in 2015. She went on to become first runner-up in So You Think You’re Funny. The combination of Yuriko’s tightly-scripted, off-beat punchlines and her disarming persona has been delighting audiences in comedy clubs across the uk.
The bbc Radio New Comedy Award exists to find the best up-and-coming stand-up talent throughout the land. The competition provides a platform for aspiring comics to showcase their talent. And with previous finalists including comedy royalty Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Sarah Millican and Russell Howard, entrants get the chance to follow in footsteps in some of comedy’s giants.
The BBC Radio New Comedy Award format was revived in 2011 by BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Comedy to include audience interactivity. This year, more than 750 acts entered, with 80 acts competing in eight regional heats held across the uk. Twelve were chosen to perform in the semi-finals in Cardiff and Manchester and six acts were put through to the final stage by a panel of comedy judges, which included Lloyd Langford, Robin Ince, Gary Delaney and Danielle Ward.
This year’s six finalists were Athena Kugblenu, Andy Storey, Ken Cheng, Michael Stranney, Russ Peers and Yuriko Kotani.
Bob Shennan, Controller Radio 2 and 6 Music, says: “The talent this year has been fantastic, so congratulations to Yuriko – I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more of her in the future. Discovering and nurturing new talent remains a priority for Radio 2, which is why I scheduled the New Comedy Award at the heart of the Radio 2 daytime schedule, where day in day out, hours of distinctive programming are broadcast.”
Julia McKenzie, Head of Radio Comedy, said: “Over the years this competition has unearthed some of the best new comedy talent in the country and has acted as a springboard for many household names. We look forward to working with Yuriko across the comedy department, where we are committed to bringing our listeners new and original voices.”
The live final was broadcast live on Steve Wright’s BBC Radio 2 show who has also played each regional heat winner, while the top 80 entries have been played across Radio 4 Extra throughout the summer.
Yuriko’s winning set can be heard on iPlayer Radio or via the Comedy Collection on bbc.co.uk/radio2