The most coveted of all comedy prizes, Edinburgh Comedy Awards announced today that Urooj Ashfaq has won the Best Newcomer Award for her show ‘Oh No!’,
The 28-year-old stand-up comedian from Mumbai is the first India-based comedian to win the award in its 40-year history – and the first comedian of South Asian heritage to win since 1997. Awarded to the best comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, previous winners of the Best Newcomer Award include Tim Vine, Milton Jones, Tim Minchin, Sarah Millican and Alex Edelman.
Edinburgh Comedy Awards are a springboard for outstanding comedy performers, many of whom have since become household names, both in the UK and internationally – from Eddie Izzard to Jack Whitehall.
In her taboo-breaking, intensely likeable show that is produced by Soho Theatre in association with OML, she reflects on cultural differences, her experiences in therapy and her parents’ divorce.
Urooj Ashfaq states, “This such a surreal feeling, especially since this win was at the outset of performance debut in the UK. Daniel Sloss and Phoebe Waller-Bridge watching my show to winning this globally acclaimed award, I’m ever so grateful for bagging this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent the growing comedy scene of India on global terrains. I can’t wait to be back for my one-week run of Oh No in Soho Theatre, London in October.”
Rishabh Nahar, Senior Vice President, OML states, “Urooj’s show is as good as it gets and is one of the best international shows out there. We’re so ecstatic to have been a part of this journey with her and we can’t wait to see Urooj’s world domination. We’ve been very lucky to have Soho Theatre and their teams as our partners & confidants who’ve helped us solidify the Indian comedy scene in the UK. Grateful to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for building such an incredibly inclusive community.”
Mark Godfrey, Executive Director, Soho Theatre states, “Soho Theatre has been working for over a decade to connect Indian performers from the brilliant Indian comedy scene to UK audiences in Edinburgh and London, as well as presenting UK and international performers in India. Huge congratulations to Urooj, who becomes the first India-based artist to have won in the Award’s 40-year history. We’re very proud of her – and all the artists we’re lucky enough to be working with – together with our partners OML.”
Born in Dubai, Urooj moved to Mumbai at the age of 12. She started out at open-mic nights at the age of 21, a regular in Mumbai’s young, rapidly-growing comedy scene, while watching US comedians like Sarah Silverman online. Her boundary-pushing humour and disarming charm quickly won her a big following at home, and a spot on TLC’s Queens of Comedy.