Paul Foot.

Cockerel impersonator ... Paul Foot.

The nominees for the comedy festival's award for most outstanding show, the Barry Award (named after Barry Humphries), have been announced and it's an interesting mix.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order - click on the links for the reviews)

A couple of the nominees, Dave Gorman and Tim Key, only started their runs last week but have obviously made quite an impact already.

So who's going to win the award?

Gorman's latest show takes a more scattershot approach than his previous performances at the festival (which tended to be single narratives about particular adventures Gorman had been on). He jumps from topic to topic as he discusses, at length, why people seem to think he's Jewish (he's not), what's wrong with mobile phone advertising, the behaviour of people on the internet and why you shouldn't experiment with asparagus.

Gorman is clever – too clever for his audience to predict where the show is going. Whenever we might be second guessing a joke, Gorman outsmarts us and delivers something completely surprising.

Gorman's is one of the best show's I've seen, but there's some stiff competition from Tim Key, whom I saw last night. I'm still digesting this show and it's kind of hard to describe. There's poetry, stand-up, multimedia and ... a full bath on stage. It's inventive, hilarious stuff.

Paul Foot I always enjoy, even though he does tend to stretch his jokes out to breaking point (and sometimes beyond breaking point), but when he's in the moment (such as taking on the identity of a cockerel) he's one of the funniest comedians there is.

Wil Anderson has another excellent show this year, a more personal show than usual, touching on some of the medical issues he's had, but I'm not sure it's as good as last year's show, which I was a big fan of. What many have noticed is that Anderson has chilled out a bit more and toned down some of his shouting on stage (which bothered some people - not me, but some). Anderson's show finishes tonight.

The other two shows on the list I'm yet to see, but I have heard great things about both Ward and Dr Brown. They're both very different shows (Dr Brown, for example, doesn't speak) to anything else on the shortlist.

Personally I would have also liked to see Mark Thomas's excellent Extreme Rambling, his two-hour tale of walking along the West Bank barrier in Israel, make this list. It's an impressive, fascinating show and damn funny to boot.

The nominees for the Golden Gibbo, for best independent production, have also been announced and are always an worth examining as the shortlist usually includes some of the more innovative and experimental shows.

The nominees are:

I've only seen Tie Her to the Tracks (which has finished its run) from this group, so can't comment much on who is likely to win. (Adam McKenzie features in both Tie Her to the Tracks and Watson, so he's a twice the chance of picking up something)

The Barry Award will be presented on Saturday 21 April at the Hi Fi Bar and Ballroom, in what is traditionally the last night of the Festival Club. Other awards to be presented on this night include the Best Newcomer Award, the Directors' Choice Award, The Piece of Wood (comics' choice award), The Golden Gibbo and People's Choice Award.

So, what do you think of this year's Barry nominations? Is there anyone you think deserved a nomination and missed out? Who do you think will win?

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