An India-based comedian has won the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s most prestigious comedy newcomer award, for the first time in its 40-year history.  

Edinburgh Comedy Award judges announced on Saturday that Urooj Ashfaq has won Best Newcomer for her show Oh No!. The award is a springboard for outstanding comedy performers, many of whom have since become household names, both in the UK and internationally – from Eddie Izzard to Natalie Palamides.

Urooj, a 28-year-old stand-up comedian from Mumbai, was shortlisted for the award in her UK debut. In her taboo-breaking, intensely likeable show, she reflects on cultural differences, her experiences in therapy and her parents’ divorce. Her show is produced by Soho Theatre, with OML. 

Mark Godfrey, Executive Director of Soho Theatre, said: “Soho Theatre have been working for over a decade to connect Indian performers from the brilliant Mumbai 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 be nominated 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.” 

Urooj said the nomination was “surreal” and she “can’t wait to be back in Soho” for a one-week run from 30 October. 

The Best Newcomer award winner will be announced at a ceremony on Saturday.

Book tickets here. 

Written by Nura Arooj