Pasta one-liner wins best joke award at Edinburgh festival fringe | Edinburgh festival 2022

A stand-up comedian who works part-time as a minimum wage carer has for the second time topped a poll of the funniest jokes on the sidelines of the Edinburgh Festival.

Masai Graham, who works with severely autistic young adults in the West Midlands and uses his annual leave to visit the outskirts of Edinburgh, got the support of 52% out of 2,000 people for his one-liner: “I tried to get spaghetti out of the shop steal, but the guard saw me and I couldn’t get any noodles.”

Second, with 37% of the votes, was Mark Simmons for his joke, “Did you know that if you get pregnant in the Amazon, delivery is next day?”

Olaf Falafel, the winner of 2019, the festival’s last full year due to the Covid pandemic, took both third and sixth place. Only two of the top 10 jokes were from women.

Graham, 41, plays 175 gigs during the 24 days of the festival’s fringes, according to his Facebook posts. He said the Rand is his “spiritual home” and is delighted to have won first place in the poll organized by TV station Dave. “This is going to be a pasta joke,” he added.

He had previously won the award in 2016 with the gag: “My father suggested that I register for a donor card. He’s a man after my own heart.” The day after winning the award, Graham suffered a mild heart attack.

He “beat Red Bull” and drank four or five cans a day, he told the Times. “My heart was racing, I had pains in my back and arm… My heart giving out on a joke about a donor card the day after the award would have been the most ironic thing ever.”

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Speaking on Facebook, Graham said he became a standup after realizing that jokes had to be performed, not just written, to be eligible for the funniest gag award.

“Then I spent a year doing open mic, learning the craft, and another year applying for a fringe show. I then called my show 101 Jokes in 30 Minutes to attract the joke judges. It worked!”

Dave Channel Director Cherie Cunningham said: “This is Dave’s first Joke of the Fringe award in three years and the quality of the entries has been incredibly strong. It’s a fantastic top 10 full of newcomers and comedy veterans and it’s a pleasure to once again crown Masai Graham as the winner.”

The top 10 are chosen by the audience from a list of jokes created by a panel of judges who visit hundreds of shows on the sidelines. The comedians’ names are removed from the list.

Another comedian, Matt Forde, sparked an online controversy last week after he took to social media to complain that a crying baby was derailing his fringe show, Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right .

The infant’s father “would not do the decent thing and just walk away if he started crying,” Forde tweeted. “I understand it must be hard for new parents, but please don’t bring babies to adult shows. It’s always a problem… It’s like someone’s phone keeps ringing and they don’t turn it off.”

Forde later told BBC Scotland his social media had “gone insane”. He added, “I think once a baby starts crying in a venue, it’s just common sense that you’re going for the baby’s sake and for the cast and the rest of the audience.”

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Dave’s top 10 funniest jokes of Fringe Festival 2022

1. I tried to steal spaghetti from the store but the attendant saw me and I couldn’t get any pasta – Masai Graham (52%)

2. Did you know that if you get pregnant in the Amazon, delivery is next day? – Mark Simmons (37%)

3. My attempts to combine nitrous oxide and oxo cubes made me look ridiculous – Olaf Falafel (36%)

4. At my age, my parents had a home and family, and to be fair, so do I, but it’s the same home and family – Hannah Fairweather (35%).

5. I hate funerals. I’m not a grieving person – Will Mars (34%)

6. I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that’s four hours of my life that I’ll definitely get back – Olaf Falafel (33%)

7. I sent my first wife a food parcel. Fedex – Richard Pulsford (29%)

8. I used to live hand to mouth. Do you know what changed my life? Cutlery – Tim Vine (28%)

9. Don’t knock in threes. Having a threesome is like hiring an intern to do all the jobs you hate – Sophie Duker (27%)

10. I don’t even feel like being apathetic these days – Will Duggan (25%)

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