The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Comic caper

Edinburgh, Aug. 24 (Reuters): Geek was chic for US comedian Demetri Martin today as he won Britain’s most prestigious comedy award at Edinburgh’s Fringe festival with a nerd-centric routine that drew on charts, graphs and palindromes.

Martin, provoking guffaws with a 222-word poem that read the same backwards as forwards, is only the second American to win the £7,500 Perrier Comedy Award.

The prize is traditionally a launching pad for up-and-coming young comedians. Past winners include Oscar-winning actor Emma Thompson, “Blackadder” veterans Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie and TV funny man Frank Skinner.

Martin, a 30-year-old Yale drop-out, beat out favourite, Australian Adam Hills, along with fellow American Reginald D. Hunter, Britain’s Howard Read and the New Zealand spoof musicians Flight of the Conchords.

With an act packed with linguistic word games and mathematic minutiae, Martin has described himself as a “nomadic obsessive”.

The winner of a Jury Prize at the Aspen Comedy festival, he has a development deal with the Hollywood studio Dreamworks.

Hair hunt

Kuala Lumpur (Reuters): A Malaysian teenager was given a forced haircut by Muslim authorities who deemed his punk-style “Mohican” un-Islamic. The Star newspaper reported on Saturday that the unnamed 17-year-old — described as a high school dropout — was nabbed by the Islamic Development Unit of Kota Baru, Kelantan, a north-eastern state controlled by the Islamic political party PAS. The paper said officials lectured him against emulating “destructive culture” before taking the scissors to his red-dyed Mohican.

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