Bethnal Green comic scoops top prize

Comedian David Mills. Photo: Ella Minton, Barbican

A Bethnal Green based comedian has won the top award at the New Comedy Act of the Year, held in the Barbican Centre on March 19.

The 42-year-old American David Mills snatched an award which has previously launched the careers of such comedians as Stewart Lee, Ronni Ancona and Linda Smith.

Mills was pleased with the award and joked: “Nowadays a lot of comics look like they’ve just got out of bed but I like to go on in a really sharp suit.”

All competing performers were given five minutes to impress the judges and the audience with their routines. Russell Brand and Simon Pegg have previously been finalists at the prestigious award night, but had failed to win.

Mills said: “A lot of great people started by winning it but then some disappear without a trace.”

The comedian, who moved to London 10 years ago and has been living in Bethnal Green for the last seven years, performs regularly at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and Bistrotheque in Haggerston.

It was only last year that Mills switched from cabaret performing, a genre he has been involved in for the last decade, to stand-up comedy. He said: “I used to perform next to a piano player but I dropped him because he got too expensive. But I kept the stool and the stories. It’s old school.”

Mills, who mixes cabaret-style storytelling with his laughs, was chosen over 13 comedians, with Prince Abdi and Julian Deane in joint second place, Darius Davies in third and Javier Jarquin in fourth place.

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