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IFA 2020 - Best Comedy Format

About this category

Best Comedy Format


We could all do with a few more laughs in our lives, especially after three months of lockdown, not to mention political turmoil and economic uncertainty. In fact, comedy is one of the genres that house-bound audiences have turned to most during the pandemic.


WayOutIn certain markets, such as the UK, comedies in the form of panel shows are a mainstay of the primetime schedules, low-cost to produce and one of the first genres that were successfully adapted to be shot under lockdown conditions. Furthermore, in the international distribution sector, comedies are among the best-selling types of formats, a trend that flies in the face of the notion that comedy is a local business that doesn’t travel well.


FactAll in all, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate comedies in the International Format Awards, which is organised by C21Media in association with FRAPA, EMC and MipFormats. In these awards, it’s worth pointing out, the comedy category is for unscripted comedies, not sitcoms. These are comedy formats shot in studio or on location that might involve comedy sketches, improv, panels or hidden cameras. These are often confused with quizshows, except in comedies the answers aren’t important – the laughs are the thing.


TraceyNominees in the comedy category in this year’s International Format Awards, which are to be presented online this month, surrounded by a series of digital initiatives that celebrate the best in creativity, include six formats from across Europe.


From Belgium comes The Way Out, a comedy gameshow in which two celebrity duos are sent into two identical rooms full of mysteries to be solved, with plenty of laughs along the way as they are led, and often misled, towards the way out of the room by the presenters. The family entertainment show debuted on Belgian network VTM last October, produced by Roses
Are Blue and distributed internationally by Be-Entertainment.


SketchAustrian gameshow Fact or Fake is also on the list of nominees. Debuting last December on public broadcaster ORF, the show challenges three celebrities to work out if content from the internet, TV, newspapers or social media is true or fake news. It was produced for ORF1 by Vienna-based Sandrats Media Company, which is also distributing the format worldwide.


SketchThe four remaining nominees hail from the UK, a country that certainly punches above its weight in the global format industry. ITV2 broadcasts two of them: Hey Tracey!, in which an opinionated but clueless virtual assistant compares a riotous gameshow, and The Stand Up Sketch Show, which turns stand-up routines into sketches.


Hey Tracey! debuted in the UK in June 2019 and is hosted by Joel Dommett and produced by Dr Pluto Films, while The Stand Up Sketch Show aired over two seasons last year and this year, produced by Spirit Media and distributed
internationally by BBC Studios.


LecturesAlso on the list are Netflix’s physical gameshow Flinch, in which contestants must endure various games and challenges without moving, produced by Belfast’s Stellify Media and debuting in May 2019, and Comedians Giving Lectures, in which top comedians give their own unique take on an academic lecture. The show was produced by 12 Yard for Dave last November and is being distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.


Watch out for the nominees in the Best Competition Reality Format tomorrow on


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