Meet the judges! Panel announced for Brighton Grin

With the Brighton Grin Comedy Award kicking off last week, up-and-coming comedy hopefuls are going head-to-head before a panel of the best in the funny business. So who exactly is on the judging panel?



Maisie Adam

Heat 4

Panel show regular and household name Maisie Adam (Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You, QI, Roast Battle, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Hypothetical and The Stand-Up Sketch Show) will be heading the judging panel for heat four.


Her anecdotal material is both easily relatable and side-splittingly funny, making her one of Britain's best new comic voices.


Zoe Lyons

Heat 1


Zoe Lyons is one of the UK's most talented comedians, with a huge number of sell-out shows and TV appearances (Live at the Apollo, Celebrity MasterChef, Mock The Week) under her belt. "Lyons has what it takes to delight any crowd." (The Guardian), but for once, she won't be the star of the show. After over ten years as one of the nation's favourites, Zoe will be using her comic talents to find tomorrows stars.




Esther Manito

Heat 2

As the winner of the best show at the 2021 Leicester Comedy Festival, Esther Manito knows what makes a top-class stand-up performance.


Despite being fairly new to the scene, she's been widely praised as an "incredible comedian” (EdFesr Magazine) with "Undeniable Stage Presence" (The Scotsman). She has supported many household names including Jason Mansford, Shappi Korsandi, Al Murray, Jo Brand, Sindu Vee and Alan Davies as well as being the first female comedian to perform at Dubai Opera House.


Lulu Baker

Final (27th October)


As Assistant to the Head of Comedy at BBC Studios, Lulu Baker manages all awards submissions across TV and Radio throughout the year. Her knowledge of the best up-and-coming acts on the comedy circuit is unparalleled, making her an excellent judge for our talented finalists.


Marc Abraham

Heat 2, 3, 4 & Final


TV's Marc Abraham, or ‘Marc the Vet’ as he is more commonly known, is a practising Veterinary Surgeon, Broadcaster, Author, Animal Welfare Campaigner, and proud Brighton resident.


Marc is a regular guest on factual shows including BBC Breakfast, ITV’s This Morning, Good Morning Britain, and Sky News. He was Resident Vet on The Paul O’Grady Show and has also appeared on BBC Daily Politics, BBC Panorama, Alan Titchmarsh Show,


The Wright Stuff, It’s Me Or the Dog, Animal Rescue Live, and My Pet Shame on Sky One.



David James

All heats & final

Stand-up sensation turned comedy coach David James is the perfect pick for the panel.

His own unique brand of stand-up involves intelligent, articulate material, masterfully performed with deadpan delivery and "an irritable pedantry worthy of Jack Dee" (Chortle).


When he's not donning on his best suit for stand-up, James runs comedy workshops around the South Coast. As a patron and tutor of up-and-coming comics, James certainly knows how to recognise talent, and will be using his expertise to put the very best of the bunch through to the final.



Kathy Caton

All heats & final


Self-professed radio-maker and gin-lover Kathy Caton will also be joining the panel throughout the competition. As a presenter on BBC Sussex & BBC Surrey, Kathy entertains thousands of dedicated listeners every day by chatting with callers, interviewing artists and sharing her love of music with those on the South Coast. She's also a founder of Brighton Gin, an ethical, sustainable and much-loved liquor that perfectly embodies the spirit (ha) of the city.


Nicola Haydn

All Heats & Final


Nicola Haydn is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright, and a longstanding patron of performing arts. As Artistic Director for Otherplace Productions, Haydn has created and curated countless theatre & comedy venues for Brighton Fringe (including The Warren), providing a stage for thousands of unsupported artists. Her events have often acted as a springboard for stand-up comedians, launching many of the UK's most-loved comics into the limelight.



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