Judging Panel Announced to Recommend ‘Spirit of Glasgow’ to Sir Billy Connolly

The Glasgow International Comedy Festival has announced the judging panel for the inaugural Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren, The Herald & Times Editor-in-Chief Catherine Salmond and Elaine C Smith are among the 11 judges who will shortlist nominations and make recommendations to Sir Billy Connolly, who will then have the final say on the first ever winner of the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award.

The full list of judges are:

  • Lord Provost, Jacqueline McLaren
  • Catherine Salmond, Editor, The Herald
  • Janice Forsyth, Broadcaster
  • Laura Boyd, STV
  • Cassi Gillespie, Clyde One
  • Aarti Joshi, Podcaster
  • Norry Wilson, Lost Glasgow
  • Sanjeev Kohli, Actor & Comedian
  • Greg Hemphill, Actor & Comedian
  • Elaine C Smith, Actor & Comedian
  • Karen Dunbar, Actor & Comedian
  • Laura Marks, Commissioner at Channel 4

Nominations are now open and can be made by registered participants of the 2023 festival, with nominations closing on Wednesday 22nd March 2023.The eventual winner will be the show, individual or group that most personifies the Spirit of Glasgow. The winner will be announced at the Festival’s Closing Gala event at the King’s Theatre on Sunday 2nd April.

Sir Billy Connolly said about the award: “Glasgow defies description. Many great men and women have tried to describe its spirit and failed miserably. What do you say about a town that dances, sings, plays and jokes differently from everybody else? The winner of this Award will have to be a nutter like me…”

Festival Director Krista MacDonald said: “We are proud to have brought together a panel that represents the real diversity of the people of Glasgow, and who will be tasked with shortlisting and making the final recommendations to Sir Billy – who will make the final decision.

“There is no one that personifies Glasgow more than Sir Billy Connolly, and we hope that this award allows us the opportunity to showcase the very best of the people that help make Glasgow the funniest city in the world.”

Conceived by Karen Koren, of GICF and corporate director GB Festivals Ltd, the award will be open to any individual, group, show or venue involved in Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2023, not only those from Glasgow.

Karen said “We feel incredibly privileged to be able to introduce the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award to this year’s festival. We hope the award will add to the celebration and really shine a light on some of the incredible hard work by acts and individuals within the comedy industry”

Helping to launch the award in December, Chair of Glasgow Life, Bailie Annette Christie said: “Glasgow and its people are renowned for their great sense of humour, love of comedy and indefatigable spirit, and I can’t think of anyone who represents that life-affirming combination of characteristics more than Sir Billy Connolly.”


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