Last week at the Dogstar in Brixton was the culmination of this year's Laughing Horse New Act competition, featuring the best 12 from the more than 1000 comics who entered. Here are some images from a high-quality evening of comedy. Thanks to Giada Garofalo for the photos
Andrea Hubert: Smart, engaging and charismatic, Hubert is a hit with the judges, bagging second overall place. Hubert played upon being a 30-year-old Jewish girl still living at home with her mother. Not necessarily a natural performer but that is most likely down to lack of experience rather than ability.
Dan Wright: If you want a natural performer, Dan Wright's your man. But he has the advantage of being half of the well-established Electric Forecast duo and one of CBeebies' Big Cook, Little Cook. Some enjoyable lines on his Dad's Post-it note compulsion and a crowd-pleasing Michael Jackson dance, but oddly disposable – perhaps too slick and safe to really gratify?
Julian Deane: The overall winner and pound-for-pound probably produced the most laughs on the night. Laddy and cerebral enough to appeal to all, Deane mainly deals in one-liners with a reveal and he built up the sort of momentum in the room that leaves an audience putty in a comic's hands. One quibble – he's not that new.
Daniel Smith: Could be a real find. Smith is the antithesis of the talented show-off such as your Dan Wrights – unassuming and quietly spoken but somehow able to dictate proceedings. He has the quiet confidence to draw a lively audience down to his drowsy pace, which pays off with big laughs. Refreshing subject matters (14th century philosophy for starters) also make him stand out. The judges: (from second left) Mike Manera, Julia Chamberlain, Steve Bennett and Keara Murphy, plus promoter Brett Vincent on the end
Inel Tomlinson: Already a runner-up in the Hackney Empire New Act competition, Tomlinson's pedigree is already established. It is testament to his charm and lucid delivery that such cliched subjects as childhood nostalgia (Hi-Tec trainers, Gameboys etc) are given fresh energy. A highly accomplished performance although, again, not especially new to the scene.
Dave Gibson: A comedy character who truly sparkles despite being clad in beige slacks and Hush Puppies. His old-fashioned patter and cheesey gags bring to mind Les Dawson, and his act has enough breathing space in it to allow audience banter – at which he proves to be a dab hand. LiF's favourite on the night.
Robert Commiskey: A performer from America whose greatest asset could be his intensity, which makes him compelling to watch. Big laughs do not follow despite nice observations about British life and mobile phone calls. There's a spark in there, even if he doesn't excel tonight.
And the winners: So congratulations to (from left) Richard Ryecroft (special mention), Daniel Smith (third), Julian Deane (first) and Andrea Hubert (second). Hooray for them and the overall high standard of the final