By Milan Perera, Deputy Editor
University of Bristol medical student, Riki Msindo, was crowned winner of the prestigious Chortle Student Comedy Awards 2023, cementing his place as one of the rising talents in the stand-up scene.
The fifth year medical student, who is originally from Zimbabwe, wowed the audience and judges with his effervescent brand of comedy, beating nine other student comics from around the UK.
The much anticipated final was held at Up The Creek in Greenwich on July 12, hosted by the Bristol-born comedian Mark Watson. It was broadcast on Radio 4 Extra the following night.
The Chortle Student Comedy Award is renowned for showcasing the up-and-coming talent in comedy, and has provided a platform for the likes of Joe Lycett, Ed Gamble, Chris Ramsey, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal before finding fame.
The student doctor is already active on the Bristol comedy scene and co-hosts the podcast Oh Captain My Captain with fellow comic Mark Olver, which features comedy A-listers such as Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and the former Chortle Student Comedy Award winner, Joe Lycett.
Among the finalists Riki Msindo competed against was fellow University of Bristol student, Muhsin Yesilada, 26, who is studying for a PhD in psychology.
Msindo fits in multiple gigs a week around his demanding degree. But long before he became a student at the University of Bristol, he was already a comic in the making. He recounts of being taken to watch Trevor Noah for his twelfth birthday, which sparked a life-long passion for observational comedy.
He confessed to have consumed comedy on television voraciously, including all 245 episodes of the BBC’s Mock the Week multiple times.
Msindo draws inspiration from his experience of growing up in Zimbabwe and England with the idiosyncrasies of both countries.
All finalists of Chortle Students Comedy Awards 2023 were invited to open the comedy tent at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk on Friday, July 21.
On Misindo’s triumph, Chortle editor Steve Bennett said:
‘We had a really interesting range of voices and styles in this year’s final, making it difficult to chose between the ten young comics who had made it this far. In the end, Riki’s warmth and wit won out – but I’m sure all the finalists will go on to have stellar careers in comedy.’
Speaking exclusively to Epigram, Riki Msindo said:
‘It was an honour to win the prize. The final was filled with incredibly talented people. I was a fan of comedy first so just being able to watch was great. Being able to make a room full of people laugh is so satisfying. I do some online stuff at my instagram @comedyrik but it's nothing compared to the in person feeling of a comedy night.’
Msindo, who grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to Bedfordshire when he was eight developed his parallel interest in medicine when he spent three weeks in hospital for a severe burn injury.
Riki Msindo vows to continue his stand-up journey as he takes up his first job as a doctor in Brighton, after graduating from the University of Bristol.
Are you a fan of stand up comedy? Do you know of anyone thinking of challenging the comedy crown at Chortle Student Comedy Awards 2024?