The six comics nominated for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award have been revealed, as the city's comedy festival gets under way.

An independent panel of judges made recommendations to Sir Billy, who ultimately decides the overall winner, who is the comedian judged to best represent the spirit of Scotland's biggest city.

Judges included 2023 award winner Janey Godley, Barbie star Sharon Rooney, legendary comic Jonathan Watson, STV News presenter Laura Boyd, actor Tony Curran, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren as well as Herald editor Catherine Salmond.

Craig Hill, Raymond Mearns, Rosco McClelland, Susan Riddell, Susie McCabe and Zara Gladman are the six nominees for the 2024 edition, which will be announced at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival's gala on Saturday March 30 at the King's Theatre.

Read More: Reginald D Hunter on Trump and Biden, lockdown, and 'real s***' ahead of Glasgow show

Craig Hill, who has been performing for over 25 years, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award, not only because it’s about the Spirit of Glasgow, which definitely feeds into the way I look at life and the things I laugh at, but it’s in the name of Glasgow’s comedy hero Billy Connolly. It’s an honour to be nominated for an award in his name. When it comes to awards, this is the Big Yin!”

Nominated for the first time in his 15 year career, Glaswegian comedian Raymond Mearns said: “Surprised and delighted to be nominated for this award. To make my living as a stand up is already a dream come true and coming from Glasgow with Billy Connolly as my inspiration, I was able to stand on the shoulders of a giant.”

Rosco McClelland, Scottish Comedian of the Year in 2016 said: “The spirit of Billy visited me in a dream to tell me that I’d been shortlisted for this award. Then he started licking my face which was strange but oddly comforting. Then I woke up and it was just my dog who needed out. I’m very proud to be Shortlisted for this!”

Scotsquad contributor and sketch comic Susan Riddell, receiving her first nomination, said: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be shortlisted for this award! I’m biased but Glasgow is one of the funniest cities in the world and to be in the running for an award endorsed by the Big Yin is the biggest honour!”

Susie McCabe said: “To be nominated for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award is a massive honour - not only an award with the Godfather of modern stand-up comedy associated with it, but a man who defined this city. And what a wonderful city it is! If you're from this city you have been blessed - maybe not so much with the weather though."

The Herald: Zara Gladman

Zara Gladman, who has achieved viral success with her 'West End Mum' and other characters said: “I am in complete shock. For Sir Billy Connolly to even read my name on a piece of paper is a huge honour. My Glasgow West End mum will be boasting about this for years to come.”

The Glasgow International Comedy Festival kicked off on Wednesday this week, and will run at more than 50 venues across the city over 19 days.

Festival Director Krista MacDonald said: "Over the next few weeks Glasgow will showcase exactly why we think it’s the funniest city in the world as locals and visitors alike are entertained by some of the very best comics around. We hope to see old friends old and new out and about at GICF shows celebrating our thriving comedy scene. 

“Plus, a huge congratulations to this year’s Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award Shortlist - the calibre of entries was outstanding so it’s a real achievement to be recognised in this way. We’re looking forward to celebrating the Shortlist and final winner at this year’s Comedy Gala.”

Read More: 'It belongs to the city': Stand-ups launch Glasgow International Comedy Festival

Chair of Glasgow Life, Bailie Annette Christie, said: “The exciting shortlist of finalists for this prestigious award emphasises the wealth of outstanding home-grown talent appearing at this year’s Glasgow International Comedy Festival – which has a dynamic, packed programme and a fantastic line-up of acts.

“Honouring the city’s beloved comedy maestro, The Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award not only recognises the best in the business, it also reflects Glasgow’s great appreciation of comedy genius and the importance of humour in our lives. Our city and its people are renowned for their love of quick wit and banter, so Glasgow has a well-deserved reputation as a headline name on the worldwide comedy stage and a fabulous destination for fun-filled entertainment.”