FRED MacAulay’s diary is filling up rapidly these days.

Last week he embarked on his latest tour, which in the weeks ahead will take him to such Scottish venues as Kelso, the Isle of Lewis, Islay, East Kilbride and Greenock.

And on August 4 he begins a run of his latest Fringe show in Edinburgh, IndyFred2 - though he says this might be his final year there.

Look further ahead, though – to October 5, at Hilton Glasgow – and there will be a more formal date for the man described by Countdown’s Richard Osman as “one of the best comedians Britain has produced”.

It will see Fred in black tie and dinner jacket, getting in quickfire gag after quickfire gag to an audience of some 700 people, all similarly dressed up, at the Glasgow Business Awards, staged by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Fred has MC’d the high-profile event for several years.

“I can’t remember exactly when the first one was but I do a few business awards around the country”, he said. “I don’t know who else had been doing them before but I just got a shout to do the a few years back and I think they liked my sense of humour, which is why they asked me back.

“If you’ve been to one of the Glasgow events you’ll know there’s a lot of gentle ribbing going on. I enjoy doing them”.

How much does he have to tailor his material to an audience of hundreds of business types and their guests?

“Generally, they’re all quite smart people. If I was handpicking an audience it would be the kind of audience I go for, especially as I come from a business background myself.

“Something I've noticed about these events,” he added, “is that some comedians get fazed by black-tie dinners. They worry that the audience won't be on the same wavelength as them. But it's really just another gig.

“You’ve got material, you’ve got a microphone, and you’ve got an audience. There’s no reason why it should be any different.

“The challenge for me for the stand-up part of the evening is that you obviously have to keep it fresh. Thankfully it only comes round once a year and you’ve got ten or 15 minutes of presentation before you get to the actual awards.

“There’s usually something happening in the business world as well that generates some material”, Fred adds.

“I can go right back to the banking crisis. I remember I was doing an awards dinner on the night there were huge lay-offs at one bank, Lehman Brothers.

“It was pretty unkind”, he says with a laugh, “but I said it was good to still see people from the banking industry here – people from the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland, and Lehman Brothers.

“And I said, ‘I don’t know about you, but I think the guys from Lehman Brothers brought the desserts in brilliantly. Which was a wee bit cruel, but the audience enjoyed it”.

In his time as host at the Glasgow Business Awards Fred has seen some memorable celebrations from newly-announced winners, like the time, three years ago, when the East End-based Business Incentives Group took to the stage en masse after being named as the winner of the Favourite Business Award, sponsored by the Evening Times. Joyous moments like that stand out in Fred’s memory.

“Occasionally – or maybe more often than occasionally – you get people who go to a lot of these business award dinners, and they become slightly jaded.

“There’s a mortgage company down south, and I’ve done their awards in Birmingham on 11 out of 13 years. You see the same faces all the time.

“I said to them this year that I was going to trigger my personal Article 50 and withdraw from doing it again.

“But there’s one particular guy down there, and he must be a sales genius.

“He personally turns over a seven-figure sum in mortgages every year. But when he comes up to collect his award he has the same smile on his face for the last 12 years.

“I’ve told him, ‘I can’t stand seeing your face again, and I’m pretty sure you can’t stand seeing mine again!’

“But I have to say that there’s a good turnover of winners at the Glasgow awards”.

As is well-known, Fred himself – armed with an MA from Dundee in accountancy and jurisprudence – worked as an accountant for more than a decade before turning his attention to stand-up comedy, which led to a successful career both on the comedy stage and on radio and television.

His own business background makes him an ideal candidate to appreciate what it takes to succeed in business.

“I worked for 10 years as a retail-group accountant and company secretary, so I understood what was going on in business.

“I certainly see the value in business awards. For the people who win them, it’s great, and it’s great for the companies as well.

“It’s the sort of thing that filters down. If people think they’re working for an award-winning company it maybe gives them a wee bit more incentive to put in a wee bit more effort.”

If you’re not able to catch Fred in full flight at the business awards in October, there are plenty of other chances to catch him live over the next few weeks. For full details, check his website. You won’t regret it.


* WE'RE looking for your nominations for the Favourite Business category. It can be a music venue, an artisan coffee shop, a restaurant, a tattoo parlour, a baker’s, a pub. It can be a fast-food place, a sportswear shop, a fashion store, a bookstore.

And this year, for the first time, we’re offering a special incentive. Hilton Glasgow – the venue where the awards are being staged – is offering one lucky reader an overnight stay for two plus dinner.

Everyone who puts forward a nomination will be entered into a draw. The winner’s name will be selected at random.

To nominate for the title of Glasgow’s Favourite Business, simply email us the name of your favourite business to

Or, if you prefer to do it post, drop us a line at Glasgow’s Favourite Business, Evening Times newsdesk, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB. The closing date is Friday, June 30.

The senders of all the nominations will after that date be entered into a prize draw. The first name pulled out at random will win dinner for two and an overnight stay at Hilton Glasgow.