A stand-up comic who grew up in Stotfold and Arlesey has won through to the final of the BBC New Comedy Award, to be held at the Edinburgh Fringe this weekend.

Jacob Hawley, 25, is one of six comedians out of 12 to have progressed from the semi-finals held last weekend – and he’ll be working to impress a judging panel made up of Hugh Dennis, Jenny Eclair and Radio 4 comedy commissioning editor Sioned Wiliam in Sunday night’s final, broadcast live on BBC Radio 4.

Jacob describes his comedy as a mixture of anecdotes and social observations, all told through his point of view.

“Paul Sinha really inspires me,” he said.

“When I was 19 I worked the bar at a comedy club. I hadn’t started performing comedy but I knew I wanted to be a comedian.

“I’d watch him every night and he was amazing.

“It was usually quite a rowdy night but he had an amazing knack of controlling the room and also being introspective, vulnerable and interesting. I would always be inspired to go home and write.”

Asked how it felt to get through the final of the BBC New Comedy Award, he said: “It’s unexpected and very flattering. Plus I’ve got a nice joke about Gary Lineker. I’d love him to hear it.”

Jacob, who was born at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, grew up in Stotfold and later Arlesey – and attended St Mary’s Lower School and Etonbury Middle School in Stotfold before moving on to Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford.

He then headed off to the Greek resort of Faliraki, where he spent his evenings performing Kings of Leon songs for holidaymakers, before returning to the UK and settling in the south London neighbourhood of Kennington.

He studied for a degree in theatre arts at the Hendon-based Middlesex University, where he now works while making his way in the world of comedy.

Jacob’s rivals in the BBC New Comedy Award final are Aaron Simmonds and Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes, both from London, Andy Field from Crawley, Yumna Mohamed from Johannesburg in South Africa and Heidi Regan from Newcastle in Australia – the last two of whom are now London-based.

The winner will take home £1,000 and a 15-minute script commission from BBC Studios. All finalists will be mentored by the BBC Studios comedy team throughout the year and receive advice, guidance and the chance to write for and appear in slots across the BBC.

The final of the BBC New Comedy Award will be broadcast from 6.15pm on BBC Radio 4 this Sunday, with host Mark Watson and special guest Tez Illyas – himself a past finalist.

Previous winners and finalists include Lee Mack, Peter Kay, Sarah Millican, Alan Carr, Russell Howard, Josie Long, Shappi Khorsandi and Joe Lycett.