Nathan Cassidy loves to gamble. So he’s taking a massive punt on himself to win the Edinburgh Comedy Award 2013.

He’s buying everyone who comes to his free show a pound bet that his name will be on the trophy this year.

“It’s worth a pound initially but it could be worth a lot more if I win.

“I’ll be pleased from a career perspective, and hey, if I win, everyone who comes gets £20 for free which isn’t bad.

“Also, if I’m one of the five nominated for the award but don’t win, Ladbrokes will return all the bets and give the money to charity.”

Ladbrokes have already chopped the odds from 50-1 to 20-1.

“They initially did research on my videos and career and gave me 25-1. But because I said I wanted to share the bet they doubled it to 50-1. Someone put some serious money on me just after Christmas and they slashed the odds to 20-1.”

Last year Cassidy paid the audience to come to his Edinburgh show.

He played to a full house for 25 nights and it cost him £1,000.

He says what sounds like a publicity stunt to get people to see his stand-up is about creating a feeling of togetherness.

“I am a gambler. I have gambled from an early age. I used to play on fruit machines and I’ve been to Vegas several times.

“The one gamble I do in casinos is craps because everyone wins or loses together. That gave me the idea for this show.

“If everyone can come together on the same bet, if everyone is tapping into same idea, we can create a greater feeling of togetherness regardless of whether we win or lose.”

Cassidy, whose debut Brighton Fringe show was in 2010, might be a comic newcomer but he is an award-winning playwright.

He won the Sir Michael Caine Award for new writing for a play adapted from his debut novel about bullying, The Cure For The Common Cold, which premiered at the Leatherhead Festival in 2007.

He has been acting and writing for theatre and TV since 1996.

He is resident host of The Rat Pack stand-up comedy show in London and Edinburgh.

He says other comedians on the circuit with a similar approach – “intelligent ideas seen from interesting, funny angles” – are Doug Stanhope, Daniel Kitson, Stewart Lee, Glenn Wool and Chris Dangerfield.

But Cassidy does not get a buzz from standard stand-up. It soon becomes like a job. To stop the tedium he creates interaction.

Anyone who takes a punt on the show can expect to hear Cassidy recounting his positive story about gambling. He’ll be contrasting the common wisdom that gambling is an addictive vice about greed and money.

“There are plenty of other things you can do in excess and it doesn’t get the same bad press but you never hear people saying eating is bad in the same way gambling is bad.

“I’ve never done it to excess, maybe once in my life I thought I was going over the top, because in the main I’ve had a positive experience in the people I have met. The buzz and anticipation means you always win.”

He’s put £200 on himself. He’s also placed all the bets for the Brighton shows.

“There is a big chance I might not win, but it is more about the journey. That everyone is brought into it is the important thing because there is that benevolent side.”

Last year he also made a film, I Am Orig, about a year spent giving his money away.

“My grandad had saved his whole life for his retirement and once he retired he got Alzheimer’s so he was not able to spend the money he had saved.

“I wanted to give away the money. There is a level of generosity with all this – I want to see what happens when you are generous in money and spirit.”

  • Nathan Cassidy: Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner is at the Caroline of Brunswick, Ditchling Road, Brighton, from Friday, May 17 to Sunday, May 19. Starts 6pm, free