Magnificent Bastards, By Rich Hall

Rich Hall, an American-born, Perrier award-winning comedian otherwise known as his grizzled alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, shows flair for conjuring up an assortment of characters in smart, playful vignettes that are told in a tone which crosses the comic with the absurd and wry.

There is a kiss with an adored 13-year-old whose teeth are "encased in some kind of insane orthodontic structure", his daughter's party to which she invites all 2,300 of her MySpace "friends", a softball game that becomes tomorrow's news after a Muslim cleric is hit in the face and a childhood skirmish which clarifies the power that lies in comedy: "I stood at my locker thinking, the ability to laugh and owning a sense of humour are distinctly separate things."