COMEDY: GIG OF THE WEEK

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The Independent Culture
Adam Bloom Tonight, Thur and Fri

Adam Bloom's "one man and his mike" approach is seen in some circles as hopelessly old-fashioned. However, his inclusive, ungimmicky style reminds us that you don't have to dress up as, say, a security guard or a Page Three girl in order to win an audience over. Infectious enthusiasm will do it every time.

At a recent gig, he sealed the rapport with the punters by ganging up with them against a bloke who was brandishing a mobile phone. As a finale, Bloom ended up commandeering it and offering advice to its owner about the dodgy reception: "Next time the mobile phone company send you a bill, write out a cheque and Tippex out every third word - see how they like it."

Hemel Hempstead Arts Centre (01442 242827) tonight, Sheringham Arts Centre (01263 822347) Thur, & Norwich Arts Centre (01603 660387) Fri

THE BEST OF THE REST

Stand Up for Ken

The bandwagon behind Ken Livingstone's campaign to be allowed to stand as Mayor of London gathers momentum as this week it rolls onto the comedy circuit. "Stand Up for Ken" features a top-class line-up of comedians - Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Arthur Smith, Kevin Day and Gina Yashere - with the added bonus of an appearance by that wonderful wandering minstrel, Billy Bragg. Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) Wed

The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack is rapidly establishing itself as a stylish new weekly club, offering an intriguing mix of comedy and music. Hosted by Oliver Darley, a storming, old-fashioned balladeer who does the best Tom Jones songs this side of Tom Jones, the week's line-up features music from Caroline Loftus and stand-up from two very accomplished practitioners, Sean Lock (above) and Kevin Gildea.

The Improv, London W1 (0171-387 2414) tonight

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