COMEDY: GIG OF THE WEEK

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Arj Barker Fri

Arj Barker realises that his kind - American stand-ups - suffer from a bit of an image problem in Britain. "So many people over here come up to me after shows and say, `You're pretty funny - for an American.' I feel like replying, `You have pretty good teeth - for an Englishman.' Over the past couple of years, I've heard that about fifty times. I suppose it's what you call a back-handed compliment." He should certainly take it that way because his baffled-American stance has charmed audiences - and critics - in Britain. He also has a mean way with a one-liner. At one point, he muses that he's thinking of asking his doctor for a prescription for some medicinal marijuana: "I set my car keys down, and five minutes later I know exactly where they are."

The Aztec Comedy Club, London SE19 (0181-771 0885) Fri

THE BEST OF THE REST

Russell Peters

Russell Peters may be unique. I certainly can't think of another Asian-Canadian comedian. "I'm not the kind of Canadian audiences expect," he laughs. He draws on his background for material. "I do a lot of stuff about the British in India. When they left, the Indians said, `no, no, we're coming with you.' The British should be happy we're here. If we weren't, where would you eat after you got drunk?" Jongleurs, Southampton (01703 632917) tonight

Raoul Heertje

The Algemeen Dagblad gave Raoul Heertje a glowing description, calling him: "The best circumcised comedian in the Netherlands." He may also be one of the funniest. The stand-up, who runs a club, The Comedy Train, in Amsterdam, has appeared on Have I Got News For You, The Clive James Show and Clarkson. He has made his name as an observer of the differences between his native Holland and Britain. Artezium, Luton (01582 707100) Thur

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