Comedy; GIG OF THE WEEK

Harry Hill tonight

Say the words "badger parade" to many people, and they'll look at you as if you're one wicket short of a set of a stumps. Others, however, will welcome you as a fellow devotee in the cult of Harry Hill. His act may at first appear to be all "in" references to Zeinab Badawi, Savlon, pork chops and chickens. But if you give in to Hill's peculiar tidal wave of daftness, you quickly find yourself being swept along by it. Dressed in his trademark black suit and the white shirt with collars so huge he'd take off in a high wind, he is a surreal yet undeniably electrifying performer. He also has a mean set of one-liners and is more than capable of seeing off any trouble-makers in the audience. "Would I be right in thinking, sir, that it's your first day out of prison?" he asks one heckler. "You'll soon get used to the bright lights and the high beer prices." So even if you think surrealism is best left to Parisian artists of the 1920s, it is worth checking out this unique comedic talent. Battersea Arts Centre, London SW11 (0171-223 2223) tonight

PUNCHLINES

Lee Hurst

Despite his success on BBC1 in the comedy show They Think It's All Over,

Lee Hurst is determined to go back to his stand-up roots. The bald-headed funny man, famous for his rapid-fire style, is opening his own comedy club on his home turf in Bethnal Green, East London. Lee Hurst's Backyard opens on Friday, and the comedian will be recording a video there on Sunday 20 September. Tickets on 0171-739 3122

Comedy School

Aspiring comedians can now fulfil their dreams at a class run by the Comedy School in association with the Hackney Empire. The eight- week course, starting on 20 Sept, will help students prepare for a performance in front of a live audience. Tutors in the past have included Ivor Dembina (above), Tony Allan, Rudy Lickwood, Mark Blake and Paulette Randell. Scholarships are available. For more information, phone Keith Palmer on: 0181-215 0144

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