Frank Skinner is never going to dazzle people with his in-depth analysis of British foreign policy in the Balkans. "My audiences expect football and sex - with some good reason," he laughs. "If you start wanting to be seen as subtle and clever, you're on the slippery slope to writing a novel - mentioning no names," he adds hastily. There's a Skinner in every boozer in the land: chirpy, cheeky, and very, very crude. His is "all the blokes down the pub" humour writ large: Skinner's great skill is to turn every member of the audience into David Baddiel - his laddish best mate. So though now one of Britain's biggest comedians, he - paradoxically - appears to remain just like us. Tonight he tops a bill which features Rob Rouse, Jenny Eclair and "a very special guest".
The Talk of London, Parker Street, London WC2 (0171-771 2000) Tue
THE BEST OF THE REST
When he is not bickering for Britain with his double-act partner, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee is a fine solo stand-up. His particular skill is building up jokes with a mesmerising, almost musical sense of rhythm. He heads a bill including Steve Gribbin and Simon Clayton and hosted by Ronnie Rigsby (a gruff character played by Logan Murray).
The Monday Club, Madame Jo Jo's, London W1 (0171-371 6863) Mon
Some comedians seem to get stuck with a prop which they can never truly shake off - think of Rod Hull and Emu. Jim Tavare, however, seems to have thrived in the company of his double-bass. He has recently completed an eight-week series for Channel 5, and now features in a strong line-up alongside Perrier nominee Ed Byrne, Keith Fields and Ricky Grover at Jongleurs Watford.
Jongleurs Watford (0171-564 2500) tomorrow