Comedy: GIG OF THE WEEK: John Hegley tomorrow

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The Independent Culture
Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) tomorrow, 7.30pm

A poet at a comedy club often has punters running for the bar. That's not the case with John Hegley. He stands head and shoulders above a not very crowded field of comedy poets. At his best, he can take inspiration from the most bizarre of information and deftly craft it into daft, but often strangely moving poems. For instance, he has worked up the factoid that an armadillo can hold its breath for six minutes into a bittersweet meditation on owning a pet, with such characteristic Hegley lines as: "he did his indoor doings in his indoor doings tray." He is playing on a very impressive bill which also features Jeremy Hardy, Gina Yashere and a rare live appearance by Meera Syal from Goodness Gracious Me. The show is in aid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.


Dave Fulton

US stand-up Dave Fulton says it's not easy being a Yank over here. "I've felt the brunt your aggression," he says. "I'm blamed for everything the Americans have done wrong. They accuse me of trying to take over their country. Worst of all," he adds ironically, "they accuse me of not knowing what irony is." Fortunately, he does - as his accomplished live act shows. Jongleurs, Watford (0171-564 2500) tonight

Rob Newman

Having sold out 20 consecutive nights at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms, I think it fair to say that Rob Newman has re-established himself as a stand-up. He still has an enviably vivid imagination. For instance, he conjures up the absurd idea of Stephen Hawking meeting the man who provides his artificial voice. Newman starts his national tour at the Harlequin Theatre. Harlequin Theatre, Redhill (01737 765547) 2 Oct