The Week in Comedy: Margaret Thatcher is still the butt of many jokes

On 8 April 2013 I went to a comedy club. I hadn’t been planning to but Margaret Thatcher had just died, the road to my flat in Brixton was blocked with confused, champagne-spraying revellers and I figured if ever there was a time for political comedy to make a comeback, this might be it. So I went to Old Rope, an excellent weekly night in the basement of The Phoenix pub in London where comedians young and old, green and established, try out their freshest, totally unproven jokes on a relaxed crowd.

Alexandr Pushnoy is a family-friendly musical comedian who has been called the Russian Bill Bailey

From Russia with laughs: A comic invasion of Britain

The country’s stand-up comedians are about to take over the Royal Albert Hall. But how well will their humour travel?

Cardinal Burns interview: ‘We’ve got about 20 levels of camp’

Sketch comedy is in safe hands with duo. They tell Holly Williams about graduating to the TV mainstream

The Week in Comedy: The kids are all right with these big comic names

Apart from the occasional gift from the gods, such as current BBC1 pleasures Rev and W1A, primetime television comedy is often dull, disappointing or a dud. But children's TV is a different thing altogether, with some of the most consistently fresh and innovative comedy around.

Author Timur Vermes with his new novel

Timur Vermes's Look Who's Back: Is it ever safe to laugh at Hitler?

The new German fantasy novel imagines the Führer returning to Berlin as the star of an alternative comedy show

Moment of spoof: Jason Watkins in BBC2 comedy ‘W1A’

The Week in Comedy: Something in the air as White City reaches out to outsiders in W1A

What's the best way to go about writing a BBC comedy? If you were to make a sly joke you might say that the shortest route to prime-time is to set your sitcom in the BBC. W1A is having a whale of a time in its plum 10pm slot, gently tickling the bureaucratic excesses of the corporation while doling out cameos to its great and good. The take-home message: as Ian Fletcher might say, we might be ridiculous, but we're still the best that you have; that'll be £145.50, please. (To be fair, the show hit its stride in its second episode this week, thanks largely to Siobhan Sharpe's inept live tweeting of Woman's Hour.)

Lynn Ruth Miller, 80, has found a new career as a sharp stand-up

The rise of the silver stand-up

Laughter Lines: The Week in Comedy

The grin reaper: Barack Obama on ‘Between Two Ferns’

The Week in Comedy: President Obama – it's the way he tells 'em

Comedy - it makes people laugh but can it change the world? Barack Obama thinks it can. This week the President of the United States made his funnyordie.com debut when he agreed to be interviewed on Between Two Ferns.

Lee grew up outside Birmingham, having been adopted as a baby

Stewart Lee: Beware - this man may be only joking

To some he is toxic and scornful. But behind the contemptuous on-stage persona is a family man who wants his own garden – and counts his luck. James Hanning meets Stewart Lee

Fantasy stuff: Count Arthur Strong

The Week in Comedy: Fancy a laugh? Go to a book festival

"Have you actually read the book? You're asking me a lot of questions about it." This was, quite obviously, no ordinary literature festival talk. How could it be, when the author in question was Count Arthur Strong?

Cariad Lloyd: The comedian on her tap-dancing past, her addiction to reality shows, and her 'affair' with David Bowie

I didn't intend to become a comedian I wanted to be a serious actor. None of my family were in the business and I didn't even know that comedy was a job. I was obsessed with comedy as a child – Blackadder, Red Dwarf – but I started out acting in very serious plays about people being burnt alive.

Veronica Lee: Losing your comedy partner is no laughing matter

Last week, it was a pleasurable surprise to hear Dawn French announce her first solo tour. Since she and erstwhile comedy partner Jennifer Saunders did their last gigs together in 2008, French has successfully focused on writing books and gave no hint that she had ambitions to start performing solo at the age of 56.

Big time: Jimmy Fallon on 'The Tonight Show'

Where is the UK's Jimmy Fallon?

We need more of the old-style entertainer

Euro star: Eddie Izzard performing his 'Force Majeure' show in German

Eddie Izzard: Why the Germans do have a sense of humour

Eddie Izzard is performing his stand-up show in German to an audience in Berlin. And his 'comedy without borders' has a serious political point to make, he tells Kit Holden

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