Fancy Meeting You Here is the brainchild of Carl Arnheiter (left) and Dave Hill
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Frank Sidebottom: The man behind the papier mâché mask

Working for the comedian and singer Frank Sidebottom was an education and an oddly profound experience, recalls a one-time member of his backing band

Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage

Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Collier's appearance at a comedy show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill

The Week in Comedy: Damn the Torpedoes! is a unique kind of war comedy

War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Although I suppose you could say that it has inspired a fine seam of sitcoms down the decades. Some of the finest - from the enduring daftness of Dad’s Army to the wisecracking M*A*S*H, to the best war comedy ever written, the peerless, poignant Blackadder Goes Forth.

Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: Comedian Tommy Cooper's trademark fez

Sophisticated men with style used to wear a fez as part of their luxury smoking garb. Cooper transformed it into a comedy prop

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Thirty years after his death on stage, the shambolic, superb comedian Tommy Cooper is being brought back to life on screen

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.)

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