The week in comedy: When beating the January blues is as easy as pie

Did you watch it? Statistically some of you must have done. I'm talking about Mrs Brown's Boys, which was the most watched programme on television on Christmas Day. Its festive special, "Buckin' Mammy", attracted 9.4 million viewers to BBC1; its New Year special, "Who's a Pretty Mammy", drew in 8.71 million, or 20.3 per cent, of the audience share. Last year, its Christmas Eve and Boxing Day specials were also the top rated of the day, with 11.68 million and 10.72 million viewers respectively. That's a lot of people who find a man in a dress grappling with a spinning Christmas tree funny.

What's the point? Steve Coogan in 'Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa'

It doesn't pay to be funny on screen: Why comedy is the poor relation

Studios rarely back British comedy films because, despite past success, they don't believe in it, says Geoffrey Macnab

2013 - the year in review: The best comedy of the year

"Bo Burnham: What", Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh Fringe, August

Tache move: Lou Sanders impersonates Milo McCabe, in character as Troy Hawke (right)

Comics who are stealing the show - the week in comedy

Frankie Boyle lost his joke book this week. To some – the Queen, Katie Price, other objects of his furore-baiting gags – this might be cause for celebration. To the comedian, the loss of the small brown notebook was nothing short of a calamity. His set for a charity gig in Glasgow was in it, for starters. More than that, to any comedian, their notes – whether in a book, an iPhone or on the back of a beer mat, are gold. “To you”, said Boyle with typical charm, “It will just seem like a lot of random sentences about rape, drone warfare & being fingered by a sign language interpreter.” What could anyone else possibly want with that? You can’t steal someone else’s jokes and pass them off as your own. Or can you?

Bridget Christie: ‘I’d love it if I were to get properly heckled’

From Miley to FGM, feminism has provided some of 2013’s hottest political flashpoints. And Bridget Christie, winner of this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, is ready to ride roughshod over anyone who thinks it’s not worth talking about

Lenny Henry launches npower’s first partnership with Comic Relief’s Red Nose campaign, in 2007

How we revealed bad investments by Comic Relief - and the comedy establishment turned against us

The film-maker Chris Atkins describes his extraordinary legal battle to screen a "Panorama" exposé of dubious investments from British charities – and the ensuing backlash from celebrities including Lenny Henry, Emma Freud and Duncan Bannatyne

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: The 12 gigs of Christmas

What does Miley Cyrus have at Christmas? Twerky. This, according to a poll by the comedy channel Gold, is the nation's favourite new festive joke and as such will feature in a specially commissioned box of comedy crackers this Christmas. I think I preferred the runner-up - Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars? Because their days are numbered - but they're neither of them close to the all-time classic: How do snowmen get around? They ride an icicle. You can have that one.

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: All smiles on Sunday with a radical take on religion

It wasn't your average Advent Sunday service. It started with a rousing chorus of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' and ended with Abba's 'Waterloo'. In between there was a poem dedicated to Tony Wilson, a mini rave and a Danish clapping game. This was Sunday Assembly, a "godless church" which has one aim - to celebrate life. It has all the trappings of a traditional Sunday service – a sermon, songs, readings, community notices, a collection, tea and cakes – but none of the religion. Its only creed is live better, help often, wonder more.

Terry Jones is ‘more despairing than cross’ about human nature and the state of British politics

Terry Jones: Still silly after all these years

While the reformed Pythons are preparing to revisit old material, he continues to add to his prodigious and varied body of work. But is it true the reunion is because he needs to pay off the mortgage? James Hanning meets Terry Jones

Stairway to success: Jane Bussmann

The Week in Comedy: A rude welcome to Jane Bussmann's world

I helped to write a sitcom this week. It was with Jane Bussmann, the brilliant writer on Smack the Pony, Brass Eye and South Park, among other twisted TV gems. I wasn't the only one; there were about 50 of us in the basement of London's Soho Theatre on Sunday night, lending a hand on her new six-part sitcom.

Flying again: Monty Python

Monty Python and the ticket touts

After tickets for Monty Python's comeback gigs sold out before you could say 'ni', many went on sale again – at a vastly inflated cost. How do the touts get away with it?

Chris Ramsey: The stand-up and 'Hebburn' actor talks failed one-liners, being thrown off TV and his tidying fetish

I can't do one-liners to save my life FHM asked me to do some for an issue. But some were libellous and some too rude to use, so the rubbish ones made it through. One guy tweeted me. "I've just read your jokes in FHM; I've read better on the back of a Penguin wrapper." And that's why my stand-up is all about personal stories and anecdotes.

The Conversation: Comedian and TV presenter Simon Amstell on poking fun at celebrities and why nothing is too embarrassing for stand-up

You've been in the US performing your show Numb. How did it go down?

Comedy’s most controversial star: Reginald D Hunter

Reginald D Hunter interview: 'No matter how clear I am, people misinterpret'

He's been branded a racist and a misogynist, and that's just by his fans. It's all in a night's work for the controversial comedian

Comedian Jimmy Carr

Get ready for a punny Christmas: Torrent of comedy DVDs released on Super Monday

Laughter Lines: The comedy industry's equivalent to Super Thursday saw more than 18 stand-up DVDs released on one day

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