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

Josh Widdicombe interview: Has Britain found its own Seinfeld?

With stage, TV and radio gigs, comic Josh Widdicombe is everywhere. Lucky he’s so talented

Stranger than fiction: Nathan Penlington performs ‘Choose Your Own Documentary’

The Week in Comedy: How does Nathan Penlington's comedy quest end? You decide...

To stand up on stage and perform a one-man show is an act of bravery. To stand up on stage and perform a one-man show that has 1,566 possible versions and five possible endings, and then to hand the controls of that show over to an audience is an act of madness.

Grim croaker: Arthur Smith could not leave Cohen alone. ‘Every comic wants to be a rock star and Leonard was the kind I could aim for,’ he says

My life with Leonard Cohen

Comic Arthur Smith is back singing his songbook on stage. Here he charts his enduring fandom

Shock of the news: ‘Mock the Week’ host Dara O'Briain with male panellists Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons

The Week in Comedy: Women can stand up for themselves

Here's a little comedy quiz. Everyone loves a comedy quiz, especially television commissioners, who cannot get enough of them. You may have heard the questions a few times before, but here goes (1) Are women as funny as men? And (2) not unrelated, should there be more women on panel shows? The answers are yes and yes, and always have been, but that does not stop the two questions being asked with tedious regularity.

Pundit: comedian Simon Brodkin will host tonight’s war of words

The inaugural UK Pun Championships will kick off tonight - it's punbelievable that we've never had one before...

Whatever your tolerance for silly one-liners, puns are really groan on us. You could say we are in the grip of a global pun-demic. Indeed, if the pun is to wordplay, as William Safire, the late New York Times writer said, "what dominatrix sex is to foreplay – a stinging whip that elicits groans of guilty pleasure" then we have rarely been keener gluttons for pun-ishment.

Robert Newman: The comedian on freestyle skating, West End lies and evolution

I doubt anyone has had a fulfilling experience going to an arena-comedy gig Big-show arenas are compromised ergonomically, though I blame myself for the success of them, as I set a bad precedent. [Newman and his then-comedy partner David Baddiel were the first comedians to sell out the 12,000-seat Wembley Arena, in 1993.] I felt discombobulated and everything was out of time. Even the great Steve Martin struggled [with arena-sized shows]. My favourite gigs are places with low ceilings and the smell of gig juice on the floor.

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