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.

A universally acknowledged booth: Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza in an advertisement for ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’

The Week in Comedy: Jerry Seinfeld's race rant is no laughing matter

Jerry Seinfeld is the world's most successful comedian. Thanks to Seinfeld, a sitcom about nothing that ran for a decade and is regularly named the best television show of all time, he is now worth an estimated $800m.

Game for a laugh: the Chuckle brothers

The Chuckle Brothers: Life after television for Barry and Paul Elliott

The brothers are back in the spotlight – courtesy of the Dave Lee Travis trial

Virgin territory: scenes from Louis C.K.’s 1998 debut film, ‘Tomorrow Night’, with Steve Carell

The Week in Comedy: Zany debut that set Louis C.K. on his way

Long before Anchorman and the American Office, Steve Carell played Mail Room Guy without Glasses. And long before Parks and Recreation and the Golden Globes, Amy Poehler was Woman Sprayed with Hose. Now superstars of comedy with Hollywood at their feet, both had their first, minor film roles in Tomorrow Night, alongside another comedy titan of the future, Louis C.K.

Stand-up comedian and controversial crowd-pleasing philosopher Dieudonne on stage in Bordeaux

An act of cruelty: An audience with Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, the man behind the 'quenelle' salute

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala is the man behind the 'quenelle' salute. His fans claim the stand-up represents free speech. Others say he is just a hateful anti-semite. John Lichfield joins the crowd at his latest gig

Top gear: Peter Kay will star in new sitcom 'Car Share'

The week in comedy: Peter Kay steers the BBC in a new direction with latest project Car Share

Peter Kay's latest project, Car Share, due to be broadcast in the spring, will make BBC history. It's the first television comedy that the corporation has commissioned to be shown first on the internet – on their streaming service, iPlayer – before being transmitted later on terrestrial TV.

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A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

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