The Independent Recommends: Edinburgh 98 - Comedy

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The Independent Culture
ONCE PART of the astronomically successful (and overhyped) duo, Newman and Baddiel, Rob Newman (right) has returned to the live stage after a three-year absence. A sell-out run in Edinburgh demonstrates pretty conclusively that he has still got what it takes as a live performer. He is particularly strong on bizarrely imaginative routines. For instance, he conjures up the absurd idea of Stephen Hawking meeting the man who provides his artificial voice.

Edinburgh Suite, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh (0131 226 2428) 10pm

The sweet American stand-up, Arj Barker, winner of last year's Perrier Best Newcomer Award, has a mean way with a one-liner. "I'm in love with a philosopher, and she doesn't even know I exist," he moans. "What's worse, she can prove it." Later, he muses that he's thinking of asking his doctor for a prescription for some medicinal marijuana: "I set my car-keys down, and five minutes later I know exactly where they are."

Upstairs, The Pleasance, Edinburgh (0131 556 6550) 9.15pm

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