Julian Hall

Julian has been the comedy critic for The Independent since 2003. He is also the author of The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy,

Comedy review: Jason Manford - First World Problems

"Try to get your timing right, luv, you'll have a better time," rejoinders Jason Manford to the wayward laughter of a woman in his audience. Tonight there are plenty of examples that the former host of The One Show is a stickler for timing, his crisp comic asides often belying his largely, and unashamedly, safe material.

Edinburgh 2013: Alex Horne: Lies - The multimedia maestro returns

Comedians deconstructing their own art is commonplace at the Fringe, but rarely is this tic be treated to such an elaborate exploration. Alex Horne's latest show comes with no PowerPoint presentations this time ("I'm good at them, but now everyone else is doing them I am not allowed"), but the multimedia maestro still has a gimmick: he uses audiobooks as cast members in a homage to fabrication.

Edinburgh 2013: Al Lubel is Mentally Al - His performance is like an

If you see Al Lubel you'll never forget his name. That's because the middle-aged New Yorker spends much of his mostly captivating hour playing with the sound of it - though not quite as much time as he spends describing how his over-protective Jewish mother smothered him.

Edinburgh 2013: James Acaster: Lawnmower

Last year James Acaster beguiled his way on to the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist with an artfully crafted study in mild lunacy. This year offers something similar, equally well-shaped, and equally kooky, but it sails so close to the wind of being inconsequential that a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the room for portions of the show.

Edinburgh 2013: Ardal O'Hanlon - A 47-year-old little boy lost

Ardal O'Hanlon closes his show on a sweet and poignant note as he confesses: "I don't have a big finish. I've never been one for 'fireworks' like some comedians." Having described stand-up as the best way to make sense of the world, it's understandable if the 47-year old little boy lost feels a little deflated in not making the most of it and flatlining. 

Edinburgh 2013: John Lloyd's The Liff of QI does exactly what it says

The comedy producer and QI founder John Lloyd does exactly what he sets out to do with this show - at least according to the blurb on his flyer: to take the audience on a journey via The Meaning of Liff (the spoof lexicon he co-wrote with Douglas Adams) and his constant search for quite interesting facts.

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Comedy review: Jack Dee Live, The Anvil, Basingstoke

Jack Dee ambled almost reluctantly on to the Anvil stage tonight to open his gig, signifying that he was in a characteristically grumpy mood. However, the 51-year-old quickly dispelled the idea that he was reticent to entertain, confiding in us that going out on the road is good for the soul - it keeps family life tolerable.