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, www.textualhealing.co.uk

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Jerry Sadowitz: Comedian, Magician, Pyschopath!, Leicester Square Theatre, London (3/5)

Ricky Gervais reminded us recently, as if we'd forgotten, that language can still offend en masse if its use is misjudged.

Conversations with Penn & Teller, IndigO2, London

"Six seconds was all it took between horrible accident and hysterical laughing.” That was how Penn Gillette described his reaction to longtime showbusiness partner,Teller, having his feet nibbled by a Piranha.

Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World, Leicester Square Theatre, London (3/5)

"If you are thinking 'it's Friday night, let's go and be entertained'. No. I don't think like that." As ever the exigent rigour of Stewart Lee demands his audience work for their laughs.

Chris Addison: The Time Is Now Again, Dorking Halls

“Advertising slogans stick with me” says Chris Addison. The comedian isn't, however, talking about why he took on a series of much-maligned adverts for a certain insurance company, but is paraphrasing David Cameron's defence of the catchphrase “calm down, dear”, aimed at Labour's Angela Eagle, during PMQs this April.

Some rather obvious shorthand: Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili: Tour of Duty, Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Jason Alexander, who played nervous ball of angst George Kostanza in Seinfeld, recently met Israel's president Shimon Peres to discuss the Middle East. The Israeli press inevitably asked the actor and campaigner if humour had a role to play the peace process, Alexander replied in the negative "because someone is always going to be offended".

Stand up and be counted: 30 years of the Comedy Store

When the Comedy Store threw open its doors, it rewrote the joke book. Julian Hall celebrates 30 years of mirth - and 10 comedians recall their first, nerve-wracking, appearances there

The Inbetweeners: The latest teenage pick

It is the latest series to show that British TV is challenging America in the teen market. And young viewers love it, says Julian Hall

How we met: Danny Brocklehurst and Max Beesley

'I have a difficult relationship with actors. It doesn't always do to be friends with them'

James Sherwood: I Know What You Did Last Sunday, Etc Theatre, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

The Etc Theatre in Camden has accidentally found itself staging a themed week of religious comedy shows. First there was Pat Condell and his idiot's guide to religion, or rather his guide to religious idiots, Faith, Hope & Sanity. The following day it was James Sherwood's tribute to the paraphernalia of the Church of England; fetes, tombolas and quiches.

Ricky Gervais: Fame, Apollo Theatre, London

It may be indicative of the ever-growing cult of personality of Ricky Gervais that, two years ago, the warm-up gig before his national tour was held in The Soho Theatre's 160-seater auditorium, but this time around he has filled the 550-seater Bloomsbury Theatre and the 800-seater Apollo Theatre to stretch his performance muscles.

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