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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The League of Gentleman perform at the Royal Free Rocks With Laughter show

Royal Free Rocks With Laughter, comedy review

Adelphi Theatre, London

The five remaining members of Monty Python are expected to announce a comeback on Thursday

Monty Python team show, old surrealists never die like... they just make comebacks

Next to today’s sketch troupes, Python is not looking so strange

Sarah Millican on her Home Bird tour

Comedy review: Sarah Millican - 'As interesting to watch as she is funny'

Hammersmith Apollo, London

Stewart Lee

Comedy review: Stewart Lee - Much A-Stew About Nothing, Leicester Square Theatre

Lee takes on Ed Miliband, UKIP and immigration in trademark style

Jason Manford is touring a show called First World Problems

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.

The pajama men have a new show at The Soho Theatre

Comedy review: The Pajama Men: Just The Two Of Each Of Us

One can't but help wish that the Pajamas would reprise past glories for their ever-growing London fanbase

Russell Brand is on his Messiah Complex tour

Comedy review: Russell Brand, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

The comedian is on his Messiah Complex world tour

Comedy review: Joe Lycett: If Joe Lycett Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It

Last year a frivolous, flawed, but loveable debut hour show, Some Lycett Hot, secured 24-year-old Joe Lycett a nomination for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Lycett's follow up show again brings the big puns out, but suffers from its unashamedly effete approach.

Edinburgh 2013: John Robins: Where Is My Mind?

A former flatmate of a clutch of successful Bristol-based comics that included Russell Howard and Jon Richardson, John Robins could be the next of his peer group to go on to greater things.

Nick Helm - 'One Man Mega Myth'

Edinburgh 2013: Nick Helm and John Kearns tackle failed machismo for laughs

Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth

John Kearns: Sight Gags for Perverts

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there