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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Rachel Parris - The Commission.

Edinburgh 2013: Rachel Parris: The Commission - This musical comedian is in her springtime

Imagine if you worked in advertising and then daubed subversive messages on street hoardings in your spare time. That's pretty much what the jingle writer, comedian, actress and improviser Rachel Parris is up to in her debut solo show.

Birthday Girls: Camille Ucan, Rose Johnson and Beattie Edmondson

Edinburgh 2013 review: Birthday Girls: 2053, Pleasance Courtyard

Sketch realignment is a feature of this year's Fringe with various groups combining or downsizing, splintering off into solo ventures and so forth. The scene has never been so varied and there is something for even the most sceptical observer of the genre.

Standing up to be counted: David Baddiel has a new Edinburgh show

Edinburgh 2013 review: David Baddiel - Fame: Not the Musical, Assembly George Square

Given that David Baddiel's first stand up show for 16 years apparently arose out of an educational talk, the George Square Theatre (a lecture hall for the rest of the year), is a venue match made in heaven. It's also a far cry from the comedian's Wembley Arena days of rock n' roll comedy.

Edinburgh 2013 review: Andrew Lawrence: There Is No Escape, Pleasance Courtyard

"Who wishes they were dead?" As stand up's leading exponent of misanthropy and misery, Andrew Lawrence tends to go beyond the stock 'What's your name and where are you from?' audience interrogation. But fear not, if you cannot muster the requisite amount of depression and disappointment, the ginger ninja nihilist will supply it for you.

Derren Brown performs his Infamous show at the Palace Theatre, London
Well suited to the stage: comedian Aziz Ansari

Review: The Outsider - My Autobiography, By Jimmy Connors

A maverick makes his match points

Robert Newman's New Theory of Evolution, Little Angel Theatre, London

Comedy review: Robert Newman's New Theory of Evolution, Little Angel Theatre, London

"Reviewers of alternative comedy have failed to do what the rock-music press did 30 years ago: evolve a critical language to talk about a new art form." So claimed Robert Newman in 2006.

Jack Dee made a risqué joke about the late Steve Jobs

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.

Eddie Izzard's partly political broadcast sees him scrape by to keep his deposit.

Comedy review: Eddie Izzard's Brighton Centre gig is not a Force Majeure - more Partly Political Broadcast

The 51-year-old appears to be canvassing support to be Labour's mayoral candidate rather than performing a stand-up routine

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit