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`Bottom Live 3 - Hooligan's Island' opens at the Royal Centre, Nottingham (0115- 948 2626) on Tuesday

Bottom has been exposed to us in various guises since its ebullient creators, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, first met at Manchester University a staggering 22 years ago. Through the Dangerous Brothers, The Young Ones, Filthy, Rich and Catflap, and now Bottom, Mayall and Edmondson have been hitting each other and falling over a lot for close on a quarter of a century. But the joke never seems to pall. Audiences still flock to see the (now balding) duo find ever more elaborate ways of inflicting hurt on each other. Students, in particular, have always found it a rich source of humour.

As they embark on their third, mammoth tour of fighting and farting - "Bottom Live 3 - Hooligan's Island" - Mayall and Edmondson's enthusiasm for their dim-witted, sexually frustrated alter egos, Richie and Eddie, remains unflagging. They are also unfazed by Bottom's politically correct critics. "You have to surrender to Bottom in order to enjoy it," Mayall told me. "You have to say, `oh, well, what the hell' and just dive in. It's just a stupid, stupid cartoon full of stupid jokes told with tremendous panache. It's absolute bollocks in perfect rhythm. People have trouble with it because comedy's been intellectualised about an awful lot during the last 15 years, but when you get down to it, all you're doing is turning on the telly and watching a couple of guys being stupid and hitting each other. The French love us, of course. Its attraction is complete escapism. It's like, `forget about the day's work and just laugh your tits off'."

EYE ON THE NEW

The Pleasance, London N7 (0171-609 1800) is running a season of late- night shows on Saturdays. The third act every week will be a newcomer who is up for the BBC New Comedy Award. Budding stand-ups can still enter (closing date: 28 Feb).Phone 0990 116644 for details

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