Sean Hughes is at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, WC1 (0171-388 8822), Tue to Sat.

Sean Hughes has always been interested in the darkness visible in all our lives. His new act, which he has been honing in Australia, is "about being behind schedule, the fear that you're losing out to all your friends who are settling down. It's also about my life being so empty I'm this near to going back to Jesus."

Hardly the most rib-tickling material, but Hughes manages to impart a humorous edge to the bleakness. "There's a lot of self-hatred knocking around," he continues. "To use a golfing metaphor - not that I've suddenly started playing with Tarby - we need a handicap for life." His material is as always ripped straight from the pages of his own life story.

The show, called Thirtysomehow, reflects Hughes's more mature view of life - and that is mirrored in the composition of his audiences. "It's not a load of 15-year-old girls sitting in the front row and smiling at me anymore," he says, with evident relief. "What could I say to them? `How much pocket money do you get?' That doesn't bring out the angst of life."


Simon Day, dubbed "Harry Enfield for the millennium", is a canny character comedian whose career has shot through the roof since his appearance on the culty sketch-programme, The Fast Show. Newcastle Playhouse (0191-230 5151) Fri.