THE EYE ON...COMEDY

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Norwich Arts Centre (01603 660352) Wed and Thur; Exeter and Devon Arts Centre (01392 219741) 1, 2 Dec; Cambridge ADC Theatre (01223 360452) 3 Dec

See that comedian returning to his stand-up roots - that's you, that is. The wonderful, bickering History Professors were just part of perhaps the most successful live double act of the early 1990s: Newman and Baddiel.

After a very public split following a mammoth Wembley Arena gig a couple of years back, Rob Newman went off to spend more time with his novels.

David Baddiel, meanwhile, set about creating another highly popular partnership - this time with his real-life flat-mate, Frank Skinner, on BBC2's Fantasy Football League.

As that era also draws to a close - Skinner is moving out of the flat and the duo are no longer sharing the TV sofa or singing hit footy anthems together - Baddiel has not been idle. He has written a (not altogether well-received) novel, and has a screenplay in development with Disney.

Most surprisingly of all, he has decided to take his show back on the road. The pre-publicity comes with severe health warnings - "the emphasis will be strongly on experimentation," it reads - but the act should still be worth catching.

For all the vitriol he copped with Newman, Baddiel is still an accomplished stand-up in his own right, with a line in confessional material - his interest in pornography featured in previous shows. Expect more sophisticated, sardonic soul-baring.

EYE ON THE NEW

Not every comedian can claim to be big in Sweden, but Arj Barker can. The imaginative San Franciscan proves that not all Americans are born with an irony bypass.

Comedy Cafe, Newcastle tonight and the Hare and Hounds, Blean, Canterbury tomorrow

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