Out There: Comedy in the House, a Beatle on the street, texts 4eva and Tom Daley disappoints

PM stole my punchline

"Was today the day Prime Minister's Questions died?" asked one Huffington Post commentator after David Cameron's much derided quip that Ed Miliband was "loving Engels instead". But though the joke was widely reported to have been stolen from Twitter, this column can exclusively reveal its true source – an up-and-coming 29-year-old comedian called Stu Richards. "It's impossible to prove," Richards told me last week, "but I've been using that punchline in my set for more than a year and have tweeted it and had it retweeted a few times." How does he feel about having his gag "appropriated" at the highest level? "At first I was appalled that the PM shares my sense of humour, then I was excited that my joke could signal the end of democracy... I feel a peculiar sense of shameful flattery," says the host of the monthly Talking Shyte at the Shaftesbury comedy night in London. At least, after last week's Autumn Statement performance, no one in the House will be quipping that they're loving Ed Balls instead any time soon.

A kosher big Macca

My colleague John Rentoul is a collector of headlines in the form of "questions to which the answer is no". And though his list is now closed, a recent headline in an Israeli newspaper almost tempted him to reopen it: "Is Doctor Who a Jew?" asked Haaretz in its 25 November edition. The Israeli press has form here: back in 2008 The Jerusalem Post ran a piece with the headline: "How Jewish were the Beatles?" Among that article's revelations was the observation that the first and third wives of Paul McCartney were Jewish. So it wasn't entirely surprising when Macca was spotted last week smiling at a man dressed as a dreidel (the spinning toy kids play with on Hanukkah) giving out sweet treats to passers-by in north London. According to one source, "Paul walked off less than impressed that he didn't get a doughnut."

Don't mind the gap

One endlessly amusing byproduct of the internet age is our collective inability to punctuate and put spaces into web and email addresses and hashtags. The latest poster campaign for the Samsung Galaxy, which boasts the slogan "The pen is mightier than the finger". All well and good until Twitter users noticed what happens when you run the second and third words together (work it out for yourselves). Some other favourites from recent years include the, Italian power company with the URL powergenitalia.com and the launch of an album by Susan Boyle which was greeted with the hashtag "susanalbumparty" (and you can definitely work that one out for yourself).

List mania

There's been no shortage of chatter about the Buzzfeed-ification of news, but, as reported in last week's New Yorker, there are now compelling scientific reasons why our brains respond favourably to things when they are presented as lists. To celebrate, here's a top 10 of recent top 10s:

1. The top 10 universities in emerging economies (Business Insider)

2. Top 10 toxic ingredients used by the fossil fuels industries (PlanetSave)

3. Top 10 NFL fails from week 13 (Hip-Hop Wired)

4. Top 10 most viewed ag-machinery videos of 2013 (AgWeb, Farm Journal)

5. Top 10 depressing documentaries (The Vine)

6. Top 10 cheapest cars to own (Telegraph)

7. Top 10 oral-sex scenes (Salon)

8. Top 10 ugly sweaters you might actually want to wear this year (Daily Herald)

9. Top 10 US cities for Chinese housebuyers (WPTV)

10. Top 10 space-robot selfies (Discovery News)

The GR8 and the good

It might have escaped your attention in the general hubbub, but last week marked the 21st anniversary of the first text message. The sender was one Neil Papworth, at the time a member of the development team, and the text, sent to Richard Jarvis at the Vodafone UK office Christmas party, read "Merry Christmas". So what did Papworth, who now lives in Montreal, Canada, do to mark his special day? Nothing. But was there a profound message in the last text he did send? "My wife sent me a text reminding me to pick her up from the bus stop," he tells me, "It read: 'F***! Forgot! On way …'" Oh brave new world.

For no rhyme or reason

The second in an occasional series of limericks based on recent events:

By tablet or laptop or phone

We can buy things (or take out a loan)

There's no way of stopping

These new ways of shopping

Though they still can't deliver by drone

All good things must come to a trend

A random selection of recent hot hashtags from around the world:

#LoveYourCup (a Coffee-Mate sponsored push on flavoured coffee creamers)

#AllThatMaters (Bieber fans celebrate their hero's latest single by misspelling the title)

#Christmas (without Twitter, who knew?)

#VonTrapp (Carrie Underwood is Maria in live US broadcast of The Sound of Music)

#12DaysofJones (the Dragons' Den Peter Jones offers prizes to promote his Red Letter Days company)

Villain of the week

Oh, Tom Daley, we used to think so highly of you. You were a serious sportsperson, a contender, a role model. But that short clip last week changed everything. Frankly, I was shocked. Yes, it's brave of you. Yes, you looked quite comfortable with it. But really, that trailer for the second series of Splash!. Does anybody really want to see you putting yourself through that again?

twitter.com/@simmyrichman

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas