Spotlight: The New York comedy circuit

New York has had a cold winter. So cold that, according to the comedian Ben Bailey, everyone in the city looked as if they were homeless, wearing at least three coats and having permanently runny noses. Though the advent of spring on the weekend I arrived certainly cheered most of the population, comedians, of course, remained professionally cynical. “What is all this about the wind-chill factor?” growled Lewis Black. “Why do I need to know what temperature it could have been if it hadn't been for the breeze?”

Focus: Found out, and found guilty. It's curtains for Martha Stewart

Furnishings and food, yes, but even she cannot sell lying as a designer choice, says David Usborne. And she can't do her show from a cell

The firing brigade

How should a media boss react when an employee is accused of a crime? Whatever he does, he risks trouble, says Tim Luckhurst

OUR DUMB CENTURY: REPORTS FROM THE FRONTIERS OF HISTORY - Oprah secedes from US

Forms independent nation of cheesecake-eating housewives

A good idea from ... Oprah Winfrey

FOR THOUSANDS of years, our ancestors didn't talk about their emotions. They killed bison and elk, returned to their caves and kept it to themselves if they had been afraid of woolly creatures, had felt small and had longed for the lost comfort of the womb. Then, gradually, mental health came to be equated with the ability to reveal vulnerable feelings to others. Over the past two centuries, staying silent about our fears and longings has gone from being viewed as brave and stoic to being viewed as dangerous: a kind of "bottling up", "repression" or, even worse, "denial".

Tried and Tested: Taming the screw

Uncertain which way to turn in a DIY crisis? Our panel measures the mettle of cordless screwdrivers

Don't beef about Oprah

AN ECONOMIC expert testified in court yesterday that factors such as drought, high corn prices and weak exports had far more impact on a cattle market slump than anything said on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.

Jokers have last laugh on Dole

The US presidential candidates are a rich source of humour for TV show hosts, writes John Carlin

Ricki Lake: bigger than Oprah? The 26-year-old talk-show prodigy talks to Hester Lacey

KELLY'S dad had an affair with Kelly's mom's best friend when Kelly was three. Kelly, now 23, who hasn't seen her father for seven years, is describing, between sobs, how he took her along on his clandestine dates. Suddenly her dad walks out on stage to sit beside her. The Ricki Lake Show is broadcast at five o'clock every Wednesday. This episode explores the experiences of "Children of Unfaithful Parents"; members of the audience are then invited to pitch in with their views, as outrageously as possible.

Grand for Oprah

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own