Ben Stiller

Tim & Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job!, Leicester Square Theatre,

A prominent British sketch performer once told me that "Americans can't do sketch comedy." Meanwhile, the British character comic Kevin Eldon once said: "If I see comedy which I consider, in my very judgmental little head, to be lazy or weak it actually offends me." It's these quotes that spring to mind when faced with the lack of charm and quality in this American duo's live show.

Greta Gerwig: The queen of low-budget cinema is breaking into the

The first sign that Greta Gerwig may not be your average movie star comes as I'm striding into the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, 45 minutes before our scheduled rendezvous. My mobile telephone rings. Would I mind coming straight up to Greta's suite? She is running rather early, would hate to intrude on more of my Friday afternoon than absolutely necessary, and so wonders if we can crack on. Yes, you heard that right: a Hollywood actress is managing to be vaguely considerate towards another human being AND to not be late.

The Week In Radio: Yes, there's something about Mary Whitehouse

I rather liked Mary Whitehouse. She would often ring me up in a previous journalistic incarnation to "draw my attention" to upcoming outrages. And when she did she was always polite, intelligent and firm, like the girls' school teacher she once was. If the tide of filth had already been broadcast, she would read out the profanities, "eight bloodys, two buggers and a Christ", in her special, taking-the-register monotone, which always enlivened a dull day. And while her repressive views on homosexuality and pre-marital sex were deeply unappealing, her biggest impact on broadcasting was not about sex at all. It was establishing the idea that listeners and viewers should have a say in what broadcasters provide.

Generation X: A mid-life crisis

They were the so-called slackers who didn't feel compelled to grow up. Now, with middle age a sobering reality, are their years of underachieving beginning to hit home?

DVD: Tropic Thunder, Rental & Retail, (Paramount)

Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr and Jack Black star as three has-beens who think they're filming a Vietnam war epic in the jungle, unaware that the people who keep shooting at them aren't actors playing the Viet Cong, they're genuine trigger-happy guerrillas.

The Word On...Tropic Thunder

"Ben Stiller's performance is easily the weakest element: like his 'Zoolander' character, he has a handful of exaggerated expressions and cycles through them on cue. But it's easy to forgive, given how thoroughly enjoyable 'Tropic Thunder' is on virtually every other count." - Tasha Robinson, www.avclub.com

George Carlin: Seven words that shook a nation

America in the 1970s wasn't ready for George Carlin: his meditation on the morality of swearing led to arrest, prosecution – and even a Supreme Court judgment. Andy McSmith pays tribute