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When Chris Christie briefly considered a bid for the White House in 2011, many suggested the popular New Jersey Governor was too fat to be President. However, if he decides to run in 2016 his weight may be less of a burden; in an interview with the New York Post, Christie has revealed that he underwent secret gastric-band surgery earlier this year, and observers say it is already paying off.

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 13: Bill Hicks, American Comedian

SOME TIME in the Eighties serious newspapers started appointing critics to review stand-up comedy, which must have been about the most dispiriting job on the paper unless you actually enjoyed spending endless nights listening to jokes about airline travel and fast food (American comics) or daytime television and masturbation (Brits).

Interview: Harry's game anyone can join in

Harry Hill's humour may be quirky, but it's certainly not exclusive. It even works on Americans. Vanessa Thorpe meets the man who subverted stand-up

Clinton Crisis: Stand-up comics fail to see funny side of Clinton fiasco

CIGARS, ANYONE? How about a little tearful repentance over breakfast? Much of the White House fiasco sounds like the script of a raunchy, off- the-wall comedy show.

Film: Fan Facts: Drew Barrymore star of 'The Wedding Singer'

Cutey pie: The 23-year-old has worked hard to earn her reputation as Hollywood's No 1 reprobate tearaway. She got off to a bad start, starring placidly in a dog food ad at the age of three and cutely in ET at the age of seven (director Steven Spielberg must have been very proud of his god-daughter).

MISSY IN ACTION

MISSY (MISDEMEANOUR) ELLIOTT, the 25-year-old hip-hop performer who is energetically redefining the boundaries of rap music, is a singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and talent scout. Six months ago, few people outside the music industry had heard of her; six months from now, it will be necessary to pretend that you've known about Missy Elliott for years. She is the biggest and blackest female rap star Middle America has ever seen. She is the latest incarnation of an American phenomenon: what US magazines like to call the "New Negro".

Winter Olympics: Rivalry on Ice, the dream show

Remember Kerrigan v Harding? Mike Rowbottom samples the new soap, Lipinski v Kwan

The best medicine

It was a big step, leaving medicine for a career in comedy. But the odd 'bad night' on stage is a breeze compared to nights of watching patients die. And Harry Hill hasn't had a bad night in a long time

Tennis: Wimbledon '97 - Pioline puffs to keep pace with Pete

Richard Edmondson witnesses a one-sided competition set before a Centre Court crowd with a penchant for the clinical finish

Boxing: Holyfield spurns chance to bite back

Last week's dental debacle continues to exercise the imagination of the American public, and Evander Holyfield chose the nation's most public forum, David Letterman's Late Show on CBS television, to air his views.

The post-Lettermen

Now it's Channel 5's turn to try to crack the chat-show format. Ben Thompson reports

Celebs dry up as telly chat goes over the top

More channels mean more talk about less, writes Vanessa Thorpe

Why are they famous?; Ulrika Johnson

Main Claim: Phwoarrrh-ish weather girl made good. Our Ully, a Swedish import, was TV-am's resident weather girlie for three years. Simultaneously exploiting and subverting the job's associations with bimboid blondness, she became a general famous person. She then became a proper presenter on the people's top thickie show, Gladiators. She then became the totally surprising searing wit that is Ulri-ka-ka-ka on Shooting Stars. She has recently topped it all with kitsch ad stardom, seducing Gary Lineker in a crisps ad. "I am just a pair of breasts," she explains.

Star-spangled chat show plugs the Kremlin line

For the devoted viewer of that American institution, the late-night talk show, it comes as a surprise. There's the familiar set, the metropolitan skyline, sparkling with wicked nocturnal promise.

Down and in: Life after politics for new US cult hero

He may have been trounced in the Presidential election. But at the crusty old age of 73, Bob Dole is proving there is life after politics: first as a glowingly reviewed performer on the late- night talkshows - and now as the first major party White House candidate to star in a commercial advertisement.
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project