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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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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones