Arts and Entertainment

"Bo Burnham: What", Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh Fringe, August

Edinburgh Festival `98: Beneath the glitter lies an awful lot of gold

FILM VELVET GOLDMINE DIR: TODD HAYNES ODEON 1

The Big Picture: A side order of irony, please

THE AVENGERS (12) DIRECTOR: JEREMIAH CHECHICK STARRING: RALPH FIENNES, UMA THURMAN

theatre: Monsters on Broadway

New York has taken the blockbuster route to putting bums on seats. But size isn't everything.

TV: I hardly dare think how many teachers have had sarcastic remarks repeat on them as they see old pupils hit the headlines (`Oh very clever, Izzard. That will stand you in good stead when you've got a mortgage to pay')

"Nobody ever became a comedian because he's trying to bring happiness to people," observed the veteran stand-up Jackie Mason a few weeks ago. "He's trying to bring cash to the bank." These days he (and she) probably find that easier than it used to be, thanks to a boom in stand-up which has turned every other pub into a comedy club and spattered the television schedules with spin-offs, specials and light entertainment quizzes. It has been a good decade for those who used to sit at the back of the class and make their friends snort uncontrollably in the middle of lessons - I hardly dare think how many teachers have had their sarcastic remarks repeat on them uncomfortably as they see old pupils hit the headlines ("Oh very clever, Izzard. That will stand you in good stead when you've got a mortgage to pay.") You really know a new generation has come of age, though, when they start making nostalgic documentaries about the early days of struggle. Channel 4 is doing just that at the moment (and taking the opportunity to blow its own trumpet) with First on Four, a series of films "celebrating" the career of comics closely associated with the channel.

ISSEY FOR REAL?

At first sight, Issey Ogata (right) commands attention because the very idea of a Japanese stand-up is so unusual. But there is more to him than mere novelty-value; he is actually a highly accomplished performer. With his vignettes sending up Japanese life, he is able to capture social types that transcend the language barrier. In 15 years, Ogata has developed from a building-site worker into the hottest property in Japanese live comedy - and, from Tuesday at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, we have the chance to see why.

Comedy: Surfing the comedy waves

His gift for ad-libbing has made stand-up Phil Kay the toast of Eddie Izzard, Bob Mortimer and his other comedy peers. Tonight, he is let loose for a benefit at the Hackney Empire

Comedy: A newsworthy stand-up

The wacky humour of Eddie Izzard or Harry Hill is not Kevin Day's cup of tea. This self-confessed puritan aligns himself with political humourists like Jeremy Hardy or Mark Thomas, though he can't say that he doesn't crave a little fame and fortune...

Comedy: Any time, any place, anywhere

There's more to improvisation than standing up and impersonating something strange a la `Whose Line is it Anyway?' Good improvisers construct a narrative, and best of all, they can teach you how to do it, too

The secret of his success? He's sorry, he hasn't a clue

The idea of a 76-year-old trumpet player having his finger on the comedy buzzer - even being the object of a small riot from young fans - seems a little far fetched. But that's Humphrey Lyttelton, chairman of one of radio's most popular anti-quiz shows. As he tells James Rampton, it's close enough to jazz.

Izzard gets serious over the `New Europeans'

Eddie Izzard is getting political. Seriously. Yesterday he performed live at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party's European Conference in Eastbourne.

TV comedy checks in to the sanatorium

The great British sitcom may have run out of steam. Vanessa Thorpe on the bizarre new offerings intended to keep us watching

Comedy: More tales of the unexpected

The king of surreal stand-up, Eddie Izzard, brings a new selection of `highly-crafted rubbish' to town

Interview: Eddie the irresistible

INTERVIEW: Eddie Izzard

Letter: Britain's bright future in Europe

Sir: The Europe 97 campaign is a welcome and timely reminder of the crucial importance of Europe in British life. Culturally, economically, and politically, Britain and the British people have gained greatly from membership of the European Union.
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin