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Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US  when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?

Comedy: Stand up for ken

After recent criticisms from luvvies, Tony Blair may be thinking of distancing himself from celeb endorsements, but Ken Livingstone has no such problems. Famous people appear to be queuing up to back his campaign to be allowed to stand for the post of Mayor of London. He certainly has the comedy glitteratti turning out in force for a benefit - entitled "Stand Up For Ken" - this week. A most impressive bill, comprising Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus (right), Arthur Smith, Kevin Day and Gina Yashere, is complemented by a special treat, a performance by the original agit-prop troubadour himself, Billy Bragg.

'People's Mayor' rallies his troops

"OBVIOUSLY, IT was a tough one for me between supporting Ken Livingstone and Peter Stringfellow... but at the last minute I came down in support of Ken."

Blair U-turn on Livingstone

DOWNING STREET is preparing a high-risk strategy of allowing Ken Livingstone on to Labour's shortlist for mayor of London - if it can find a rival candidate capable of beating him.

Going Out: Comedy Jo Brand

What comes across most strongly at one of Jo Brand's gigs is the sheer warmth of the relationship between the performer and her audience - a fact that may surprise people who believe everything they read in the popular press about the former nurse.

Media: Sleazy, tasteless and proud of it

The Daily and Sunday Sport's blend of sex and schoolboy humour is a success story of tackiness over taste.

Network: How to improve your image

Software Review

Comedy: Brand of gold

Jo Brand is a mistress of the put-down, leaving her adoring but nervous audience in no doubt who's in charge

Comedy: McPhail at your peril

She's loud, proud and dangerous to heckle, Donna McPhail eats hostile audience members for breakfast - with the initials DM, she's well-equipped to give troublemakers a verbal kicking to remember

Letter: A family blighted by deportation

Sir: We call upon the Home Secretary to have compassion for the Onibiyo family, currently blighted by deportation.

jo brand's week

I was pleased to see Janet McTeer win an award in the US for her role in A Doll's House. I saw it in London and it restored my faith in West End theatre, which can be so unpredictable. Rave reviews don't necessarily mean anything. Another production I saw recently, described as "devastating", was the biggest load of old tosh I have sat through for a long time. A few actors off the telly and a lot of hype do not a devastating production make; and critics are not always right, even if they are convinced they are.

Letter: A chance to clean up in part-time work

Sir: Although I look forward to Jo Brand's entertaining comments, I must take issue with her over her statement on domestic service (24 May).

COMEDY: Jo Brand Civic Hall, Guildford

The good burghers of leafy, stockbroker-friendly Guildford are looking forward to the charms of David Essex crooning such genteel classics as "We're Going to Make You a Star" at their Civic Hall soon. So they might have been expected to choke into their Amontillados at the very thought of Jo Brand, the oversized, Struwel-Peter-coiffed, foul-mouthed flagellator of all the things they hold dear: maleness, Toryness, suburbanness. Her act, which she performed there on Wednesday night as part of her national tour, contains more swearing and sexual references than the entire work of Tarantino and Cronenberg put together.

Comedy: We all like you, Jo. So why don't you?

In the 16th century, the prophet Nostradamus wrote: "The present time, together with the past, shall be judged by a great jovialist."

Rise of the New Lard

Men are getting fatter faster than women, discovers Emma Cook, and they don't like it

jo brand's week

Look what's happened. A Labour landslide, goodbye to the Tories and the dawn of a new era, which leads me to wonder how comics are going to deal with the next five years and tackle the characters who will make up our new government. Well, many comics will be doing what they have always done, which is to ignore politics altogether. Popular television comedy these days, with the exception of a few like Rory Bremner and Mark Thomas, shies away from any political stance at all. The Day Today, Mrs Merton, French and Saunders and Alan Partridge all keep it shut as far as political opinion is concerned, which is probably why they are on big telly channels.
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