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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.

Rise of the New Lard

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

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."

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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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn