John Cleese

Poison pen is mightier than the sword for North Korea's assassins

The first weapon looks like an innocuous electric torch, except it is able to fire three bullets. The second is a ballpoint pen with a poisoned needle. The third is another "poison pen", containing a bullet that both punctures the skin and releases a deadly toxin.

Magnus Betner, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

If comedy is the new rock 'n' roll, then Magnus Betner may be its Lou Reed: deadpan, downbeat and determinedly difficult. The Swede tells us he is a "fucking superstar" in his home country, though it's hard to tally that with the jaded figure who explains he couldn't be bothered to give his show a name. "People would go to something because of the title? How stupid is that?" he seethes. Duly, his set is austerely gimmick-free. A vitriolic jeremiad sees him weighing in on numerous "horrible, tragic" news stories – his preferred kind – with provocative one-liners and skewed sermonising. Given the ground covered, it's inevitably a mixed bag – his rundown of the Aids "hierarchy" was as trenchant as his analysis of the Batman shootings was glib. But, in an hour that inspires as many awkward silences as laughs, his uncompromising commitment to serious humour is a perversely admirable thing.

Pinewood's £200m plan to rival Hollywood scuppered

Pinewood's dream to bring the mean streets of New York and the Paris boulevards to the Buckinghamshire countryside has collapsed after the Government blocked the studio's development plans. Filmmakers were yesterday left bewildered as the decision came just a week after the Prime Minister announced his backing for the industry.

Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Bloomsbury Theatre, London

If there was a theme to Festival of the Spoken Nerd's mix of science and comedy tonight then it was pyrotechnics. From a tale of homemade napalm to a demonstration of a standing wave flame tube there were flashes and bangs aplenty, if no explosive end result.

Monty Python stars to stage reunion

Monty Python stars are to stage a major reunion for the first time in more than a decade to mark the show's 40th anniversary, it was announced today.