Arts and Entertainment Virgin territory: scenes from Louis C.K.’s 1998 debut film, ‘Tomorrow Night’, with Steve Carell

Long before Anchorman and the American Office, Steve Carell played Mail Room Guy without Glasses. And long before Parks and Recreation and the Golden Globes, Amy Poehler was Woman Sprayed with Hose. Now superstars of comedy with Hollywood at their feet, both had their first, minor film roles in Tomorrow Night, alongside another comedy titan of the future, Louis C.K.

Russell Brand’s autobiography has been banned from Guantánamo Bay, a detained suspect has revealed.

Russell Brand’s autobiography Booky Wook 2 banned from Guantanamo Bay

'Booky Wook 2' was among literature deemed inappropriate for inmates

Funny money: Lenny Henry is a co-founder of Comic Relief

Comic Relief scandal: There are red faces behind the red noses

The charity is under fire after a ‘Panorama’ exposé, but the laws governing investments are complex

Comedy books for Christmas

Sometimes it can be empowering to know you have nothing left to lose – that, at least, is the theory behind the birth of “my nemesis and my deliverer”, as Michael Pennington describes his alter ego in Becoming Johnny Vegas (HarperCollins, £20). In a thoroughly entertaining memoir, Pennington is also acute in his psychological evisceration of his own drunken shambles of an act.

Jack Whitehall and Gemma Chan attend the British Comedy Awards

British Comedy Awards 2013 winners: List in full

Jack Whitehall was crowned King of Comedy at the ceremony in London

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: The 12 gigs of Christmas

What does Miley Cyrus have at Christmas? Twerky. This, according to a poll by the comedy channel Gold, is the nation's favourite new festive joke and as such will feature in a specially commissioned box of comedy crackers this Christmas. I think I preferred the runner-up - Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars? Because their days are numbered - but they're neither of them close to the all-time classic: How do snowmen get around? They ride an icicle. You can have that one.

The controversial comedian said during a link:  “What is going on? We're next to 1Xtra, it's so white in here. Mandela would not approve of the situation at the BBC.”

Simon Amstell apologises for Nelson Mandela comment on Radio One

Simon Amstell has apologised for suggesting there was racial segregation between Radio 1 and its sister station BBC Radio 1Xtra in reference to Nelson Mandela.

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: All smiles on Sunday with a radical take on religion

It wasn't your average Advent Sunday service. It started with a rousing chorus of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' and ended with Abba's 'Waterloo'. In between there was a poem dedicated to Tony Wilson, a mini rave and a Danish clapping game. This was Sunday Assembly, a "godless church" which has one aim - to celebrate life. It has all the trappings of a traditional Sunday service – a sermon, songs, readings, community notices, a collection, tea and cakes – but none of the religion. Its only creed is live better, help often, wonder more.

Eddie Murphy became the latest victim of a Twitter hoax this week

Paul Walker tragedy sparks Eddie Murphy Twitter death hoax

Eddie Murphy became the latest victim of a Twitter death hoax when a series of online Chinese whispers escalated

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

British Comedy Awards 2013: List of nominees in full

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are shortlisted for Best Female TV Comic

Books of the year 2013: Comedy

Stand-ups are good value when it comes to memoirs. Show-offs by profession they combine a knack for self-lacerating storytelling with an often chaotic private life and zero sense of embarrassment. Ideal. As Russell Brand put it in My Booky Wook: “My life is just a series of embarrassing incidents strung together by telling people about those embarrassing incidents.”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: And now a word from our sponsors – spin included

Since the advertising ban, the tobacco industry has had to rely on product placement in unexpected contexts, like the House of Commons. “I confess that I enjoyed a Henri Wintermans Café Crème after breakfast this morning on the way to work,” Tory MP Robert Halfon announced, arguing that plain packaging might make it “easier to smuggle counterfeit cigarettes”.

Clockwise from left: Sarah Millican; Lee Mack; Alan Carr; David Mitchell; Graham Norton and Jack Whitehall are up for the King or Queen of Comedy Award 2013

British Comedy Awards 2013: Jack Whitehall, Alan Carr and David Mitchell shortlisted

Who should be crowned the King or Queen of British comedy?

James Franco and Seth Rogen parody Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in 'Bound 3'

James Franco and Seth Rogen parody Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in 'Bound 2' spoof video

The actors produced the 'epic' video while shooting new film The Interview

Chris Ramsey: The stand-up and 'Hebburn' actor talks failed one-liners, being thrown off TV and his tidying fetish

I can't do one-liners to save my life FHM asked me to do some for an issue. But some were libellous and some too rude to use, so the rubbish ones made it through. One guy tweeted me. "I've just read your jokes in FHM; I've read better on the back of a Penguin wrapper." And that's why my stand-up is all about personal stories and anecdotes.

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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project