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.

Handsome, talented and anti-establishment: It's not hard to see why Russell Brand is good with women

He's someone who can be as close to the knuckle as possible, while having the popular appeal to fill enormous auditoriums and amass a huge fortune

The Russell Brand effect: the mystery explained

Putting to one side for a second that Brand is extremely clever and funny, why do women find this scruffy, skinny, messy-haired effeminate so irresistible?

Barking in Essex at Wyndham's Theatre: Sheila Hancock as Emmie, Lee Evans as Darnley, Keeley Hawes as Chrissie

Theatre review: Barking In Essex is a crude, relentless mockery of stupidity and materialism

Sheila Hancock, Lee Evans and Keeley Hawes star in Clive Exton's ill-judged black farce

Paul Gascoigne is among those to have used the clinic

Peter Kay, co-founder of the Sporting Chance Clinic which has helped names such as Paul Gascoigne and Paul Merson, has died

Kay helped set-up the clinic for sport stars to seek help alongside former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams in 2000

Billy Connolly opts for a smart moustache and beard combination

Billy Connolly diagnosed with Parkinson's: The thing about the disease is that everyone is different

Parkinson's disease has become an essential part of who I am

Rachel De-lahay interview: "People risk anything to get here"

Would-be migrants made her think about how much it means to live in Britain, and inspired her new play. Rachel De-lahay talks to Fiona Mountford about discrimination, jealousy, and making ends meet

Tottenham fans in Lazio were on the end of racial abuse from areas of the home side's fans

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas supports Football Association campaign to try and rid the sport of the word 'Yid'

Spurs boss has back his club's stance over the subject although he admits it is difficult for home fans who have adopted it as their own in defence

Daniel Kitson now commands an impassioned following around the world

Comedy review: Daniel Kitson, Tree, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

When Daniel Kitson gave the Latitude Festival audience a tantalising glimpse of his new show this summer it was still very much a sapling. Two months later and Tree has put on branches and leaves, emerging into the gloom of a drizzly autumnal Manchester night as a mighty oak.

The CERN is also home to the Large Hadron Collider tunnel; seen here is a model of the LHC in the visitor centre

Book review: I Laughed, I Cried, By Viv Groskop

Who'd want to be a stand-up comic? Well, nearly everyone nowadays. What used to be an eccentric calling has become a huge business. Comedians are on chat shows, panel shows, even Question Time. Stand-up used to be a trade for misfits. Today it's a career plan.

The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast

Other contenders for the prize include the pubic louse and the pig-nosed turtle

Bridget Christie

Can we now stop asking if women are as funny as men?

Bridget Christie won this year's Foster's Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe

Joe Thomas, Simon Bird and Johnny Sweet make their stand in Chickens

TV review: Chickens - We’re the only men in the village...

A First World War sitcom may prove to be a slow burner, but the nation’s cakes are rising nicely

London comic Chris Coltrane held up a photo of Putin’s naked torso and joked that if the Russian President wanted to stop the promotion of homosexuality 'maybe he should stop posing for photos like this'

Edinburgh Fringe performers stage 'comedy protest' against Russian homosexuality laws outside consulate in Scotland

Semi-naked photos of Vladimir Putin and a blast of Tchaikovsky played on an iPad formed parts of comedy protest against homophobia in Russia, staged outside the Russian Consulate General in Edinburgh today.

Bridget Christie – 'A Bic for Her'

Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Awards stand up for stand-up

Stand-up has returned to dominate Edinburgh’s showcase comedy awards after a big year for mime in 2012, with one shortlisted comedian even bringing back mother-in-law jokes.

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own