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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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