Television: Game for a laugh

Cult clowns Reeves and Mortimer are risking their reputation in a prime-time Saturday slot. Just what are they playing at?

Arts: Pulling its punchlines

Looks like a documentary. No gags. Disquieting deadpan performances. Welcome to Smack The Pony, the latest offspring of the Armando Iannucci school of comedy. Be careful where you laugh.

Staying In: Interview - John Thomson: The very fast show

John Thomson is one of our most versatile comedy actors - the bloke next door with a cool catchphrase. And he's a jazz drummer. No, really ...

The Critics' Awards 1998: Comedy - The Holy Grail goes to Father Kev

It was the year in which comics wanted to be taken seriously. Ardal O'Hanlon wrote a novel; Gareth Hale, today's Benny Hill, followed the lead of Eddie Izzard and appeared on Question Time; Lee Evans, Britain's answer to Jim Carrey, starred in a couple of films ... and in that digital TV ad.

TV Videowatch

`I'm Alan Partridge', Vols 1 & 2, pounds 12.99 each

Comedy Armando Iannucci

After spending years in a TV studio making Friday Night Armistice and I'm Alan Partridge, Armando Iannucci (right) relishes the freedom of live work. In his new show, Out of His Box, he has to live on his wits, taking questions from the audience and acting out such surreal moments as the Pope singing "Supercalifragilistic...". "It's that instant feedback thing," he explains. "It sharpens you up because you can't say, `Sorry about that, it was a technical fault. We'll be with you in a minute. Meanwhile, welcome Harry the Hammer, laughter- smith and stand-up carpenter'."

Comedy: An evening with the It-Guy and all his alter egos

Steve Coogan Lyceum, WC2

Hero Brown's Column

Oh how we laughed (in the second half anyway). Steve Coogan's new stand-up show, "The Man Who Thinks He's It", created quite a stir this week when it opened in the West End. Yours truly did her duty and went along for the opening night, along with a celebrity audience whose collective cashflow could sort out the entire Russian deficit. Plus change for bortsch all round.

Comedy: Steve Coogan Lyceum Theatre London - In your face, up your nose

ANY POLL of people you'd least like to sit next to at a dinner party would this week no doubt be topped by those two ill- disciplined sportsmen, Paolo Di Canio and Will Carling. But you can bet your leather- effect driving-gloves that the irredeemably ghastly chat-show host, Alan Partridge, would not be far behind them.

First Night: Grotesquely appalling - but nobody does it better

Steve Coogan Lyceum Theatre London

Preview: Comedy - Steve Coogan

In his new show, The Man Who Thinks He's It, the character comedian Steve Coogan (above) will be treating us to his Manchester hoolies, Paul and Pauline Calf, and the smoothie singer, Tony Ferrino. But his finest creation remains the monstrous chat-show host, Alan Partridge. Against all odds, people lap him up. "Even though he's a berk, people like him despite themselves," Coogan says. "The Little Englander in him is in all of us. He gives vent to those things we'd all like to say but daren't. He's a mirror showing us our own hideousness."

Comedy: Gig of the Week - Steve Coogan from tomorrow

Without falling into the cod-psychoanalysis he so abhors, Steve Coogan has a rare ability to "become" other people. He will be demonstrating that once again in The Man Who Thinks He's It, his new show which opens at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End tomorrow. In this, he will be seamlessly taking on the roles of, among others, the yobby Mancunian brother and sister, Paul and Pauline Calf, and the Lothario Latino crooner, Tony Ferrino.

FIRST CALL LAST CALL

The darkly humorous writing talent of Peter Shaffer meets the directorial nous of Sir Peter Hall in the Old Vic's production of Amadeus in October. David Suchet (right) demonstrates the versatility of his acting as the bitter and jealous Salieri, following his recent stint as a hen- pecked husband in the Almeida production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Michael Sheen, the RSC's most recent Henry V, plays the obnoxious child prodigy corrupted by the wild pleasures which accompany his newfound acclaim. This is one that theatre buffs shouldn't miss.

Arts: All he needs is laughter... and respect

Comedy has made Steve Coogan very rich, so why does he let a few critics annoy him?

In the news: Chris Morris - Comedy danger man back on air

CHRIS MORRIS, Britain's most innovative and risque, broadcaster took to the airwaves again in the early hours this morning, but only his most avid fans - which unbelievably include the sober suits at the Independent Television Commission - and insomniacs will be able to hear him, writes Paul McCann.
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week