Voices
 

This week we’ve seen the best and worst sides of drunken excesses. What have we learnt? Just like in life: llamas good, racism bad.

Stand-out stand-up: comedians name their favourite funnyman

Daniel Kitson, a comic virtually unknown to mainstream television audiences, today received the ultimate accolade when he was declared the funniest man in the business by his contemporaries.

War on Want Comedy Gig, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Comic Relief may be over, but the relationship between charity and comedy continues apace. In the last two weeks there have been three major charity galas, including this event that celebrated 60 years of the movement founded by humanitarian Victor Gollancz.

My Secret Life: Richard Herring, comedian, 43

My parents were... My dad was my headmaster and my mother also taught me at school. I did a whole show about whether it psychologically scarred me, but when I look back, I think all the bad things about me were already in existence. I was in a fortunate position where I had a very solid family – my parents have been together since they were 13. It's almost hard to live up to that!

Top Gear comments ‘vulgar, but not a matter for the law’

Human rights chief bows out of ‘Top Gear’ row. By Luke Blackall

After-school comedy clubs: Heard the one about the teenage stand-ups?

After-school comedy clubs are a breeding ground for new talent and an all-round confidence booster, teachers say. But can humour be learned?

Stewart Lee: A funny thing happened to comedy...

It is now big, big business. But does that mean the safe middle ground will become ever more crowded?

Stewart Lee: Vegetable Stew, Leicester Square Theatre, London

Sharp show is souped up with jokes

Third time lucky for comic Kane

The Edinburgh Comedy Award goes to stand-up's intensely personal show about his late father

Fringe notes: 24/08/10

* Not usually one to take things lying down, Stewart Lee responded to a punchline-spoiling heckle on Friday with a five-minute silence before, umm, lying down to deliver the rest of his set on his back. Earlier, he held a book launch at the Festival Theatre. Guests of honour? Frank Chickens. This one will run and run.

Edinburgh Festival diary

The spat between comic Stewart Lee and the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards (previously the Perriers) is descending, fittingly, into farce. Lee (who has never been nominated) objects to the Comedy God award, where the public decides who is the best of the 173 acts nominated in the awards' 30-year history.

Fringe Notes, 18/08/10

- It's a hard-fought category at this year's Fringe, but top prize for discomfort goes to HighTide's 'Lidless'. For the play about Guantanamo Bay audiences are shipped into a brightly lit white box and made to sit on tiny fold-out picnic stools around the edge. Great play, though.

How I Escaped My Certain Fate: The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian, By Stewart Lee

A verbose, sprawling, self-referential memoir by the David Foster Wallace of alternative stand-up

Kevin Eldon Is Titting About, The Stand, Edinburgh

The ubiquitous Kevin Eldon popped up in some of the most influential television comedies of the Nineties and beyond – Jam, Black Books, Spaced, Brass Eye, Nighty Night and Green Wing. Not all of his Fringe audience today will know of his previous live work, or indeed be used to seeing him as the star of a show. But whatever the level of background knowledge, most, if not all, of us left his show with the feeling that we had witnessed some "titting about" of the highest order.

I tried my hand at the next gig thing

The hottest tickets at the Edinburgh Fringe are, oddly, for ventriloquists' shows. Jonathan Brown has a go

Kevin Eldon's one-man show is one of the Edinburgh Fringe festival's must-sees

Further proof, were it needed, that comedians cannot resist returning to the bosom of live comedy is comic actor Kevin Eldon. Given his revered status among comedy fans, Eldon taking a one-man show to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time is among the festival's most intriguing propositions. This dazzlingly versatile actor has been stealing scenes in UK comedy shows for more than 15 years – including I'm Alan Partridge, Brass Eye, under-acknowledged sketch show Big Train, Spaced, Nighty Night, Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, Jam and Fist of Fun.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

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Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

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Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

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How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

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Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

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'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

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How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

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'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital