Comedy

Twenty years on, Brass Eye is still the best – as this film of unreleased material proves

3 November 2017 18:10

‘Drug use among children has for many an education and with obvious alarm for both parents on the increase almost…

‘I’m not marching towards some utopia, I’m marching towards my Oscar’: Jonathan Pie interviewed

1 November 2017 17:02

At some point in the early 21st century, comedy stopped being funny. Politics became the biggest joke on earth, thanks…

How Sean Hughes (1965-2017) transformed comedy

17 October 2017 14:34

Not many people can say they’ve transformed an entire art form, but Sean Hughes, who died yesterday, aged 51, did…

Britain’s comics can’t stand Brexit – but the joke is on them

6 April 2017 15:54

One of the best things about Brexit has been its shattering of anti-establishment pretensions. All the people who for yonks…

Lin Cook, who died before Christmas, personified that odd breed: the celebrity widow

4 January 2017 15:52

Amid the flurry of famous deaths during 2016, one particular passing has been more or less forgotten. Peter Cook’s third…

Have our thin-skinned times killed off satire for good?

20 October 2016 13:43

Is satire dying? Zoe Williams asks in the Guardian whether the shrinking of permissible speech is killing comedy. To make her point,…

What performing stand-up in Ukip country taught me about racism

18 August 2016 15:00

Most people would say UKIP lends itself to comedy better than Denis Healey’s eyebrows lent themselves to tweezers – but…

Sorry, but so-called ‘racist’ jokes are funny

30 May 2016 11:40

There is a massive stench of hypocrisy in public life. We do and say things in private that we would…

Why I won’t be celebrating Have I Got News For You’s 25th anniversary

1 October 2015 13:59

America, we’re told, has been enjoying a golden age of news satire. This is largely attributed to Jon Stewart and…

Why the Reggie Perrin novel deserves to be considered a classic in its own right

7 September 2015 12:36

It was eerie the first time I watched The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin because it all felt so familiar. Suddenly my…

If comedians can’t take a politically incorrect joke, who can?

10 June 2015 10:22

Jerry Seinfeld’s takedown of the political correctness of today’s youth should give us all pause for thought. In an interview…

Podcast: Comedy meets politics and Osborne’s 13 tests for No.10

22 January 2015 8:56

Why has politics turned into stand-up comedy? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Andrew Watts and Jesse Norman MP…

First look at the new Dad’s Army

25 October 2014 11:05

Back in the last century, when people still watched television rather than computers, I fulfilled the lifetime ambition of every…

Joan Rivers (1933 – 2014) was the best

5 September 2014 0:03

Joan Rivers has died from complications resulting from throat surgery. She was 81. For many, she was the best. The funniest, sharpest, most mischievous comic we…

Podcast: Britain’s ambulance crisis, Cameron’s European way and the cultural generation gap

28 August 2014 10:00

999, what’s your emergency? This time, it’s one right at the heart of the ambulance service, as Mary Wakefield reveals…

Cringe at the Fringe: are these really the ten funniest jokes from Edinburgh?

22 August 2014 14:10

According to a poll, the funniest one-liner at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe was a joke about a vacuum cleaner: ‘I’ve…

Robin Williams in London

14 August 2014 14:46

In 2001 I wrote a book called The Comedy Store (still available in some good bookshops – and quite a…

The best of Rik Mayall (1958 – 2014), master of the grotesque

9 June 2014 17:27

Sad news reaches us at Culture House that Rik Mayall, one of the mainstays of my TV-addicted teenage years, has…

Monty Python’s dancing circus

31 March 2014 10:02

For those who are worried that five men in their 70s might struggle to bring the kind of energy befitting…

The BBC is more scared of offending Muslims than gay people

20 March 2014 17:39

Just to ring the changes, I’ve written about the BBC and political correctness for the mag this week. Yeah, yeah,…

Isn’t Obama’s Two Ferns interview just a bit crap?

12 March 2014 8:28

Have you seen Barack Obama’s appearance on the satirical interview show Between Two Ferns? What did you think? According to…

A solution to the BBC problem – break it in two

29 January 2014 10:45

Monday’s episode of The Unbelievable Truth, in case you missed it, featured comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound. I did…

Final call for Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library

21 August 2013 11:57

For the first time in years, I thought of Tony Hancock. In the ‘Blood Donor’ episode of Hancock’s Half Hour,…

The Wright Way

27 April 2013 11:14

Continuing the domestic bliss/ tv theme, one programme I have not watched so far is The Wright Way. This is…

Douglas Adams’s big idea

12 March 2013 14:05

Had he not died 12 years ago, Douglas Adams would have been 61 yesterday. Google produced a doodle in his…