The Comedy Cafe

Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, DVD, books, online and live performances.

Episodes

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Janice Forsyth comes live from the Edinburgh Festival.

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Greg McHugh talks to Janice Forsyth about being in demand following his tour of duty with Gary: Tank Commander - so good even the Russians want him in their TV schedules!

Greg McHugh of Gary: Tank Commander fame talks to Janice Forsyth about being in demand.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Ricky Gervais talks to Janice Forsyth about collaborating with Stephen Merchant on their first film, the bittersweet coming of age tale Cemetery Junction.

Ricky Gervais talks to Janice Forsyth about his new film Cemetery Junction.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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The Stand's Tommy Shepherd talks to Janice Forsyth about the impact of Scotland's first dedicated comedy venue on the national comedy scene.

Janice Forsyth hears about the influence of Scotland's first dedicated comedy venue.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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As the general election looms, how do political satirists re-interpret the news?

In the run up to the general election, Janice Forsyth looks at how political satirists re-interpret the news. Plus what's the relationship between comedy and the internet?

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Original alternative comedian Arthur Smith talks about his career, plus Chris Morris tackles anti-terrorism in his film Four Lions, but should some topics be off limits to comedy?

Original alternative comedian Arthur Smith talks to Janice Forsyth about his career.

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Fresh-faced funnyman Teddy bares his soul plus a few personal facts for his act, but how far does he go when plundering stories of friends or family for a laugh?

Fresh-faced funnyman Teddy bares his soul to Janice Forsyth on the Comedy Cafe.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Always the warm up guy, never the headliner.

What are the challenges of being the curtain raiser for someone else's comedy act? Comedian Arnab Chandra tours with Simon Amstell, and soon to be star of his own BBC show, rising stand-up Daniel Sloss, has primed TV sitcom audiences - they share their experiences on this week's Comedy Cafe.

From comedy curtain raisers to the audience themselves - how much input does the audience have to the recording of a comedy TV show? And what happens when they steal the scene? New act on the comedy scene Stuart Mitchell shares the moment he got a standing ovation from the celebrity panel during the recording of Frank Skinner's Opinionated.

John Cleese is going on tour to fund his alimony fees - but what are the best motivations to continue touring? And should there be a 'sell by' date, even for legends like Cleese? We put it to massive Cleese fan and comedian Jojo Sutherland.

And we continue to delve into BBC Radio Scotland's rich archive for our series from the online Comedy Zone.

Focusing on stand-ups, this week we hark back to the Fringe Festival 2008 with the lovely Alex Horne.

All that plus our Joke of the Week and our comedy DVD recommendations no home collection would be complete without.

Janice Forsyth finds out about the challenges of being the opening act at a comedy gig.

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Three decades after the Monty Python team made the silliest film ever with Life of Brian, Eric Idle tells Janice Forsyth how it was reborn as oratorio Not The Messiah.

Lippy, opinionated, hilarious - Elaine C Smith still has her feet firmly on the ground despite a stellar career as one of Scotland's best-loved entertainers.

She shares the story of her showbiz journey from her memoir Nothing Like a Dame.

On an international scale Edinburgh's Fringe Festival is THE comedy showcase of the year - but how well does Scottish talent fare during those 3 weeks in August? Despite playing host to the festival are local acts sidelined in the stampede to see incoming headliners? And do visitors to our capital city have false expectations of what Scottish comedy" can offer? We put it to comedians Janey Godley and Scott Agnew.

From Dave Allen to Ed Byrne Irish humour is world renowned - so we hop across to Kilkenny's Cat Laughs Comedy Festival to find out what new names are coming up through the ranks.

And ask could it burgeon to the size - and significance - of Edinburgh's annual comedy extravaganza at the Fringe festival? Comedy critic Jay Richardson reports on the buzz on location.

And we continue our weekly series from BBC Radio Scotland's online Comedy Zone featuring the best or our station's comedy archive from down the years.

All that plus our Joke of the Week and comedy DVD recommendations.

Eric Idle tells Janice Forsyth how Life of Brian has been reborn as an oratorio."

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On today's Comedy Cafe Janice Forsyth finds out who tops the comedy bill at this year's Fringe Festival.

With connotations of the music hall tradition and naff novelty songs does musical comedy deserve its dodgy reputation or is the genre ripe for reinvention? Human Jukebox Abi Roberts and creator of comedy songstresses Tina C and Ida Barr, Chris Green, tell us why, for sheer satire, parody, and laughs out loud, nothing beats a carefully crafted comedy song.

Award-winning stand-up comedian, writer and actress Susan Calman returns with a new series of Funny Friends on BBC Radio Scotland.

We'll hear about the latest crop of Scotland's comedy makers and the comedy chums who helped them along the way.

Ash clouds, airline strikes, recession...

are you plunged into gloom at the thought of a staycation" for this year's summer holiday? Things could be worse - as award-winning writer and actress Emma Kennedy knows too well.

Let Emma lift your holiday spirits with tales of her disastrous family camping trips from the '70's from her hilarious memoir, "The Tent, the Bucket and Me".

Yours couldn't possibly be any worse...

And we continue our weekly series from BBC Radio Scotland's online Comedy Zone featuring the best or our station's comedy archive from down the years.

This week 'The Thick of It's' Armando Ianucci talks about his earliest news parody, 'On the Hour'.

All that plus our Joke of the Week and comedy DVD recommendations.

Janice Forsyth learns the elements of the carefully crafted comedy song.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live."

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Best-selling comedian - ever - at Edinburgh's Fringe festival, Jason Byrne, reveals to Janice Forsyth how his childlike sense of fun and high octane lunacy never wanes - even in the face of adversity.

Hi-de-hi campers! Holiday park entertainment has long been viewed as naff by association with the likes of TV's fictional Maplin's and its hapless posse of Yellowcoat entertainers.

So with the return of the 'staycation' we find out if holiday park humour is still as uncool as it used to be.

Prime time TV slots, online hits, DVD sales and stadium tours that outsell rock concerts - it seems our appetite for comedy has never been greater.

So why is comedian Liam Mullan so concerned about this 'golden age' that he's campaigning for the return of the comedy album?

As the school holidays approach we look at comedies for children on BBC 7's summer schedule with Head of Programmes Mary Kalemkerian.

And we continue our series from BBC Radio Scotland's online Comedy Zone featuring the best or our station's comedy archive from down the years.

This week we keep company with Barry Cryer.

All that plus our weekly comedy DVD recommendations.

Janice Forsyth finds out if holiday camp humour is as uncool as it used to be.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Why do priests and vicars inspire so many television sitcoms? Brand new BBC2 comedy "Rev" challenges the cake-and-cassock comedy stereotype - but does it succeed? Just how relevant are the antics of a Church of England Reverend to a Scottish audience? Is there a clerical comic view of the world? And how do men and women of the cloth feel about their portrayal on TV? We put it to Church of Scotland minister, Owain Jones, and Father Joe Mills.

Braiding, cornrows, relaxants and weaves - what kind of hair day are you having and how much does it influence your self-esteem? In an expose of comic proportions, Chris Rock, gets to the root of the matter with hilarious documentary, Good Hair.

Author, poet and Chris Rocks fan, Kokumo Rocks knows a thing or two about challenging hair - she reviews his efforts.

The days when a stand-up performed in a tiny club to a handful of people are being challenged by the increasing number of comedians doing stadium stand-up.

We discuss what's kick-started this trend and whether comedians are the new 'rock stars'.

Could you cut it as a comedy critic? The world's biggest comedy festival is about to descend once more on our capital, so in preparation we master the art of critiquing comedy.

And we continue our series from BBC Radio Scotland's online Comedy Zone featuring the best or our station's comedy archive from down the years.

This week featuring everyone's favourite Aussie stand-up, Adam Hills.

All that plus our weekly comedy DVD recommendations.

Janice Forsyth asks why priests and vicars inspire so many TV sitcoms?

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Join Chris Kane for a trip down comedy memory lane to mark Radio Scotland's 80s Day.

Arnold Brown remembers the delights and horrors of London's Comedy Store, and we look at the stand-out satirical programmes of the 80s.

A great decade for film comedies or not? Movie critic Siobhan Synnot gives us her thoughts.

And - big hair, big shoulder pads and big phones: we laugh at the fashions and fads of the 80s.

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Few would dispute the benefits of a good laugh.

But can comedy improve your mental health? On today's Comedy Cafe, Clare English will be hearing about Glasgow based charity Universal Comedy which works with those in ill health - whether mental or physical - and encourages them to try some comedy.

Clare English hears how comedy can improve your mental health.

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On Friday's Comedy Cafe, Clare English talks to the comedians who are spreading the environmental message by performing their shows completely in the dark.

And twin sisters Emma and Beth Kilcoyne will be talking about writing the new BBC2 sitcom Roger and Val Have Just Got In.

Clare English talks to comedians who are performing their shows in the dark.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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What's funny at this year's Edinburgh Festival? Join Janice Forsyth live from the Edinburgh International Conference Centre with guests from all the Edinburgh Festival.

Janice Forsyth comes live from the Edinburgh Festival.

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What's funny at this year's Edinburgh Festival? Join Janice Forsyth live from the Edinburgh International Conference Centre with guests from the Edinburgh Festival.

Janice Forsyth comes live from the Edinburgh Festival.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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From Crabs on the Rampage to The Book of the Netherland Dwarf, comedian Robin Ince will be guiding us through his picks of the books from hell - so we can hopefully avoid them.

Comedian Robin Ince guides us through his picks of the books from hell.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

Janice Forsyth will be talking to Sheffield based singer/songwriter John Shuttleworth ahead of his appearance at the Kirkcaldy Comedy Festival.

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Sibling rivalry, soap operas, all important first speeches - it's been a busy week in the world of British politics.

But there is a lighter side to this serious business as we learn the art of writing political sketches and what - or who - makes ideal fodder for them.

How much does contemporary Scottish humour owe to Robbie Burns comedy DNA? Comedian and former lawyer Susan Calman investigates the humorous hallmarks of our national bard amongst today's Scottish stand-ups.

We enter "The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes" - Wales' foremost emerging performance artist whose about to surface for a storytelling event in Scotland.

And as if Friday's weren't Fun enough already on BBC Radio Scotland - we introduce a host of top comedy talent to our airwaves with a brand new season of comedy programmes.

Starting right after today's Comedy Café!

The lighter side of politics is serious business with the art of political sketch writing.

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Janice Forsyth asks - is ventriloquism back in vogue?

How much has our sense of humour developed over the last two millennia? In the 21st century are we tickled by the same things the ancient Greeks were? Dan Crompton, author of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" has been investigating what was considered funny in the fourth century - while comedian Jim Bowen has road tested some of the material.

They join us on the Comedy Café to discuss whether there really are any new jokes.

Once ventriloquists and their dummy buddies were a common sight on primetime TV with the likes of Keith Harris and his duck Orville or Ray Allan with his plumy puppet Lord Charles.

But since the '80's this particular form of comedy has slipped off our screens and was regarded as distinctly naff - until now...

From US comedian Jeff Dunham's close-to-the-bone puppet, Achmed the Dead Terrorist to Nina Conti's potty-mouthed monkey sidekick, Monk, it's re-emerging as an edgy taboo-breaking art form.

So has it managed to shake off associations with cheesy variety shows and re-invent itself as a provocative and subversive comedy genre? We consider why ventriloquism is back in vogue.

And humourist Craig Brown parodies the private lives of very public figures in BBC Radio 4's new series "Craig Brown's Lost Diaries".

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Star of the Carry On films, acclaimed on the West End stage and for a host of classic radio characters, Kenneth Williams is one of Britain's best loved performers.

Now, with exclusive access to new material, the first authorised biography of his life sheds new light on the complex contradictions that characterised William's extraordinary life.

In "Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams" author Christopher Stevens presents a fresh portrait of the comic actor.

Animated film "Despicable Me" features three orphan girls who melt the heart of an evil super-villain when they view him as potential father material.

So we sent father and daughter team, Bruce and Zoe Fummey, to give their verdict on what makes a good father figure - and a model daughter!

What accounts for the popularity of comedy podcasts? With their weekly podcast gathering devotees at a rapid rate we put it to mother and daughter duo Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie.

The Comedy Cafe gets a fresh portrait of a brilliant comic star - Kenneth Williams

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From BBC1's "Watchdog" and "One Show" to BBC Radio 4's "The Now Show", award winning Mitch Benn is one of the top musical satirical comedians on the circuit today.

Renowned for his improv skills, satirical wit, vocal versatility and mastery of a myriad of musical genres his subjects range from parodying today's pop charts to pondering everyday conundrums - such as successfully ironing shirt sleeves...

Currently on the road with his band, The Distractions, on their "Rhyme Lord" tour, Mitch will be strumming his stuff on the Comedy Café ahead of an Edinburgh appearance.

Chris Rock, Shappi Khorsandi, Russell Peters - they're not alone in their use of race related gags.

But how do they get away with jokes based on culture and colour - and is there an even playing field for all comedians to do so, regardless of their own cultural background? Comedy critic for the Independent, Julian Hall, and stand-up comedian, Ava Vidal, consider who can tell race jokes - and get away with it.

Top satirical musical comedian Mitch Benn strums his stuff on the week's Comedy Cafe.

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Renowned for being as difficult as he was brilliant Spike Milligan's legacy is one of the funniest and most diverse in British entertainment history.

Agent, manager and friend for over 35 years, Norma Farnes, amassed an array of interviews from friends, peers, and former girlfriends for her latest book, "Memories of Milligan".

Revealing a moving portrait of the comic genius, she shares some of the intimate stories from those who knew him best.

We laugh half as much in our fifties as we did in our teens - fact! So what accounts for this diminishing law of returns when it comes to laughter? Do we really lose our humour as we mature? And can we claw it back by learning to appreciate life's more 'senior moments'? Seasoned Café veterans, James Lavery and Anne Ellis bravely share their views.

Bob Servant, former top dog in Dundee's notorious Cheeseburger Wars, is searching for new ways to fill his days post retirement.

And beating the online fraudsters and email spammers at their own game seems just the ticket! Dundonian comic novelist, Neil Forsyth's "The Bob Servant Emails" comes to BBC Radio Scotland as a new six-part comedy drama.

We're joined by one of the stars of the show, comedy writer and actor, Sanjeev Kohli.

Hear a moving portrait of Spike Milligan from his former friend and long-time agent.

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Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden join Janice Forsyth to celebrate 40 years of The Goodies.

"The Goodies...

goodie-goodie-yum-yum..." Sing the theme tune to this surreal '70's hit and you'll be instantly transported back to the TV series which made madcap slapstick must-see weekly viewing for the whole family.

With posh Tim, technophile Graeme, and flat-capped Bill, the trio worked as an agency offering to do "anything, anywhere, anytime" with whacky - and often witty - results.

Now as the show reaches its 40th anniversary we're joined by Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden to reminisce on the remarkable success of their comedy creation.

Two boys, one goal: concert piano stardom.

In the age of reality shows promising anyone the chance to achieve their wildest dreams this timely production from piano playing comedy duo Katzenjammer (Kevin Farrell and Steven Worbey) examines with humour and pathos what happens when it's time to let the dream go.

"2 Pianos 4 Hands" is a comedy with music about a lifetime's obsession with 88 keys.

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Comedian Tony Hawks tells Janice Forsyth how travelling with a fridge can be cool!

One man and a domestic appliance in an odyssey into unchartered territory...

Comedian Tony Hawks makes travelling with a refrigeration device cool in the film based on his bestselling book, "Round Ireland With A Fridge".

In days gone by larger-than-life glamour icons like Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Barbara Streisand were the inspiration for a generation of drag acts - but who are today's inspirations? How do drag artists today compare to traditional acts of yesteryear? And can you tell your drag act from your female impersonator? We speak to Adrian, Howells, creator of female persona "Adrienne", and Gareth Joyner who performs as drag queen "Myra DuBois".

Two boys, one goal: concert piano stardom.

In the age of reality shows promising anyone the chance to achieve their wildest dreams this timely production from piano playing comedy duo Katzenjammer (Kevin Farrell and Steven Worbey) examines with humour and pathos what happens when it's time to let the dream go.

"2 Pianos 4 Hands" is a comedy with music about a lifetime's obsession with 88 keys.

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Janice Forsyth keeps company with Scotland's freshest comedy talent for Children In Need.

Janice Forsyth keeps company with the fresh faces of Scottish comedy as Daniel Sloss, Mark Nelson and Des Clarke rev up for Children In Need Rocks The UK 2010.

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Janice Forsyth celebrates the enduring comic appeal of the pantomime dame.

Widow Twankey, Dame Trott, the Ugly Sisters - panto isn't panto without the presence of a Dame.

Mother, step-sister, chief cook or in charge of a Chinese laundrette - these battleaxes and biddies are often broke or on the look out for a bloke.

Traditionally played by men, they provide figures of fun key to the comedy of pantomime and their enduring appeal shows no sign of waning.

So why do audiences and performers alike revel in the portrayal of these formidable matrons? In the company of theatre critic Mary Brennan and firm panto favourites, Ian and Janette Krankie, we ask if there's more than pure parody to these comic characters performed by men in petticoats.

Pressured for time and inspiration, cameras roll as director Sarah Townsend films comedian Eddie Izzard as he struggles to create a successful comeback tour.

Friends since early in their respective careers, Townsend's film captures a confessional Izzard as he delves into his personal life story for new material.

A poignant revelation about the early tragedy which fuelled his desire to be a cross-dressing comic, it's also an inspiring tale of how tragedy can be turned into comedy through sheer determination - and talent.

Sarah Townsend gives the Comedy Café access to the onstage and backstage life of the comedian in her film, "Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story".

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Whether playing seedy landlord Rupert Rigsby in Rising Damp or frustrated suburban dreamer Reggie Perrin, Leonard Rossiter's performances were iconic and utterly memorable yet little is known about Rossiter himself - until now.

Actor and writer Guy Adams reveals the man behind the threadbare cardigan and manic grimace in his biography, "Leonard Rossiter: Character Driven".

Headbutting hecklers, distasteful jokes about the disabled, uncensored outbursts online.

We trust comedians to retain their cool but what happens when they lose it? Comedy Critic for the Independent, Julian Hall, considers what it means for a comic's status and credibility when they lose control.

Quirky stand-up comedian, David Kay, brings his unorthodox style to the small screen as he stars in new comedy pilot "Freedom".

Set in Stirling it follows the fortunes of out-of-work "Frank Higgins" whose skewed perspective on life prevents him from finding a job.

Why pursue an interview as a local castle tour guide when he can debate Stirling's history with best mate Doug instead? David joins us for an expose of Frank's extraordinary observations on life, and ultra-ordinary solutions.

We reveal the man behind the threadbare cardigan and manic grimace - Leonard Rossiter

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How can an Australian take the title of Scottish Comedian of the Year?

He was crowned this year's Scottish Comedian of the Year but he hails from Australia! We catch up with comedian Ro Campbell about the impact Scotland's had on his career as a stand-up.

Following sell-out shows this year at Glasgow's International Comedy Festival, Ali Park's unashamedly female-friendly gig, "COW" ("Company of Women") is heading to the Southside.

Charting the highs and lows of being a "wumman" this is no ordinary "feminist man-bashing rant".

Men are more than welcome to join Ali for a walk on the "udder side" in the company of this refreshing female comedian.

'Tis the season to be jolly and for many that means a trip to the theatre for some feel good entertainment in the form of a play or panto.

But as you settle into your seats waiting for the curtain to rise on a production that promises laughs aplenty do you ever consider how hard it is writing a successful comedy stage play? Entertainment writer Brian Beacom was self-confessedly quite critical of others' efforts until challenged to pen a comedy play himself.

While Johnny McKnight, Artistic Director of Random Accomplice, was tortured when he first tried to write funny theatre.

Together, they share the secrets, and backstage dramas, of scripting successful comedy for the stage.

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Norman Pace and Graham Bickley join Janice Forsyth to talk about The Secret Garden musical

As a classic of children's literature, Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden" is often both dark in atmosphere and intense in emotion.

A story of childhood loss and love it's a far cry from the former comedy roles of two of its cast members - Norman Pace, one half of comedy duo "Hale & Pace", and Graham Bickley of BBC hit sitcom "Bread".

They join Janice Forsyth to talk about making the transition from comedy to 'serious' performing, and their part in this Tony Award-winning musical adaptation.

The double act has been a staple of British comedy from Flanders & Swann to French & Saunders and its popularity shows no signs of waning.

So how do today's comedy duo's compare to those of the Eric and Ernie tradition? As one half of "Hale & Pace" we get an insider's perspective from Norman Pace.

And comedy critic with the London Evening Standard, Bruce Dessau, gives his take on which comedy partnerships have proven a winning formula.

They're all over primetime TV, flogging dvds, on tour, fronting panel and chat shows, and even turning to non-comedic roles.

And with our TV schedules promising a host of funny shows to keep us amused over the festive season are we in danger of over-dosing on comedians? We put it to Bruce Dessau.

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Join Janice Forsyth as she relives some of the most memorable moments from the Comedy Café this year.

Janice Forsyth looks back at some of the highlights from The Comedy Café in 2010.

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Janice Forsyth is joined by a lively panel of guests on the first Comedy Café of the New Year.

King of camp comedy Craig Hill, funny mummy turned successful stand-up Jojo Sutherland, and self-professed "frustrated comedy performer", River City's Tony Kearney.

Together they discuss comedy trends of the last year and look ahead to those of 2011.

It's a golden age for comedy but what impact will the patterns of last year have on our appetite for comedy this year?

What style of sitcoms find themselves in fashion as we face the start of a brand new year - and decade?

And as it's the first week of January our guests tell us where they look for humour to cope with the long cold winter months ahead.

Join Janice Forsyth and a lively panel of guests on the first Comedy Cafe of the New Year.

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Fawlty Towers, Men Behaving Badly, The Thick of It.

Television history is littered with successful Britcoms which have failed when remade for American audiences.

But while we readily put it down to the enduring national myth that "American's don't get irony" along comes a new comedy to shatter those preconceptions.

"Episodes" is the story of a British couple whose UK comedy hit is picked up by American TV with disastrous results.

Starring Matt LeBlanc in a risky parody of himself it poses the question why do American's so often ruin British comedy? We put it to Edinburgh-based American writer director Annie Griffin.

Ever found yourself watching an ad for the joke but can't remember what the product is? Now the sales are on we're inundated with adverts, some making us laugh intentionally, others by accident.

We ask Momentum's planning director of marketing, Ben Leonard, and comedian Raymond Mearns - who's no stranger to comedy advertising - how successful humour is in selling products.

Since the coalition government came into power you might have expected a boom in political comedy.

But it seems our new ministers are an uninspiring lot so we ask satirist of Radio 4's Now Show, Jon Holmes, if the government really is too bland too mock.

We review new sitcom Episodes and ask if Americans really do ruin good Britcoms.

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Janice Forsyth speaks to comedy legend Eric Sykes about his incredible career.

Eric Sykes started out entertaining the troops while in the RAF and went on to become one of Britain's best loved comedy legends with the phenomenally successful "Sykes" series.

As a performer he starred alongside the likes of Tommy Cooper, Hattie Jacques, Chic Murray and Spike Milligan.

But he was also a hugely talented writer and director, going on to produce some of the most famous comedy routines for Morecambe and Wise.

His achievements are all the more remarkable as he suffered both hearing and visual disabilities.

Janice Forsyth talks to this much loved comedy genius about his extraordinary career.

After 20 years on ITV the British Comedy Awards have found a new home in a 3-year deal on Channel 4.

With a reputation for risk taking in their comedy scheduling the new host channel plans a number of radical changes to the awards show - but will it be for the better?

It was the original comedy benefit concert which inspired generations of other artists to stage similar concerts for social and political causes.

So successful was the Secret Policeman's Ball of the '70's in raising awareness on human rights issues it almost became a victim of its own success generating 'benefit fatigue' and a number of confusing changes to the iconic title down the decades.

But the brand is still synonymous with the sort of cult comedy event you just won't experience elsewhere - and all for a good cause.

As Glasgow University gears up to host it's third Annual Secret Policeman's Ball, compere Billy Kirkwood makes no secret of his desire for this year's event to reflect the anarchic tradition of the original 1970's shows.

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Sir Antony Jay talks to Janice Forsyth about reviving Yes, Prime Minister for the stage.

A week can be a long time in politics but writer Sir Antony Jay explains to Janice why he and original co-writer Jonathan Lynn decided to write an updated stage version of Yes, Prime Minister after a break of over two decades.

As the stage play prepares to come north of the border Janice discovers how much has changed in the power struggles of politics.

Can Muslim culture laugh at itself and should it? Sparked by an online video which has become an internet sensation, Burka Woman reveals a man attempting to woo a Muslim woman, hidden beneath a black niqab with only her eyes visible through a narrow slit.

The video led to its creator Saad Haroon being accused of mocking Islamic values and even prompting some bloggers to call for him to be stoned to death.

Muslim comedian Isma Almas and writer and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor discuss the fine line between creating humour and causing offense and how far muslim comedians are going towards breaking down some of the taboos of their culture and faith.

How does a comedian follow up his first bout of success with more assured success? Comedian Daniel Sloss discusses the comedy equivalent of that difficult second album.

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Jim Davidson explains how a career in stand up led to writing a play...

about stand ups.

Is comedy becoming more gag based at the expense of a good story? Do storytellers need to learn the art of being funny to engage their audience? Electric Tales is a new platform for comedians and storytellers to come together and hopefully make sparks fly.

Comedian Sian Bevan and storyteller Gerry Durkin discuss what the two genres can learn from each other.

Stand Up and Be Counted is Jim Davidson's new no holds barred comedy play that follows the explosive chain of events that unfold when an old school comedian comes face to face with his nemesis, one of UK's hottest young stand up stars in the cramped confines of a dingy dressing room.

Jim Davidson and fellow star Matt Blaize discuss both the play and the changes which have taken place in the image and comic material of comedians over the years and whether there is an appetite for both styles of comedy.

As we gear up for St Patrick's Day with an Irish Comedy Stew Night at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, we consider why the Irish were always the butt of the joke but who is the butt of their jokes? Irish comedians Kevin Hayes and Jeff O'Boyle try to cover their backsides and defend the Irish sense of humour.

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Janice Forsyth keeps company with some of the comedians at this year's Magner's Glasgow International Comedy Festival.

Self-professed "rock 'n' roll ventriloquist" and darling of New York's bohemian scene Carla Rhodes even got named checked recently by US talk show giant David Letterman! Now the Kentucky-born comedian comes to Glasgow with her show "The Continuing Story of Carla Rhodes", her cast of puppet companions and some "rawkin'" live music.

Inspired herself by the late Shari "Lamb Chop" Lewis, Rhodes puts a modern day spin on the old school art of ventriloquism and is making it her mission to inspire like-minded people to step forward and proclaim "I love puppets and I'm proud!"

Born a Catholic, married a Protestant, and moved to Thatcher's Britain.

For Northern Irish comedian Michael Smiley "the troubles" extend beyond the political to the personal.

And he's willing to share them with you by taking you on a voyage of discovery in his show "Immigrant".

Growing up in Belfast storytelling's in his blood as he shares anecdotes by turns both surreal and seriously funny, based on his own upbringing and now that of his children.

Also a familiar face on the big and small screen, Smiley's steadily carved out an award-winning acting career in roles both comedic and dramatic.

Not bad for the immigrant boy from Belfast.

Spiky-haired comedy demon from Western Australia, John Robertson, returns to Scotland to make a fresh assault on his fans with "Dragon Punch! (Confessions of a Game-playing, TV-watching Madman Permanently Marooned in the Age of Mobile Goddamn Everything)".

Clutching his ubiquitous ukulele the high-energy puppeteer from Perth puts the manic into mayhem and is fast creating a cult web following for his audacious "Australian Idol" audition as well as appealing to anime fans under 25...

A versatile performer, speaker and emcee, Robertson's also a prolific writer catching the attention of the Equity Guild Award with his first dramatic play.

Adept at impressions, improv and rapid-fire one-liners be ready for anything from this multi-talented Antipodean stand-up.

Hot from the Glasgow Comedy Festival - Carla Rhodes, Michael Smiley and John Robertson.

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Award-winning writer and actress Emma Kennedy is seasoned in disastrous childhood camping trips.

So when she sets off travelling round America with her friend surely things can't be as bad as those ill-fated family holidays? That is until she opens a fortune cookie predicting "bad luck and misfortune" will follow her for "all eternity".

Sure enough - snakes, earthquakes, black magic and incontinent dogs furnish Emma with more hilarious anecdotes of when the best laid travel plans take on a path of their own.

She shares stories from her latest memoir "I Left My Tent in San Francisco".

As John Cleese takes to the stage for his first solo stand-up show ever we consider what it takes to start out in stand-up.

Comedians Julia Sutherland and Andy Kind share their rooky experiences when first taking the plunge into comedy as a career.

And we debate the merits of clean comedy - should there be more of it? Or is "clean" comedy a dirty word to some?

Award-winning writer and actress Emma Kennedy shares stories from her latest memoir.

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Winning Best Sketch Show at the British Comedy Awards has lifted the lid on the guilty pleasure of parents nationwide who can now safely proclaim "I love Horrible Histories and I'm proud!" As the hilarious children's show returns to CBBC for series 3, we speak to writer actor Laurence Rickard and actor Ben Wilbond about the winning formula that's made history hysterical for children and adults alike.

And as comedians fall over themselves to appear on "Horrible Histories" we ask why do so many comedians work in children's TV? Dara O Briain, Ed Petrie, Tom Deacon.

there's a strong tradition of comedians crossing over between the late night comedy club circuit and presenting humorous TV programmes for kids.

CBBC continuity presenter and stand-up comedian, Iain Stirling, and stand-up Kirsten O'Brien, formerly of CBBC, discuss the tricky balancing act of working in these two very different worlds.

Plus - as popular as Tony Hancock and with a show which ran for more than 150 episodes - what happened to the legacy of comic genius Arthur Haynes? In the 1950's "The Arthur Haynes Show" was a firm favourite with the viewing public for his sketches including the philosophising tramp, the burglar and the working class man.

Playing straight man to Hayne's cheeky class-defined characters was Nicholas Parsons OBE - he tells the Comedy Cafe about working with this unsung hero of comedy.

Hear how Horrible Histories makes history hysterical for children and adults alike.

Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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For three decades he was one of the country's best loved entertainers but his bawdy style didn't sit comfortably in an increasingly politically correct world. Instead he slipped from our screens and died alone in his tiny London flat. In theatre production 'Whatever Happened to Benny Hill', writer performer Grant Smeaton asks what made Hill such a comedy pariah, and explores the rise and fall of one of Britain's greatest comedy exports.

"Don't you know there's a war on?", "Put that light out" and "Don't panic!" Although the last of these three phrases is peculiar only to Dad's Army, the first two were genuine expressions during the Second World War. In "Don't You Know There's A War On?" author and broadcaster Nigel Rees collects some of the best-known catchphrases from both sides of the Atlantic - including Germany - from both world wars. Nigel tells us why world wars have left such a legacy of comic catchphrases, including one that resonates in times of peace today - Keep Calm and Carry On.

And ahead of his Fringe show, "Looking at the Stars" we talk to Paul Sinha about being the "only gay Bengali GP turned stand-up comedian" and the topical agendas which drive his comedy.

Janice Forsyth finds out whatever happened to the comic legacy of Benny Hill.

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How classic music meets comedy at this year's BBC Proms.

Classic music meets comedy for the first time at this year's BBC Proms! On the bill is Soprano Susan Bullock - better known for dramatic performances of Wagner than her sense of humour.

Susan joins the Comedy Café together with BBC Radio 3 Controller, Roger Wright, to explain how comedy can make beautiful classical music at the BBC Proms.

German Comedy Ambassador, Henning Wehn, uses the stereotype of the humourless German as the basis for his act.

Meanwhile Yasmeen Khan, one half of British-Asian sketch duo 'Asian Provocateurs', tries to avoid her comedy being pigeon-holed because of her cultural background.

They join the Comedy Café to discuss the relevance of humour that relies on cultural stereotypes in today's politically correct world.

Experimental '60's sitcom "The Strange World of Gurney Slade" was very strange indeed.

Set in a surreal atmosphere in which the hero dips in and out of reality it was considered years ahead of its time.

Conceived by actor, singer, songwriter and director, Anthony Newley, he also starred as the title character - an actor and social misfit who walks off the set of a banal sitcom in disgust into a fantasy world of his own creation.

British Film Institute's TV Consultant, Dick Fiddey, shares his insights on why this short lived show is worthy of introducing to a new generation - four decades later.

And a year down the line we catch up with winner of last year's Foster's Edinburgh Best Newcomer Comedy Award, Roisin Conaty, who tells us what she's been up to over the past 12 months and shares her tips on the fresh talent at this year's festival to look out for.

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One of the forefathers of Scottish stand-up, Piero Pieraccini, set up Paisley comedy nights before Scotland had dedicated comedy venues.

And comedian Keara Murphy is experienced in providing custom-made comedy shows.

They've joined forces to reinstate Paisley's "Joke Box" nights and join Janice to share the secrets of successfully hosting a comedy event.

Following a career as a Strathclyde police officer, Harry Morris found his true calling was for comedy when writing amusing anecdotes for the police internal newsletter.

This became the catalyst for his popular and hilarious "Harry the Polis" book series, the ninth of which, "It Wisnae Me...

Honest!" is due for publication.

He tells the Comedy Café about the funny side of policing.

And it's Edinburgh as you've never seen it as we take a humorous guided tour of the capital's comedy hotspots in the company of an accident prone historian and his hapless assistant.

Former Strathclyde police officer Harry Morris on his hilarious Harry the Polis books.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Gary: Tank Commander star Greg McHugh swaps his army fatigues for life in a flat of student freshers in new C4 university comedy, "Fresh Meat".

He talks to Janice Forsyth about his latest role as an eccentric recluse and the resonance with his own student days.

String-vest wearing armchair philosopher Rab C Nesbitt returns for a landmark 10th series.

We speak to writer and creator Ian Pattison to find out if time has mellowed Rab and his opinions.

And we take a Voyage Round the Stories of Neil Munro with Jimmy Chisholm starring as Para Handy in a major new theatre production adapted and directed by John Bett.

A very Scottish line-up on the show with Greg McHugh, Para Handy and Rab C Nesbitt.

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Following the huge success of his first ever solo tour this spring comedian Craig Campbell pretty much had to double the number of dates he'd planned due to popular demand! On his return to Scotland for those extra dates he joins Janice Forsyth on the Comedy Café to talk about the shift from performing on the club circuit to high profile TV appearances and headlining his own tour.

Stand-up Julia Sutherland boards a bus with other Scottish based comics all bound for Newcastle to check out The Stand comedy club's new custom built premises there.

With a reputation for being one of the best loved comedy venues to play in the UK, Julia investigates what makes the perfect comedy venue.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of British topical satire magazine, Private Eye.

PE journalist, Andy Murray tells us of the magazine's history, its public schoolboy origins, and the reason it's remained so successful for half a century.

Comedian Craig Campbell tells Janice Forsyth about doing his first ever solo tour.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

Star of Bafta-winning comedy 'The Thick of It' and 'Mock the Week' regular, Chris Addison takes time out of his The Time Is Now tour to talk TV celebrity, live touring and middle-class comedy with Janice Forsyth.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant return to the small screen with their new much hyped series "Life's Too Short".

Starring Warwick Davis as the fame-hungry and self centred manager of talent agency Dwarves for Hire, it promises to be a close-to-the-knuckle satire.

Comedy critic Jay Richardson and comedian and co-founder of Abnormally Funny People, Simon Minty, discuss how disability is represented in comedy.

Former top dog in Dundee's notorious Cheeseburger Wars and retired window cleaner, Bob Servant is back and doing what he does best - taking on internet fraudsters and email spammers at their own game with hilarious results.

The Comedy Café's joined by Bob's confidante and author of the book series, Neil Forsyth, who tells us about Bob's escapades as documented in his latest book "Why Me? The Very Important Emails of Bob Servant".

Chris Addison talks about TV celebrity, live touring and middle-class comedy.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Greg Hemphill talks about writing and starring in a musical version of The Wicker Man.

On a remote Scottish island the lead actor of an am-dram society mysteriously goes missing forcing the group to call on the services of a television cop to investigate.

"Still Game" and "Chewin' the Fat" star, Greg Hemphill chats to the Comedy Café about paying homage to iconic horror film 'The Wicker Man' by co-writing and starring in the National Theatre of Scotland's musical stage version, "An Appointment With the Wicker Man".

From Bin Laden to Pippa Middleton's behind.

from London rioters to Rebekah Wade.

Telegraph readers aren't reserved with their opinions as this latest edition of unpublished letters proves! Daily Telegraph features writer Iain Hollingshead shares some of his favourite readers responses to world events in his hilarious book, "I Rest My Case."

Surely there's nothing more stressful than dealing with drunk hecklers on stage? But for stand-up Susan Calman making a legitimate complaint can leave her blushing and stammering like a nervous wreck.

She bravely put her fears aside to investigate "The Art of Complaining" in a programme for Radio Scotland, and shares her newfound skills with the Comedy Café.

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Politically inspired bemusements and underpants in a jar of mayonnaise...

Mock The Week's Andy Parsons talks to the Comedy Cafe about being "Gruntled" - the topic of his latest stand-up DVD.

Crammed with potty-mouthed characters and anarchic humour, Viz magazine celebrates more than 30 years in the business with a special bumper Christmas annual.

We're joined by Viz creator Graham Dury to find out how the comic has managed to stay at the top of its game for three decades.

With the release of two rare Diana Dors films, "The Great Game" and "Miss Tulip Stays the Night", BFI National Archive Curator, Vic Pratt, talks about Dors' vintage style of effervescent comedy-drama.

And is it the end of fast food comedy with the downsizing of Highlight Comedy Clubs (formerly Jongleurs)? Comedy critic for the Independent, Julian Hall, considers the current state of chain club comedy.

Mock the Week's Andy Parsons talks to the Comedy Cafe about being 'Gruntled'.

Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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The British Comedy Awards, The Art of Stand Up and Christmas comedy reading.

In the run up to Christmas as people start buying classic sitcom DVDs and boxsets we look at their current state of health and ask is the golden age of sitcoms over? Having worked with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant while they were writing "The Office" Jane Graham shares her views alongside Dave Cohen whose written for sitcoms like "My Family" and "Not Going Out".

Ahead of tonight's British Comedy Awards, comedy critic Stephen Armstrong talks us through the nominees and who he reckons will win.

Stand up Stuart Mitchell together with Stephen Armstrong review a special Imagine programme on "The Art of Stand Up".

And with the current glut of comedians' memoirs getting published Arts Writer for the Independent, Fiona Sturges, browses the bestseller lists to give her best - and worst - choices of comedy reading for the Christmas holidays.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the 'funny business' of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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A look at the future of Scottish stand up with the new wave of Caledonian Comedians.

Take a hike through the Scottish comedy landscape with Janice Forsyth as she scales the peaks of our current comedy talent and scrambles the slopes in search of contemporary trends. She'll be spotting the stars of tomorrow and hearing from the new wave of Caledonian Comedians including Greg McHugh, Des Clarke, Susan Calman and Julia Sutherland. And also looking at what's shaped today's thriving live scene with top promoters and producers Tommy Shepherd, Karen Koren and Richard Melvin.

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Gonged off stage his first night at the legendary Comedy Store, Arnold Brown returned the following night - despite public demand! His love affair with language, clever catchphrases and those trademark pauses saw him go on to carve his comic niche as the master of the 'gently acidic one liner'. Now with a career that's spanned more than thirty years Brown gives his take on today's comedy landscape, the new wave of Scottish comedians he's got his eye on and why he'd never have made it as a TV comedian.

Arnold Brown talks TV comedy, new Scottish talent to watch for and his career highlights.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Comedian and actor Raymond Mearns discusses how mixing comedy and sport can help charity.

Raymond Mearns -the comedian and actor discusses how mixing comedy and sport can help charity. What can comedians bring to these events? - he's Mcing the Glasgow Sport Relief Mile with Fred MacAulay later this month.

Doyenne of Glasgow comedy Dorothy Paul talks about getting the part of Magrit in The Steamie, how she comes up with her characters, and coming out of retirement again. All ahead of her Retiring from Retirement tour which kicks off on Saturday 3rd March.

Pick of the Week is 'Ripping Yarns'. Today's pick of the week is Ripping Yarns! Following the success of "Monty Python's Flying Circus", Palin and Terry Jones created the BAFTA-winning RIPPING YARNS. A parody of Boy's Own-style adventure annuals, "Ripping Yarns" sees Palin take the lead role in nine fantastic adventures - from stirring tales of sporting endeavour, intrepid exploration and wartime heroism to skullduggery, supernatural mystery and murder! RIPPING YARNS - THE COMPLETE SERIES is out on DVD from the 5th of March from Network DVD and it's a 15 certificate

Comedian and writer, Tony Hawks, last heard on this programme talking about his Round Ireland With A Fridge comedy project joins us with more weird and wonderful tales of excess luggage. As recent research highlights Britain's excessive packing "addiction" he'll share his tips on packing for travelling.

The Green Party (south of the border) has recently apologised for the way it dumped a female stand-up for a transsexual one to 'increase the diversity' of a fundraising night. Comedy critic Jay Richardson, comedian Janey Godley and director of The Stand Comedy Club, Tommy Sheppard join Janice to discuss discrimination in stand-up comedy.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth interviews Phill Jupitus ahead of his Scottish comedy dates.

Janice Forsyth interviews Phill Jupitus ahead of his Scottish comedy gig dates and the BBC Radio Scotland topical comedy show he's recording with Clive Anderson, and hears about the band he's joined with Ade Edmondson, Neil Innes and Rowland Rivron.

Comedy writer David Cosgrove gives us a demonstration of how to write topical jokes and comedy producer Margaret-Anne Docherty tells listeners how to apply to topical comedy workshops she'll be running as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Comedian and creator of upcoming BBC series Hebburn Jason Cook and TV critic Graeme Virtue discuss the resurgence of regional comedy.

Author Louis Barfe discusses his biography - The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson - ahead of his Aye Write Festival event.

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Janice Forsyth interviews former Peak Practice and Dalziel and Pascoe actress and author Susannah Corbett, who has written the first official biography about her father, Steptoe and Son's 'Arold, Harry H Corbett, about his extraordinary life and career.

Comedy writer Jane Bussman (The Fast Show, Smack the Pony, South Park and Brass Eye) tells listeners about the different types of corruption she uncovered working as a celebrity interviewer in LA, and as a journalist in Uganda writing about Joseph Kony.

Award winning animators Iain Gardner and Will Anderson discuss the popularity of adult animation as the new Napoleon Dynamite cartoon is released.

Comedienne Julia Sutherland presents her 'love diary': a tribute to newly engaged comedy couple David Mitchell and Victoria Coren.

Comedian Chris Martin tells us about his upcoming Glasgow Comedy Festival gig.

Actress Susannah Corbett talks to Janice Forsyth about her father, Harry H Corbett.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, DVD, books, online and live performances.

Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth explores comedy and disability and hears about a comedian with no voice.

Janice Forsyth analyses the Edinburgh Fringe Festival programme, which was launched yesterday, with comedian Bruce Devlin and The List magazine's Brian Donaldson.

Bob Dickson meets voiceless comedian Lee Ridley, whose act makes fun of his own disability, and asks him about the boundaries between funny and offensive comedy, and explores whether it's only or ever ok to make fun of disability if you are disabled yourself.

Janice Forsyth explores the ideas of comedy and disability raised by Bob and Lee Ridley with a panel which includes Abnormally Funny producer and part time presenter Simon Minty, Capability Scotland's Senior Policy Advisor Simon Minty, and presenter of Able Radio Michael McEwan.

We hear from Pete Ross, the day before the Edinburgh Marathon, as he interviews comedians and his fellow runners at a unique event - Comedy and Carbs.

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Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway present comedy and music guests at Rockness festival.

The Comedy Café is coming to you live from Rockness for a special show headed by two of BBC Radio Scotland's best-loved presenters Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway. This special live broadcast will feature interviews with performers from the festival's biggest ever comedy and music line-ups throughout the show.

Janice will present from Glasgow whilst Vic pulls on his wellies and takes to the bonny banks of Loch Ness to meet the performers and festival-goers.

Janice and Vic will interview a host of talent including festival director Jim King and comedy manager Brett Vincent, comedians Daniel Sloss, Benny Boot, Darren Connell, Scott Gibson, and folk/pop group Admiral Fallow (who will perform especially for The Comedy Café), from the BBC Scotland Campervan.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, DVD, books, online and live performances.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, DVD, books, online and live performances.

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Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business of comedy in Scotland and around the world.

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Julia Sutherland talks about puns with Stuart Goldsmith and Bec Hill.

Character comedian Nick Mohammed will join Julia from London to tell her about his Edinburgh Fringe show which is being adapted for BBC television

Paul Saunders goes behind the scenes at rehearsals of I, Tommy - the Ian Pattison play about Tommy Sheridan, and gets a preview of the Assembly Festival's plans for August from Artistic Director William Burdett Coutts.

Comedian Jim Smallman, Julia and comedy critic Jay Richardson discuss the lengths comedians are willing to go to in order to publicise their Edinburgh Fringe shows

Comedians Bec Hill and Stuart Goldsmith debate punning with Julia - and Stuart tells us about the challenge he's set comedy critics coming to his Fringe show.

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Clare English talks to 'rock and droll' stars Ronnie Golden and Barry Cryer.

Comedy Legend Barry Cryer and Rock Veteran Ronnie Golden - leader of Ronnie and the Rex and ex-member of cult band The Fabulous Poodles, join Clare English to tell her about their 'Rock and Droll' double-act coming to the Edinburgh Fringe - 'Going Gaga'.

Deborah Frances-White made the most unlikely of life transitions - from Jehovah's Witness to stand-up comedian. She tells Clare about the realities of life as a Jehovah's Witness and explains how it prepared her for a life in comedy.

During the Edinburgh Fringe Festival one unfortunate comedian is to be sentenced by the Edinburgh Dungeon for Crimes against Comedy. We send reporter Rich Preston down into the dungeon to find out what horrors await them.

Julia Sutherland gives us a flavour of the backstage action from some of the Edinburgh Comedy Festival press launches

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves the Edinburgh Fringe more than comedian Barry Ferns. This is his 17th time coming to the festival, he legally changed his name to Lionel Richie so he could use the name in the title of his shows, and he was the first man to perform a show from the top of Arthur's Seat. He joins Clare to tell her how he's planning to take his love of the Fringe even further this year.

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Janice Forsyth and crime writer Denise Mina preview Charlie Brooker's TV detective spoof.

Janice Forsyth and crime writer Denise Mina preview Charlie Brooker's Spoof detective drama A Touch of Cloth

Innovative young improv sketch troupe The Noise Next Door and The Comedy Unit's podcast producer Chris Grady give tips to sketch comedians on how to stand out from the crowd

Prodigy of the US indie comedy scene Kumail Nanjiani talks about his first Edinburgh Fringe experience

We hear about the first anniversary of Wasasa, a black comedy night in Glasgow.

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Janice Forsyth is joined by Rhod Gilbert and Adil Ray talks about new show Citizen Khan.

Janice Forsyth talks to former radio presenter Adil Ray about creating, co-writing and starring in the BBC's first British Asian sitcom, Citizen Khan, which premiered this week.

Rhod Gilbert joins Janice from Dundee ahead of his gig in the city, to talk about his upcoming Scottish gigs as part of his tour, Rhod Gilbert: 'The Man with The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo', his most successful Edinburgh Fringe shows yet, his opinions on the current comedy scene, and his future plans.

Jazz singer and comedian Ian Shaw was the original devil in Jerry Springer the musical, played a villain in two British films and has just released a very well-respected jazz album. He joins Janice to talk about excelling in these various dark arts.

The director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre Donald Smith adapted J.B. Keane's Letters of a Matchmaker into a stage play which is about to embark on a tour around Scotland by Splinters productions. Donald and veteran actor John Sheddon join Janice to talk about why they think this quaint Irish comedy about lonely hearts in a rural town is incredibly relevant in today's society.

Donald Smith stays on to talk to Janice and former writer and storyteller in schools turned children's comedian James Campbell about using comedy to get children interested in reading and writing.

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Janice Forsyth interviews The Thick of It writer Ian Martin.

In tribute to Max Bygraves we discuss the variety entertainment genre and his contribution to it with Billy Differ

The Thick of It writer Ian Martin talks to Janice Forsyth ahead of Armando Iannucci's much praised TV series returning to our screens this weekend

We hear about the drag king phenomenon from one of the scene's most influential performers Gizell Timpani, also known as Valentino King.

We learn about a new comedy and cabaret night in Glasgow affectionately named Stand Up and Geez It.

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In the week when Jewish matriarch characters Ronna and Beverly joined our TV screens Janice Forsyth discusses stereotypical Jewish comedy characters with comedian Josh Howie and the Daily Record's entertainment correspondent Bev Lyons.

Terry Alderton tells Janice about his new BBC Radio 4 pilot, Unpredictable, being recorded next week.

Josh Howie, Bev Lyons and former Big Breakfast agony uncle Graham Watt discuss the use of imaginary friends in comedy ahead of Chris O'Dowd's new TV show Moone Boy.

Janice discusses Ronna and Beverly, Chris O'Dowd and Terry Alderton's new shows.

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Janice Forsyth is joined by Stephen K Amos and Greg McHugh, aka Gary Tank Commander.

Stephen K Amos gives us an insight into his new book, I Used To Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey.

Is our idea of Scottish humour dominated by what we associate with Glasgow humour? We'll be reflecting the range of comedy output with some of Scotland's finest comedy writers and performers: last year's Scottish comedian of the Year Jamie Dalgleish, Invernesian veteran actor Jimmy Chisholm, Glaswegian playwright, actor, and screenwriter Marcella Evaristi, and the East coast born and bred creator and star of Gary Tank Commander Greg McHugh.

Greg McHugh tells us about series 3 of Gary Tank Commander ahead of its return to our TV screens on Monday.

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Janice Forsyth interviews comic song writer and performer Neil Innes.

Neil Innes joins Janice Forsyth to tell us about his upcoming tour with Ade Edmondson, Phil Jupitus and Roland Rivron AKA The Idiot Bastard Band, and gives us a burst on his ukulele

Penelope Keith takes time out of rehearsing Good Grief, the Keith Waterhouse play in which she starred in when it was originally produced, to talk to Janice

Executive Editor of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC Chris Sussman and TV critic Stephen Carty discuss the perceived rise of the British sitcom with Janice in the week in which the premiere of new BBC3 programme Cuckoo surpassed viewing figures for any programme launch on the channel.

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Janice Forsyth talks to the daughter of Les Dawson about a new book of her father's jokes.

We'll have a pack on Scottish Opera's forth coming Magic Flute, Mozart's beguiling mix of comedy, fantasy and pantomime. Director Sir Thomas Allen tells why it is still one of the most inventive operas around.

The first ever Irish London Comedy festival kicks off today, taking part 2012's So You Think Your Funny winner and Irish lady comic Aisling Bea. Aisling will be in the studio a little later to tell us about the wealth of established and emerging comedic talent based in Ireland and the UK.

And Les Dawson's new joke book, just out! Daughter Charlotte explains why her dad was more than just one of our favorite ever comedians!

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice is joined by co-creator of Father Ted, Arthur Mathews, to talk about his new comedy novel Angry Baby.

With Halloween just around the corner we are joined in the studio by Comedy improv troupe Transylvanian Nights.

There is a nostalgic feel to the show as we look back on TV's Greatest Comedy Moments with TV and comedy polymath Louis Barfe and ask what it was that made those moments great.

Janice Forsyth is joined by Arthur Mathews, co-creator of Father Ted.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth, Sanjeev Kohli, Janey Godley and Roddy Hart with a Children In Need Special

Janice Forsyth is joined throughout the Comedy Cafe's Children in Need special by Sanjeev Kohli, Janey Godley and Roddy Hart.

Listeners are offered the chance to pledge money to hear Roddy Hart plays an original acoustic solo song - otherwise they suffer music hell at the hands of Sanjeev Kohli.

The finalists of BBC Radio Scotland's Presenter Knockout Quiz battle for listener support ahead of the last round on BBC's Get It On programme.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

Janice Forsyth taps into the funny business in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, DVD, books, online and live performances.

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Janice Forsyth gets into science, Edinburgh and comedy with 'Craic Dealer' Dara O Briain.

Janice Forsyth talks to 'craic dealer' Dara O Briain about Edinburgh theatres and trams, his love of science and his current tour and television projects.

Comedy writer and performer Mark Evans talks about his first novel Bleak Expectations, which has been adapted from his Sony Award winning BBC Radio 4 series.

Janice previews Series 8 of Peep Show with critic Stephen Carty. Do David Mitchell and Robert Webb still have the same chemistry as the much-loved hapless flatmates, Mark and Jeremy?

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth meets Craig Stone, who is re-releasing a book he wrote while homeless.

On tomorrow's Comedy Café we meet two men for whom homelessness has led to career glory.

Glen Wool used his time as a homeless man to travel the world delivering stand-up comedy, and now he's a panel show regular with a DVD coming out, whilst Craig Stone decided to try to write his way out of homelessness and ended up on the shortlist for this year's Dundee International Book Prize.

And we have another Comedy Café first! Craig Stone will be re-releasing the book he wrote whilst living in a park - The Squirrel who dreamt of madness live on The Comedy Café - with a different ending.

Plus we explore whether politicians should be encouraged to dabble with humour. With Brian Taylor, Annabel Goldie and friends.

Tune in at one fifteen.

Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth interviews Billy Connolly and Gerard Butler about their upcoming films.

In a special Hollywood edition of The Comedy Cafe Janice Forsyth interviews two of Scotland's most famous exports, Billy Connolly and Gerard Butler ahead of their upcoming films, which will both be released on New Year's Day.

Janice talks to Billy about his role in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet with Dame Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay, being honoured by BAFTA in Scotland with an Outstanding Contribution to Television and Film Award, playing a dwarf in the third Peter Jackson Hobbit movie, and his silly encounters with a foreign journalist and Alan Cumming.

Gerard Butler proceeds to tell Janice about playing an ex-Celtic football player in his movie Playing for Keeps, having women throwing themselves at him both on screen and in real life, his relationship with his father, the movies he has been particularly proud of, and a potential future film project which made him feel emotional.

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Jo Caulfield presents a special programme about comedy storytelling in Scotland.

Jo Caulfield presents a special Comedy Cafe programme which goes behind the scenes of her comedy night at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, inspired by New York club nights where comedians, writers, performers, magicians and musicians come together to tell true stories once a month.

Comedy writer and stand-up comedian Keir McAllister joins Jo live to talk about leaving the comfort zone of the comedy club where tall tales are told and wildly exaggerated to telling a very personal story of turning his back on religion to a new audience.

Grant Stott talks about the relationship between radio presenting and telling stories; and we hear from musicians, storytellers and comedians taking part, and anti-folk New York musician Lach shares his own storytelling experiences and performs his own kind of folk music storytelling live on the show.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Janice Forsyth meets the star of My Mad Fat Diary, Scottish comic actress Sharon Rooney.

Janice will be discovering how Scottish comic actress Sharon Rooney is coping, as she's catapulted from complete unknown, to the star of new heavily promoted E4 series 'My Mad Fat Diary' - which started on Monday night.

As our focus is on Middle Age this week, and with the launch of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, we'll find out how one of its performers - comedian and writer Phil Differ - came to stand-up as he hit his middle years. as well as a man whose life changed dramatically, after a very special 40th Birthday gift!

Plus we'll have a special report from a preview screening of highly anticipated TV series, Bob Servant Independent, including interviews with creator Neil Forsyth, and star Jonathan Watson.

Janice will be discovering how Scottish comic actress Sharon Rooney is coping, as she's catapulted from complete unknown, to the star of new heavily promoted E4 series 'My fat Mad Diary' - which started on Monday night

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Jojo Sutherland and Scott Gibson talk to Janice Forsyth about the importance of The Stand's Red Raw event which celebrates its 700th show. Graeme Virtue explains why he'll be toasting Jason Bourne and not Burns tonight and Julia Sutherland takes to the Glasgow underground and a tattoo parlour to find out more about Glasgow Comedy Festival's newest venues.

Janice Forsyth talks to comedians Jojo Sutherland and Scott Gibson.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Jo Caulfield sits in for Janice Forsyth and taps into the funny business in Scotland.

Jo Caulfield sits in for Janice Forsyth and taps into the funny business in Scotland and worldwide with all that's new in comedy.

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Janice Forsyth with all that's new in comedy on radio, TV, the movies, online and live.

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Glasgow comedy stars Dorothy Paul and Andy Cameron join Janice Forsyth.

Comedy legends Dorothy Paul and Andy Cameron discuss Tickling Jock - an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery featuring a host of well known Scottish funny faces. Wil Hodgson joins Janice Forsyth ahead of his Scottish tour dates and comedian Julia Sutherland finds out whether watching stand up comedy at your local cinema is worth the money.

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Janice Forsyth previews the 2013 Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Janice Forsyth previews the 2013 Glasgow Comedy Festival in the company of Festival Director Tommy Sheppard and Glaswegian stand up Keara Murphy. Also on the show, we hear about a revival of award-winning comedy play Slick and we meet Terry Mynott the star of new Channel 4 comedy The Mimic.

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To mark Children In Need, Janice Forsyth looks at comedy for children.

To mark this year's Children In Need Janice Forsyth takes a look at children and comedy on today's Comedy Café.

Throughout today's show Janice will be joined by special guest, "comedy-fizz bomb" Billy Kirkwood who performs comedy for kids and also regularly hosts the Stand's Kids Club events.

Billy shares the challenges of performing live comedy for children.

And what did you do when you were 13? Ashley Storrie was already working on her future career as a comedian - she drops in to share her experience and advice for those starting out young in stand-up.

Sian Bevan's written and performed a lot of comedy for children and teenagers but there's one aspect of kids comedy she's not familiar with and that's the serious business of Clown Doctors.

So she joined some as they did their rounds at a local hospice to see how a little light relief could really benefit sick children.

From health services to prison services comedy workshops have been used to improve everything from confidence to creativity to wellbeing.

So why shouldn't they also be held in our schools? Billy has taken comedy into the classroom and would like to see more of it in Scotland.

He's joined by founder and director of London's Comedy School, Keith Palmer, who have used comedy in schools to improve learning, rehabilitation and anti-social behaviour.

And we'll hear from two kids who suffer differing symptoms of Tourettes.