Decapitated Puppy Comedy Night, St Giles

Dark comedy at rock ‘n’ roll haven The Intrepid Fox, with the controversial Sanderson Jones and New Zealand’s Benjamin Crellin.

Wed, Feb 8, 9pm, £5
The Intrepid Fox, 15 St Giles High St, WC2H 8LN
Tube: Tottenham Court Road

Betamax: The Beta Males & Max and Ivan, King’s Cross

These two sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows will have you chortling into your pints. One, featuring the hilarious Beta Males, is based in the world of cops, trains, gentlemen and thieves (plus a former Secretary of State for Transport, who has fallen from grace). In the other comedy thriller, Max and Ivan are a prohibition-era Holmes and Watson in Chicago’s dark underworld.

Thurs, March 8, 8pm, £12.50
King’s Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG;
Tube: King’s Cross

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Bill Bailey: Work in Progress, Leicester Square

A chance to preview stand- up from the Black Books and Never Mind The Buzzcocks legend’s upcoming tour. Bailey’s always a treat.

Jan 23, Feb 7 & 13. 10pm, £36
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX
Tube: Leicester Square

Cutting Edge, West End

Not a run-of-the- mill stand-up night – these comedians compete.

Tues, Feb 14, 8pm, £14
The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE
Tube: Piccadilly

Simon Amstell: Work in Progress, Camden

The supremely sarcastic ex-Never Mind The Buzzcocks presenter (below) is honing new material at The Invisible Dot for his tour – be among the first to hear it.

Jan 23-26, Feb 7-9, 7pm, £6
099F Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
Tube: Camden Town

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Comcomedy Live: The Love Pick N Mix Party, Hoxton

A Valentine’s Day special of comedy including funny MC Joel Dommett, Guardian one-to-watch Daniel Simonsen and the unashamed Cariad Lloyd. There’ll also be sweets, which definitely isn’t a bribe.

Wed, Feb 8. 7.30pm, £5
The Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
Tube: Shoreditch High Street

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Islington

The original New Zealand musical comic duo are back in the UK for the first time in years, with their new show, Untouchable Girls. The twin- sister cultural institution 
–made up of Jools and Lynda Topp – serve up their brand of country-influenced tunes, genius characters and, possibly, some yodelling.  The show tells the at-times- unbelievable story of the ladies’ entertainment history and political activism since they began performing in the early 1980s, and how they helped change New Zealand’s social values.

Fri, Feb 17, 7pm, £25
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
Tube: Highbury & Islington

The Pajama Men: In the Middle of No One, Charing Cross

Since going down rather well with critics, this duo (above) from New Mexico are making their West End debut – in their pajamas. The stand-up and sketch show is fast-paced and uses few props, leading to some side-splitting mime scenes. They were winners of numerous accolades, including the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Best Newcomer and Best of the Fest at the Sydney Comedy Festival (all in 2009) – if you don’t make time for much comedy this winter, make time for this.

Until March 3. 7.30pm Mon-Sat, 5.30pm Fri & Sat, £21.50
Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street, Wc2N 6NL
Tube: Charing Cross

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Jack Whitehall, Hammersmith

The posh boy from Fresh Meat, and British Comedy Award nominee, Jack Whitehall lays down his life lessons on making mistakes.

March 9-10, 6.30pm, £16
Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH
Tube: Hammersmith

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Jackie Mason, Charing Cross

US comedy giant Jackie Mason returns for his very last UK tour. “Four generations of rabbis and 30 years of comedy” have made him the man he is today (in his own words), and that man is a very funny one indeed. With more than 50 years in the business, he’s the sort of performer it’s hard to find these days: a skilled storyteller and jokesmith. These shows will also feature a daily rundown of Mason’s views on the US 2012 presidential race, notable for its pompous grandstanding and over-zealous theatricality – sure to be worth the admission fee alone.

Feb 13-Mar 17, 8pm, £25+
Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA
Tube: Leicester Square

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Soho Comedy Club, Leicester Square

Opinionated Yank Scott Capurro heads the bill, with support from Markus Birdman (see P24), at this comedy night in the heart of the West End.

Fri, Jan 27, 8pm, £10
Casino at the Empire, WC2H 7NA
Tube: Leicester Square

Chris Boyd: Laugh a Minute

The aim here, as the name suggests, is for each act to deliver a laugh at least every 60 seconds. Harder than it sounds – and it doesn’t sound that easy in the 
first place.

Thurs, Jan 26, 8pm, Free
100 Camden High Street, NW1 0LU
Tube: Camden Town

Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World, Leicester Square

Lee has often been referred to as ‘the comedian’s comedian’ but this does him a disservice. His intelligent, provocative work makes him one of the finest and most challenging stand-ups currently working, case closed. This residency purports to be about nothing, but has Lee take aim at comedy itself, and even fellow stands-ups are not spared the ire of this comedy great.

Jan 23-Feb 10, 7.30pm, £15+
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Square, WC2H 7BX
Tube: Leicester Square

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Frank Skinner & Friends, Leicester Square

The friends here include magicians, musicians (opera!) alongside the stand-ups, as Skinner makes a most welcome stage return.

Jan 23-Feb 4, £15+
Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AU
Tube: Leicester Square

Bush Hall Presents…, Shepherd’s Bush

Oddball Milton Jones (left) is on hand to serve up his trademark scattershot surrealism and one-liner wizardry, with support and MC duties handled by irishman Andrew Maxwell.

Fri, Jan 27, 7.30pm, £16.50
310 Uxbridge Road, W12 7JL
Tube: Shepherd’s Bush

Jack Dee: Work in Progress, Soho

The man with a face like a slapped arse on downers, merchant of doom Jack Dee roadtests new material – which will probably be laced with lashings of grumbly wit 
– ahead of a new UK tour.

Feb 7-11, 9.45pm, £12.50
Soho Theatre, W1D 3NE
Tube: Oxford Circus

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The Up Hill Gardeners, Notting Hill

Father Ted’s Dougal, in other words the real-life Ardal O’Hanlon, performs a rare club gig as he toplines this west London fortnightly comedy fest.

Sat, Jan 28, 7.30pm, £15
The Garden Bar, W10 6SZ
Tube: Notting Hill Gate

Lyric Comedy Club, Hammersmith

After deconstructing religion in 2010’s Christ On A Bike (pulling apart the Bible’s claims and challenging the logic of the Ten Commandments), Richard Herring (right) comperes this night of laffs, which features former Never 
Mind The Buzzcocks team 
captain Sean Hughes.

Sun, Jan 29, 8pm, £15+
Lyric Theatre, W6 0QL 
Tube: Hammersmith

Set List, Soho

Comedy pros test their mettle with this Who’s Line Is It Anyway-style improv night, in which the audience part-write the topics that the acts have to conjure a routine from (while the set list is projected on a screen behind the stage). This evening’s stand-ups include US-born, UK-based Rich Hall; and popular Australian export Brendan Burns.

Sat, Jan 28, 11.30pm, £15
Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE
Tube: Oxford Circus