Nick Robinson’s diary: What dog will donate its vocal cords to me?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Scientists are experimenting with growing replacement vocal cords in the lab, as well as transplanting them from dogs. That was…


There’s a right way to lose at the Oxford Union. I did the wrong way

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The way not to win a debate at the Oxford Union, I’ve just discovered, is to start your speech with…

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 04: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh smiles during a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's (RAuxAF) 603 Squadron on July 4, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The secret brilliance of Prince Philip’s ‘gaffes’

7 November 2015 9:00 am

I’ve just been on the receiving end of a Prince Philip gaffe, of sorts, and I loved it. It was…

Author Patrick deWitt (Photo: Getty)

Patrick deWitt is a literary original but he needs to BE MORE FUNNY

3 October 2015 9:00 am

Patrick deWitt is a Canadian writer whose second novel, a picaresque and darkly comic western called The Sisters Brothers, was…

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan

Woody Allen: a life of jazz, laughter, depression —and a few misdemeanours

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg), the prolific, Oscar-winning auteur, New Orleans-style jazz clarinettist, doyen of New York delicatessen society,…

Author Harry Mount

Harry’s Homer — a humorous history

25 July 2015 9:00 am

It was a certain unforgettable ex-girlfriend, Harry Mount confesses — named only as ‘S’ in his dedication — who came…


A crime novel so incompetent it might have been written by a child

25 July 2015 9:00 am

First, a quote from the novel under review. The context: it is a flashback scene of the behaviour of a…

Dear Mary: Someone told me their extraordinary life story, but I tuned the whole thing out

17 January 2015 9:00 am

Q. After a recent dinner I found myself on a two-seater sofa enjoying the restful company of a woman who…

From Stephen Collins’s Some Comics

The 10 best loo books of 2014: why we sing so much better in the shower and what became of Queen Victoria’s children’s milk teeth

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Nancy Mitford would not call them ‘toilet books’, that’s for certain. Loo books? Lavatory books? One or two people I…

John Cleese Book Signing

Was John Cleese ever funny?

1 November 2014 9:00 am

Like many of my generation I was enchanted by the surrealistic irreverence of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, until I overheard…


Should I report my boyfriend to the police?

28 June 2014 9:00 am

We’re now so eager to take offence that humour is almost impossible

George Saunders Photo: Getty

Samuel Beckett walks into a nail bar

29 March 2014 9:00 am

It isn’t very often that a writer’s work is so striking that you can remember exactly where and when you…

Dear Mary: What can I do about guests who don’t know how to wash up properly?

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Q. I have three spare bedrooms in London and I welcome friends to come and stay. Unfortunately, some of these…

Dear Mary: How long must I wait to tuck in?

22 March 2014 9:00 am

Q. I am always making or receiving phone calls which get cut off. When I ring the person back their…

Dear Mary: Is there any way to wriggle out of a phone invitation?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Q. Is there a tactful way to keep one social offer on hold while waiting to see if you have…

Flann O'Brien (on right) in the Palace Bar in Dublin (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Was Flann O'Brien at his best when writing about drink? (Answers on a damp stressed envelope, please)

1 February 2014 9:00 am

On his deathbed in Dublin in the spring of 1966, Flann O’Brien must have been squiffy from tots of Paddy.…

Dear Mary: How to stop cinema iPhone pests

1 February 2014 9:00 am

Q. At a private screening of a documentary about the artist David Bomberg, a woman sitting near me in the…

The view from the trapped ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy

Global warming's glorious ship of fools

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Eco-warriors stranded in the Antarctic! It’s too good to be true

Woolley Grange

Tanya Gold: Child-friendly, sex-free, nut-heavy – just the hotel for my 40th birthday

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Woolley Grange is a child-friendly country house hotel that seems, at first, entirely monstrous — a grey Tudor house in…


Curtains for kitty! How to care for cats — and how to kill them

7 December 2013 9:00 am

The New Yorker has always had a peculiar affinity with cats, perhaps because they have a lot in common —…

Peter Brookes depicts the two Eds

Hugo Rifkind's My Week reminds me why it's worth getting up on Saturdays

7 December 2013 9:00 am

‘Nothing’s funny any more’ has become the daily mantra of this magazine’s cartoon editor, Michael Heath. Thanks to Leveson, political…

(Photo: Hal Jeayes)

Through It All I’ve Always Laughed, by Count Arthur Strong - review

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Fans of Count Arthur Strong (and yes I know he’s so Marmite you could spread him on a cheese sandwich)…

David Bowie with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in 1973 (Photo: Keystone/Getty)

One Leg Too Few may be one biography too many

16 November 2013 9:00 am

It’s no joke, writing about comedians. Their work is funny, their lives are not. Rightly honouring the former while accurately…

From Private Eye: A Cartoon History edited by Nick Newman

The best funny books for Christmas

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Books do furnish a room, and quirky books for Christmas do furnish an enormous warehouse somewhere within easy reach of…


My 50 weddings

21 September 2013 9:00 am

The lessons of a perpetual guest