Humour

Children’s questions about death are consistently good fun

16 November 2019 9:00 am

What strikes me most about the Christmas gift-book industry — for industry it surely is, as I can confirm, having…

Sam Lipsyte. Credit: Ceridwen Morris

Hitting the bull’s-eye: Hark, by Sam Lipsyte, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

This is an ebullient, irreverent and deeply serious novel in the noble tradition of Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis (especially Babbitt…

David Sedaris, the current king of humorists, is often not funny at all

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Since the 17th century, a ‘humourist’ has been a witty person, and especially someone skilled in literary comedy. In 1871,…

The critics may have liked The Death of Stalin but the French certainly don’t

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Should I or shouldn’t I go and see The Death of Stalin, showing at the French village cinema last Sunday…

Dear Mary: At a smart dinner party, is it wrong to ask for the wifi code?

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I are excited to have been invited to dinner by our most important neighbour. However our…

Are vets the new transgenders?

27 January 2018 9:00 am

The vet who is unhappy that I cracked a joke about vets has received the backing of the British Veterinary…

Melissa Kite: The death of humour

20 January 2018 9:00 am

A vet has accused me of a ‘hate crime’ for making a joke about vets. On the basis that everything…

Christmas quiz books galore

9 December 2017 9:00 am

There can be few challenges more daunting for the assiduous reviewer than a pile of Christmas ‘gift’ books sitting on…

How can I prevent my husband from burning all my post?

18 November 2017 9:00 am

If you don’t yet watch Gogglebox on Channel 4, start doing so now. Far from making you despise our couch-potato…

Dear Mary

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette of hospital visiting? A friend in his fifties is about to spend six weeks in…

The

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Veronica, who looks at Twitter, told me of an exchange she thought would interest me, about the use of the.…

Dear Mary

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A well-known television mogul,whom I had met only once, came to dinner at my house. I was on good…

How a grumpy llama became the third person in our relationship

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Gussie is the name of a grumpy and ill-natured llama, her coat largely white and somewhat unkempt, and much given…

Dear Mary: My doctor keeps asking me for advice on selling furniture

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. I know it’s a gaffe to ask a doctor for medical advice at a party, but what is the…

From Jekyll back to Hyde: the changing face of Begbie

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Irvine Welsh’s 1993 debut novel Train-spotting flicked a hearty V-sign in the face of alarm-clock Britain. ‘Ah choose no tae…

Dear Mary: My husband leaves all cupboards and drawers open

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. Re. your letter from F.C. about the boyfriend leaving lids off (20 February), I have a similar problem. My husband…

Dear Mary: new neighbours want me to provide a ready-made social scene

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. Former colleagues, with whom I got on very well in the context of the office, are buying a house…

Dear Mary: How can I teach my boyfriend to put the lids back on?

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. I love my boyfriend but he has a terrible habit I was unaware of before he moved in. If…

Dear Mary: Our granddaughters are giving money away to a cause we do not support. Should we cut off their funding?

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Q. We have two granddaughters working hard and happily at university. It is our pleasure to give them some cash…

Dear Mary: What do you do when too many people accept a party invitation?

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Q. What can be done when more people than you can cater for accept an invitation? We are giving a…

Dear Mary: On a troublesome festive invitation

2 January 2016 9:00 am

I have been alone in the country this festive season as my adult children and most of my friends are…

‘Second Empire Renaissance’ (from Pillar to Post). ‘Its most notable feature was the mansard roof. However suitable this device may be on top of the Louvre, it altogether fails to produce an effect of inevitable rightness amid the less exalted surroundings of Victoria Station.’

Osbert Lancaster: a national treasure rediscovered

12 December 2015 9:00 am

True to his saw that ours is ‘a land of rugged individualists’, Osbert Lancaster, in his self-appointed role of popular…

Dear Mary: How to stop someone from giving my tiny children expensive clothes that they never wear?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Q. Is there a tactful way to deter certain people from buying clothing for one’s tiny children as Christmas presents?…

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…