The London comedy scene is vast and multifarious at any time of the year, but during the run-up to Edinburgh it explodes beyond all comprehension. Luckily, we - and only we - know what the best shows of the week are. Cancel even the most essential of intrusive surgery to attend any of our recommendations. After all, laughter is the best medicine!! (citation needed)
Monday 7th - Dan Antopolski may have crafted the most perfect name ever for a comedy show: "Penetrating Gaze". After a break away from the circuit, Dan is back and every bit as surreal and bizarre as he always was. Bits which you think will be observational take five sharp corners and end up utterly nonsensical, and all the more hilarious for it. Definitely catch this show tonight. (Dan on YouTube.) Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street, Camden NW1. 9pm, £8.50. Tickets: 020 7482 4857.
Tuesday 8th - Sketch group The Gently Progressive Behemoth have been courting a lot of interest on the circuit over the past year, especially from big-name alternative comics who are queueing up to offer their praise. They have some highly original ideas with delightfully surreal takes on everyday situations. We're confident that they'll soon be massive, so see them while the price is right - and especially when they're doubling up with a comedian as magical as Josie Long, whose new show is all the wonders of science and the planet. Fans of feel-good comedy: you have no excuse not to go to this very excellent night of comedy. Falling Down With Laughter @ Belushi's Bar, 161 Borough High St, Borough, SE1. 8.30pm, £6.
Wednesday 9th - A mix of styles tonight, as Londonist favourites Pappy's Fun Club double up with the fantastic Andrew Lawrence in Shepherd's Bush. Pappy's are a troupe of boys for whom nonsense is second nature, with such surreal characters and joyful sketches that you might literally die from laughter. By contrast, Andrew's stand-up focuses on the dark, cerebral analysis of the human condition. Sharp, incisive and painfully funny, it's very clear to see how Andrew has been twice nominated for the main award in Edinburgh, which is sponsored by a financial company. (Pappy's on YouTube, Andrew on MySpaceTV.) Knock2Bag @ Bar FM, 184 Hopgood St, Shepherd's Bush, W12. 8pm, £7.
Sunday 13th - Two guaranteed-to-be-excellent previews tonight in Brixton. Matt Kirshen is a marvellous UK comic who is very hot property in America thanks to last year's Last Comic Standing. His material covers politics and pseudo-science in a way which leaves you wondering how you could ever have held any opinion other than his. Joining him is the superb Wil Hodgson (pictured, above), a genuinely original comic and a first-rate storyteller. So good that he won the main award in Edinburgh in 2004, which at the time was sponsored by water. The YouTube link below is a great watch, but nothing beats seeing him live. (Matt on YouTube, Wil on YouTube.) Brixton Comedy Club @ The Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9. 8.30pm, £6.50.