The Pajama Men: Last Stand To Reason, London
Frenetic, seat-of-your-pants silliness is the order of the day here, courtesy of American sketch duo Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez. Forgoing props and costumes (save for the titular nightwear), they manage to create an impressive range of three-dimensional comedy characters using only their impressive physical and vocal skills (including an awful lot of mime and some class-leading gurning). This latest show, coming to London following an acclaimed Edinburgh fringe run, uses the loose framework of a train journey to introduce the Men's latest collection of grotesques. The quickfire nature of the humour and often improvised zaniness is reminiscent of Robin Williams, while the pair's energy and passion is similar to that of Mike Myers. While these elements are drawn from the finest traditions of US comedy, the Pajama Men fuse them together to offer something that feels altogether new.
Soho Theatre, W1, Mon to 9 Jan
Kim Noble Will Die, London
Unless you're a Daily Mail reader, it's easy to get blasť about supposedly taboo-busting comedy. But even those who think they've seen it all before might be given pause for thought when faced with Kim Noble's new show. Fusing comedy with performance art and experimental video (in a similar style to his previous work as half of turn-of-the-century avant garde duo Noble & Silver), this is an hour of elaborate provocation and methodical soul-searching. Previous runs have been accompanied with loudly trumpeted suicide threats by Noble, and while you might see these as empty melodramatics, spending an hour confronted with the pitch-black heart of his psyche could make you reconsider. Containing self-mutilation both metaphorical and literal, as well as the sort of real-life pranks that make Borat look like Noel Edmonds, the show flicks two fingers at the faint-hearted and, while open to accusations of pretentiousness, succeeds on its own wildly ambitious terms.
Soho Theatre, W1, Tue to 9 Jan
Sean Lock, Canterbury, Maidenhead
If you've caught sight of Sean Lock in his most familiar role as a regular on beery Friday night TV mainstay 8 Out Of 10 Cats, you'll have only the smallest inkling of his outstanding genius as an observational comic. Incredibly dry and subtly smart, he's got an impressive softly-softly approach. Lock never needs to shout a room down or impose his personality on the audience the way some other comics do. He just lets the brilliance of the material dominate the room for him. Fans of his idiosyncratic (and unjustly shortlived) BBC2 sitcom Twelve Storeys High will need no reminding of his powers of invention. But for anyone ready to write him off as the usual crowd-pleasing fodder, think again. This is a master craftsman.
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead, Sun; Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury, Mon
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Guardian: The week's comedy previews
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