Shaftesbury Avenue is getting crowded with comedians this month, especially at the Gielgud Theatre, where Bill Bailey will take two nights off next week to make way for American comedy legend Robin Williams. Returning to the London stage for the first time in more than 25 years, Williams will perform his new solo show, Weapons of Self-Destruction, on 13 and 14 November 2008 only, with both performances held in aid of the Prince’s Trust charity.

According to Williams, election years are “basically Christmas for stand-up comics”. And, with the historic presidential election that concluded in the US this week, it must be like a hundred Christmases at once. But time is running out for Williams to poke fun at outgoing president George W Bush: “I figured I should get my arse on the road while the shrub is still in office,’’ he says.

In addition to tearing into eight years of Bush and other political absurdities, Weapons of Self-Destruction touches on Williams’ own struggles with divorce, addiction and rehab, using the comedian’s trademark free associations and riffs. Prior to the UK, Williams launched a US tour on 25 September.

In 2002, Williams’ last stand-up show, which was his first in 16 years, became one of the highest-grossing comedy tours in history and culminated in a final performance filmed by HBO and broadcast live from New York City. The resulting July 2002 HBO broadcast, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, was nominated for five Emmy Awards. In a wide-ranging career, Williams has also become well known for his films including Mrs Doubtfire, Awakenings, Hook, The Fisher King, Patch Adams, Happy Feet and Night at the Museum.

Meanwhile, Bill Bailey – Tinselworm is booking at the Gielgud from 10 November to 20 December (See News, 6 Oct 2008) and, a few doors down at the Lyric Theatre, Eddie Izzard’s new show Stripped is on from 17 November to 12 December (See News, 2 Oct 2008).

- by Terri Paddock