I know two things as I start this.

This will not be the only column with talk about New Year’s resolutions, and that not all readers will be youngish, regular stand-up comedy punters.

So, if you’re not one of these, why should you resolve to try stand-up this year? Possibly because it might undo some false ideas about comedy.

The first that it’s changed unrecognisably since the 1980s. Well, no one would deny that much comedy is more culturally sensitive that it was.

Many would consider that this is a good thing. Some comedians base their humour on an anecdote or observation or go into whimsical riffs – but they still tell jokes even if they’re not the set piece ones of old.

Secondly, it’s expensive – and it’s true that top comedians earn startling amounts. But it’s still cheaper than drama, dance or opera at big theatres, good value at arts centres and can be very cheap at pub gigs.

Ah, but are these cheaper venues only for the young? Not at all, I’m a 60-something, and feel comfortable at them.

Is modern comedy full of strong language? It’s true that some comics do devalue it by continual use of (mainly) the ‘f’ word. I don’t like this myself but you get used to to it and some top comics, like Bill Bailey, Milton Jones and Stewart Lee, deliberately avoid it.

Related to this is the idea that stand-up is ‘edgier’ than the sort of thing you hear on television or the radio, perhaps to the point of being confrontational.

There’s some truth in this but many comedians want their audience to be comfortable with them, if only to make it bigger. Try it out by watching recorded comedy gigs or buying a discounted DVD in the New Year sales.

Finally, there’s the charge that comedy is male-dominated. Yes, it is, so go and watch women stand-ups!

Mark Thomas’ leftish political comedy can be cutting edge. But he’s very amiable and his sympathies are likely to chime with many when he appears at Banbury Mill on January 18.

If you like the work of Graham Fellows (John Shuttleworth), there’s something similar at The Plough, in Bicester, on the 26th, when you’ll also get a meal for the price of a combined ticket.

‘Brian Damage’ is so incompetent a musician, that he can only take it out on his hapless assistant, Krysstal.

In a month which is a little thin – and February is very different – Oxford’s Glee Club offers Saturday gigs including Andy Robinson on the 12th and the 19th.

The Club will soon be having regular dates on Fridays as well as the occasional tour special’ on Thursdays. If new to comedy going, one of these last may be the best place to start if you know and like the headliner.