As the Northern Hemisphere shivers and wonders when the sun might next appear, we’re offering a break from the gloom by turning to humorous work from our archives. From political satire to broad farce, slapstick to the subtlest of ironies, the writers here demonstrate the value of comic relief. In three sardonic looks at government, Fouad Laroui’s diplomat loses his pants but keeps his wits, Hilda Twongweire’s loyal minister covers up his bosses’ assignations, and Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain’s hapless speechwriter undergoes trial by rewrite. Iharilanto Patrick Andriamangatiana eggs on a market scheme. Gabriela Wiener finds three’s company. Empar Moliner discovers a way out of marital boredom, while Saša Stanišiç and Wladimir Kaminer journey into farce. Behnaz Alipour Gaskari’s respectable matron finds herself in an anxiety dream come to life. Huang Fan’s master real estate salesman designs a blueprint for success. And Griet Op de Beeck’s dinner guest is served up a social conundrum.