Posts Tagged ‘stewart lee’

How I Escaped My Certain Fate

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 | Books

I was recommended this book, and by recommend I mean that somebody asked me if I had read it and I decided to change the answer from “no” to “yes”. However, I did not really know what it was about and the description of the book was pretty vague.

“The bestselling book by acclaimed stand-up comedian Stewart Lee revealing the inside workings of his award-winning act.”

There is no gentle introduction either, you are left thinking “what is this?” Lee just jumps straight in to an essay describing his early career and the rise of Alternative Comedy. Not that it is not interesting, I just did not really know what was going on.

Eventually it settles down to a mixture of describing his career and transcripts from his sets, which he has extensively annotated. So extensively that at times you feel the book is almost entirely written in footnotes. Which is good because otherwise I am just paying to read the jokes that I have already paid to see on DVD.

Comedy is clearly a small world. I lost count of the number of household stars that Lee discusses having being on the same bill as, or run into, or been bitter about playing the same club as to then see them rise to arenas. Ricky Gervais in particular, whose style regularly gets confused with Lee’s. This is completely unjust as it was Gervais that was inspired by Lee, and anyway, Lee is fairly open about the fact that he ripped his style of Johnny Vegas.

The book covers three of his sets in detail – Stand-Up Comedian, 90s Comedian and 41st Best Comedian Ever. It was enjoyable to re-read the transcripts for two of them. However, I have not seen 90s Comedian, and so without knowing the timing and intonation, most of the humour is lost. With the other two, you can replay Lee’s voice though the text as you read (or at least you can if you have seen the sets as many times as I have) and thereby preserve the humour.


Carpet Remnant World

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 | Distractions, Reviews

Stewart Lee’s 2012 show was entitled “Carpet Remnant World”. I’ve just watched it, and I have to say I was disappointed.

In November, Dominic Cavendish wrote an article in The Telegraph about why he walked out of Stewart Lee’s show. His complaint was that Lee spent too much time insulting his audience. He’s right. The first 10 minutes straight of Carpet Remnant World were essentially dedicated to Lee discussing the contempt he holds his audience in.

I’ve seen Stewart Lee live several times and he does make a lot of jokes like that. At first they were funny. Now they’re old, and increasingly offensive. He parrots out the same joke over and over again until people like Cavendish, and indeed even me, someone who considers myself a big Stewart Lee fan, are fed up and bored.

That is not to say there wasn’t a lot of good material. I particularly liked the bit where he said “dog” in a funny voice. However, a lot of his material is feeling increasingly tired.


Stewart Lee in Harrogate

Sunday, October 10th, 2010 | Distractions, Life

On Thursday we headed over to see Stewart Lee in Harrogate.

The show was opened by Simon Munnery who I have heard twice before – he opened for Stewart Lee last time I went to see him and spoke at the Enquiry conference as well. He was good as ever but doing the almost exact same set as twice before I kind of new which jokes were coming.

Stewart’s set was good, there were some classic moments, but he was trying out new material and so it really didn’t build like his previous show did and while there were some very funny parts, I really felt it didn’t match up to the standard set in York.

It did seem quite a networking event though – I ran into Mike from work who had managed to get a ticket at the last minute, David who I used to work with and Professor Ian Cram who is coming to speak to Atheist Society on Tuesday.

I’ll give it to you straight, like a pear cider made from 100% pears

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 | Events, Reviews

Last Saturday I headed over to York to see Stewart Lee.

The opening had Simon Munnery opening for him who was in my opinion as good as Lee himself, especially when he moved onto Dawkins. “I’m writing a new book called The Salad Delusion. There’s no such thing as salad – it’s just different ingredients on a plate.”

Afterwards Stewart Lee came back to the stage for his new show, If You Prefer A Milder Comedian, Please Ask For One. Yes the criticisms are true, he did spend around twenty minutes talking about how he wished Richard “The Hamster” Hammond was dead but then again, it’s just a joke, like on the Top Gear! In any case, highly recommend for fans of Stewart Lee ;).