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Stand Up Spotlight: Stewart Lee

By @hmsbeefnuts

In my last Stand Up Spotlight blog, I highlighted Richard Herring, a comedian almost beyond compare. I say almost because of the gentleman I will be highlighting today, his former partner, and 41stBest Stand Up Ever Stewart Lee. Now if you read my last blog, you will be aware that Lee and Herring were a double act at their inception, and sometime around 1999, they went their separate ways in the comedy world. Sad news in a way, but also good, because now fans of the duo had twice as much material to delve into.

Outside of the world of comedy Stewart Lee is perhaps best known as one of the few men of the modern era that has been accused of blasphemy. This was al down to the Opera that he wrote with This Morning With Richard Not Judy alumni, Richard Thomas, Jerry Springer The Opera. I didn’t see this at the time, but have seen it subsequently, and to be honest, I’m not a fan, it’s funny, but I don’t really appreciate musical theatre, or opera, yeah I know, I’m so uncultured. Court battles and two years of stress must have taken their toll on Lee both financially and mentally, but luckily, being a comedian, shitty stuff often results in brilliant material.

I can’t really remember when I got back into Stewart Lee, but it must have been around the same time as I found Richard Herring again. They seemed like shinning beacons in a scene filled with boring samey comedians. I have seen Stew twice live, and both times, the gig has been absolutely fantastic. I quickly looked back at the shows I had missed; 90’s Comedian, Stand Up Comedian, and was firmly on board by the time The 41st Best Stand Up Ever and If You Would Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One, were touring. Lee has a style of comedy often reffered to as intelligent and knowing, and I would agree, he isn’t a joke machine, but he builds and crafts stories, often using repetition and slowly, you realise, you could be listening to the best joke ever. Take a look…

Certainly, Lee has not kept himself out of contraversy in the last few years, his joke about Top Gears Richard Hammond caused a bit of a fuss a few years back, but the routine is so good, the fuss was only caused by people not really understanding it. Check it out…

The comedians comedian, Stewart Lee was granted two series of his show Comedy Vehicle on BBC 2, with a third on the way. These half hour shows have been the highlight of comedy on TV in recent years. I urge everyone to watch some Stewart Lee, I appreciate he is probably not for everyone, but check out the videos and give him a try. Here he is with a routine on toilet books…

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