Monday 19 December 2011

Stewart Lee: Leicester Square Theatre, November 19th 2011

The very fact that Stewart Lee is a massive fan of The Rain Parade and namechecks The Long Ryders in his latest book should endear him to you. Other things in his favour are that he’s a Brummie, is a snappy dresser and is almost supernaturally funny.

I saw him play one of a long series of shows at the Leicester Square Theatre in London,  which for him, must be like some form of comedic ‘Groundhog Day’ – turn up to the same venue day after day, be funny (twice on Saturdays) and repeat forever. How he keeps it fresh, I don’t know, but he does.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, he’s one of those comics who don’t tell jokes…you know, the modern ones. For this show, he’s made a virtue of the fact that he’s had no profound experiences to write about and has had to look at the trivia and minutiae of everyday life to inspire him. He manages to avoid the usual pitfalls that other comics in a similar position fall into and finds humour in the most unlikely places – primarily in the vast, out of town shopping complexes boasting names like ‘Carpet Remnant World’. Lee creates an alternate universe where animated bits of Axminster live alongside inhabitants of ‘PC World’ and ‘World of Leather’…except he makes it really funny.

I know I’m biased, for all the reasons outlined in my opening paragraph, but this may be his funniest show to date. My only reservation is the fact that he is becoming almost obsessed with negative reactions to his show and indeed, him personally. As funny as it is (and possibly cathartic and empowering for him) to lampoon the critical drubbing he’s had to endure, pretty soon it may turn into a cliché. Stewart Lee is a brilliant and unique talent and I would hate to see him be perceived as just a ‘loveable loser’ and his work become overlooked.

Any road up – he’s bloody great and on tour in 2012. You should go and see him. I laughed a lot and you will too.

Stewart Lee muses on 'Top Gear'

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