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Sarah Kendall: Attention Seeker
Sarah Millican: Home Bird
Scott Capurro Opens Up
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Sean Lock Live
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Sean Lock: Purple Van Man
Shazia Mirza: Cuckooland
Show Me The Funny Tour
Simon Amstell 2008 tour
Simon Day: What A Fool Believes
Stephen Lynch: The 3 Balloons Tour
Stephen Merchant: Hello Ladies...
Steve Coogan As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters
Steve Gribbin: The Flag-Burners Guide
Steve Hughes: Big Issues
Steve Williams: Stand-Up Storyteller Man
Stewart Francis: Outstanding In His Field
Stewart Francis: Tour de Francis
Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World
What can a sexless middle aged married man, whose life now consists mainly of watching Scooby Doo cartoons with a four year old boy, possibly find to write comedy about? Formerly stand-up’s youthful iconoclast, Lee now gawps blankly at News 24 as Britain burns down around him, and blinks weirdly at the vast wayside retail outlets during endless journeys to and from increasingly indistinct provincial theatres. Once he lived on the pleasure planet. Now he is trapped in Carpet Remnant World. And so are you.
Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World
Poor Stewart Lee. Despite BBC Two’s best efforts to conceal the second series of his stand-up show, he finds himself more popular than ever, attracting audiences big enough to sustain a residency in London’s Leicester Square Theatre from now until the middle of February.
But such success does not sit easy on Lee’s weary shoulders, and it gives rise to a new catchphrase. ‘It’s not aimed at you,’ he repeatedly tells the Jimmy Carr fans finding his way into his audience, desperately trying to deter all but his hardcore demographic.
It’s all part of the way Lee’s fractious, intransigent elitism has become as much of an in-joke as his curmudgeonly harrumphs at other comedians – a self-awareness that softens his ‘passive-aggressive monotony’ without compromising it.
Yet for all his avowed desire to return to the days when he played to a devout cabal of middle-aged liberals, the first section of Carpet Remnant World is perhaps some of his most accessible, as he offers his cantankerous take on big news stories such as the assassination of Bin Laden – even including a few actual jokes in the mix. But Lee’s take on topical comedy is nonetheless more complex than the material that makes it on to Mock The Week – as his distinctive, tongue-in-cheek, version of Frankie Boyle’s gag about the Queen’s ancient vagina proves.
Nor can he do observational comedy with quite the conviction of a Michael McIntyre. He tries with limited success – hence the material about shops with 'world' in their name – but eventually throws his hands up in defeat, acknowledging this is a fragmented, out-of-touch show. His life now involves only driving to gigs and looking after his four-year-old son.
In sarcastic commentary on fellow middle-aged comics, he has to concede that his viewpoint has drastically narrowed as the range of influences and experience shrinks to the mundanely domestic. After all, what comic could possibly find enough mileage in Scooby Doo And The Pirate Zombie Jungle Island to fill an extended routine?
Well, Lee could obviously. A gloriously self-referential rant about the ghost-hunting teenagers remains awkwardly funny while providing a sharp satire on the irrelevance of most comedy. It fits in with the ethos of the show in exposing the tricks of the modern stand-up trade, such as tear-jerking through lines or the structural devices to make disparate routines seems like they are true to a theme.
The next disparate routine here is a convincing argument about how the likes of Twitter have reduced us to a surveillance society, with his every move being noted and commented upon. It leads to a catalogue of viciously vitriolic abuse Lee has sustained by online trolls wishing him harm. He’s not the first comedian to have made capital from his critics, but it is very effective, set to a inappropriately relaxing jazz soundtrack.
Maybe parenthood has softened him a little, as Carpet Remnant World is less intense and less challenging than some of his more powerful shows – and less reliant on the repetition and pregnant pauses, too. But it’s no less funny, nor less thoughtful, for it – appealing both to both the comedy anoraks who are Lee’s core audience and, whisper it quietly, new converts. If all goes horribly wrong, this could make his fan base expand again.
|Date of live review: Thursday 24th Nov, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
I am an avid Stewart Lee fan. I have seen this show twice. As much as I hate to say it this is, in my opinion his weakest show yet. Although it is still well crafted as usual, the material does seem thin on the ground. It worked very well in the confines of The Stand Edinburgh, less well at Norwich Theatre Royal. That said I still look forward to his next tour!
"Nor can he do observational comedy with quite the conviction of a Michael McIntyre. He tries with limited success – hence the material about shops with 'world' in their name – but eventually throws his hands up in defeat, acknowledging this is a fragmented, out-of-touch show." Erm... That reviewer didn't get it. At all.
Took my girlfriend to see the show. She had only the vaguest of notions as to who he was, so I was interested to see how she handled it. She said she enjoyed it, then discussed its merits by using words like 'tedious' and 'not sure'. Luckily I was hugely entertained. Cheers Stewart.
A symphony of the highbrow with constructive slapstick and every primary nuance in-between
Glasgow March 2012. Appallingly bad. The running "I've got no material" theme is now actually now the truth. It is simply not funny - despite those in the audience programmed to laugh at any point in the show because they feel they would be branded as too stupid to get the joke. The truth is the show resembles The Emperor's New Clothes - no real substance.
Saw this show last weekend at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre. It's the second time I have seen Lee and I am clued up on his previous offerings on DVD. The show is kinda odd. Most of the show makes reference to the fact he has hardly any material left, or that the material he uses today he wouldn't have touched in his early days. It goes without saying that it remains funny and typically Lee, but I can't help wondering if this is some kind of pseudo routine that tries it's very best to distract us that his material IS wearing thin, I can't be sure. That's not to say I'm being negative because like I have already mentioned it's a funny show typical of Lee's style, and that's really the bottom line. I'm just not sure what to make of it. See for yourself.
Saw SL:CRW on 17/11. Have to say Mr Lee is a comedy genius. A real treat. No spoilers of what you will hear from me.
Stewart Lee: 90s Comedian
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
Stewart Lee: Pea Green Boat
Stewart Lee's Badly Mapped World
A Seriously Funny Attempt To Get The SFO in The Dock
At Last! The 1981 Show
Ha Ha Hammersmith II
Malcolm Hardee tribute show
Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People
Stewart Lee: What Would Judas Do?
Teenage Cancer Trust Benefit 2007
Ten Best Stand-ups In The World Ever. Gig 1
Jerry Springer The Opera, Cambridge Theatre
Jerry Springer: The Opera, National Theatre
Johnson and Boswell: Late But Live
Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand-Up Ever
Stewart Lee: Scrambled Egg
Stewart Lee: If You Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One
Stewart Lee: Silver Stewbilee
Stewart Lee: Vegetable Stew
Stewart Lee: Flickwerk 2011. Work In Progress
Stewart Lee: Much A-Stew About Nothing