'Selfish little kids are stealing my style'

Stewart Lee blasts copycat open spots

Stewart Lee has fired a broadside at open-spot comics who copy his style – claiming they are threatening his livelihood.

Lee says he’s been forced to drop many of his trademark delivery techniques from his new show, Carpet Remnant World, because ‘selfish little kids’ have devalued them.

‘I think it’s pretty obvious why I haven’t done them,’ he told the Irish Times. ‘[It’s] because there are 19-year-olds doing them.

‘Things like long silences, lots of repetition that slightly changes over a 20-minute bit, stating very cruel things, very bluntly as if they were facts, getting off the stage and performing from unlit, unamplified areas of darkness, all those things I’ve done a lot of – I haven’t gone near them in this show because I’ve seen little kids doing them in open-spot nights.’

He added that it wasn’t flattering to be so influential, saying: ‘It’s kind of like a Lego version of you. Reduced. Oh dear. It’s a bit annoying.

‘I sort of think, that’s what I do, and I’ve got two kids and I’m 43 years old and I’d quite like to be able to eke this out until I die, and yet you’re making what I do a cliche and you haven’t even got any dependants, you horrible, selfish child.’

‘But, on the other hand, it forces you on.’

In the wide-ranging interview, Lee also said fellow comedians ‘increasingly dislike’ him, after a period in which he was often cited as a hero by other, more famous stand-ups.

Ricky Gervais was one such champion, but Lee now says that such praise was like ‘a patrician pat on the head’.

Click here to read the full Irish Times interview.

Published: 26 Jan 2012

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