And now, a Comedy Revue. I mean "Review".

As you may have noticed, I got a bit drunk the other night, and, erm, I may have announced my love for not one, but two men. Please be aware that it is a platonic love. I love these men in the same way I love getting drunk, and telling Tommy and JP how cool the next game is going to be, before we've even finished this one.

As a result of seeing two halves of a critical mass of weapons grade comedic plutonium in such proximity, with little more than the beryllium shielding of a ScreenWipe to keep them from a comedy Nagasaki (laboured metaphor courtesy of: Caffiene and Jeremy Clarkson) I decided to finally get around to buying Stewart Lee's latest DVD, "90s Comedian". The only way to do this is online, as Lee "couldn't give this show away", even after offering the show to TV production companies without asking for any cut of profit. (Stewart Lee's previous stand up comedy DVD: "Stewart Lee, Stand Up Comedian" did poorly in sales, understandably: not enough people share my platonic love for this man, and to do so is a frightening prospect: It is, after all, me who harbours these feelings. That is self depracating humor. Get used to it. I have. It got me through two boarding schools.)

To his rescue, ardent fans rode, and the set up known as GoFasterStripe has done a top notch subversyve indie production and publishing job for the good man.

Here is a youtube clip of Lee performing, incase you don't know the fellow. This segment is part of the routine in the DVD, but it's a small part of a much bigger canvas (and at a different venue).

The DVD set is fairly long as far as standup goes - about an hour and fifteen minutes. It starts out a little slow, and you wonder how well the audience is warming to Lee as he deals with fairly raw subject matter. Luckily, he is already used to this, and his treatment of the audience has been worked into the set. A portion of the routine deals with his acceptance of the fact that his comedy is not for everyone, and about as far from mainstream entertainment as a badger being shot and then thrown into a country lane at night to make it look like an accident. (I mean that in the good way).

His jokes, are rarely irreverant or cheap: Although the cameras tend to hover on those audience members most horrified by his raw bits on 7/7, religion, and other hot button subjects (as a bit of sort of clever irony, I suppose) by the end of the set, they've moved onto people who have lightened up. It feels as though respect has been earned during the course of the show... as it should! Stewart Lee has been through the grinder in the wake of Jerry Springer the Opera, and in confronting the audience with both the real tolls it has taken on his life and the political dangers of over-reaction-as-a-demonstration-of-superior-faith he uses his comedy for real purpose, without the incredulity of typical topical satire shows (which, incedentally, feel to me like they're doing more to encourage and justify the horrors of the world [Read: Jade Goody] than actually trample them out of the annals of history).

While I sit here, trying to be a bit funny about a guy who is funny for a living, I can't help but feel like I'm being a redundant little pissant: Honestly, just go to GoFasterStripe and buy things. Do it, and feel haunted, as I was, by the phrase "I vomited into the Messiah's open mouth, until the open mouth of the Messiah overflowed with vomit."

GoFasterStripe uses Paypal, which now, finally accepts Switch, which was the only thing holding me back from giving my money to these plucky independents. Also, the DVD arrived much faster than I expected, and shocked me a bit, so do be careful.


JC Barnett said...

Revue/review, now THAT's comedy!

Stu Lee is one of the best writers/comedians Britian has to offer and I am constantly surprised where he pops up with a writer's credit. Him and Armando Ianucci, why aren't they household names yet?

Bez said...

Oh, Armando is getting there. On BBC4, they've given him a lot of attention... Mark Lawson interviews, reruns of Alan Patridge and The Day Today. And any mention of "The Thick of It" comes with the BBC's patented gushing-for-DVD-sales.
And I would buy that, but it's not even released yet >_<.

Ianucci deserves credit, certainly. The only thing I take issue is how the BBC takes its crowning achievements (like the Office, Alan Patridge etc.) and wears them with staggering pride while it seems like there actually a lot of resentment with the creatives themselves. You feel like there was probably a lot of corporate hassle trying to get these shows out in the first place.

At one point, the BBC told Armando that Alan Patridge shouldn't say "fuck", because it's a comedy, and people don't expect swearing from comedies. How fucking demeaning is that?

There's a stigma with TV in general that big TV corporations sometimes create successful shows despite their best efforts. When they realize they've got a big hit, only then does the marketing train arrive (late) at Cash-in Central, and then they feed us all manner of shite adverts saying how "progressive" and "daring" they are for coming up with this stuff, all on their lonesomes, and we're expected to believe that the BBC is some kind of hit factory.

And yet:
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Chrisps. The Caroline Tate show. Two Non Blondes.

Nuff. Fucking. Said.