Stewart Lee

January 24, 2010

I went to see Stewart Lee perform his latest show, If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask For One. This was a few nights ago. Last Wednesday. I’ve wanted to write about it. Not a review as such; I’m incapable, I’d get word-tied. I’ll leave the reviews to journalists like Nigel Pauley writing in the Daily Star. Here’s his take on one routine executed by the “posh comic”.

I’ve wanted to write about it but I’ve been unable to. I’ve put it off. And off. And off. And the reason is, I’m scared.

Not scared like as if Stewart Lee was a ghost or something; or a madman who might track me down and hurt me. I’m scared because he is so good. I almost have to stop thinking, because I know no matter how much I think, I will never be able to think like him. If I was a stand-up comedian I would see Stewart Lee and I would give up. There and then. I wouldn’t just give up stand-up comedy. I’d give up standing up. I’d give up moving. I’d devote myself to inertia. Nothing I could do would ever be as good and ………………………………………………. ………………………. …………….. …………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………….. ……………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ………………………………………………………………. See? I just can’t……………………………

…………write now.

I laughed out loud throughout the show.

That’s it. That’s my review.

I’ll continue waffling on though because I can and I have license to. My licence was granted to me by one of Lee and Herring. I can’t remember who now, because this was many years ago and I am old and………………………… …………………………………………………… ………………………………….. …………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………. ………………………………………hell

………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………….

……………………….did the following even happen?

They gave me the licence to write this because I have nothing to live up to. I can’t fail because I am starting from the standpoint of being an idiot.

I met them at a radio station. They had copies of their Fist Of Fun book with them. They kindly gave me a copy………………………………………

…………or did they? Did I steal it? Was it given to me by the radio host who may or may not have been Danny Baker? I can’t remember.

Somehow, I had the book. And I asked them to sign it. They did. They wrote, To Simon, You are an idiot, best wishes, Lee and Herring.

Maybe.

The To Simon, You are an idiot bit they definitely wrote. I’m not sure how they signed off. They may have put Stewart and Richard, or some variation. They may have written all the best or lots of love, or swing um pant or something. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I’d check, but the book’s in storage and going there brings me out in a sweat and reminds me of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life and drags me down and

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………I wish my storage unit would disappear………………………………….. …………………………………………I’m paying money I don’t have for things I don’t need….. ……………………………

No! I need my Fist of Fun book.…………………………………………………………

It makes me laugh, still- Simon, You are an idiot – but I don’t know why. What did they mean? Am I an idiot? Is that good or bad? It’s got to be bad really, hasn’t it? But maybe it was a joke. Just a joke. But we’re all products of that weird thing from the past that was Alternative Comedy, and the one thing we all know is there’s no such thing as just a joke.

Stewart Lee. He tells a great joke about Richard Hammond. See the review above. It’s merciless and cruel and funny and true and hurtful and sometimes not true but still true. If I was Richard Hammond I would see it and be rendered inert.

I’ve searched the internet. I want to know what Richard Hammond thinks. There’s nothing. He’s inertiad by Lee. In the same way that Pasquale has been inertiad (I know there’s no such word. What do you take me for? An idiot? But I know what I mean. I think. I……………………………………………………. ………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………….it keeps happening

Pasquale. Watch Stewart Lee’s Pasquale routine. It’s there; on You Tube. I’m not putting up a link. Fear eats away. I’m not sure what Stewart would think. And that matters to me. But it’s there. Take a look. If you don’t laugh and laugh and laugh then maybe he’s not for you. I laugh and then I have no choice but to remain still and useless for at least an afternoon.

Pasquale must be inert. He’s never said How dare you, Lee! He’s kept quiet. There is no comeback to such a perfectly formed routine. Stewart Lee is a ninja………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………… …………………….. ……………….. ……………..now I’ve written that and it’s, it’s meaningless. Of course he’s not a ninja. He’s not even like a ninja, though he does tend to wear black. He’s more Mick McManus to Pasquale’s Jackie Pallo. Except Stewart and Joe’d never wrestle and……………………….. ……………………………………………… ……………………………………………though Bob Mortimer did once box Les Dennis

I really don’t know how to go on

Not much comedy makes me laugh. I like to laugh, it’s just that

………………….I’m not one of those comedians (I could just stop that there). I’m not one of those comedians who stroke their chins and nod and say that’s funny. If something’s funny, I laugh.

Frankie Boyle can make me laugh. I’ll laugh out loud at his rudery on Mock the Week, though I have rarely laughed at the show. He’s gone now. Stewart Lee does a routine about Mock the Week, without naming the show, that again is so perfect, so formed, that all comedians on Mock

………………………………………..just stop

Comedy makes me laugh when, well, it’s funny but also when I feel that the comedian has no choice but to do and say what he or she is saying. They are compelled. It drives them. It is them. And we know it’s them, it’s all them, it’s not an act, it’s

……………………………….Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, Richard Herring, Frank Randle, Andy Kaufman

not Bill Hicks.

Have I gone too far? Have I proved  my idiocy? He’s never made me laugh. All comedians love him. He’s the comedian’s comedian. I’ve never got past 7 minutes. I feel I’m being lectured. He says funny things but he seems smug. He also famously said Do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you’re a corporate whore and eh, end of story. That’s just some big mouth, clever enough to earn money doing what he loves, getting all self righteous. I did a commercial in 1995. I earned enough to buy a car, a Ford Fiesta. I’m still driving the same car. Bill Hicks can fuck off.

Stewart Lee is my Bill Hicks (even if he’d say the same about commercials, spit in my face and damn me to

…………………………………… ………………………………………………………….. …………………………………….. ……………………………It was only the one.

…………….It wasn’t even a commercial. It was an advert. I wasn’t and still am not clever enough to get by without them.  I’d do another if I was offered. I’ve got a 15 year old car and no home

………………………………………………………………………………………….I wouldn’t do one for guns or anything like that

……………………………or poison

……………………………………………………..or fascism

……….just sweets, or beer, or cheese, milk

………………………………..flowers

pets

……………………ciggies

Where was I?

Stewart Lee opened with a routine about Cafe Nero loyalty cards. Before getting into it he asked an audience member to name their favourite coffee franchise. The audience member said Starbucks.

I’d’ve said Muffin Break. I went there today. They have a loyalty card they hole punch instead of marking with ink. And you get a free coffee every five goes. Also, all their muffins are baked on the premises and the staff in the Lewisham branch are unglamorous and say hello and smile

…………………..maybe I can be the face of Muffin Break

….I’ve lost this post completely.

robert-lloyd

Robert lloyd out of The Nightingales

I’m reading Renegade; The Lives and tales of Mark E. Smith at the mo and it’s a right old read. The Fall; a band that’s had 10,000 members, all hired and fired by Prestwich’s finest living man. Ok, some of them walked, but they don’t count. I haven’t got a clue what The Fall are on about most of the time, but that’s ok by me. It takes me about 20 years on average to get to grips with lyrics. The sound comes first and then maybe later I’ll fill in some gaps. Or not bother. Yes, not bother. if I just want words I’ll buy a book. That’s what I did with Renegade and it’s a book that won’t shut up.

So, that’s a long roundabout way to get to the Nightingales. I’ve never known of them, but they’ve been around a bit, and over the years they’ve hobnobbed with The Fall. That’s it. That’s the connection. I think Mark E. Smith may like the Nightingales; may even be friends with Robert Lloyd, the band’s singer and songwriter. But then again…

Watch this and read this and see where you are. I know this; Mark E. Smith always makes me think of my Uncle Ken. I’m not sure why. Something to do with pubs in Prestwich.

So, last night I went along with Ben Norris to see The Nightingales. Although we were firstly there to see the support to the support to the support, David Cronenberg’s Wife. See them sing My Best Friend’s Going out with a Girl I Like.

The support to the support have gone from my mind, but the support was the marvellous and wilfully perverse Ted Chippington, a comedian who does his best to make an audience, well, angry. A comedian reading from notes, in German… or Russian, or Polish. I don’t know. A comedian who calls out for subject matter from the audience and then refuses to make a joke out of it.

When me and Trev started doing comedy in 1982 as The DevilfishhornClub we used to tell these “jokes”.

Joke 1. My dog’s got no nose. How does he smell? He can’t, he’s got no nose.

Joke 2. Have you seen my mother-in-law? No, course you haven’t. I’m not even married.

Joke 3. Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains. You need to see apsychiatrist, you’re obviously mentally ill.

And so on. You get the idea. Anti-jokes. Then we got into kids tv and had to start smiling and pointing at each other on publicity cards.

I think we were maybe a little Chippington-esque. We certainly did enough hard gigs supporting local bands at the International in Rusholme. We even attempted comedy at the Hacienda, along with the Buzzcocks and the Redskins at a Lesbians and Gays support the Miners gig. Now there’s a combo-title you don’t see too often these days.

Anyways, I’m going off the point. Ted Chippington was great and awful, good and bad. Stewart Lee and his wife were there and me and Ben said hello. I muttered somethig inane about how his current show, The Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), has had me laughing out loud. I’m a fan, and as a fan can’t help acting like a fan. He was very gracious about it. And like Ted, Stewart will push his audience, taking a joke as far as he possibly can, taking it all the way around the world until it comes back at you, anti-funny. And funnier. I wanted to find Stewart Lee talking about the rappers but couldn’t so have a look at him taking on Joe Pasquale in this great clip. Then, for a treat, watch Stewart Lee track down Ted Chippington.

I know. That’s a lot to make you watch. If you choose one item from the above links choose Stewart Lee does Joe Pasquale.

cue-at-100-club

"get to the end of the cue"

I’d been playing pool all day; Interleague. My team, Waterloo 2, won all three matches, but no thanks to me, only managing 2 out of 6 frames. I had to take my cue to the 100 Club. I left it propped up by the photo wall. By the end of the evening it had gone. The staff weren’t much help. Eventually I tracked it down to behind the bar. They guy behind the bar, before handing it back, quizzed me as to what it looked like. A pool cue. He brought out the box. He wouldn’t hand it over. He wanted to know what colour it was. I think they were a bit pissed off because I hadn’t paid to put it in the cloakroom.

“If there was a career ladder Ted would have been carrying it rather than climbing it.” James Brown.

“I suppose there’s a case to be made, he was this country’s Andy Kaufman.” Phil Jupitus.