Stewart Lee - part 1

Stewart Lee Illustration
I saw Stewart perform in Cardiff in 2012. Halfway through the gig he identified the bulk of his audience as white male pseudo-intellectuals in their mid-twenties. Which made me slightly uncomfortable. However much I make pretend to the contrary, I am just part of a demographic. 

One of the quotes on the promotional material for the tour identified him as 'the opposite of what a good stand-up comedian should be'. I think that, with this statement, the reviewer means that Stewart Lee does not make you feel comfortable. Most comedy is comforting. It wraps around you like an electric blanket and regulates its temperature to match your body until you can no longer notice it, its machinations are so subtle you are unable to tell where you end and it begins. Stewart Lee is like a broken electric blanket that fluctuates wildly between too hot and too cold, an electric blanket that you have to power yourself with a generator attached to a bike. An electric blanket that sparks dangerously while shouting “I am an electric blanket! I am an electric blanket! I AM AN ELECTRIC BLANKET!” All through the night in case that, just for a second, you forget. 

He exposes the tricks of stand-up comedy and deconstructs the technique asking 'Is this what you find funny? Really?' And sneering at your pathetic foolishness. And if, perchance, you happen to laugh during all of this, you can be damned sure you worked for it. 

He ran off at the end of the show to maintain a table signing merchandise – I suspect this is how he makes his money – and I joined the queue of other white-male pseudo-intellectuals in their mid-twenties. I watched his painful grin fighting against his screaming tortured eyes as he posed with his arm around fans for photographs taken on smartphones. He maintained a weak little smile while he signed my book but I could tell he was filled with disgust. 

“It was a wonderful show Mr. Lee.” I offered meekly. 

His mouth may have said 'thanks', but his brain telepathically told me to go die somewhere in a ditch because only a pretentious twat would listen for more than five minutes to anything he had to say, much less stand in line for half an hour after listening to get a clammy handshake and a scribbled note in green Sharpie. 

 I scuttled away clutching the book to my chest and, I suppose, partially consoled by the knowledge that now I have an identity, now I have a modus operandi. I am a white-male pseudo-intellectual in my mid-twenties. I am a pretentious twat. 


Postscript: the words here were written when I was, in fact, still in my mid-twenties for my MA show in Falmouth. Although this is no longer the case, I am still a white male pseudo-intellectual and very much a pretentious twat.

Next week, the Sunday Dog Parade celebrates its one year anniversary with the first in a two-week Bill Murray extravaganza!

No comments:

Post a comment