Saturday, 11 February 2017
Stewart Lee - Content Provider @ Wycombe Swan 10\02\17
Stewart Lee seems to enrage people so much so that I have opted to review his latest tour show here rather than on the blog where I usually dump my opinions.
Stage decorated with the books and DVDs of other comedians , bought for 1p on Amazon 'making them the cheapest building material currently available' he's raging against the dying of the world he knew whether it be record shops, physical live releases, bookshops and one not populated by iPhone waving selfie young idiots. 'By young I mean anyone under 40 and I hope they are not in this audience'. His childish rage at the signifiers of that generation is heart-stoppingly funny, stretched out and exaggerated.
Of course Stew has his fall-back stand-up devices - dividing the room between a) the stalls who got tickets early so are his real audience, get the more nuanced jokes and laugh at the right things v b) the circle who will just go and see anything, don't get him and he doesn't want their repeat business because they often bring friends who have never heard of him and resent every moment. On the way out I heard one such friend ask "Is he always so angry with his audience?".
It's an approach that you'd think might get tiring if you've seen him a couple of times but it does make you doubt yourself nonetheless. Seemingly an improv piece is cut short by someone leaving their seat, he admonishes us as an audience saying there is no point carrying on with that bit but he then admits that routine doesn't have an ending and so he never does it. Doesn't make the routine any less funny but again unbalances your expectations. It's that uncertainty and ironic balancing act that led to his infamous claim - "No-one is equipped to review me".
He jokingly trumpets his "four \ five star reviews" for this show as a warning that if it doesn't go well then he's not the one at fault. He is genuinely annoyed when a couple leave 3 minutes before the end of the set, wrong-footed by a piece of audience participation doesn't go as it should but then using that to riff off for 10 minutes. Those are the bits that he probably looks forward to the most and knows he is in a position where he can make us wonder if its all part of the plan.
If you can do all of the above and make it damned funny too (I have a sore throat today from laughing) then the world is your oyster.