Saturday, August 30, 2008

Edinburgh Reviews: Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee's show last year was one of the only things I tried to go see and couldn't because it was sold out, so I was pleased to be able to rectify the situation this year with a visit to The Stand, a comedy club with a much smaller capacity and profile than the Udderbelly, where Lee played last year (Lee's performing there was, apparently, a protest against the self-appointed Edinburgh Comedy Festival brand which four big venue operators created this year).

Boy, am I glad I did. Stewart Lee is easily one of the best stand-ups I've seen, and one of the best suited to what I seek in stand-up (basically, the comic has something they want to explore with the audience, and the comedy is there to make it entertaining as well as just interesting). It helps that Lee is mostly in harmony with my liberal sensibilities (go find his bit on Political Correctness on YouTube), and that he has such a fantastically dry delivery. I don't think I have ever seen someone more confident in taking as much time about what they are saying as they like; it adds so much to the performance, because the anticipation of the next line is often as funny as the payoff.

I'm not sure that the picking two of six topics each night was all that interesting for the show, but since the show was explicitly a device for Lee to workshop material for a TV series, I'm not really worried by that. I look forward to the TV series.


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