He clearly revels in his intellectual superiority
WHAT is it, I wondered, as I scrolled through the pages of some of the most excoriating and vicious reviews I’ve seen, that makes any comedian want to post stuff like that on their website?
A milder selection includes:
“A cultural bully from the Oxbridge Mafia who wants to appear morally superior but couldn’t cut the mustard on a panel game.”
“A sneering tosser.” “Stewart Lee is not funny and has nothing to say”
At first, I was beginning to agree with a lot of them as I watched Stewart Lee strut (well, waddle) and sneer across the stage in his Snowflake Tornado show.
Twenty-five minutes into the first of his two hours-plus on stage, I hadn’t laughed and the line about the first rule of comedy – say something funny – was floating to the surface of my thoughts.
Then it clicked – he doesn’t give a fig what people think about him as he looks down from his lofty cerebral crow’s nest on the intellectually inferior plebs beneath him.
I tried to warm to him as he liberally peppered his audience with verbal barbs when they sometimes failed to laud his genius with applause and laughter.
“I thought I’d get more laughs in a university town,” he chided.
Dubbed “the Leonard Cohen of stand up,” he revels in his intellectual superiority, regardless of who among his audience he offends.
But, judging by the roars of laughter in the sell-out show, and reviews regularly scoring 4 or 5 out of 5, what do I know?
At times, as he took the audience to new and unexplored places, the laughter and applause was more sporadic, resembling the sound of seals being fed fish.
He does exercise your brain with gags like: “A man was bitten by a false widow spider on his false leg. He was sent to a doctor of philosophy who gave him anti-irony drugs.”
Bitter barbs were aimed at (in my view comedy superiors) including Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Carr – but maybe I was missing the point.
“I haven’t got many friends in comedy. I can’t go out on the town afterwards in case I meet any other comedians”. Enough said.