EDitorial ± 12-Mar-2012

Stewart Lee, Norwich

In March 2009, a new series called Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle came to BBC2. Apparently it was very funny. I didn't watch it. In February 2010, Stewart Lee did a show at the New Wolsey in Ipswich. Apparently he was very funny. I didn't go. In May 2011, the second series of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle came to BBC2. I watched it and it was very funny. In March 2012, Stewart Lee did a show at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I went and he was very funny.

That Theatre Royal was packed for the show, and that's a mighty big place. Stewart Lee expressed concern that the full house was rarely laughing at the same moment, blaming friends who'd been dragged along by other friends. More than once, he insisted that he had no new material and that he'd been largely driving up and down motorways, looking after kids and watching one particular Scooby Doo film over and over again, all of which he managed to work into his routine. I'll certainly never look at a pirate jungle bridge in the same light again.

One line from the first half that stood out for me and which I vowed to remember:

The only thing required for Jeremy Clarkson to triumph is for Richard Hammond to do nothing.

This was the "Carpet Remnant World" tour, hence the backdrop of, er, oddly sized carpet remnants. Even those remnants took on a whole new meaning at the end of the show. Coming out of the theatre, if I'd been asked to explain why I was laughing so much, I couldn't. I had a similar experience after an Eddie Izzard gig some years back. One part of the show has him reading out a whole series of negative comments. On that theme, I was proud to be one of Stewart Lee's audience, "an insular cadre of socially challenged, prematurely middle-aged, pseudo-intellectual men".