Comedian Stewart Lee is currently on tour in the UK, performing with the original name “Much a Stew about Nothing”, a title which set the bar for the show itself. In the usually full Festival Theatre, Lee was much less anticipated, performing to less than a third of the venue, a fact which he was witty enough to point out to us at least ten times.
According to Lee, this didn’t matter in the slightest, we were ‘just a test’ for a television show which will appear at some point next year. This he was very keen to mention at any given opportunity, clearly proud of himself, but to the point of becoming smug, writing off the audience opinion if the reaction was not appreciative enough for his high standards. Though most jokes got a laugh or a at least a titter, Lee felt the need to explain the political jokes, as if teaching a primary class, willing the audience to try and understand his supposed hilarity through long winded explanation and dumbed down metaphors. His tedious stories were matched only by his pretentious demeanour, which left me feeling like he saw the audience as idiots, those below him whom he had been sent to educate about political correctness and satire.
This is the first time where I’ve been completely bored of a performance, waiting through endless anecdotes and stories for a weak punch line which, after an incredibly long time, does not have the same impact. Transferring to television could be a problem for Stewart Lee, everything needs to be cut down enormously or we’ll be watching half a story over the course of an hour, for the occasional smile every now and then.
Though I wouldn’t advise it, the tour continues throughout the UK until February of next year, and tickets are available on his website at www.stewartlee.co.uk