Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle (TV Series 2009– ) Poster

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9/10
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle (BBC2) – Review
brian-west-289-8879821 April 2014
A few years ago a friend of mine worked on the very first series of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle (BBC2) so I went along to see a few episodes being recorded. This turned out to be a rather unique experience as the gigs are taped in a real working man's club in Stoke Newington and the faded, retro charm of the room is not created by a BBC designer, its the real thing.

Brutally honest, fiercely self critical and so comfortable in front of an audience he can get a laugh by doing nothing, Stewart Lee is also the real thing. Lee's skill with comic repetition and deconstruction are a masterclass and his throwaway asides to the television viewers – while rudely excluding the live audience – are often the best observations you're ever likely to hear about the diverse tastes and social structure in Britain.

In this third series Lee once again takes comedy apart, kicks it around a bit, then puts it back together again. His vocabulary is exquisite, his delivery sublime. Nobody does it better. And yet his style is not to everyone's taste and many people simply don't get it. Yes, its comedy about comedy, yes it might be a little inaccessible for some, but if you take Lee's advice and work a little harder than usual while watching his act, you will surely be rewarded.

Quotes like, "this is the sound of the middle class applauding their own guilt," set this series apart from every other comedy show currently on TV. Lee's abrasive style and deeply bitter persona have been honed over many years performing in thousands of gigs around the UK. This is a man who makes an art form that is almost infinitely hard look laughingly easy.

Chris Morris takes the role of Grand Inquisitor in series three, pumping our hero with uncompromising, Paxman-like questions while both performers do their best to keep a straight face and pretend that these savage interludes are for real. Morris is also Lee's script editor, so its not surprising that the series maintains such a consistent level of quality and pace.

If I had any criticism at all it would be that Lee's stand-up is so good the format doesn't really need cutaways, and I'd personally rather see more stage time, without the interviews and film inserts. As a long-standing fan I personally don't think either of these bolted-on elements really adds anything to the series or shows off his talents as well as when he's simply standing alone on stage in ill-fitting jacket and rubbish haircut.
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10/10
An Amazing Showcase of Well Crafted Stand-Up Comedy
dukecomic28 December 2017
Stewart Lee proves that he is one of the most brilliant stand-up comics ever by just giving us 3 hours worth of hilarious comedy per season of Comedy Vehicle. He understands that being a true comic is just being funny. He never sacrifices good taste for a cheap laugh. He won't dumb down his material because he respects you and believes that you are wise enough to understand what he is saying. He's direct, focused, and honest with his audience. You can tell by the number of hours of stand-up in this show, he works hard and the effort shows. Mr. Lee is truly a criminally underrated stand-up comedian.
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Enjoyably structured and sharp stand-up comedy on a selection of subjects
bob the moo15 June 2009
Unfortunately I managed to miss several episodes of this series because of not having a Sky+ box and needing to remember each week to change the channel at certain times (which I often forget to do). However I did see the majority of the series where Stewart Lee covers topics such as celebrity books, the quality of television, the nature of his chosen career in stand-up comedy amongst other topics and I consider it unfortunate not to have seen all of the episodes because generally I found the show to be really enjoyable. Given that one cannot talk about Richard Herring without mentioning Stewart Lee, it should work the other way round to. Before I saw this show I had been to see Herring's Headmaster's Son show and, although funny, it seemed to be spend too much time on crudity to shock and a lesser amount of time on honest, clever observations.

The opposite is true of Lee's show and I suppose has always been the difference between them and was why they worked well together when they were a double act. In this show Lee tackles a different broad subject each week and, while there are a few sketches thrown in there to illustrate his points, mostly it is him doing stand-up in front of a small audience in a cool little venue which is too spacious to actually be a real comedy club (although I'll happily stand corrected on that). The stuff he does is generally very clever and suits his very dry, deadpan style of humour. I'm sure others will compare him to Jack Dee but for me he is cleverer than that because he has more of a detached irony to his material that means even when angry you do not think he is being broken down by it. His material also shows a lot of self-awareness and self-analysis (must be an age thing as Herring is the same) in how he does it – specifically his own "Travelodge material" which manages to be what it sounds like while also being a criticism of that material. His frustrations at "lesser" material comes through frequently in his discussion of other comedians and also books but it is best when he discusses the "Del Boy" moment always voted the "funniest moment ever" by British viewers – he delivers it on the floor banging his head on the stage and it is very funny.

It doesn't all work though. Some of the sketches don't work that well and some needed trimming while, on the stage, I never got used to the weirdly close "to camera" delivery when it happened – which was thankfully not too often. Otherwise though it was a great little comedy series that felt like a breath of fresh air compared to much of the comedy on the BBC. Sharp, funny and well delivered it is worth seeing if you like dry comedy.
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1/10
great for nightime
petemoore-374475 April 2018
I had a hard time sleeping recently but just 10 minutes of this drivel and i was in a deep slumber.i think the worst thing is being boring and he has it in spades.do yourself a favour stay away unless you have insomnia. after seeing a few minutes of the aforementioned drivel i looked up lee and some of his reviews and fan reviews.uurrgghh so many people saying if you dont think he is funny then you dont get his humour.arrogant beyond belief.funny is just funny and this aint it
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