To anyone who hasn’t been to one of Stewart Lee’s shows before it’s worth pointing out that in his stand up Lee plays an amped up version of himself that is more bitter, angry and insufferably woke than he is in person, and in the process he often berates and taunts the audience. Tonight is no exception as he kicks thing off by threatening to do hilariously unspeakable things to any mobile phones he finds in use during the performance.
An angry and energetic Lee then does some searing material on Brexit, pouring a big bowl of scorn on those who claim they voted leave for reasons not motivated by racism: “We only wanted bendy bananas, and now here we are in a chaotic furnace of hate!” His greatest disdain, though, is reserved for the Machiavellian right-wing power couple, Michael Gove and Sarah Vine who he describes as “Neil and Christine Hamilton for the 2 Girls 1 Cup generation”.
A power struggle then begins between Lee and the two stern faced ushers flanking either side of the stage. Lee insists that they sit down as A) they’re making it difficult for the audience to laugh B) there are plenty of seats in the auditorium which is the worst selling night of the tour. When he learns that they are actually security guards he seems bemused. “What for? There’s so few of you that I could fight you all myself!”
The second half brings some Trump gags that precisely mirror the Brexit material from the first half. One idiot in the audience, not getting that this is a ruse pointing the similar motives behind the result in Brexit and the US election, bellows out the punchlines before they land. An exasperated Lee declares “You’re the kind of bloke who goes to see Othello and shouts, ‘Don’t get jealous mate. She’s not been unfaithful to you!'”
The show ends with a high brow visual gag incorporating a Romanticism era painting, Mr Lee in period costume and a selfie stick. It’s been a great night of comedy and Lee’s hit ratio, at least for me, has been pretty high as I’ve laughed hard and long. I head out to the merch stall to buy one of Lee’s books and wait to see if Stewart will be out to sign it. He doesn’t appear. Perhaps he’s scared of the security guards.
For Stewart Lee’s live performances click here.