HaHa Stewart Lee, HaHa–does it dead. Satire is back.

A recent gig I went to up in Islington at the Union Chapel (what a great venue!) convinced me that Lee is the real thing. Would love to sit down with this guy.

A couple of days after OBL was killed, he had material on it and not only that but to my surprise was talking about the IRA compared to OBL and how, you know, (pause for effort of effect) if the UK had gone rogue and killed some people (think IRA terrorist suspects) on US soil, America would be up in arms.

It was a real idealistic (and enviously admirable presentation, no seriously. Really now.) of justice, which I think is both Utopian and a little naive (how often those words go together), but the thing is, Lee’s humor is cynical! So how can he be talking about Utopian ideals of justice in the same breath?! Well, its always closer than you think that-hope, that ideal. Love you Stew.

He put me right on the desire of the ideal. I just didn’t think it was possible. But then I also don’t trust “absolutely” that humans can execute justice through the systems of justice that are both developing and mature. The antithesis runs through it Stu. I have hope but I know sometimes things don’t work and sometimes what is supposed to work, wasn’t designed to work but to fail.

And then Stewart, on the third installment of the second season of his brilliant Comedy Vehicle rips into Russel Howard (Stewart Lee rips Howard a new one! a new criticism that is!), Howard, whose Good News show I have written about (and praised), in terms that are undeniably obscure, but nevertheless relentless in critiquing how much money he makes and how much money he gives away and how willing the Russ is to engage with bad and power-abusive jokes he engaged in on Mock the Week. Tomatoes fly. Adrian Child is chided… (predictable that from me, sorry).

Watch it all and let the acerbic and satirical come along. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b011cl8w/) I just wish it was as sharp as it used to be. Not more jokes Stew, just more precision and clarity, like you gave out on the IRA point at Union Chapel, where the Homeless people get fed. (And rightly so. 44 pieces of silver or not.)

Satire is back and acerbic. Stewart Lee is Associate Producer (and presenter) and Armando Iannucci, can I cook you dinner? (No really, pasta would be a great pleasure for me to make for you.)

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2 Responses to HaHa Stewart Lee, HaHa–does it dead. Satire is back.

  1. Phil says:

    I found this a bit difficult to follow.

    “…how can he be talking about Utopian ideals of justice in the same breath?! Well, its always closer than you think that-hope, that ideal.”

    Is your (his) point that we can hope for the ideal, and think it’s possible, while being cynical about its actualisation? That’s what I get, I think, from the following para…

    Watched all three episodes of comedy vehicle so far. First was very funny, second was a bit flat (I didn’t really enjoy it when we saw it live – the main segment about living in the countryside, anyway), third was the best so far in that it was enjoyably satirical – “mock the weak”, the segment where the child blames Russell Howard for killing him…all good stuff! Hard, but good.

  2. Lauri Moyle says:

    I think I used the word “cynical” badly in the line you quote. You got what I meant, particularly in the paragraph following, but I guess I was saying that he was using a satirical approach to highlight a Utopian vision of justice, but I also think his (or at least my) mood was one of cynicism, which I think is dangerous if not wrong. I think its entirely possible to desire a just reality but not really believe it will be possible to attain now. The trick is, and I think most of the time Lee does this well, is to remind us of the dream and expressing the reality of hope through integrity of values.

    I agree with your rating of the three episodes, though Anna did like the country segment, or at least bits of it. There is also an Hour long Russel Howard piece on the BBC at the moment, filmed in Brighton Pavilion, in which you can see glimpses of that subversive form that Lee was talking about. So I think it is accurate to say that Lee was being serious, for a moment about Howard. Its just that I am not sure where that stopped and ironic satire started. Hence the clarity point…

    Thanks for the comment.

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