Tuesday, 4 October 2016
Stewart Lee in Aldeburgh
'I'm post-laughter' says Stewart Lee. Expanding on this statement, he imagines an audience member's conversation the morning after the show. 'Did you see that Stewart Lee last night?' 'Yes I did.' 'What did you think of him?' 'Well, I didn't laugh much, but I agreed the fuck out of him.' In reality, on Saturday night in downtown Aldeburgh there was no shortage of laughter. He had the entire audience in stitches from his opening few lines, during the course of which he described the beautiful Suffolk coastal town, in typically deadpan style, as a 'white supremacist fishing village'. I laughed so hard that at one point I seriously thought I'd pulled a muscle in my chest. In the seat behind me, another man laughed equally loud and long. It was Alexi Sayle - and he knows a thing or two about stand-up comedy.
The performance was billed as a work in progress, which essentially gives Lee carte blanche to read freshly written material straight from the page when necessary, as he fine tunes his new touring show. He explained that trialling new material in the age of mobile phones and YouTube is usually a fraught process, but in Aldeburgh he was confident that being so far from civilisation, no word would ever reach the outside world. The new tour, 'Content Provider', begins in earnest in November and will continue throughout 2017 and into early 2018. On Saturday evening he talked (amongst other things) about Brexit, Game of Thrones, Bake Off and the differences between folk sex and jazz sex - some or none of these topics might make it to the finished show. I've already got my 'Content Provider' ticket booked for February, so I'll let you know.
Here's a recent Quietus interview with Stewart Lee, where he talks at length about writing, performing and being a music fan in the 21st Century. Even if you don't like his stand-up, he's a fascinating bloke and this is well worth a listen.
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