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4.6 out of 5 stars93
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2013
I was going to write a review for Stewart Lee's Carpet Remnant World, but I've been so busy with my life, I didn't have the time. Playing video games, watching funny clips on the internet, that's my life now. I've got nothing. Nothing.

But did you notice that Stewart had refined his dead-on, deconstructionist personality to a tee on this tour? Brilliantly pulling together seemingly disparate and dissolute threads, and weaving them into a cohesive whole in his typically sardonic, unflinchingly rigorous style.

As usual, there was a split in the audience between those who "get" him and those who've been catapulted along based on good reviews/the comedy award/having a moderately-successful show on late-night BBC 2. This time, whether artificially-induced or genuine, the gulf seemed almost insurmountable as those wanting a comedian to just say something funny and move on without taxing their intellects remained resolutely unreachable.

Stewart Lee, the alternative to comedy, is actually a master observer, but not in the vein of an "observational" comic; what he notices is the gaps in our reality, the chasm between the way things are and the way they could be. An entirely logical, rational world where it's eminently reasonable that Margaret Thatcher was responsible for the decay of our beloved jungle pirate zombie rope bridges. It's a semi-fictional creation, but where the line is between the two, only Stewart Lee knows.

I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that I can make a review by putting random points in a list.
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on 28 November 2012
Anti-Top Gear jokes? Check.
An attack on the mainstream acts featured on shows like Mock the Week and Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow? Check.
Unbelievably smug left-wing liberalism? Check.
Some of his best material? Debatable, but in my opinion yes.
One of the best stand-up acts ever? Absolutely.

If you enjoyed his TV show (Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle) or any of his other stand up DVDs you should really pick this up; you won't be disappointed.
If, on the other hand, you are a Top Gear fan, a Michael McIntyre fan, a Jimmy Carr fan or believe political correctness has gone mad you're probably not going to have much fun.
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on 11 January 2013
Another solid entry in Stewart Lee's formidable catalogue, the clue to Carpet Remnant World is laid out early on - this isn't a collection of neat 'bits' that can seamlessly be woven into 'Best of' this or 'Top 100' that. Despite Lee's insistence he has nothing, this show has everything, as well he knows. Most curiously, this set explores among other things, the idea of Stewart Lee the character; beyond simple stand up, this is Lee as the stand up trying to perform stand up, simultaneously a comedy set and a commentary on the same set, from the eyes of a stand up trying and failing, but in doing so succeeding. It would be unfair, as well as an unforgivable cliche, to say you won't like it if you don't Get It, but there is certainly effort asked of the audience, and a masterful set delivered for your investment.

Four stars, then. Why? I felt the element of Lee the character, while brilliantly devised and executed, was more divisive and exclusive than it needed to be. Lee's always danced on the edge of comedy by definition and audience patience thresholds, and this occasionally feels like it does actually require the sense of loss from some of his audience for the rest to fully embrace it. That sense of exclusivity cooled the underlying warmth of his pretend bitterness. It's a petty criticism and one you probably won't be bothered by too much, but that - combined with two or three minor parts of the show that Lee's performed before - just stopped this from being as good as Milder Comedian.

That said, this is a terrific performance, head and shoulders above all the Russells combined.
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on 19 November 2012
The informative liner notes for Lee's new DVD (which, as in his books, points to a much more measured person than who he regularly refers to as 'the comedian Stewart Lee') explain that that there are both narrative layers that he intended, and ones that piled on later through his 200-odd live performances of Carpet Remnant World. These notes also underline the important themes in the show, and are good to read before watching. It's difficult to write about how disparate Carpet Remnant World is, when this disparity is clearly held up as being part of the point. The bitter 'comedian Stewart Lee' shtick; Lee's now highly-developed ability to both develop and run out a complex series of callbacks, and then subsequently ruin them (deliberately!) with his own arrogance by lecturing the audience on them for not understanding them; the always-entertaining 'meltdown' towards the end (here, Lee pulls off easily the most convincing tantrum I've seen him throw, aided by an appropriate, er, 'prop') - these provide dependable points of the performance that old fans will enjoy, and new fans will... hopefully enjoy. Lee doesn't provide lazy viewing.

But without a doubt, this is the most thoughtful of his performances. It's clearly even more given than 90's Comedian to multiple viewing, and the layers as mentioned in the liner notes are definitely there. I remained interested the entire time, but I didn't laugh so much. Then again, I laugh more at Lee's shows the more I've seen them - this is likely because Lee writes comedy underpinned by ideas, not the gags themselves, and so his work is very rare in that it can easily be watched more than once. If the idea of watching stand up more than once doesn't appear to make much sense, you've not seen a Lee show yet!

For those newcomers, I'd recommend Lee's earlier work first, perhaps starting from 90's Comedian and moving forward, because there is also a progression here in the 'comedian Stewart Lee' character as the man himself has become increasingly well-known (a progression that brings something new to the table for older fans). I very strongly recommend this, in fact, because if you didn't, you'd be missing out on some of the richest, most compelling stand up comedy you'll ever see. He's definitely my favourite!

At 2 hours in length, it's the longest dose of Lee I've seen, but I'm just about to press the play button for a second viewing as I write this. Definitely recommended!
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on 11 January 2013
Saw this show in Bristol and it was easily the best comedy performance I've seen live. The DVD only emphasised the elements of the show that made it so good...namely his ability to perform comedy, rather than just deliver lines for easy laughs. It was impressive to see how all of the seemingly improvised elements were repeated with such microscopic accuracy (the DVD show is in Sheffield in case anyone thinks I'm discussing the same show).

It's intelligent humour that lambasts the very assumptions of those that enjoy intelligent comedy, whilst remaining engaging and compellingly entertaining. At one point he anticipates the reaction to his show from uninitiated audience members as being akin to seeing "an aggressive lecture." The reality is a highly amusing deconstruction of the notion of comedy (and being a comedian) in general. Plus he says "dog" in a funny voice.
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on 29 December 2012
As a massive fan of stand-up, this is genuinely one of the best comedy films I have ever seen. Not only is 'Carpet Remnant World' genuinely, stomach-rupturingly funny and also unbelievably razor-sharp and incisively clever for the duration of its 2 hours, but Lee's ability to deconstruct jokes, and indeed the very art of comedy, is like nothing I've ever witnessed before. It's a real treat and truly exposes a lot of the most popular comics in the land as the lazy frauds they are. I watched this DVD in absolute awe..and also in tears of laughter!! The word genius is bandied around way too liberally nowadays, however Stewart Lee is a true genius of comedy. This DVD offers you all the arguments as to why.
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on 8 June 2013
I like the bit where he says 'DOG??' in the voice of scooby doo. That was really funny that was
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on 27 January 2014
I thought Stewart Lee couldn't get any better. I thought he reached the pinnacle of comedic genius on his last tour. Or the one before. I couldn't be more wrong. This is a lesson in how to take things to the brink of the ravine then bring them all back inside again before it starts raining. Lee both delights and torments his audience with a mixture of self-deprecation, irony and pathos. 'Dawg!?' Brilliant.
I never tire of watching Stewart Lee, after all the over-rehearsed TV panel shows and self congratulating Mock the Weeks this is a breath of rancid air to clear the sinuses.
The true Messiah of Comedy.
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on 24 February 2013
Stewart Lee's performances continue to provoke thought and extend the possibilities of the stand up art. Whilst the delivery is characteristically dry and deliberately 'post-modern', there is a distinctly theatrical structure in what he does. Moreover it feels personal and is very, very funny to me. In his routine he quotes a multitude of foul mouthed and vitriolic, generally anonymous online critics. Clearly he divides audiences, for the content of his material. Personally, though I find his work incredibly uplifting. Recommended to anyone.
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on 16 September 2012
I saw the show at a full house in Shrewsbury.

Stew as usual produced a performance which so vastly transcended the boundaries of what's normally referred to as "comedy" in this country that words almost fail to describe what was going on. It's now impossible for me to watch the normal run of gurning, prancing British "comedians" who deliver an hour of drivel abruptly ending with "kids eyyy, aren't they mad like? Fank yew an goonight!" without reflecting on the vast range of emotions, verbal trickery and pre-planning of a massive, evening-long story arc which goes into every one of Lee's performances.

Really, this goes far beyond comedy. To berate other comedians for their "no material" or "school of misery" performances, then deliver both (more or less divided between the first and second halves of the show) with such stunning precision that the audience is left racked with emotion as well as amusement is an acting job worthy of the Shakesperean stage.

Stewart Lee should be doing a lot more straight acting, he'd kill. But it's hard to see who could write material of this quality for him.
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