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This review is from: Stewart Lee - Stand-Up Comedian [DVD] (DVD)
You can't judge a comedian simply by how much he makes you laugh. I've watched other DVDs which have made me laugh to the point that it hurt (or at least ached) - and once the DVD finished, that was that.
But Stewart Lee is the sort of comedian (like Mark Thomas) who will make you laugh, and then think, and then laugh some more. And once you've put the DVD back in the box, it still stays with you. You realise that you've changed the way you think, you've seen something in a different way, and for that reason - the stand-up routine you've just been watching has actually changed you.
Lee uses some of his older material here and polishes it so to feel edgier than it did when first performed. Filmed in a small comedy club, the cosy feel extends into your living room and you can practically smell the pork scratchings. The friendly environment no doubt helps when your comedy repertoire seems (on the face-of-it) to be greatly offensive, but Lee manages to turn it round, he is a man of integrity and uses challenging subject matter to test the less liberal views of others. In short, he exposes the ugly side of humanity, such as racism, so we can recognise it for what it is - silly. That may sound blasé, but it's true.
Typical of the performances on TV I've seen; Lee analyses his own material on stage, dissecting his quips to understand why they are funny. His analysis ends up being as funny as the joke itself, and inevitably results in a further understanding of the human condition.
This is a fantastic comedy routine, and although the additional features are pretty sparse - to have anything extra is a bonus. It wasn't until I read the DVD details that I realised that this is the first recorded video performance you can get of Stewart Lee. Now that's a shame, because this intelligent, political, and often 'offensive' comedy challenges beliefs and adds fire to the comedy world.