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4.7 out of 5 stars
30
4.7 out of 5 stars
Stewart Lee - 90s Comedian [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 9 October 2017
brill
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on 25 April 2009
Having been on 'Stewarts Lee's comedy vehicle' since the Fist of Fun days (ditto everybody else's thoughts about a BBC DVD), even I found the latter half of this DVD a little hard to take.
Here I would liken Mr Lee to Chris Morris or even the late great Frank Zappa - very talented guys who push the boundaries way beyond what you would expect in the name of freedom of speech. I am amazed that this only got a 15 certificate!

If you enjoyed the previous DVD 'Stand up Comedian', the first half of this recording should have you laughing out loud and wondering why the audience are so humourless (the appalled expressions caught on this add to the fun somewhat). Here, among other things, the topic of the 7/7 bombings is dealt with. Life is full of nasty things and humour is perhaps a method humans have developed to cope with the sheer absurdity of it all.

The final section ends up a mixture of extreme vomit-based scatology (a kind of verbal equivalent of the conclusion of Guest House Paradiso) and frequent reference to a chap in Palestine upon whose teachings we have supposedly based most of our Western values. Stewart's delivery style is certainly very different at this point and his voice even sounds a little shaky.
Whether or not this masks a genuine unease is a matter of conjecture.

It is good to see that Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle will be realeased on DVD in Sept 2009. As for '90s comedian', your response will depend a lot upon your sensibilities.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 March 2009
Stewart Lee doesn't just come on stage and tell jokes. He challenges the audience and analyses his routine to ensure that his politically loaded jokes have maximum effect.

He doesn't stray away from touchy topics, he opens by talking about 7/7 and even gets the audience to applaud the good old days of the IRA when the terrorists demonstrated good old fashioned `British' manners. His humour doesn't mock the events though, like the works of Chris Morris he uses comedy to highlight issues and ridicule the people who deserve to be whipped by his intelligently caustic tongue.

After the collapse of Jerry Springer: The Opera and a spell in the wilderness caused by Christian complainers; Lee has earnt the right to vent his spleen - and this he does in style...

...The final part of this DVD contains what must be one of the most offensive pieces of stand up comedy ever performed. Many will find it shocking, and those who don't, will find it thought provoking - it certainly gets you to think. It's the ultimate in iconoclastic skits and if it didn't feature Jesus Christ himself then it wouldn't be anywhere near as offensive to many who watch it - and I think that's one of the main points.

His humour will divide the masses into the those who find his humour a bit `too serious' and a smaller group who appreciate the genius behind the words and feel relieved that someone has managed to articulate in a funny way what they have always thought. This is true of his live audience - some of whom are clearly not enjoying the show. Lee doesn't ignore this though; they become part of his show as he wades amongst them and gives them "permission to see other comedians". His comedy isn't designed for the lowest common denominator and he isn't prepared to water it down.

The DVD very nearly didn't get made as his comedy has little commercial value - which is a shame as it has masses of cultural value, we *need* comedy like this. Special features include a quick interview between the director and Stewart Lee, photos, and an Easter Egg (hidden feature) - this is easy to find though, just read the instruction printed on the disk itself!

In a nutshell: Stewart Lee isn't guilty of saying things just for shock value (like many other comedians). Everything he says is qualified by sound reasoning, he sometimes dissects what he says to extract the thought process behind them. Although this is very much a DVD of it's time due to the contemporary topics covered - the sentiments conveyed transcend the zeitgeist and will remain true for a long time.
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on 22 July 2010
In some ways, Lee is like Mark Thomas. By that, what I mean is that what he says is sometimes more important than how he says it and - indeed - how 'funny' it is.

The Blasphemy rap Lee had to deal with is a mockery and he makes one of it by pushing the envelope as far as he can. And good on him: needs to be said. It just isn't the funniest stand up I've seen him do. Depends what you want I guess.

Worth while buying for the big fans of Stewart Lee and anyone who hates religeous bigots.

So that covers most of us. Well, most of us who's opinions are worth listening to. Obviously, those who actually like religeous bigots probably aren't going to read this review and/or buy this DVD.
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on 22 October 2017
A good set. Sadly, the audience lets it down (unless the camera man was purposefully finding the most expressionless Welsh person to zoom in on for the punch lines).

It probably doesn't help that in classic Lee style, he insults half of the audience for comic effect... those who are not familiar with Lee's comedy, or people who have come by mistake, seem to take it as a calculated insult and it puts a bit of a dampener on things.
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on 6 September 2008
Slow to start, dead pan, tense and uneasy, this gradually builds into the most original, beautifully constructed and delivered piece of stand up ever committed to video!

Remember the first time you saw Bill Hicks, and all those other stand-ups you thought were great were instantly devalued in your mind? This has a similar effect.

You might hate it though - it depends on your idea of what makes great comedy - but I can guarantee that you certainly won't find it bland.
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on 14 September 2012
This is an awesome DVD - largely based around Stewart Lee's experience of having a private prosecution brought against him by Christian Voice for nothing less than Blasphemy!

This really is a set that shows if people start trying to impose ridiculous rules then others will push the boundaries of what they do in response; potentially ending up creating something far more offending that the initial (perceived) injustice. For me, this is one of his stand-out shows; in places as uncomfortable as it is funny - but always intelligent and entertaining.

If you don't know if you like him: he's more of a thinking-man/womans comedian, no cheap 'n easy gags; his material is stories that make you think as well as laugh. Probably best to go to youtube and look him up. If you watch a few clips and like it, then you're pretty much guaranteed to like his dvds.

If you are practising Christian you should understand that in this show he uses the symbol of Christ in a way you are likely to find offensive.

Well worth it and definitely recommended.
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on 30 December 2016
There are some great bits on this DVD, but ultimately, rightly or wrongly, it is famed for THAT segment.

For those who don't know, without spoiling it too much, Lee spends some time talking Jesus in some of the most luridly pornographic and obscene ways possible - simply to make a the point (ultimately) that he should be allowed his freedom of speech.

It's presumably supposed to be "brave" etc, but here is the problem: Who's watching this? Only people who paid to see Stewart Lee Live or bought this DVD. A vanishingly small number of those people are going to be committed Christians, and if you're not a committed Christian then THAT segment is just an exercise in purile "gross out" humour. It is the juxtaposition of the foulness of the routine with the sacredness of Jesus which is presumably supposed to create tension - but the majority of people who will ever watch this probably don't even believe Jesus actually existed, and certainly not that he was God incarnate...and therefore that juxtaposition is far less dramatic than perhaps Lee thinks it is.

The one group genuinely made uncomfortable about this will be the small contingent of Lee's fans who are believing Christians (yes, there are a few!) who are open minded enough see the artistic merit in some of Lee's controversial work, perhaps even defended him over the Springer Opera debacle to their more conservative minded Christians friends, but who will now just feel alienated and let down by Lee.
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on 26 March 2009
This is a DVD of a very funny man. The funny man stands in front of his audience saying funny things. He also is clever and says clever things. The audience respond to the things being said by laughing and clapping. If you buy this DVD, you will do the same. But, probably without the clapping bit.
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on 26 February 2012
For people who've seen much of Lee's BBC work over the last year or two some of the material in the opening of this set will be familiar, but it's still interesting to see it in its original context flowing together as a full set. This failing is clearly my own fault for getting on the bandwagon relatively late, but it is what brings it down to four from five stars for me.

The final half hour however (though perhaps not quite the orgy of gore some people want it to be) is one of the best things I've ever seen done in a standup comedy context, only beaten perhaps by some of Lee's own stuff about Top Gear or the Bullingdon club. It manages to appeal both to the intellect and to the emotions, and through the filth it makes a pleading case for a compassionate christianity as opposed to a conservative censoring one.

If you suspect you should buy it but aren't sure, then you should buy it.
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