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Context Is Not A Myth,
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This review is from: Stewart Lee! The 'If You Prefer a Milder Comedian Please Ask For One' EP (Paperback)
The 'If You Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One' EP is the second of three announced collections of the comedian and man Stewart Lee's standup material annotated to an obsessive and hugely insightful degree. Though I have been watching the DVD of the show transcribed in this book for over a year now, I have not enjoyed the show as much as on the day I read it in this format. Though there are surely those who, much like people who avoid bonus material for films because it ruins the magic of moviemaking, prefer to take their comedy as is without any serious analysis into its creation or execution, there are at least as many for whom Lee's discussion of his designs, worries and inspirations is welcome and serves not only to elevate the material (as in last summer's How I Escaped My Certain Fate) but also act as a criticism in and of itself of both the industry and its figureheads.
Included in the scant paperback are an introduction and an article Lee wrote over the summer in relation to some of the criticism he'd faced from various newspapers in the wake of the tour which I enjoyed reading immensely and was glad to see reproduced.
The so-called EP is a testament to Lee's grandest accomplishment so far, though perhaps without his notes (which address and elucidate specifically on some of the moments of the show I felt were a little 'off', and why exactly they appeared as such) I may not have enjoyed it as much. To say that having to explain the joke makes it less funny is here of no relevance, as he has not made me laugh more at material I'm familiar with, but has certainly highlighted his intentions for the show structurally and the extent to which he was successful.
A third volume, TV Comedian, is mentioned in the introduction and schedules for a Summer 2013 release and promises to cover his work for his latest two BBC series of Comedy Vehicle. If you fancy a bit more Stew, his and Richard Herring's 1990s series Fist Of Fun has just been released by indie label Go Faster Stripe (publishers of his second standup DVD, 90s Comedian and available exclusively through their website) and is well worth a look both on its own merits and as a starting point to see just how far he's evolved as the country's hardest working, funniest and frankly best comic.
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Initial post: 27 Jan 2012 12:36:05 GMT
Frank Hovis says:
I realise posting a comment about a review of a book which is itself a commentary on a show is inherently absurd, but I just wanted to echo your sentiments. As a 40+ year-old comedy obsessive and man, the existence of this book and the promise of a third volume makes me stupidly happy.
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