Standup In General – Lee / Gervais

Stewart Lee

Stand-Up, in general

Stewart Lee - Stand-Up, in general

"He is the cleverest, funniest, most cliché-free comedian on the circuit. But he likes Jazz." - Ricky Gervais, 2004

Nearly twenty years on and Gervais' act is still made out of bits of my old stuff, either verbatim, or re-jigged and retooled for his own evil alt-right-light purposes.

I didn't realise asking if I could quote his praise of me on a poster seventeen years ago meant I had entered a Faustian pact.

“That was irony. There’s going to be a bit of that throughout the show. That’s when I say something I don’t really mean, for comic effect.”
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Stewart Lee will be thrilled at having been such a source of inspiration for Gervais’s new hour-long standup special.
Or maybe he won’t; in Gervais’s hands, irony often seems the default mode of a man simply wanting to have his cake and eat it – railing against the notion of taboos while relying on them for laughs. Still, he’s undeniably a gifted comic brain, albeit often on autopilot.
- Phil Harrison, The Guardian, May 2022.