The sustainable alternative to laughter
More rambling about Stewart Lee; my gig dates until early Feb 2022
On Thursday I saw Stewart Lee’s show Snowflake/Tornado. I’m quite a tough audience for standup, and he made me cry with laughter. At one point I was hoping he’d move on from one bit, because I was laughing so hard I felt like I was going to be sick.
It’s two separate hours of standup, Tornado and Snowflake. We almost left after the first hour, not realising there was more, because the first hour seemed like such a complete and satisfying show. I definitely recommend catching this if you can.
I’m not going to spoil any of the jokes, but it was interesting to see what he said about ‘cancel culture’ and ‘wokeness’ in the light of that whole Darrell Maclaine fiasco.
As you’d probably guess, Lee was pretty much on the side of wokeness being better than the alternative, although he did mention that it has the downside that people sometimes lose their jobs for not being up to date on the right terminology.
He makes fun of Jimmy Carr for telling ‘rape and Gypsy jokes’ and also of Dave Chapelle for his trans material (he has an amazing anecdote about Chapelle visiting London as well). The good ladies of Mumsnet criticised an earlier version of Lee’s own show for sexism and referencing rape (spoilers in the Mumsnet thread), which goes to show that nothing can ever be woke enough to avoid somebody who wants the moral high ground finding a way to get offended.
There was a bit where Lee just stated his opinion about something, then pointed out that it didn’t get a laugh, disproving the common critical line that he just says things that his audience agrees with (which he was already mocking years ago in Comedy Vehicle). There was definitely nothing that provoked ‘clapter’ (where the audience claps a line because they agree with it, rather than laughing). We clapped at times, but only to acknowledge that what he was saying was so funny that we were about to be sick.
A while ago some hack called Ben Sixsmith from the right-wing shitmuncher periodical The Spectator complained that Jimmy Carr is too woke for doing a joke making fun of anti-vaxxers, accusing him of chasing ‘clapter’.
The problem with Sixsmith’s claim that Jimmy Carr is pandering to his audience here is that Carr is picking on an anti-vaxxer from within his audience. It’s a tragedy that the act of getting vaccinated against a dangerous disease has become politicised, but I certainly don’t imagine that the kind of people who would go to see Jimmy Carr live skew towards vaccine-loving snowflakes. (Also it’s weird that being scared of needles and people wearing masks is seen on the right as a brave, grown-up position, when it’s identical to what a timid little girl would think).
You can see in the replies to that Tweet that lots of Jimmy Carr fans are mad about the joke.
Like a lot of initially-useful concepts, ‘clapter’ has become diluted as it floats around the sewers of Twitter discourse. What Sixsmith identifies as chasing ‘clapter’ is really just a joke he doesn’t like, because it’s making fun of his dumb anti-vaxx opinions (you can tell Sixsmith’s some kind of YouTube ‘research’ vaxxtard by his hedging about how only people who are “ageing or physically vulnerable” should get the vaccine, which suggests to me that he’s a scared little girl who’s too pussy to get vaccinated himself, even though anyone numerate knows that the risk of getting Covid unvaxxed at any age or physical condition is higher than the tiny risk of vaccine side-effects).
It goes to show that joke policing and whining about comedy aren’t exclusive to the left. No matter how much Tory filth like Sixsmith tell you they’re in favour of ‘free speech’, somehow when it comes to speech making fun of them, they’re not so keen to hear differing opinions.
Dates and times (and places) of when/where I’m doing stand-up that you can come and see me at (if you want)
CANCELLED - Gap Tooth Comedy, Pimlico
For some reason I thought this was tonight (Monday) but it’s tomorrow (Tuesday) which I can’t do. So this is cancelled due to my own stupidity.
Sunday 23 January 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm) - Sunday Shtick, Kentish Town
I think I have a bringer for this, but you should come anyway in case he gets hit by a bus. And also because I’ve heard it’s a good night.
£2 to reserve a seat or free if you just chance it and show up.
Rose & Crown, 71-73 Torriano Ave, London NW5 2SG
Monday 24 January 7:30pm - Nice N Spiky, Islington
Comfy downstairs space at a nice pub that serves good food. Free.
The Regent, 201 Liverpool Rd Islington, London N1 1LX
Thursday 27 January 8pm (doors 7pm) - Monkey Business, Camden
Looks like a good line-up. Venue has nice cocktails.
Tickets £7.50 from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/534313.
All About Eve, 31 Jamestown Road, NW1 7DB
Monday 31 January 7:30pm - Pegasus Comedy, Kentish Town
This is in the same pub as Sunday Shtick. Free! I might do my dog act or some other crazy high concept thing.
Rose & Crown, 71-73 Torriano Ave, London NW5 2SG
Friday 4 February 7:45pm - Cuddles for Troubles, London Bridge/Borough
A free, Friday night gig in a Borough pub a few minutes from London Bridge. Despite the name, this isn’t some kind of ‘use comedy to treat your mental illness’ night (I don’t think). Starts late enough that you could enjoy some of the delicious food of Borough market or its surrounding restaurants first.
The Trinity, 202-206 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JX
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Here is a real voice message that was accidentally left on my friend’s answerphone by a stranger and I put on TikTok: I promise this is worth listening to.
G&B Comedy is running a two-class Beating the Gong course on how to win gong shows. It’s run by Donal Vaughan who definitely knows what he’s talking about as a many time gong show winner. I’m going to do the March 13th/March 27th course - last I heard there’s still places on that one. It’s £85 for both classes. For further details or to book email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been to the free Angel Comedy Writing Gym a couple of times since they started doing in-person sessions at the Bill Murray. Yesterday’s one (run by Sarah Iles) was very useful and I came away with a couple of minutes of material that I’m excited to try on stage. The day and time has varied but I think it’s going to be on Sundays from now on. For some reason they don’t seem to have a proper web page about it, but here is the Facebook group (private but if you request to join I think they just automatically let you in).