Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever! (5 stars)

Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever!

Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever! (Real Talent) DVD

When Stewart Lee first wrote this 2007 show, he was seriously hacked off with the BBC. Having been commissioned by the corporation to make a series of half-hour comedies which would feature Lee performing in front of unusual audiences (a group of children and a weekend event devoted to insects called Pestival were two of the intended shows), the idea was scrapped at the last minute. The story, though, has a happy ending as the Beeb have returned to Lee's door and his 2008 Fringe show at the Stand had him working up some ideas to feature in his confirmed comedy programme. Fingers crossed.

It's not just the Beeb that gets a fair old kicking during his 41st Best Stand Up Ever! show which was among the obvious highlights of the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe and is out now on DVD. Russell Brand, Richard Littlejohn, the Carphone Warehouse and Channel 4 get it in the neck during 75 minutes of blissfully funny, wilfully awkward stand-up recorded at The Stand in April, just days after his 40th birthday.

For anyone who has popped onto his fantastically detailed website, it's clear that whatever Lee turns his hand to, he throws himself into each individual project with admirable passion. So, unsurprisingly, his DVD features excellent extras including an interview with Johnny Vegas about the content and ethos of 41st Best Stand Up Ever! and actual footage from his set at Pestival, greeted by the aphid-loving throng with a mixture of high amusement and clear bewilderment. Which are truly the only appropriate reactions to be had at a Stewart Lee show.

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