Five Things You Might Not Know About: Stewart Lee
1: While at Oxford, Lee first joined hips with Richard Herring in various revue affairs including some critically-unacclaimed jaunts to the Edinburgh Fringe in the late 80s. Al Murray was also part of that gang and later Lee would script edit the Pub Landlord’s Sky One sitcom Time Gentlemen, Please. Recently, Murray described his relationship with Lee as thus: ‘Stewart was in the year above me at uni; he’s always going to be a year older than me and will always know better and always tell me off. Bless his heart.’
2: A massive music buff (he has been known to shred an audience’s ears with some squealy free jazz before taking to the stage), Lee has written reviews for The Sunday Times and Mojo and at the start of the year won Celebrity Mastermind with his chosen subject, the jazz guitarist Derek Bailey.
3: Not one to take the easy route (he wrote an opera that really upset some Christians), Lee has long had plans to write a sitcom about the Norse God Thor. Interestingly (or otherwise) Richard Herring has written an as yet unbroadcast TV comedy about a stand-up double act, which he insists bears no relation to the Fist of Fun pair’s days.
4: After some failed attempts to get back on telly proper, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle rolled into our homes last spring and was met with steadily increasing audience ratings (as such, going somewhat against the norm) and predictably strong critical approval. Except in Time Out where the reviewer got incredibly personal describing Lee as ‘pie-eyed’, ‘shambling’, an ‘assumed polymath’, ‘ponderous’ and, even, ‘fat’. But fear not, the piece was written by Lee himself under the pseudonym of Tim Out.
5: Who says that the public don’t always get it right? Almost 3000 Stew fans signed an online petition in the last month when it was rumoured that the BBC were not prepared to give his Comedy Vehicle a second series. Dramatically, the corporation have officially announced that yes, indeed, we will see more of his ‘Tom Hark’ theme-tuned show.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Feb.