DVD review - Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
- Brian Donaldson
- 28 June 2011
Uncompromising, awkward and confrontational style and content cements reputation
The second series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle will do very little to alter the entrenched opinions on both sides of his critical fence. Those detractors will switch off in their droves at the uncompromising, awkward and confrontational style and content while, conversely, his devotees will avoid switching off in their droves due to the uncompromising, awkward and confrontational style and content.
More so than ever before, Lee’s act is as much about the mechanics of stand-up as it is about the comedy itself. At pains to cocoon himself further from just about every mainstream act on the contemporary British comedy scene, he actually goes some way in reconfiguring what observational comedy could be: it’s surely a given yet rarely acknowledged fact that receipts are ‘proof of purchase’ and that the Scottish lay eggs?
Aside from a closing sequence at the end of each episode, Lee has dumped the clunky sketchy bits from season one and replaced them with superb inserts featuring a noirish Armando Iannucci challenging Lee on where he’s going wrong and what he should do to make his show funnier. All of which is acted out with the acrid tones of a Daily Mail editorial in the face of Lee’s increasing irritation.
The DVD extras tor the six episodes include a rather splendid acoustic number about Russell Brand’s wedding (called ‘Russell Brand’s Wedding’) and an extended version of the sequence with comics legend Alan Moore which speculates furiously on whether Winston Churchill was not Britain’s wartime leader, but actually a cigar-puffing pig in a hat.