Stewart Lee - Carpet Remnant World

Stewart Lee's 2012 show had already had quite an airing before it came to The Assembly Rooms for the Fringe. This is stand-up slathered in a whole dollop of marmite and marks Lee's move further down the road of post-modern anti-comedy. This show is for fans of Stewart Lee and for fans of stand-up; do not go for an hour of frivolous laughs. You will be challenged, shouted at and have to watch Lee appear to break down slightly on stage. It's for comic effect, honest.

Lee is famous for polarising audiences and alienating the mainstream with his dry, problematic comedy. He uses his bad reviews as content, and chooses the most scathing of remarks to advertise his show in an attempt to dissuade those who will not mesh with his dark, complicated routines. The show masquerades as an hour and twenty minutes of Lee complaining about how little material he has; 'I have nothing, I drive kids around all day,' becomes a weary and bleak ostinato. Intelligent and obscure laughs are to be had from this: Lee complains that the public want him to do jokes about Islam and promptly demonstrates why he does not. There are slick callbacks, cynical and topical observations but mainly a lot of moaning about the venue.

The Big Four of the Fringe venues have been slated by Lee in recent press for, 're-pointing the fragile but functioning ecosystem of the Fringe.' To this he makes constant referral throughout the show, and he also makes it very clear that he’s not delighted to have moved from The Stand, his usual venue, to The Assembly Rooms. This commentary takes a decidedly nasty tone when Lee simply turns on the audience, 'the kind of people who come to The Assembly Rooms at the weekend won't like this joke.' There is a particularly dark middle section in which Lee deconstructs the audience's inability to understand his humour, 'you are of a disparate ability stream,' and there were some walkouts, which Lee revelled in, 'It'll be better now that he's gone.' Although it is expected of Lee to snub his crowd, it felt as though this section of the show was overindulgent and should have been better balanced. It’s a shame the crowd from The Stand weren’t there to laugh in all the silences, it may have somewhat improved the tone.

This show will shout and scream right up in your face, and won't let you sit back and relax for an evening of enjoyment. For fans of Lee, this is as bleak and uncompromising as you might expect from him and as always is intelligent and alternative. A dark and difficult evening of comedy; enter at your own peril.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

What can a sexless middle aged married man, whose life now consists mainly of watching Scooby Doo cartoons with a four year old boy, possibly find to write comedy about? 'Superlative' ***** (Metro). www.stewartlee.co.uk.

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