Stewart Lee – "On Not Writing"

47 thoughts on “Stewart Lee – "On Not Writing"

  1. You extrapolate things,,,,in a way I have taken on board and made me laugh on the way. Job Done.

  2. The fourth wall as a performance convention in which an invisible, imagined wall separates actors from the audience has let itself go.

  3. As someone from Doncaster I would have loved to have seen you from that time, but I do see your point. There are some of us with the same ideas questioning society and norms that you speak of, but so many people from my hometown are happy to just get along without any issue

  4. Wonderful to have an insight into his writing process. He's also quite insightful about the history of comedy too. I've always favoured writers as comedians from Beyond The Fringe through to Python, the Young Ones and Mitchell and Webb (for example).

  5. I'm in two minds about the humanities/art/all that stuff with regards to public money. I think it's important but…

    It costs £10k in the UK to perform heart surgery on someone. If the arty stuff has to be paid for out of public money, and you have £10k to spend, what would you rather the money was spent on? Someone painting themselves a funny colour and being weird on a stage, or saving someone's life?

    Because ultimately that's what the debate boils down to: Where is the limited resource of public money to be spent?

  6. Please come to SA Gladly host you Think as I am told many say this feel like their loads of stories in our haberdashery store. You won’t. ha ve seen or believed existed diverse cultures etc

  7. Taking someone else's old material, changing the noun and presenting it in a written form is as funny as it ever was, or ever will be.

    I've always found that being at a recording of a SL set and then watching it again in isolation means you hear a whole lot of lines you missed. A comedy audience is so keyed up to laugh that twists that need to be right after the punch are lost in the laughter. Learning that several big-name stand ups use writers might go some way to my feeling that their material didn't seem to come from some fixed point. I admit I have laughed at a few Frankie Boyle one-liners but not constantly. Only a few stand ups invest in a real on stage persona. One one hand, they feel more real but on the other hand people seem to believe that they are seeing the real person.

    Les Dawson did have a gift that went mostly unrecognized. His writing was amazing, the only better thing being his delivery. Dave Allen actually did some quite harsh lines. DAs tiny bits that were aggressive were all the more potent because it was in such stark contrast with the rest of his set.

    I've always been impressed by SL continuing to evolve. After a couple of decades, it must be easy to work out a demographic and pander to them. Easy to judge opinions of the many and take the safe route. With a family to support, that's got to be tempting.

    As someone has already pointed out – to be totally frank about how the financial side works cannot have made him many friends. I haven't read his books (I will) but I am hopeful that Tractatus-Illogico Risus will be possible. 'A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes' – Wittgenstein

    Of course, I could be totally wrong.

  8. whilst i think this is great and a wonderfuLL insight Lee completely side steps the fact that there is a class distinction with the 70's comics and with his stuff which is middle class,, none of the comics of the 70's went to Oxford,, they were just lads from the building site or chancers but they would never have had a sniff at the kind of privileges he has been afforded,,don't get me wrong i think Lee is awesome ,, and i accept a majority of the 70's comics were shallow and racist but they were in fact following a music hall tradition of low culture and popular culture, where as Lee has taken a low culture of stand up into an almost high culture,, almost the persevere of readers of The Times,, it wasn't too long ago that Opera was hi jacked by the upper classes and it became cleansed and antiseptic,, yet earlier Opera used to be baudy , rude,, using foul language and the subject matter was aimed at deriding the royals of the time and the aristocracy,, so i feel it is cyclical too..

  9. Fascinating and absorbing. I have always had massive respect for Stewart Lee but I have even more now due to his candid and articulate way of unpicking a very personal process. One I will watch again and be sharing. Thanks so much for posting this.

  10. He doesn't mention Eddie Izzard, whose autobiog. I have just read, but he also is a stand-up who learned to write his own material and how to make the most out of it. Now he is an actor/entertainer. They are clever people. I am a snob with my stand-ups; I only want to see the ones who are smarter than I am; who say things I haven't thought myself.

  11. speech was beginning to dwell to heavily in pseudo intellectualism and the symbolic language of it, comic book IP importation has flatulated with retina screeching effects all over cinema in a rather prosaic and repulsively ideological way.

  12. It's really wonderful to just listen to Stewart Lee describe the beauty of the comedic art-form. He's extremely eloquent and thoughtful.

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