Friday, April 11, 2014

"You see, I CAN write jokes - I just choose not to"

So that's the third series of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle done, then. There wasn't much in the way of surprises, to the extent that it featured his usual trademarks: toying with or mock-aggressively ridiculing the audience, both present at the recording and watching at home; spending as much time dissecting comedy as dissecting politics (remember kids - not everything featuring animals is satire); savaging other comics (on the menu this time around were Lee Mack, Jimmy Carr, Jason Manford and the Mock The Week crew); liberally lobbing out sharp, pithy phrases that stick in the memory (his description of Twitter as being "the Stasi for the Angry Birds generation" was particularly good); holding imaginary phone conversations (the "But I'd know it was you" line in the first episode absolutely killed me); and concluding in the final episode (an attempt to write half an hour's worth of material on the conventional stand-up subject of marriage) with a brilliant pseudo-breakdown.

If there was any disappointment, it stemmed from the fact that - contrary to my expectations - Chris Morris didn't make as incisive or funny a "hostile interrogator" as Armando Iannucci did on previous series. Plus, as much as I was laughing, I can't share his hatred for dogs.

Still, minor quibbles - and easily overlooked in light of the series' greatest achievement: putting Shilbottle firmly on the map. I wonder how many times the signs have been graffitied since that episode aired?

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