Stewart Lee – The Laughter Lounge

27 02 2008

Yeah, obviously this is a music blog but last night I went to see comedian Stewart Lee, of Lee & Herring, This Morning with Richard Not Judy and Jerry Springer: The Opera fame in the Laughter Lounge. I’ll go into detail about how great he was in a second. But Lee was supported by an Irish comedian, Ian Coppinger who was crushingly awful. His routine was largely improvised – talking to the crowd, asking where people are from, etc – but it struck me how that kind of comedy is of no interest to me in the same way I have no interest in going to see a band improvising for half an hour. I would rather see a band who have spent months slaving away writing songs and rehearsing them until they’re as tight as they possibly can be. And I feel the same about comedy – I will accept that there are exceptions (Eddie Izzard being one) but Ian Coppinger’s vaguely racist stereotype-enforcing claptrap is bottom of the barrel stuff. At one point, after boringly asking “Who’s here in the Laughter Lounge for the first time?” and getting a large response, then continued by mocking the crowd for only coming out because Stewart Lee was playing. The thing is, if Ian Coppinger was as good as Stewart Lee, I certainly would go and see him but he is actually the type of clichéd comedian that Stewart Lee makes fun of in his routine.

It also occurred to me how the quality of Irish support bands has gone up so much in the last five years. I remember going to see bands in the early 90’s and having to persevere bands worse than you could possibly make up if you sat down and tried to make up the worst band of all time. For some reason, the lead singers always had ginger hair and I can’t think of any good bands whose lead singer has ginger hair, though I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong on that one. It seems promoters have got their act together much more these days and are giving decent bands support slots – it’s probably fair to say that this is mostly due to the healthy state of Irish music in the last few years more than anything else but obviously the same can’t be said for Irish comedy support slots (I’ve never seen a good one). Anyway, enough of ginger-haired singers and rubbish comedians and on to the good stuff…

Stewart Lee is a bit of a master. His comedy doesn’t resort to the standard joke subject fare. It doesn’t even generally resort to jokes. Instead, he’s happy to talk about aphids and mallards and the values of Carphone Warehouse. He can cut through the bullshit and swiftly cut down the likes of Richard Littlejohn and Tom O’Connor. In fact, the routine about his mother and Tom O’ Connor made me laugh very hard indeed. I’ve attached a version of this joke above, although when he did it last night he stretched it out a lot further, ultimately resulting in him repeating the same punchline for about two minutes. If you’re in Galway, he’s playing the Roisin Dubh tonight and is well worth catching (and for less than half the price of his Dublin show).

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4 responses

27 02 2008
Keith

I never remember hearing about Tom O’Connor and the teenage prostitute. If only he had of been good enough to have a memorable enough catchphrase with which to pun on in regards to his almost-pedo-pecadilos.

BTW, Ian has a myspace page – http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=112573867

I dare you to add him as a friend and then post to your blog

28 02 2008
graveyardshiftshane

Well, when I did a search for his name this review came up on the first page so I’m sure he’ll see it at some point. I never heard about that teenage prostitute incident either. But you should check out Tom O’Connor’s page – classic photographs: http://www.tomoconnor.co.uk/system/index.html

28 02 2008
Keith

You do realize that is in fact Ger O’Brien in about 20 years right?

10 09 2009
sandrar

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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