Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World

Photo: Steve Ullathorne

Fringe veteran can still hurt stomachs

Stewart Lee’s 2012 Fringe kicked off in typically provocative vein, when his Guardian article (headlined ‘The Slow Death of the Edinburgh Fringe’) delivered an industry-savvy knee to the groin of corporate comedy promoters. While PRs dealt with the aftermath from his wrath, the 25-time Fringe veteran holds court this year at the chandeliered, revamped Assembly Rooms.

Insider knowledge of the comedy game is only one card up Lee’s sleeve. There’s also his signature self-aware, deconstruction tactic, employed with grade-A mastery here. ‘I mean the opposite of what I just said,’ he condescends after a sarcastic aside. When laughs don’t arrive fast enough, he deadpans, a twinkle in his eye: ‘you’re gonna have to up your game’.

Pedantry, semantics, current affairs and affectionate disdain feature too in a show about his supposed lack of a show, due to fatherhood and being ‘creatively spent’. Although the last 15 minutes genuinely sag, making it seem like the biter has bit himself in the bum, the ploy is clever and the good bits still stomach-hurtingly funny.

Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 26 Aug (not 20), 6.05pm, £15 (£12).

Stewart Lee on Top Gear

Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World

  • 3 stars

Lee takes another bewildered, vitriolic look at the world today, his dependable rants focusing on the collapse of society v the rise of pointless retail outlets. Splendid.

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