Two new series commissioned. Next in 2014
Stand-up comedy show, punctuated with sketches. Stewart Lee tackle a different topic each week in his own inimitable fashion
- 2009 - 2011 (BBC Two)
- 12 (2 series)
- Stewart Lee, Tara Flynn, Paul Putner, Kevin Eldon, Miles Jupp, Simon Munnery, Peter Serafinowicz, Cathryn Bradshaw, Stephen K Amos, Sarah Thom, Armando Iannucci
- Stewart Lee, Sean Gray
- British Broadcasting Corporation
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle marks the return to television, after a decade's absence, of one of the finest stand up comedians working today. The series sees Stewart tackle a different topic each week in his inimitable fashion - all of it thoughtful and challenging.
The show is recorded at the atmospheric Mildmay Club, a working men's club in Newington Green.
In Series 1, Lee's stand-up is broken up by sketches related to the stand-up topics. In the second series, Armando Iannucci punctuates the stand-up performance with searching questions for the comedian that ensure he keeps his feet on the ground.
Our Review: For fans of Stewart Lee, this programme is likely to sit at the top of their list of favourite comedy shows in 2009 and 2011. It is clever and high-brow, and Lee's unique take on the world and style of delivery is refreshingly different from the 'mainstream' stand-up one normally sees on TV.
However, it should be noted a fair number of BBC Two viewers found Lee's subtle gags just too obscure for their tastes during Series 1, and his tendency to de-construct his comedy annoying, and thus they switched off. The slow pace put many others off, whilst Lee's habit of deliberately repeating jokes for effect annoyed a further section of the audience.
The end result was this show attracted a rather small and niche audience, however those that did stick with the programme were clearly really attached to it, hence why the BBC have given it a second series, albeit in a late-night slot.
There are tweaks in the second series. The jolly titles are gone, and there are fewer sketches. Instead, Armando Iannucci provides the break from the stand-up by putting questions to the comedian, and pressing him to put more 'actual jokes' in the programme. Even fans considered the sketches to be a bit of a weakness - so this is a definite improvement.
The good news for fans is there's another two series on the way. The bad news is it's a bit of a wait: the next isn't due until 2014.