The Alternative Comedy Experience. Image shows from L to R: Josie Long, David Kay, Stewart Lee, Henning Wehn, Simon Munnery, Paul Sinha, Phil Nichol, Tony Law, Paul Foot. Copyright: Comedy Central
The Alternative Comedy Experience

The Alternative Comedy Experience

  • TV stand-up
  • Comedy Central
  • 2013 - 2014
  • 25 episodes (2 series)

Stewart Lee curates a series of stand-up nights featuring alternative comedians. Recorded for Comedy Central.

The Alternative Comedy Experience. Image shows from L to R: Isy Suttie, Tony Law, Henning Wehn, Paul Foot, Stephen Carlin, Paul Sinha, Bridget Christie, Simon Munnery, David Kay, Josie Long, Alun Cochrane, Stewart Lee, Phil Nichol. Copyright: Comedy Central

Key details

2013 - 2014
Comedy Central
25 (2 series)
Colin Dench
Stewart Lee
Tim Kirkby
Colin Dench, Sarah Farrell and Stewart Lee

Over thirty years ago, a new wave of stand-ups spearheaded the Alternative Comedy movement, marking themselves out as different from the safe television turns, the Oxbridge satirists, and the racist and sexist Working Men's Club comics of the time.

The Alternative Comedy Experience aims to capture that same schism happening again. An advance raiding party of modern day Alternative Comedians offering material 'too clever, thoughtful, radical, satirical, strange, or downright stupid to make it onto the stand-up outlets of contemporary television'.

These are the stand-ups other comedians slouch at the back of the room and cry with laughter at. Hand picked by Stewart Lee, we can all now taste the comedy ambrosia previously only available to adepts and initiates, in a line-up including Simon Munnery, Isy Suttie, Boothby Graffoe, Phil Nichol, Andy Zaltzman, Henning Wehn, Josie Long, Paul Foot, Tony Law, Eleanor Tiernan, David Kay, David O Doherty, Bridget Christie, Stephen Carlin, Paul Sinha, Alun Cochrane, Sam Simmons, Robin Ince, Glenn Wool and Maeve Higgins.

These are the kids that got thrown into the urinals at school. They are not fashion victims, presenters, broadsheet buzzwords, or industry players. They are the people who just had to be stand-ups.

The Alternative Comedy Experience was filmed in front of a real comedy club audience during full weeks of packed houses at The Stand comedy club, Edinburgh, faithfully capturing the unique atmosphere at one of the UK's favourite and longest established live comedy clubs. 'Sadly', there's no reaction shot cutaways to laughing celebrities. Instead, a crowd comprised of four-eyed pseudo-intellectuals and unforgiving drunks, is close enough for the viewer at home to experience the sense of danger, and thrilling triumph that pervades real stand-up shows.

The Alternative Comedy Experience showcases each act stripped across the series, appearing in a number of different episodes - with the live footage intercut with backstage clips that eavesdrop on Stewart Lee and the respective performers enjoying the kind of conversations about comedy stand-ups really have off stage.

With its fast-moving distinctive visual style and unique cast The Alternative Comedy Experience is original, unpredictable, and unlike any other live stand-up show on our screens.

The Alternative Comedy Experience celebrates the past, the present and the future of the UK comedy circuit and the craft of stand-up comedy at its most original. Renew your faith in this vital live artform.

Additional details

Also known as
  • Stewart Lee's Alternative Comedy Experience

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 5th February 2013 at 11pm on Comedy Central
Next repeats
  1. Series 1, Episode 3: Saturday at 2:35am on CC Extra
  2. Series 1, Episode 4: Saturday 8th June at 2:50am on CC Extra
  3. Series 1, Episode 5: Saturday 15th June at 3am on CC Extra
Most recent repeats

Recording details

  • The Stand Comedy Club (Edinburgh) - Recorded at The Stand, Edinburgh, in July 2012 and 2013.

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