Like most people, I am a fan of comedy. I have only personally known one person (an assistant head teacher) who claimed to not like comedy at all – not only stand-up comedians but anything. She literally found nothing funny. Nothing. I wasn’t there when she confessed this nugget, but if I had been I wouldn’t have known whether to make a joke about it or not. It surely would’ve been a waste of energy.
The absurdity of a person who doesn’t like funny things shows how deep-down and fundamental comedy is to us humans. Etc etc. It is still rarely the case that I would say that a particular comedy act I’ve seen is important. Yet when watching Stewart Lee, even if I’m not laughing as hard – and I’m certainly not feeling as comfortable – as I am in the company of more lighthearted comedians, I am convinced that his comedy is important.
I don’t want to mention any details because they are too good to spoil. Some of his routines are so well-judged that they ride on the back of classic philosophical thought experiments about morality and politics, right to the darkest and awkwardest recesses of your mind. Other parts of his act are barely comedy at all; it is often as if he has dared himself to create bad joke after bad joke, awkward silence after awkward silence, and to squeeze and rip these deformities into something hilarious. Of course, you may not get any of it, and if that is the case I’ll happily introduce you to that assistant head teacher.
http://www.stewartlee.co.uk/ for information on his current and upcoming shows.