NEWS: Stewart Lee @ Darlington Hippodrome | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The (alleged) stand-up comedian Stewart Lee is (allegedly) performing (alleged) stand-up comedy at Darlington Hippodrome on Tuesday 20th March (less allegedly). Lee, as journalists tend to call him in the second sentences of their previews, brings his long-running show Content Provider to the North East for one night only, after performing the show in London many more times. The tour then heads back to London for a few more nights, before then concluding in…London.

Put one way, Stewart Lee is the only actual genius that stand-up has ever produced, bringing performance art concepts as high as Brechtian-dualism to content as low and puerile as “a cat called Jeremy Corbyn shitting on a Union Jack”, with results that are achingly sublime. Put another way, he isn’t. He’s just a guy talking about crisps and actually vocally refusing to ‘make jokes’.

It’s easy to get frustrated with Lee’s acerbic onstage persona, his performed myopia, and his long stretches of anti-comedy. Easier still to get drawn in to believing that his contrived battle against his own audience of the “elite liberal intelligentsia” is genuine and that you should take ‘his’ ‘side’ ‘against’ ‘them’. But, seriously, don’t. Just don’t. Just watch it and laugh.

Stewart Lee is a performance artist and a comedian who’s as good as we’re ever going to get. The way mainstream comedy is going, it’ll never be this good again (with a few potential exceptions). Just go and watch him, because we’ll most probably look back on him soon as the only one who was doing this right.

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