Stewart Lee's history of stand-up on TV

Thinking inside the box with the maverick comedian



Add +

Iconoclast comedian Stewart Lee knows TV's delicate relationship with live comedy better than anyone. Ahead of his Comedy Central series showcasing leftfield comics he outlines the history of stand-up on television…

Picture credit: Steve Ullathorne.

'Saturday Live' (1985-88, C4)

Blabby Ben Elton shouts over a floodlit sheep-pen of caned casuals, and subtly distances himself from the weird and interesting acts he introduces (such as a brilliant Kevin McAleer with his unequalled owl slide show). Prefiguring the mass modern comedy phenomenon of “failed irony”, Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney scores big with the cash-rich Thatcherites it ridicules.

Latest comedy features

London Punderground: comedian Darren Walsh puns the tube map

‘They want to extend the Northern line, but I think this is Morden adequate.’

Jessie Cave shares some exclusive doodles

The twee comedian and ‘Harry Potter’ star draws Time Out a few London-themed drawings

Doug Stanhope’s top ten stand-ups

The hellraising US stand-up and Time Out favourite picks his favourite fellow comics

Joseph Morpurgo: on the record

The Foster’s Award nominee talks us through some hidden gems from his record collection

See more comedy features

Users say