Stewart Lee's history of stand-up on TV
Thinking inside the box with the maverick comedian
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.
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