Stewart Lee's history of stand-up on TV

Thinking inside the box with the maverick comedian

0

Comments

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.

‘Gas’, ‘Comedy Network’ (1997-98, C4, Paramount)

The twin last gasps of straight stand-up on TV in the twentieth century, then presumed by execs to “not really work”. Endlessly repeated for years on late-night cable under the terms of  the acts’ one-payment buy-out deals, and featuring many stars of the future – Noel Fielding, Lee Mack, Peter Kay – the shows typify the time when TV stand-up started to feel like worthless one-size-fits-all filler. Like peasants with free milk we lapped up what they offered us, only to see our virgin sets chopped into differently titled shows, and sliced into 79p audio-only iTunes clips, for eternity.

Latest comedy features

One to watch: Hari Sriskantha

We profile this software developer by day, rising stand-up star by night

Margaret Thatcher campaigns to save Soho’s gay institutions

She’s back, has had a change of heart on Section 28 and is now a cabaret sensation!

‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’: four reasons to watch

Fans of ‘30 Rock’, rejoice! Tina Fey’s new sitcom is finally landing on Netflix. We watched the first four episodes…

Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft review

  • Rated as: 4/5

More surreal gems, this time with a backstory, from the punning giant

See more comedy features

Users say

0 comments