The Lowdown: Things You Didn’t Know About Stewart Lee

March 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

sl1-210x300For the sceptics among you, let me just clarify a few things before we start. Having done some research, Stewart Lee seems like a decent sort. A staunch supporter of humanitarianism, committed to advocating for non-conformist media outlets, he’s got a bit of punk spirit about him, which I can relate to.

I just happen to have not enjoyed the first episode of his new show. That’s not to say I don’t like him, or I won’t enjoy any of his previous/future stand up material. So how about we all just calm down, take a breath, hold hands and enjoy this week’s Lowdown.


1. Lee co-wrote and directed Jerry Springer – The Opera. When it was aired on BBC2 in 2005, the public reaction got so violent (there were 55,000 complaints) that certain executives received death threats and Lee became public enemy number one for religious group Christian Voice.

2. Lee has stated that he only appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and on Have I Got News for You in 2006 so that he could pay for his wedding.

3. A music lover, with incredibly varied tastes, Lee regularly presents for community radio station Resonance104.4 FM and promotes the project during his stand up routine. Described as “a virtual arts centre? on the airwaves which, “makes public those artworks that have no place in traditional broadcasting? Lee’s involvement is certainly commendable.

4. Along with his comedy compadre, Richard Herring, Lee contributed a substantial amount of material for Steve Coogan’s infamous incarnation – Alan Partridge. Lee jokingly claimed in a recent interview that Steve Coogan tried to encourage some illicit behavior during a car journeytouching Lee’s leg.

5. Lee is not a fan of heckling, so much so that he decided to terminate his stand-up routine nine years ago when a fan kept shouting “Tell more jokes! We’ve paid to hear jokes!?

6. He re-kindled his passion for punchlines in 2004, when he went from performing to a handful of die-hard fans, to selling out a national tour.

7. Comedians such as Ricky Gervais, Josie Long, Daniel Kitson, and Danielle Ward are all huge Lee fans.

8. Lee feels that, now he is older, fatter and greyer, his appearance fits better with his sardonic sense of humour.

9. Already Grumpy Mature Men, Lee says he would reunite with Richard Herring when they reach their 70’s as their brash brand of bickering would work better when performed by OAP’s.

10. And what does the future hold in store? Lee was recently quoted as saying, ” I’ll do another series of this if they offer me one. I don’t want to do any television that I don’t have complete control of. I don’t want to be in anything, really; I don’t want to act, I don’t want to present documentaries, I don’t want to be on quiz shows or in adverts or be interviewed about anything ever on camera by anyone. I don’t want to be in films. I don’t want to do anything with commercial West End musical theatre. I don’t want to develop characters as animated things for the internet. All I want to do is this series. If it gets re-commissioned, I’ll do a tour off the back of it…”


You have to admire his no nonsense attitude. I may even watch the second episode of Comedy Vehicle to see if it improves….

Sally McIlhone