Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
|Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle|
|Created by||Stewart Lee|
|Directed by||Tim Kirkby|
|Voices of||Peter Serafinowicz|
|Theme music composer||Elias & His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes|
|Opening theme||Tom Hark|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Executive producer(s)||Armando Iannucci|
Stewart Lee (associate producer)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Productions|
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|Original run||16 March 2009– present|
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle is a comedy series created by Stewart Lee.
The BBC Two series debuted on 16 March 2009, and featured stand-up routines filmed at The Mildmay Club in Newington Green, and sketches based on a weekly theme, featuring amongst others Simon Munnery, Kevin Eldon and Paul Putner with voice-over parts recorded by Peter Serafinowicz. The series is produced by Richard Webb and directed by Tim Kirkby. The programme is executive-produced by Armando Iannucci and script-edited by Chris Morris, marking a rare reformation of their creative double-act.
Lee has stated that this is exactly the sort of show he has been wanting to do, saying:
|“||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.||”|
The series has been commissioned for two more series by the BBC in 2012 to air in 2014 and 2015.
The opening theme tune is "Tom Hark" by Elias & His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes.
- 1 Comedic references
- 1.1 Series 1
- 1.2 Series 2
- 2 Reception
- 3 References
- 4 External links
(aired from 16 March to 20 April 2009)
Episode 1: "Toilet Books"
References included Asher D from the So Solid Crew (and his appearance in Grange Hill), BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Chris Moyles, comedian Russell Brand and Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. This episode also included two lines borrowed - with permission - from Simon Munnery, because Lee wanted the first episode to have some one-liners to make it more accessible.
Episode 2: "Television"
References included The March of the Penguins, David Attenborough, Only Fools and Horses and various British television channels, but particularly Channel 4 and E4. Also, Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart", Dick and Dom, Adrian Chiles, Lord Reith, the mallard duck, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Samuel Beckett, Robert Kilroy-Silk's berry-brown face, Ant and Dec and Isaac Newton. It was also revealed during the red button extras for this episode that future episodes will be performed by way of Stewart miming the script to a recording of impressionist John Culshaw's voice.
Episode 3: "Political Correctness"
The third episode was far shorter on popular cultural references but The Village People were used in a sketch. Much of the material in this episode first appeared in '41st Best Stand-up Ever'. The few references included; Animal Farm, Weightwatchers, Kofi Annan and Nazism.
Episode 4: "Global Financial Crisis"
Episode 5: "Comedy"
The primary reference was to Franklyn Ajaye but Jack Dee was mentioned and his sitcom Lead Balloon was alluded to. (NOTE: This episode was intended as the last in the series of 6 but was transmitted as the 5th episode, moving the original 5th episode titled "Religion" to the last position. This change of order relates to the original date for broadcast of the "Religion" episode falling on Easter Bank holiday Monday.)
Episode 6: "Religion"
References included The Jesus Lizard, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jim'll Fix It, Laurel and Hardy, Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X and Abu Hamza al-Masri. The name '[Reverend] Arch Stanton' mentioned in this episode, is derived from the movie The Good The Bad And The Ugly', the name of which holds no significant relevance to the sketch it was featured in. The episode featured a developed version of a routine about Catholicism from Lee's controversial 90s Comedian (2005). The opening line was lifted from Lee's original early '90s stand-up act. Paul Merton made a self-deprecating cameo appearance. This episode also marked the first television appearance of controversial comedian/magician, Jerry Sadowitz in over 5 years, making a cameo in guise of Jimmy Savile.
(Filmed between 11 and 14 January 2011; aired from 4 May to 8 June 2011)
Episode 1: "Charity"
Sets out to explore some ideas about charity, but instead gets sidetracked and ends up talking mostly about crisps.
Episode 2: "London"
Looks at what happens to the poor souls who move to the countryside from London.
Episode 3: "Charity"
The comedian returns to the theme of charity, after failing to address it during the first episode of the series. He ponders whether people have a moral obligation to contribute, and how much money millionaires should give.
Episode 4: "Stand-Up"
Stewart Lee talks about stand-up comedy while sitting down and threatens to play a guitar to accompany his routine.
Episode 5: "Identity"
Stewart Lee looks at the notion of identity and how different nations define themselves.
Episode 6: "Democracy"
Stewart Lee moves on to the subject of democracy, revealing an extraordinary story from his time at Oxford in the mid-1980s.
Andrew Billen of The Times said it was "the most intelligent half hour of stand-up you will see on television this year" and that Lee "has become the master of deadpan stand-up". The Guardian Guide said "Lee's Vehicle feels well overdue, with his brand of bone-dry, spot-on scepticism a refreshing change from the perky, ambitious tones of the Mock the Week brigade [...] it's brilliant." Brian Viner of The Independent said "In my front room, Lee was preaching not so much to the converted, as to an ayatollah. He did so brilliantly, though."
The Guardian named Comedy Vehicle as one of its top ten television highlights of 2009, commenting that it "was the kind of TV that makes you feel like you're not the only one wondering how we came to be surrounded by so much unquestioned mediocrity". One of the show's few negative reviews came in the Sunday Mercury, which stated: "His whole tone is one of complete, smug condescension". Lee subsequently used this line to advertise his next stand-up tour.
In May 2010, the series was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award for Best Comedy Programme, which was won by The Armstrong and Miller Show. In May 2012, the second series of Comedy Vehicle was nominated for the same award, and won.
- Jonathan Trew (1 March 2009). "Stewart Lee interview: Putting his neck on the line". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- Rob Sharp (16 March 2009). "Who says you can't do jokes about religion on the BBC?". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- "Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle commissioned for two more series for BBC Two". BBC. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- "Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle - 'Television' episode extras". Red button extras for 'Television' episode.
- Andrew Billen (17 March 2009). "Last night's TV". The Times. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- The Guardian Guide - Saturday 14 March - Friday 20 March 2009, page 69.
- Brian Viner (17 March 2009). "Last Night's Television - Keep taking the mic". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- Dean, Will; Meer, Malik; Vine, Richard (19 December 2009). "Pop culture 2009: The year in lists". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- Laws, Roz (29 March 2009). "Stewart Lee is a condescending snob". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- Sommers, Jack (8 October 2009). "Stewart Lee: Protests cost me millionaire status". Get Hampshire. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- "John Hurt gets Bafta nod for Quentin Crisp role". BBC News. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Television Awards Winners in 2010". BAFTA. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Television Awards Winners in 2012". Bafta.org. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Arqiva British Academy Television Awards - Winners" (PDF). Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Stewart Lee and Victoria Wood among 2011 comedy winners". BBC News. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle at BBC Programmes
- Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle at the British Comedy Guide
- The barnacle of British comedy - The Guardian, 14 March 2009. Lee interviews himself for the paper shortly before broadcast of the first show.