After hearing comedian Frankie Boyle say that all comedian over 40 should quit because they're not angry enough any more, 42-year-old Stewart Lee ponders youth, piracy, pears and the hatefulness of the Top Gear presenters.
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Like many people, I've seen Stewart Lee's brand of intelligent self-deconstructive comedy done across a range of his shows, and essentially it is very similar in terms of what it does. Content Provider is no different and indeed contains the same 'interview' interludes as his recent BBC2 show did (albeit this time with Alan Moore in the Chris Morris place). Despite this, it continues to work well because it is the action of a well created character, but built on different material and approach each time. The idea of 2 hours of him berating his audience for not being smart enough, did make me wonder if I would like it, but it is how it is done, not that it is done again, that works. It is consistently funny throughout.
Here and there it drags on a bit - for effect I'm sure, but the Howard impersonation and the 1930's S&M bits all felt like they didn't need to be as long as they were. Hard to begrudge though, since mostly there is payoff to be had. It is a well-worn path at this point, and I'm not sure which of the groups in his audience I fall into, but Content Provider is another example of the quality of the comedian in how he works the crowd, and works within very strong and cleverly written material.
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