I’ve been watching a series on Sky Arts called Monty Python, almost the truth. Its really good and I recommend it for any other obsessives out there. I don’t think anything else has made me so jolly as Monty Python has. If I feel unwell or a bit down I’ll watch that or Not Only but Also (even though there’s hardly any of it bloody left).
I have my writing heroes including Neil Gaiman, Helen Dunmore and Sarah Waters. However the side of me that writes and performs for Braintree Ways is fascinated by comedy and those who enact it including Andy Kaufman, Eddie Izzard, the South Park pair, Peter Cook and Monty Python.
One person I saw at Edinburgh who intrigues me at the moment is Stewart Lee. I used to watch Lee and Herring as a child but his current stand up on programmes such as The Comedy Vehicle is fascinating (and funny).
In the first clip he breaks the fourth wall by mentioning a grandad and then declaring him not to be real, along with explaining the nuts and bolts of stand up to the audience and in a fake interview. This made me feel firstly as if I was watching something almost Brechtian and, secondly, intellectually pretentious enough to use Brechtian as a description.
The second clip is one of his repetative tangents which reminds me of my student poetry era. I’d go to various venues around Bath where the smoke would turn your eyes red and various people took turns in reading out their scribblings to live music. Stewart Lee’s rantings make me think of 50s/60s era beat and performance poets. See for yourself.