Author Topic: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience  (Read 43185 times)

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2012, 11:51:49 PM »
What would people say is an acceptable voice when imitating a stupid person? Seems to me that it's something many comedians need to have in their stand-up arsenal, and there's only four ways they can go with it: Regional, classist, "retarded" or some combination of the three. Each one is a potential minefield, really. Slee has a whiny-git voice that he uses for stupid opinions, which does kind of get around it, but you can't have everyone doing that.

Depends what kind of stupid person it is - there are many varieties.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2012, 11:57:58 PM »
Ideally, saying something stupid would be enough to imitate a stupid person.

Acting things out is a standard and necessary part of performance.  It's fairly fundamental, although the example of Stewart Lee proves that it's not absolutely fundamental - but that's his style.  He could easily wring as much meaning out of a stupid sentence by saying it slowly, in his own voice.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #62 on: June 09, 2012, 12:45:47 AM »
I do find the accusations Ince and Long get over this to be a bit unfair, aren't they just imitating the voices of the stupid and narrow minded people they've dealt with in life? For Josie Long, that's going to be people she knew from growing up in Kent because it's where she's from. S.Lee does occasionally go back into a midland accent when emulating an older stupid person, because it's just an accent he's able to imitate. There's stupid accents in every region, so surely it's just comedians doing the accent that's within their natural range. I do get a bit of a sense of elitism from some of Ince's material, but I don't object to him using that voice[nb]Not to be confusd with that voice[/nb]
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 01:02:21 AM by Thursday »

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2012, 12:53:41 AM »
He ought to have Richard Herring on, actually. He's become a bit of a 'cult' comedian and he's always going on about how he's never on telly these days. He's certainly been on it less than Josie Long recently.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2012, 12:57:20 AM »
I do find the accusations Ince and Long get over this to be a bit unfair, aren't they just imitating the voices of the stupid and narrow minded people they've dealt with in life? For Josie Long, that's going to be people she knew from growing up in Kent because it's where she's from. S.Lee does occasionally go back into a midland accent when emulating an older stupid person, because it's just an accent he's able to imitate. There's stupid accents in every region, so surely it's just comedians just doing the accent that's within their natural range. I do get a bit of a sense of elitism from some of Ince's material, but I don't object to him using that voice.

Agreed.  And Josie Long, when doing a daft voice in her BBC Radio 4 show, stops and points out it's actually her sister she's imitating.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2012, 01:43:13 AM »
Yes but there is no class system or signifiers of class in America. KLG has an American friend who says so, which proves it. This whole silly voice/working class discussion is irrelevant!

Theremin

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #66 on: June 09, 2012, 01:43:53 AM »
S.Lee does occasionally go back into a midland accent when emulating an older stupid person, because it's just an accent he's able to imitate.

I think in his book he mentions it's an impression of his grandma.

Agreed.  And Josie Long, when doing a daft voice in her BBC Radio 4 show, stops and points out it's actually her sister she's imitating.

I remember reading this enromous, drawn-out, bitter thread on here arguing about a voice she did in a bit about Sun readers. Dozen of pages, all of them rendered pointless by what you've just said.

KLG-7A

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2012, 01:50:37 AM »
Can you conceive of a situation where she wouldn't cover her bases like that? It's such a wishy washy excuse for obvious contempt. And so what if it is her sister? She's still choosing that voice for things in situations where it fits a little too well for snobby stereotyping. It renders nothing pointless.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2012, 01:51:09 AM »
I think in his book he mentions it's an impression of his grandma.


Well there's his mum, his grandma and I guess friends of there's as well.

And what about the people in the shop that liked him because he wore a long black coat.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2012, 01:54:24 AM »
Can you conceive of a situation where she wouldn't cover her bases like that? It's such a wishy washy excuse for obvious contempt. And so what if it is her sister? She's still choosing that voice for things in situations where it fits a little too well for snobby stereotyping. It renders nothing pointless.

So basically her comedy that's dealt with trying to improve yourself, and opening your mind to learning new things, and more recently political material -  about how tory policies and the cuts to everything in the public sector are fucking people over -has all been a veil to cover her hatred of working class people.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 02:06:53 AM by Thursday »

KLG-7A

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2012, 02:02:34 AM »
No, you're just pretending that my criticism extends to everything she's ever done because you're being a prick.

KLG-7A

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #71 on: June 09, 2012, 02:04:05 AM »
Well there's his mum, his grandma and I guess friends of there's as well.

And what about the people in the shop that liked him because he wore a long black coat.
I don't understand why you think that portraying provincial characters with provincial accents and attitudes is the same thing as making all thick people sound common.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #72 on: June 09, 2012, 02:12:34 AM »
I was being disingenuous. I wasn't seriously trying to suggest that that's what you were trying to say it extended to her entire output.

I'm not sure why you seem to think a comedians portrayal of thick people should be obligated to encapsulate thick people from a whole range of social classes, it's probably not something any of them have put that much thought into and they just went with the thick voice that seemed natural.

Also I've not met so many posh people who read The Sun.

It's hard to discuss this properly though, because I don't even know all the specific instances when Robin Ince and Josie Long have used these voices that you're referring to. It's not something I ever thought about until people here complained about it.

Dead kate moss

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #73 on: June 09, 2012, 02:24:39 AM »
I've always found it pretty cheap when someone, and this extends to comedians now that's the topic, characterises/repeats a stupid opinion/thing somneone said to them, with an exaggeratedly thick tone of voice. It's cheating. I usually say 'that's how they said it was it, like a retard?'

KLG-7A

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #74 on: June 09, 2012, 02:34:35 AM »
Thursday: I'm not obsessive enough to put a proper case together, so I'll have to disappoint you on that front.

I'm picking up those cues from Long from a combination of her behaviour, vocalisations and choice of subject matter, as well as things like telling off a man for reading Page 3 on a train and then tweeting about what she's done. It's not the easiest thing to convince doubters about on a forum with text. You've seen the same things as me, it doesn't matter what I write. To me these things are very obvious just from watching her work (same with Ince) that I feel you'd have to be naive or unusually trusting to not see it.

I don't think that thinking the torys are bad when your entire audience is going to lap that up is a get-out (nothing wrong with it, just not particularly useful as a defence here).

Theremin

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #75 on: June 09, 2012, 04:11:33 AM »
telling off a man for reading Page 3 on a train and then tweeting about what she's done.

Oh, I agree, the tweeting of it was very obnoxious.

thepuffpastryhangman

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #76 on: June 09, 2012, 08:22:39 AM »
Why are such overwhelmingly enlightened entertainers creating material that 'attacks the stupid' (or, to put it another way 'mocks the afflicted') anyway?

What IQ range is the legitimate target area? Presumably imitating, for laffs!!, someone with an IQ of 50, would be Gervaisian and helluva wrong. A 'comedy act' focusing on, even real life events, of someone with 'the intellect of a child' is clearly cuntish, so where does the bar sit happily?

For self appointed intellectuals, like Ince, and Oxbridge graduates, like Long, by common measures, 'attacking the stupid' is punching down. But moving on from the eternally talentless to a more general question; just how bright do the stupid need to be in order to render them fair game? And do they have to act maliciously to warrant an attack? And if they are "stupid", how can the degree of maliciousness of their actions be judged?

Finally, back to the IQ thing. If, say, comedian A has a genius IQ of 150, and our moral guardians decide it's fine for comedian A to mock the ignorant actions of someone with an (average) IQ of 100 (50 below that of comedian A) is then also fine for comedian B, who has an IQ of 100 to mock the ignorant actions of someone with an IQ of 50? Or does morality dictate comedians with lower IQs are range restricted in some way?

Well?

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2012, 09:12:38 AM »
But moving on from the eternally talentless to a more general question; just how bright do the stupid need to be in order to render them fair game?

I think this is a fair question, but how often do you hear comedians hanging themselves by ridiculing a low IQ or a lack of qualifications in others? These attacks on stupidity are usually attacks on stupid attitudes or beliefs, which even clever people are capable of holding. When this type of comedy is done well, rather than mocking the afflicted it serves to challenge those capable of changing their minds. The "stupid voice" is employed to accentuate the supposed stupidity, and to act as a kind of shorthand for it. It might be a voice which plays on stereotypes, but do you really expect comedians to eschew the comedic possibilities of caricature? I am sure they never will.

I have a feeling your counterpoint will be: "Then why not caricature blacks, gays, disabledses and other minorities too?" And the only honest answer is that the pendulum of political correctness swings to and fro and society will always be a bit hypocritical. That's just a fact that comedians have to take on board and work with, like anyone else in any other job.

Finally, back to the IQ thing. If, say, comedian A has a genius IQ of 150, and our moral guardians decide it's fine for comedian A to mock the ignorant actions of someone with an (average) IQ of 100 (50 below that of comedian A) is then also fine for comedian B, who has an IQ of 100 to mock the ignorant actions of someone with an IQ of 50? Or does morality dictate comedians with lower IQs are range restricted in some way?

This question is predicated on the belief that we know the IQ of any given comedian. We don't and we can't. However, the disparity between someone with an IQ of 150 and someone with an IQ of 100 is far less than that between one with an IQ of 100, which is normal, and another with an IQ of 50, who can't function in society. The clever mocking the average is obviously less offensive than the average mocking the mentally handicapped, and it does have the potential to be funny.

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #78 on: June 09, 2012, 09:13:20 AM »
Why are such overwhelmingly enlightened entertainers creating material that 'attacks the stupid' (or, to put it another way 'mocks the afflicted') anyway?

It's (one of) the role(s) of the comedian to attack stupidity.  It's an entirely different thing to 'mocking the afflicted'.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #79 on: June 09, 2012, 09:17:24 AM »
What a shit argument this has turned out to be.

thepuffpastryhangman

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #80 on: June 09, 2012, 09:49:20 AM »
I used the IQ figures as shorthand. I could've said 'Oxbridge graduates mocking GCSE free peeps' or used any other common yardstick.

CG - Is the comedian's role to 'mock stupidity'? I'd hope it's immorality/hypocrisy that's seen as the legitimate target. Most of the world's mega-cunts aren't stupid, they're immoral, greedy, selfish etc
Privileged Oxbridge elites attacking 'the man in the street' is little different, morally, than a Cabinet of multi-millionaires removing benefits from dole scum. Either way it's punching down.

What worries me is the failure to acknowledge the moral obligation of the enlightened, and, to apply (the opposite) 'don't know any better' moral waiver to the less well informed.

It's not stupidity that needs attacking, it's the motivations for distructive or inequality promoting behaviour. Lay off the stupid, it's not their fault.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #81 on: June 09, 2012, 10:08:14 AM »
It's easy to mock the stupid and they're less likely to respond.

Also, the likes of Long and Ince have probably been socially, emotionally and intellectually oppressed by many less intelligent people for much of their lives. I expect it's cathartic.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #82 on: June 09, 2012, 10:10:09 AM »
CG - Is the comedian's role to 'mock stupidity'? I'd hope it's immorality/hypocrisy that's seen as the legitimate target. Most of the world's mega-cunts aren't stupid, they're immoral, greedy, selfish etc

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Privileged Oxbridge elites attacking 'the man in the street' is little different, morally, than a Cabinet of multi-millionaires removing benefits from dole scum. Either way it's punching down.

It's entirely different.  If your neighbour is a stupid man who blights your life by playing loud music at 2 in the morning, having constant parties and leaving his rubbish all over your step, you can mock him regardless of what class he is and what class you are or whatever blimming university either of you went to.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #83 on: June 09, 2012, 10:34:29 AM »
What worries me is the failure to acknowledge the moral obligation of the enlightened, and, to apply (the opposite) 'don't know any better' moral waiver to the less well informed... Lay off the stupid, it's not their fault.

I take it you're not a fan of Morris or VLS then?

You seem to be saying that average-to-below-average intelligence or an upbringing without priviledge is a free pass for obnoxious behaviour. Not exactly good news for all the decent average people who have to live next to those who live their lives as one extended tantrum. If average means average then yours is a deeply pessimistic view of society which brooks no hope of change for the better, and no criticism of those who need it. It's not a magnanimous standpoint at all, even if you do phrase it in that sopping, saccharine way.

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #84 on: June 09, 2012, 10:37:36 AM »
1 nu

^
But you're (presumably) mocking the neighbour because of his lack of consideration, "selfish"ness etc. This is morally, rather than intellectually based, motivation. The target isn't stupidity, it's the unequal relationship.
But even with that example, how "stupid" is the right amount of "stupid"? What range places the neighbour in the 'legitimate target zone'?

And CG, I know you've mentioned Laos
and Kissinger in the sane sentence before now, ol' Henry's not daft, I doubt he annoys his neighbours either. And we'd attack him on a moral basis, he's obviously not stupid.
And that's what I mean, using "stupid" as a target is pointless. Calling someone stupid is equally redundant. Unless you're
actually blaming someone for being less able (even more ridiculously in an abstract sense) what's "stupid" got to do with it?
This irrelevance becomes disturbing when it's spouted by people who, by
conventional measures (however inadequate they may be) are at the opposite end of the stupidity spectrum.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #85 on: June 09, 2012, 10:45:07 AM »
And so, with Lee, Ince and Long and any other comedian, their attacks on stupidity are rarely context-free attacks on people less well-educated than them.  They're attacks on belligerence and against those whom, for whatever reason, they feel aggrieved by.

Zetetic

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #86 on: June 09, 2012, 10:59:11 AM »
And that's what I mean, using "stupid" as a target is pointless. Calling someone stupid is equally redundant. Unless you're
actually blaming someone for being less able (even more ridiculously in an abstract sense) what's "stupid" got to do with it?
I believe it comes down to - as with other examples such as moral failings - whether there's a general impression of choice; that it's fair game to mock people who are perceived as being able to change, or to have changed, their behaviour or beliefs but wilfully choose to ignore the effects of their actions or demonstrable evidence that would oppose their beliefs. I suspect that ultimately it comes down to an argument about the freedom of will.


thepuffpastryhangman

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #87 on: June 09, 2012, 11:04:09 AM »
1 nu

^
The belligerence in the words of Christ? That "love everyone" ethic must really wind 'em up. The Golden Rule's really asking for it. FFS.

I'm not sure how mocking Harry Potter readers or those preaching/teaching Christian ethics are worthy of attack on the basis you describe. I don't see the 41st Best Murdoch Employee getting his teeth
into... we could probably agree on a hundred more worthy targets than, Richard Hammond for example. But I'm straying from the "stupidity" thing now.

Though I will raise the point: if we're constantly told the Cabinet etc are out of touch because they've gone from private school to Oxbridge into an advisory role and never had a proper job, why isn't this criticism equally valid when levelled at entertainers who've gone a similar private school, Oxbridge, BBC route? Hardly Paddy McGuiness on the meat counter at Morrison's is it.

That said. I like Stewart Lee.

Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #88 on: June 09, 2012, 11:08:13 AM »

Also, the likes of Long and Ince have probably been socially, emotionally and intellectually oppressed by many less intelligent people for much of their lives. I expect it's cathartic.

This is what I think a lot of it is. Bookish, nerdy types are going to be the targets for bullies in school. Bullies often are thick, narrow-minded people and these are the kinds of people that I think their anger is directed at.




Dead kate moss

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Re: Stewart Lee: The Alternative Comedy Experience
« Reply #89 on: June 09, 2012, 11:08:19 AM »
I can see PPHM's point. Lots of fine comedy is very clever people just mocking the stupidity of the common man (and their ill-thought out opinions, etc). Mitchell & Webb reading inane texts when trying to do a modern news show, Chris Morris making people in the street look stupid by getting them to espouse their dumb ideas, any idiot character in a comedy... fine unless they are below a certain IQ level, then it's all offensive and off-limits.

The defence I suppose is that the common man (average iQ-ish) doesn't get attacked much for his intelligence and can do with being shown to be dumb on certain issues. Hopefully, (as a human) he should be able to laugh at himself in a way that seems unfair and cruel to ask the genuinely mentally challenged to do. But mostly, I feel it's morally ok because those of us (you and me and other clever people) cursed/gifted to be a bit smarter than average are so often genuinely oppressed by the comparative stupidity of the majority. Thus it's not punching down.