(’70s GERMAN ROCK MUSIC PLAYING)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to enter the Carpet Remnant World of Stewart Lee!

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

That was a bit heavy metal, rock and roll that. Can we have some funny music at the start of the second half? Yup. Thanks for coming. (LAUGHTER) Okay. What news do you know about? Leveson Inquiry. That’s ongoing. News of the World went down. I was sorry to see The News of the World go down. I think it was a great campaigning newspaper. Not everything I say is sarcastic, Sheffield. Who can forget the News of the World’s high-profile campaign against child sex offenders which led, didn’t it, to News of the World readers burning down the home of a paediatrician. (LAUGHTER) Throwing rocks at a pedalo. (LAUGHTER) And stamping on a centipede. (LAUGHTER) Top-of-the-show pedophile jokes going down well. Good to have been on television and finally managed to attract so much of Jimmy Carr’s audience. The show’s not aimed at you, don’t come again.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m trying to find out what news you know about so I can weave stories into a seamless two-hour narrative-driven whole. A seamless narrative-driven whole. You have to do that, I think… If you’re a name comic out doing a long theatre show, you just can’t go out and do 90-minutes of unrelated little gags that you can subsequently chop up into smaller parcels and resell to Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo. Oh, yeah. You can do that, can’t you?

(LAUGHTER)

So what news do you know about? I think the funniest news story at the moment is the trial of the Norwegian Neo-Nazi mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. You’re going, “Hang on, there’s nothing funny about that, Stew.” But there is and, erm, (LAUGHTER) it’s this. That on his website, Anders Behring Brievik, the Norwegian Neo-Nazi mass murderer, has written this genuine sentence. “Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear (LAUGHTER) “is one of the few programmes worth watching on the BBC.” (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) I know. Now very rarely do you see a better example of what philosophers call the banality of evil. And remember all that’s required for Jeremy Clarkson to triumph is that Richard Hammond do nothing. (LAUGHTER) Remember when Jeremy Clarkson made those jokes about shooting strikers and everyone complained? There was a guy from the Daily Telegraph went on the Channel 4 News to defend him and he said, “Come on,” he said, “it was just a joke,” he said. “It’s not as if a Jeremy Clarkson fan has ever gone out and shot anyone.” (LAUGHTER) I thought, “Well, there was that one guy, “the mass murderer.”

Poor old Colonel Gaddafi had a bad year last year, didn’t he? The Libyans got fed up of their leader, pulled him out of a sewer, shot him in the face, mutilated the anus of his corpse with a knife and chucked him in a meat refrigeration unit, but they did that off their own backs, didn’t they, the Libyans. No one made them do it. They did it entirely voluntarily of their own initiative. What better example is there of the big society in action? (LAUGHTER) Will the big society work? Whether we think so depends on our immediate experience of society around us. Now of course, David Cameron thinks a big society will work because he lives in a nice little village in Oxfordshire, Witney, and all of four times a year, all the local people in Witney, that’s David Cameron, Jeremy Clarkson, Rebekah Brooks, and the cheese bloke from Blur, (LAUGHTER) they all get together voluntarily. They go out and they clear out the waste ground in the village, big society in action. Now I know that big society will work because where I live in Hackney, in East London, last August, all the local Turkish shopkeepers went out onto Dalston high road and attacked the rioters with kebab knives.

(LAUGHTER)

Now this show is called, Carpet Remnant World. Now since I’ve been on the telly, I’m picking up a lot of stragglers, people who don’t normally come and see me. This is twice as many people as I’ve played to in Sheffield before here tonight and the kind of people that come and see people just off the telly, the kind of shows you go and see by comics, they’re normally called things like “Laughtime” aren’t they, or “Joke-A-Rama 6”. Something like that. Now if you’ve seen me before, and I hope you have, I don’t like new people coming. (LAUGHTER) Er… You’ll know… What… My shows, they tend to be a relationship between the title and the content. That’s the bare minimum of what you should offer, I think. Not so much this year, though. It’s not really come together very well, this show. It was supposed to be about idealised notions of society and how we behave as collective groups and… But I’ve been a bit busy with one thing or another. It’s not really worked. So, but what I will do is about five minutes from the end, I, at about 10:00, I will… I will repeat the phrase “Carpet Remnant World” over some music and that will give the illusion of structure. (LAUGHTER)

And big laughs down here, for that, people down here. The people who bought tickets first, they’ve seen me before. They’re going, “Of course there’ll be content and structure. “We’ve seen him before. This is a comedic double bluff. Ha-ha”, right? But up there, there’s a lot of people they don’t really know what they’ve come to. They’ve come… Friends have brought them, the very worst… Couple of people that like me, they’ve gone, “Let’s get Gene and Chris to come as well.” And they’ve not… They’ve come and they don’t know who I am and they’ve been whispering all through it up there, in the top bit there. Like, “Is this who you wanted to see?” (LAUGHTER) “it seems like an aggressive lecture.” (LAUGHTER) it’s very strong, we’ll grant you that. That whispering doubt, that will spread all around the top balcony up there. And there will be no one laughing up there by the end because of people bringing their friends. I was quite happy with one night in Sheffield, to be honest, because when you’ve brought friends along and you can feel it’s not as good as it was last time, which is a shame because we’re filming it tonight. So thanks. (LAUGHTER)

You know, being on… I won some awards but that doesn’t help, British Comedy Awards. Because people go, “Oh, he’s won an award, we’ll enjoy that.” You won’t. (LAUGHTER) Winning a British Comedy Award is like having a big sign put over your head saying “Hey, dicks, come to this.” (LAUGHTER) What can you do, though? You can’t stop people coming. (LAUGHTER) it’ll be all right. It’s strong down here. I’ll just… I won’t even look up there. (LAUGHTER) So we’ll press on into the void. (LAUGHTER) I thought I’d record this here because last time I was in this theatre it was really fantastic but the audience is… We got two nights now. More people come, but you can see it’s a worse kind of person, isn’t it? (LAUGHTER)

Shame. (LAUGHTER) To have gone to all this trouble with all these cameras. “Oh, come to Sheffield, it was brilliant last time.” You know, it was, but… it’s all right, innit? it’s not… (LAUGHTER) Going well down here, innit? But up there. These people down here are thinking, “Oh, that’s the kind of thing he does. “Mucks about like this. It’ll be all right.” And up there there’s people going, “I’ve not seen him before. “He doesn’t seem to be able to do standup.” (LAUGHTER) I can. I can do it really well, actually. I’m really good at it. I’m so good at it that one of the things I do, is I make it look like I can’t do it, but I can. And if you’re sitting there having been brought by friends thinking, “Oh, he can’t do it.” The question you have to… I’ve been on stage thousands of times literally. The question you have to ask yourselves up there, people’s friends, is how many times have you been to standup and what kind of acts have you seen? It’s maybe four or five times. You haven’t seen the right sorts of people. You’ve got no context for me. So you’re not in any position to have an opinion about it. (LAUGHTER) Good, that’s warmed the room up. (LAUGHTER) it’ll be all right, don’t worry about it.

Okay. So on May the second, last year, I was driving along the M4, that’s what I mainly do now. I mainly drive around on motorways or look after my kids, that’s why I have not had really enough time to make this show good. So I was driving on the M4, it was the day Bin Laden was shot by the Americans and there were all different Americans coming on the radio talking about what they thought about it and it made me think: what we like, collective groups of people, here in society. Here’s four real quotes by real Americans on May the second, the day Bin Laden was shot. This first guy, he’s called Thomas Cox, he’s a construction worker, talking in Times Square on Radio 4, and he said, “I made Photoshop pictures of the Statue of Liberty “holding Osama’s bloody severed head “and handed them out to the crowd. It’s payback.” (LAUGHTER) it’s not, is it? The payback for Osama surely was being shot in the face at pointblank range. Thomas Cox’s offensive collage… (LAUGHTER) It merely adds insult to injury. (LAUGHTER)

Bin Laden was buried at sea, you’ll remember. This Thomas Cox goes on, he says, “We should have mounted his head on a spike. “I am hoping that the fish and the crabs are having a good…” (LAUGHTER) That’s never got a laugh before. I’m glad we came to Sheffield. After all, people found the combination of fish and crab amusing here in a way that no other British city has. (LAUGHTER) Erm… It was worth it… But only down here. The people up there… People there, “Fish and crab, who cares?” He said…

There isn’t time to improvise tonight, unfortunately, we’re filming it, so I just move on. Otherwise, I could have got 10 minutes out of that fish and crab bit. (LAUGHTER) Hello, Michael? Yes. Are you bringing the Roadshow here to Sheffield? Yeah, fish and crab stuff, they love it. (LAUGHTER) I basically go everywhere first and I sound it out for him. He ignores what I say. (LAUGHING) He, erm… “We should have mounted his head on a spike.” He said, “I’m hoping that the fish and the crabs are having…” No. See, second time… (LAUGHTER) Yeah, only once, though, only once. Don’t milk it. Paul Tonkinson will sort it out for you, all right. Erm… “We should have mounted his head on a spike. “I’m hoping the fish and the crabs are having a good meal on his eyeballs.” Now, it’s a very apposite quote that because as you all know, under Sharia law, if a Muslim man is buried at sea, it is required that their body be protected from the attentions of fish, and I think it was that that this Thomas Cox was alluding to there. (LAUGHTER)

If you’ve not seen me before, I don’t think that, I think the opposite of that. (LAUGHTER) Okay? That’s one of the things I do, I… I make a very bold statement about something, but the implication is actually the opposite of… I’m gonna do that about six times tonight, and then later on, about 9:45, I’ll go on about something for too long. (LAUGHTER) That will be later, all right.

Now, this next quote from an American called Steven Reginella, again on Radio 4 in Times Square, and he said, “They should have brought Bin Laden’s body here “and hung it from the lamppost. “In fact, they should have roasted him here like a chicken, (LAUGHTER) “so he would have seen what it felt like.” (LAUGHTER) it’s all over the place now, innit? “They should have brought Bin Laden’s body here,” alive, presumably, “and hung it from the lamppost.” What lamppost is that? The New York City designated corpse-roasting lamppost. Who should have done that? They should. Who are they? The New York City designated corpse-roasting team. They don’t do a lot of corpse roasting. Their duties mainly entail maintenance of the corpse-roasting lamppost. “Roast him like a chicken, so he would have seen what it felt like.” (LAUGHTER) “There you are, Bin Laden, on the lamppost, roasting, yeah. ‘Can you see what that feels like?” (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER) “I can f… I can f… I can feel what it feels like.” (LAUGHTER) “That wasn’t the question. What… “What if we hold this mirror up, a full-length mirror? (LAUGHTER) “Can you see what it feels like now?” (LAUGHTER) “I can see what it looks like?” (LAUGHTER) “This is exactly the kind of unhelpful behaviour we would expect…”

Roasted like a chicken. Why? We’ve all roasted a chicken at some point in our lives, haven’t we? No need for this kind of frontier justice, is there? He didn’t have any issues with chickens, did he? Bin Laden? It was the West that he hated, wasn’t it? And our values, not chicken. Imagine if he had hated chickens, Bin Laden. And he deployed the same level of firepower over a 10-year period to the eradication of poultry that he had to Western Democratic systems. I’m not an expert but I think we’d be looking at a very different global geopolitical setup. (LAUGHTER) Again, the laughs are down here for that, aren’t they? Up there, the people down here. People up there going, “What are they laughing at down there?” I’ll tell you. I said, (LAUGHTER) if he’d hated chickens, we’d be looking at a very different global geopolitical setup. And the people down here, I think, they just thought for a second about what that would be like. (LAUGHTER) They imagined it in their own heads. I don’t know what they imagined. Chickens on fire, I don’t know. But the important thing, people’s friends who’ve come by mistake, is they put in an extra bit of effort and they got more laughs out of that in their own heads, but you just sat up there, didn’t you, going, “He’s finished saying that.” (LAUGHTER) Then you had a little think, didn’t you, about something else. “Oh, £90,000 for an apartment in the park.” And then you went, “Oh, what’s… I wonder what he’ll say now.” (LAUGHTER) But you… I don’t… What… I don’t… if you’re sitting there, I’m not one of these who’s gonna act things out. I just do a gag, and I just leave it and I walk away from it, I let people make of it what they will, you know. There’s not… Do you know what I mean? (LAUGHTER) To raise your game. (LAUGHTER)

This next quote from an American was on the YouTube. You’ve seen that, where the people film themselves talking. This is an American lady talking to the camera. She said, “I so happy Osama be dead, “I climb stoplight and show my two titties at the crowd. (LAUGHTER) “Everyone be cheering. Everyone be whistling. “I so happy Osama be dead. “My titties be pretty big titties, too. “Osama one holy motherfucker, but he a man, “and I-a say-a he’d-a got a kick “out-a these hot titties.” (LAUGHTER) Word. (LAUGHTER)

This last one, this was on the YouTube, as well. A chap running around in one of the big towns there waving a flag, and he said, “They should get Max Hardcore out of jail…” I didn’t know who Max Hardcore was when I heard this quote. He’s a bloke. He’s in violent American pornography. And I didn’t know who he was, so I looked him up on the Internet. Now I’m on the sex offenders registry. (LAUGHTER) Max Har… Max Hardcore. I thought he was just a very efficient builder. (LAUGHTER) This is what he… “They should get Max Hardcore out of jail “to Reverse Cowgirl Osama’s body on the White House lawn. “Max would tear that Muslim faggot’s dead body a new hole. “Know what I’m saying? They should get Max “to Reverse Cowgirl him on the White House lawn “and FedEx the tapes to his family saying, ‘Look at this, you gay cunts. (LAUGHTER) “‘Fuck with America, you’re fucking with God. “‘Prepare to have your assholes ripped open.”‘ (LAUGHTER)

I know, it’s amazing. Amazing quote. Now, I don’t think it’s fair to make hard-and-fast generalisations about a whole society based on just four random quotes. But if I was gonna do that… I’d say what have we learned about America from these four quotes? It’s a coun… it’s obsessed with its own blind patriotism, with its own religious fundamentalism, with sexualised violence, and there’s a weird homophobic undercurrent going through some of those quotes, as well. Interesting thing about those four quotes. The second interesting thing about those four quotes, I think, is that of those four quotes, only two of them were made up by me. (LAUGHTER) Such is the depth of your blind anti-American prejudice. (LAUGHTER) You’ve got no idea which ones they are. “They could all be true, Stew! “And if they’re not they should be because that’s what they’re like!” (LAUGHTER) Making stuff up, making up quotes, not good enough, is it? But you know, what can I do? I’ve got nothing. I drive around and look after kids, I’ve got nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

Anyway, that’s enough making fun of America and the West. It’s time now to mock Islam and to ridicule individual Muslims. (LAUGHTER) People are very keen on that now. In comedy there was a big piece in the Daily Mail in December by Jan Moir saying there’s not enough anti-Islamic standup in Britain at the moment. Of course, they’re very keen on balance at the Daily Mail. It’s been a watch-word of the paper going way back to the 1930s. (MILD LAUGHTER) I know, it’s a good joke. No one gets it. -(LAUGHTER) – So… it’s an occupational hazard of standup now if you do a joke about anything. And you don’t immediately follow it up with a joke about Islam. People are, “What’s wrong with him?” These are the kind of e-mails you get. This sort of thing. “Dear BBC, I enjoyed Stewart Lee’s making fun “of Chris Moyles on TV last night “and I look forward to him mocking the Prophet Mohammed “in the same way next week. (LAUGHTER) “Yours, Norris McWhirter. (LAUGHTER) “Nuremberg.” (LAUGHTER)

Another one here. “Dear BBC, “I enjoyed watching Stewart Lee making jokes “about crisps last night, “but I doubt we will be seeing him having a go “at any Muslim snacks in the near future. (LAUGHTER) “On the politically correct BBC, “it appears there’s one law for crisps, (LAUGHTER) “and quite another for those mini poppadom things “that they sell in Marks & Spencer’s. (LAUGHTER) “Yours, Norris McWhirter. (LAUGHTER) “Argentina.” Yeah. Well, it’s a later postmark.

So, erm… I know, they don’t get it. It’s time… (LAUGHTER) So time to ridicule the Muslim now, in accordance with the Daily Mail‘s demands, and the Muslim we’re gonna be ridiculing tonight is called Mohammed al-Qubaisi. He’s from Dubai, he’s one of the top Muslim guys out there. (LAUGHTER) Yeah, people down there are laughing at that, as well they should because, of course, in Islam, there is no pyramid power structure. (LAUGHTER) So succession of Imams, er, Imams, all with equal power, so the idea of a top Muslim is… (LAUGHTER) Now, anyway this is what he said. Mohammed al-Qubaisi about Bin Laden being buried at sea. He said, “They can say they buried him at sea, “but they cannot say they did it according to Islam. “Sea burials are permissible for Muslims “in extraordinary circumstances only, “and this is not one of them.” (LAUGHTER) Let’s have a quick recap on those circumstances. (LAUGHTER) Osama Bin Laden was shot in the face at pointblank range in front of his family after a possibly illegal American incursion into Pakistani airspace following a 10-year campaign to bring him to justice for flying two hijacked, fully-laden passenger aircraft into the World Trade Center killing literally thousands and thousands of people. What has made this Mohammed al-Qubaisi so jaded? (LAUGHTER) that this does not fit his definition of extraordinary circumstances? What a jaded, jaded man, Sheffield. Not the sort of man you’d wanna have to organise a surprise birthday party for. (LAUGHTER)

So that’s the Muslim ridiculed. Time now for some anti-Islamic standup. Jan Moir in the Daily Mail says there’s not enough standup at Islam. There’s loads, actually, if you think about it. There’s Roy “Chubby” Brown, your spiritual king in this region. He, er… (LAUGHTER) He goes round and round doing loads. And Tim Minchin’s done stuff about Islam to stadiums full of people. Of course there’s dozens of British comics of an Islamic background talking about it all the time night after night. So I think really there’s so much standup about Islam, I don’t really know what to bring to the table, so what I’ve been trying to do on this tour is something that has not been done before, I’ve been trying to do observational comedy. Yeah. That’s kind of BBC One, ITV One, sort of. “Oh, look at that,” kind of stuff. (LAUGHTER) I’ve been trying to do observational comedy of a specifically anti-Islamic bent. Yeah. Anti-Islamic observational comedy. I’ve had some good reviews for that. People going, “Brilliant! “Like Islamophobic Michael Mclntyre!” That was good. “Superb! The John Bishop of cultural relativism.” (LAUGHTER)

So, here we are now, Sheffield, with some anti-Islamic observational comedy. Anti-Islamic observational comedy. Observational comedy. (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) (LAUGHTER) (LEE SIGHS) (MIC POPS) (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER) (LOUD LAUGHTER) (SIGHS) (LAUGHTER) Have you seen these Muslims they have now? (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) That’s the end of that bit. (LAUGHTER) People up there are going, “Oh, now it’s picking up.” (LAUGHTER)

I’ve got three, erm, anti-Islamic one-liners now that I’m hoping to sell on to Roy “Chubby” Brown. Here they are. (IMITATING BROWN) “Hey, you know, one in two kids born in Britain today is called Mohammad. “And that’s just the girls. I’ve not got the exact figures.” (LAUGHTER) (IMITATING BROWN) “Did you know one in two Islamic hate preachers in Britain today “has got a hook for his hand. I’ve done no research.” (LAUGHTER) (IN HIS OWN VOICE) Do you know one in two people claiming to be a spokesperson for the entire British-Muslim community is, in fact, the unelected leader of a non-democratic special-interest fringe group given ideas above its station by a misguided New Labour community bridge-building initiative? (LAUGHTER) Some laughs. A lot of people going, “What was that? What was that supposed to be?” (LAUGHTER) I’ll tell you what that was, my come-in-error friends, that was the best joke about Islam in Britain anyone has ever done. That’s what that was. It was even-handed. It was informed. It’s what you say you want, isn’t it? You go, “Do stuff about Islam!” I just did. “Not like that, Stew. (LAUGHTER) “Not where you have to know anything. (LAUGHTER) “When we said do stuff about Islam, we meant make fun of their hats.” (LAUGHTER) What can I do? I got nothing. You know, I drive around. I look after kids. I got nothing.

But fair enough, for not laughing at that. it’s an edgy subject. It makes people uncomfortable. You’re thinking, “Where is this going?” If you got stuff that makes people uncomfortable what they say on the comedy course is now, they say, take the curse off it. Take the edge off it. Personalise it, yeah? Make it personal to you. So I was walking around with my son, who’s real. (LAUGHTER) I walking around where I live with my son and there was a Muslim lady coming on the road towards us. It’s a very cosmopolitan area, where I live in London, very cosmopolitan area. (MILD LAUGHTER) No, it is. My, er… (LAUGHTER) My dentist… it’s a very cosmopolitan area. My dentist is actually a lesbian. (LAUGHTER) At least, I assume she’s a lesbian because, er, she had me out under general anaesthetic and when I came around, I hadn’t been sexually assaulted. (LAUGHTER) There was some rectal bleeding. (LAUGHTER) You expect that at my age, obviously. (LAUGHTER)

Different pockets of laughs, weren’t there, throughout that joke. (LAUGHTER) But never a point where the whole theatre laughed as one. Why not? Not a very good joke, that’s why. (LAUGHTER) Let’s go back over it and see what was wrong with it. (LAUGHTER) Yeah, now it wasn’t clear, was it? What the point of it is. (LAUGHTER) What was I saying? Was I saying, “Hey, guess what? “I’m so attractive my dentist must be a lesbian, otherwise she would have sexually assaulted me when I was unconscious”? Was that the joke? Some people thought so. Or was the joke that I was implying that all dentists are indiscriminate sexual predators. (LAUGHTER) It wasn’t clear, not everyone laughed. So what I did, I don’t know if you noticed, I put an extra bit on the end, didn’t I, about rectal bleeding. (LAUGHTER) And for a lot of you that just tipped the joke over, didn’t it? To be funny enough to laugh at. And that’s an old standup trick, we all do that. If you watch a lot of standup, you see we all do it. Got a joke, not funny enough, put an extra bit on the end about anal rape or rectal bleeding (LAUGHTER) and that will just nudge it into being funny. Old standup trick, extra bit on the end, anal rape, rectal bleeding. We have a name for that technique in the trade, we call it Boyle’s Law. (LAUGHTER)

Anyway, I was walking along where I live with my son. He’s 4 years old. There’s a Muslim lady coming towards us. Full burka, just her eyes showing and my son, he’s 4. He meant nothing by this. He looked at her and then he said to me, “ls that a ghost?” Right? I thought, “What are you gonna say? What am I gonna say?” So I said to him, “No, it isn’t a ghost. “It’s a lady. She’s religious and she believes in God “and she believes that God wants her to cover her face.” I thought, “That’s all right, say that.” And then my son said, “Why?” (LAUGHTER) It was at that point that I realised I’d reached the limit of my knowledge of Islam. (LAUGHTER) Don’t really know any more about it than that, and the killings and stuff, and neither do you, do you? You don’t know anything about it either. Even those of you of Islamic background are normally quite hazy (LAUGHTER) about the details when pressed. And that’s why it’s so difficult to do jokes with any real depth on the subject. Because there isn’t really enough of a shared collective pool of knowledge between performer and audience to be able to move off the most obvious areas really. So stop sending me your stupid fucking e-mails. (LAUGHTER)

“Why?” That’s always the terrible moment in parenting, isn’t it, if you’ve got kids. “Why?” Now, normally, I just say, “Because I say so,” and I leave it at that. But that wouldn’t work in this situation, if you think about it. (LAUGHTER) “God wants her to cover her face.” “Why, Dad?” (LAUGHTER) “Because I say so.” That’s handing a child a lifetime of psychological illness, isn’t it? Forty years later, he’s in therapy. (IN GERMAN ACCENT) “When did you first decide that your father had power over the gods?” (LAUGHTER) Always Spanish, aren’t they, those blokes. (LAUGHTER) Yeah, you like that! The switcheroo! (LAUGHTER) He sounded German, it turned out he was Spanish. (LAUGHTER) Not impossible, is it? Could have been born in Spain, trained in Germany, come over here to work. (LAUGHTER) Maybe it’s not such a funny situation after all. You have to watch out, some of the jokes are traps. (LAUGHTER) They are not meant to be laughed at. You walked into it.

(LAUGHTER)

Why? I mean, 10 years ago I wouldn’t have faffed around trying to say the right thing. I’d just have said to him, “it’s because she’s religious “and that’s the same as being mentally ill.” (LAUGHTER) But the problem is now, right, my wife, his mother, who I love, she’s proper religious kinda church Catholic. So these days, I have to maintain a gossamer-thin false veil (LAUGHTER) of painfully begrudged tolerance for people’s mad beliefs. (LAUGHTER) (IN AMERICAN ACCENT) If I wanted to make me a fucking sandwich. (AS ANNOUNCER) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Just for Laughs, the 95th Montreal International Comedy Festival, bringing you the best of North American standup. (AMERICAN ACCENT) So I said to my wife, “Shut up, bitch! “Suck my dick, lick my ass “and make me a fucking sandwich!” (LAUGHTER) That’s all it is for two weeks. (LAUGHTER) First week in English, second week in French. (LAUGHTER) Weirdly, in French, that sentence sounds rather delightful. (LAUGHTER) Listen. (LAUGHTER) “Tais-toi, salope. (LAUGHTER) “Caresse mon cu! avec ta langue, (LAUGHTER) “caresse ma bitte avec tes lévres, (LAUGHTER) “et quand tu as fini, sois gentille “et fais-moi un putain de delicieuse baguette (LAUGHTER) “Et en plus, je saignat de mon anus. ” (LAUGHTER) No? (LAUGHTER) – Right. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHS) Heh, er… Okay, usually when we’re not filming the show, that joke goes so well that I end the first half on that. (LAUGHTER) “Je saignat de mon anus. ” People, “Yeah! Brilliant.” (LAUGHTER) Callback in French. Applause. People go, “Yeah!” And I go, “Yeah, that’s the end of that.” (LAUGHTER)

You can’t end it like that, can you? You can’t end it with 500 Sheffield people just looking at you. (LAUGHTER) Can I have about five minutes, yeah? We got enough tape. (LAUGHTER) Right, okay. I’m gonna explain what the joke is. I’m gonna do it again. (LAUGHTER) Because I want to end… I want to… You know I said I wasn’t gonna do anything differently just because we’re filming it? I am gonna do this differently because it’d be really awkward, you know. It’s been a high point, that side of Sheff… I don’t know. Okay. (LAUGHTER) “Je saignat de mon anus, ” right? That is a callback to the idea that you put a bit about rectal bleeding on the end of a joke to… “Je saignat de mon anus” that’s, “I’m bleeding from my anus” in French, right? And it was about three minutes ago, the set-up for that. (LAUGHTER) I tell you what… I got this comic, Hils Barker, to translate that, and she said, Je saignat de mon “an-nu”. And I said to her, I’m gonna say “ay-nus”. Because then people will have no excuse for not… (LAUGHTER) We don’t do languages here, so… Erm… Even if it’s obvious what the words mean. It’s a point of principle. Erm… (LAUGHS) Er… Okay, it doesn’t matter, but… (LAUGHTER) Forget that. We’ll dub a big… You’ll see this when it’s made. There’ll be a huge laugh dubbed on. It won’t matter. (LAUGHTER) I’ll cut away to a football stadium of people. (LAUGHTER) I’ll get some footage from Michael McIntyre’s video, cut it in. (LAUGHTER)

Okay, the worry is, though, that there is a whole second half to come, right, (LAUGHTER) and that was just three minutes, that callback. And the problem is the second half is all things that relate back to the first half. (LAUGHTER) And I don’t know if up there, you’ve been… I don’t know what’s gone in. I think the problem is that (LAUGHTER) people today, especially young people actually, you’re used to watching little tiny things on your phones and stuff, aren’t you, and short things. This isn’t a succession of moments. This show is a continuum, right, it’s like a narrative. So it’s not, like… When I’ve said something, you can’t go, “Oh, he said that, I’ll erase that from my mind.” You might come back… it’s like if you meet someone in life. You’re not, “I’ve met them, I’ll forget them now.” (LAUGHTER) Well, anyway, so… And I don’t know what’s gone in, it doesn’t matter but if… I don’t… I really wanted to film this here, because it was so good here before and I don’t know what’s happened tonight. it’s okay, but it’s not… So I’m just gonna go back… I’m just gonna go back over the first half. (LAUGHTER) Not every line of it! I’m just gonna flag up things that you should have noticed. (LAUGHTER) And then when we get to edit this, if the second half is still not really good, I won’t be looking and thinking, “Oh, I could have…” I’ll have done whatever I could have done, yeah, to… (LAUGHTER) You with it?

Okay, so I… I came out, didn’t I, at the beginning. (LAUGHTER) I did. (LAUGHTER) Remember when there was no one here? (LAUGHTER) And then I was here, that’s when I came out. (LAUGHTER) I know you didn’t… Because you were talking with your friend. Going, “Oh… “I went down to The Moor today.” (LAUGHTER) With me, I think about everything, and there was loud rock music. Amon Duul II, that was, from Germany. And I went, “Oh don’t…” I went, “Oh, don’t play that. That’s too loud.“ Play something funny in the second half. I always get them to play that music. (LAUGHTER) it’s setting up a joke for the start of the second half. You’ll see when I come back on. (LAUGHTER) So I came out and I talked about… I did sort of topical stuff, didn’t I, about five minutes of topical stuff. I expect some of you were going, “We don’t need to listen to this. “It’s sort of warm-up stuff.” You’re very wrong because it was. it’s… (LAUGHTER) It looked very casual, didn’t it? “And what about this bit of news?” But it all was about ideas of idealised societies, wasn’t it, if you think about it. And that’s what I wanted you to log from that. I don’t know if that went in. Then I did about 10 minutes, I read out things other people said in a sarcastic voice and it was funny. (LAUGHTER) Yes, it was, you all laughed. (LAUGHTER) You can’t go, “That’s all it was,” and withdraw your laughter. You can’t. Then I did about 15 minutes on something funny my son said, didn’t I? That was about Islam, it was quite interesting. But at the end of the day, what kind of a routine was that? Oh, dear, it was a Don’t Kids Say The Funniest Things? routine. (LAUGHTER) And if you’re a 44-year-old standup and you’re in Sheffield on a Friday night talking about something funny your kid said, you should kill yourself right there. (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

But what can I do? I’ve got nothing. I’ve got no stuff. I drive around, I look after kids. I’ve got nothing. I have no experiences. I don’t know about anything to talk about. I drive round and round. Hundred and fifty nights I was on the road last year, you know. I’m not complaining. I’m very lucky to be able to do this and I enjoy performing, you know. Not tonight, obviously. (LAUGHTER) it’s not enjoyable. It’s interesting. Not enjoyable. It’s like being trapped in a thicket. (LAUGHTER) Trying to get out, you know. It’s an interesting problem. It’s not fun, is it? Hundred and fifty nights and I… You know, I used to like that in the ’80s, going around, but now, everywhere is the same, you know. Sheffield is quite interesting. It keeps changing. It’ll be nice when you’ve decided what it’s supposed to be, I think. (LAUGHTER) That place, The Park, I remember when that was awful. That’s brilliant now, isn’t it? You know, you never know… But most places are just… They’re all the same now. There’s an old bit that was like a Victorian slum, that’s now the bit everyone wants to live in. Then there’s a ’70s bit that was the bit everyone liked in the ’70s is now the bit everyone hates. And in that bit, there’s a Poundland, a Superdrug and a branch of The Works. (LAUGHTER) In every town. And The Works, to be honest, that’s the only thing to me that’s interesting about travelling around Britain now, going in The Works. Because you never have any idea what’s gonna be in The Works. (LAUGHTER) Sort of stocked at random. (LAUGHTER) it’s nominally a bookshop, but it appears to be run by people who have a deep-seated suspicion of books. (LAUGHTER) And they’ll do anything they can to stock anything other than a book. (LAUGHTER) You go in The Works, “ls this a bookshop?” “Yes.” “Have you got Ragnarok, by A.S. Byatt. It’s won lots of awards?” “No.” (LAUGHTER) “Have you got this new book, Savage Continent, “about the aftermath of World War II? It’s been…” “No, no.” “Have you got any novels by Dan Rhodes? He has a new novel out. “A novelist. Everyone thinks he’s good.” “No.” “Have you got a triple pack of 1930s Belgian horror films, (LAUGHTER) “a 1998 Richard Bacon calendar, (LAUGHTER) “and a papier-maché Make Your Own Concentration Camp craft book? (LAUGHTER) “Oh, we’ve got them, yeah. “And they’re on a three for the price of two offer at the moment.”

Apart from The Works, going around the country is just… Going back to the same places year after year, it makes you feel… Twenty-five years makes you think about your own mortality, your own life. I’ll give you an example of what I mean. My dad, for example. My dad is dead now, but my dad was a rep for a cardboard company. And he spent 50 years driving around the motorways, showing people samples of cardboard. Not real cardboard, obviously. Samples of what cardboard could be like. (LAUGHTER) I think about him, I think about me. I’ve spent 25 years driving around the motorways showing people samples of jokes. (LAUGHTER) Not, er… (LAUGHTER) Do you see how impossible it is to work this room? Because I… No… You can’t because… Down here, I don’t even need to finish that joke off. They… They’ve thought, “Oh, yeah, samples of jokes. “That will be the same as samples of cardboard. “Samples of what jokes could be like.” But up there, you’re just going, “Why is he talking about cardboard?” it’s actually not do-able. (LAUGHTER) There’s very… Because down here, this is like a vision of a… This is what it could be like, you know? (LAUGHTER) Where you don’t… You’re not like some dick, like, doing jokes, you’re just putting an idea out there and they play around with it and it comes back to you. It’s like a dialogue, like a vision of a Utopian… And then up there… (LAUGHTER) it’s never gonna be that because of… it’s extremely fru… Particularly tonight, it’s frustrating that this would happen when it’s being filmed, because you can feel… This could be the best… It is within sight of being the best standup that’s ever been filmed. (LAUGHTER) But it won’t be because about a third of the room… That’s why I came back here. I love this theatre. This is the… Two or three years ago this was the biggest room I’d ever played. I thought, “I’ll go to Sheffield, I’ll do it there.” And it’s not… it’s… What’s so frustrating, twenty-five years and I have been… Every year, I build up, getting them people. I don’t know what’s gone wrong. I don’t know what’s gone wrong. (LAUGHTER) You can feel, down here, it’s like a different thing. You can feel down here.

I wish I was dead. (LAUGHTER) Not dead. I wish I was a dead comedian. Because you love dead comedians, don’t you, all of you. You love the dead comedians, don’t you? Oh, Frank Carson. Oh, dead. Brilliant, Frank Carson. He’s dead. Oh, Ken Goodwin. Oh, dead Ken Goodwin. Oh, he’s brilliant. The middle class people. Oh, dead Bill Hicks. Oh, Bill Hicks. Dead Bill Hicks. Oh, he was brilliant. I wish I was dead Bill Hicks. (LAUGHTER) I wish I could be judged on two hours of material. (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) Lazy, dead, fat Bill Hicks. It’d be easy to be dead Bill… it’s easy being dead. (LAUGHTER) The hard thing, if you’re a comedian, is to stay alive. (LAUGHTER) People knocking out a new two hours every year, gradually decreasing the quality of your own obituary. (LAUGHTER)

This is an incredibly frustrating situation for the… To be filming tonight and to have this… It makes me feel impotent, you know. Powerless. No control. Of course, my wife wants me to have a vasectomy. (LAUGHTER) Though even she admits there isn’t really any pressing need. (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER CONTINUES, APPLAUSE) Do you feel… When you’ve been married a long time, anyone, do you feel that your partner stops viewing you as a sexual being? Do you find that? Sheffield? (LAUGHTER) I do. (LAUGHTER) As an example of what I mean, I’ve been married seven years. Six years ago, we’d been married a year. I went off to work in Germany for two months. And while I was there I ran out of pants, yeah? Now like a lot of men, I don’t really know where my pants come from. (LAUGHTER) I always seem to have some, but I don’t remember ever buying any. (LAUGHTER) So I bought some pants in Hannover. German pants. Blue pants with yellow stars on them. I got back to London, one year of marriage, and my wife said to me, “You bought new pants. Are you having an affair?” (LAUGHTER) Which is funny but it’s also… it’s good. Because within that is the suggestion that I could have an affair. That someone could desire me, that I could desire someone as a sexual being in her eyes. Six years later, seven years of marriage, I’ve been on this tour for months. I ran out of pants. I bought some new pants in Lincoln, I think. Lincoln pants. (LAUGHTER) Green ones, you know. (LAUGHTER) They didn’t have any other colours. (LAUGHTER) It hides the stains, doesn’t it? Of my urine, which is green for the purposes of this… (LAUGHTER) I got some new pants, six years of marriage later, seven years of marriage. And my wife said, “Oh, you’ve bought new pants. “Did you shit yourself at work?” (LAUGHTER) It doesn’t give me any pleasure to get such big laughs off a… A “shit your pants” joke. (LAUGHTER) Not when some of the good stuff has gone to nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

And when there’s people who have brought their friends and they’ll be saying to them afterwards. They said to them before they brought them, “He’s like a post-modern… “He’s very clever, he deconstructs the art of perform…” And then their friends are going, “I like the shitted pants bit.” (LAUGHTER) What can you do? I’ve got nothing. I drive around, I look after kids. I didn’t want to end the first half on a shitted pants bit. (LAUGHTER) I wanted to end it on a callback in French. (LAUGHTER) But you wouldn’t have that, would you? You get the shows you deserve. (LAUGHTER) That’s it, that’s how the first half ends.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

(ELECTRONIC MUSIC PLAYING)

STEWART LEE: Please welcome back, Stewart Lee.

(AUDIENCE CHEERING) (SILLY MUSIC PLAYING) (LAUGHTER) it’s not really what I… Thank you for coming back. So many of you. Now when my son said, er… “ls that a ghost?” Yeah? (LAUGHTER) From the first half. He’s not mad, okay? What it is, his main thing that he likes is Scooby Doo, right? And he watches Scooby Doo all the time on TV and DVD. So consequently he’s on the lookout for Scooby Doo stuff in his life. Like monsters, ghosts, vampires, pirates, zombies, whatever, because he watches Scooby Doo all the time. And consequently I watch Scooby Doo all the time as well because I do a lot of the child care. By which I mean I watch TV with him. (LAUGHTER) I care for him that way. So I watch Scooby Doo all the time, that’s what I mainly do. I mean, drive around doing gigs or watch Scooby Doo with a child. Consequently, I don’t know about anything. I don’t have any experiences or know about anything at all. I just know about Scooby Doo and driving around and Scooby Doo. I mean, you know… If you’ve seen me, you know, a couple of years ago here, when I was good, erm… (LAUGHTER) by now I would have talked about Franz Kafka and ancient history and all, like, amazing stuff that happened to me. But I don’t know about anything any more. Just don’t have any interests or experiences. You know, I mean, in the last 18 months, for example, I’ve only seen two films. I’ve seen Archipelago, which is an art film about middle class people on a disappointing holiday. (LAUGHTER) And I’ve seen a 70-minute cartoon called Scooby Doo and the Pirate Zombie Jungle Island (LAUGHTER) a hundred and eighty times. (LAUGHTER) And I now know more about Scooby Doo and the Pirate Zombie Jungle Island than I do about any other aspect of human culture or history, and I hear the pirate zombies when I sleep and I see the Jungle Islands in my dreams, and that’s all that I really know about. I don’t know about anything else any more. And it’s very difficult being a standup only knowing about a pirate zombie jungle island. Because I might see something, “I could write a routine about that!” But I can’t because I can only think of it in terms of a pirate zombie jungle island. And that’s not of interest to people. So I’ve got nothing. (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER)

You seen those rope bridges in the jungle? (LAUGHTER) Yeah? Come on, we’ve all seen them, yeah? The jungle? Yeah? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what I’m talking about. The jungle canyon rope bridges, yeah? Over the canyons in the jungle, the rope bridges. They’re… The thing… With all the planks, yeah. The thing about them that I’ve noticed, the jungle canyon rope bridges. Yeah, they’re always broken, aren’t they? Have you noticed that? (LAUGHTER) Yeah, all the planks are all smashed and all the vines are all frayed and hanging. Why? Why are the jungle canyon… Why? That’s what I wanna know. Why are the jungle canyon rope bridges always broken? Tory cuts. (LAUGHTER) They don’t care about the jungle canyon rope bridges. They don’t use them, do they, the Tories? Flying around in helicopters and chauffeur-driven cars. They pretend to be like us, don’t they? But every now and again, the mask slips, doesn’t it, when they pretend to be like us, the Tories. Remember what David Cameron said about his wife Samantha when he was pretending to be like us? He said, “In many ways Samantha is a very ordinary girl. “She once used a jungle canyon rope bridge.” (LAUGHTER) Did she fuck! Because they’ re always broken, aren’t they? Didn’t used to be like that, did it? In the old days, in the ’40s, in the ’50s, after the war. Back then, the jungle canyon rope bridges, you could see your face in them, couldn’t you? Yeah. The planks were all shiny. The vines were tight, weren’t they? After the war, ’40s, ’50s, post-war socialist Utopia, contract with the people, call the midwife, etc., etc. Yeah? Remember what William Beveridge said in 1942, architect of the post-war socialist democracy? This is what he said, 1942, William Beveridge, he said, “All mystery investigating teenagers…” (LAUGHTER) “…and dogs…” Dogs? (LAUGHTER) Dog. Dog… You’ve seen that on Scooby Doo, when they go, “Is that your dog?” And he goes, “Dog?” Like that. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. He thinks he’s a human, Scooby Doo. He’s very indignant about being called a dog. They go, “Would your dog like a drink?” He goes, “Dog?” Like that, as if… You have to watch it a lot! (LAUGHTER)

He thinks he’s a human, Scooby Doo. Not a dog. Although weirdly he is always sexually aroused by female dogs. (LAUGHTER) Female dog comes in, his heart’s going like that. So he thinks he’s a human, Scooby Doo, but with very low self-esteem. (LAUGHTER) William Beveridge, 1942, architect, post-war socialist democratic Utopian vision of a better tomorrow. This is what he said. He said “All mystery investigating teenagers “and dogs…” Dogs? “Of working age…” Yeah, remember? “…should pay “a weekly national insurance contribution.” That’s what he said. “And in return “all the jungle canyon rope bridges (LAUGHTER) “will be fully maintained in a safe condition.” That’s what he said, William Beveridge, 1942. Not like that now, is it, Sheffield? Worse if anything, wasn’t it? In the ’80s under Thatcher, yeah, remember? Now I know it was pretty bad here in the ’80s under Thatcher. Pretty bad where I grew up, in the Midlands, in Birmingham. In Birmingham, in the ’80s under Thatcher, the jungle canyon rope bridges, well, there weren’t any, basically. (LAUGHTER) You go out in the ’80s, in Birmingham, under Thatcher and you go, “I’ll just cross over this canyon.” There’d be nothing there. (LAUGHTER) Just an empty cliff with some stakes hammered in the top of it. No bridge, just all torn vines hanging down, blowing in the wind. And then you’d look down over the, down in the canyon, in Birmingham, in the ’80s, under Thatcher, and there’d be all the Birmingham people all fallen down there. (LAUGHTER) Dead from the fall, but with third-degree burns because on the way down, they spilled the hot Bovril on themselves. Yeah? (LAUGHTER) Yeah, all the Birmingham people in the ’80s under Thatcher walking along, mug of hot Bovril in one hand, tin pail in the other, a tin pail full of faggots. Noddy Holder from Slade controls the faggot supply. (LAUGHTER) Walking along in the ’80s, the Birmingham people under Thatcher, mug of boiling-hot Bovril, tin pail of faggots. “I’ll just go over this rope bridge. Ah, there isn’t one! “Ah, I’m falling down. “Oh, I’ve spilt all this Bovril on me, ahhh!” (LAUGHTER)

Dead in the canyon, yeah? People up there, they’re going, “Oh, this routine has gone on a bit long. (LAUGHTER) “I expect he’ll stop doing it and talk about something else.” No, I won’t do that. (LAUGHTER) it’s picked up, though, hasn’t it, from earlier. Better atmosphere now. What happens is, at halftime, people have a little chat with their friends and they go, “What do you think?” “I like it.” “I do as well, then.” (LAUGHTER) They make me sick, people like that. I’d rather you just sat there hating it than have lied. Bare it. You’re all right, aren’t you? Picked up. The worse crowds are, erm… London, the week before Christmas. It’s a waste of time. People just go out at random to anything. I normally sell stuff after the show. I wasn’t gonna bother tonight. I might do now, if it’s been all right. (LAUGHTER) Well, you don’t just wanna sit there with loads of people filing past spitting at you. But it’ll be all right. It’ll be all right. And I was selling stuff in London afterwards at Christmas and I heard a young girl, about 20, and she went, “I didn’t really… I didn’t really get that stuff about “the jungle canyon rope bridges, to be honest,” she said, “because I wasn’t born in the ’80s.” (LAUGHTER) Ah, it’s heartbreaking, innit? As a young woman, she’s thinking, “if only I’d been born in the ’80s.” Do you remember when there was a funding deficit, at both national and regional level, for the provision of jungle canyon rope bridges? (LAUGHTER) Young people are idiots, aren’t they? I can’t… I hate them. I can’t stand anyone under 40. (LAUGHTER) Now if you’re young, why would you come to this, you know, old man wandering around? (LAUGHTER) You got your own things, haven’t you, young people. Circuses and fairs, that’s what you got. (LAUGHTER) Sticks with balloons tied to them. (LAUGHTER) Remember the canyons in the ’80s under Thatcher? Not the rope bridges, we’ve done with that now. Remember the canyons in the Thatcher days? Down here, you remember them a bit, don’t you? Some of you. I’ll just talk to you. (LAUGHTER) The canyons under Thatcher, they were… They were infested, weren’t they? Remember the infestations in the canyons in the Thatcher days? In the ’80s, they were infested, weren’t they? The canyons. In the ’80s, under Thatcher, with, er, pirate zombies? (LAUGHTER) Remember all the pirate zombies in the canyons in the Thatcher days? Yeah? I’ll just talk to you. I won’t bother with them. Remember the canyons, the pirate zombies, you’d look down, wouldn’t you? In the canyon, there’d be all pirate zombies, argh, one arm. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. Why? Why were the… Why were the canyons in the ’80s under Thatcher infested with pirate zombies? (LAUGHTER) Privatisation. (LAUGHTER) Well, it was, wasn’t it? Didn’t affect the shareholders, did it, if the… If the canyons were infested with pirate zombies or not. No. The shareholders’ dividends were ring fenced against pirate zombie infestation. (LAUGHTER)

Remember what Thatcher… it’s the last bit of this routine now. (LAUGHTER) Remember what Thatcher said in the ’80s about the jungle canyon rope bridges? She didn’t care. Yeah, you remember, don’t you? People are going, “Yeah, we remember.” What a good crowd they are, right? Because what the people down here are doing, is they bought into the idea even though the idea of this routine is I’m pretending that in the ’80s there was an issue about (LAUGHTER) jungle canyon rope bridges, a satire of Thatcher economic social policy. The people down here, they’ve decided to play the part of an audience from a parallel universe where that was true. (LAUGHTER) And they go, “Yeah, I remember that.” Ugh. You’re nowhere near that, are you? You’re not even approaching there. They’re confident enough, they got the jokes in the first half, now they’ve decided to experiment with taking on different personalities. (LAUGHTER) See if they can still get the jokes whilst in character. (LAUGHTER) They’re running rings around you. I’m telling you. Remember what Thatcher said in the ’80s about the jungle canyon rope bridges? “Yeah, we do. Yeah.” This is what she said. Thatcher, yeah? She said, “A mystery investigating teenager or dog…” Dog? (LAUGHTER) They like that. They like “dog” in a high voice up there. That’s your favourite bit, isn’t it? Me saying “dog” in a high voice. It’s not my favourite bit of this routine. You wanna know… My favourite bit of this routine is the phrase, “The shareholders’ dividends were ring fenced “against pirate zombie infestation.” But no one up there was laughing at that. (LAUGHTER) Which confirms to me the suspicion that for most of the evening, we’ve been talking at cross purposes. (LAUGHTER) This is what she said, Thatcher. She said, “A mystery investigating teenager or dog…” Dog? “…Who beyond the age of 26,” remember this one, “finds himself “still using a jungle canyon rope bridge…” This is what she said, Thatcher. “…Can count himself a failure in life.” That’s what she said. Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher, the jungle canyon rope bridge snatcher. (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) Don’t clap that. (LAUGHTER) Scooby Doo-Thatcher routine. Jesus. A waste of time. (LAUGHTER)

You know what’s awful about that. In 1986, when I started writing comedy with Richard Herring, you should know. Erm… We made a list of 10 things that we thought were too cliched to do jokes about. In 1986. And two of the things on that list of 10 things in 1986 was Scooby Doo and Thatcher. (LAUGHTER) We all grow up, don’t we, to become the thing we despised as teenagers. No. What can I do? I’ve got nothing. I drive around. I look after kids. I’ve got nothing. I have to do whatever comes to hand, you know. Nothing. I rang up a lot of the young comics to ask them what to do. Yeah, you seen them? All these young comedians they have now. All the Russells. You’ve seen them? They’re all called Russell. All these Russells. Yeah, loads of them. Loads and loads of Russells. You strike one down, another springs up in its path. (LAUGHTER) They’re like the skeletons in Jason And The Argonauts. (LAUGHTER) But skinnier. And with less joy behind their eyes. (LAUGHTER) So I rang them up. I rang up all the Russells in their hutch. (LAUGHTER) I said, “Hey, you Russells, Russell, Russell, Russell.” I said to them, “I got no material. What should I do?” And he said, “Never mind, just run around.” (LAUGHTER)

I’ve got nothing. I drive around, I look after kids. I got nothing. I got no ideas. This show opened in November in London. In October, I’d got no ideas what to put in it. I was desperate. I used to go out in the afternoon and drive round and round the North Circular Road in London just hoping something funny would happen to me. (LAUGHTER) But it didn’t. I just ended up with loads of ideas for routines about the names of shops I’d seen at the side of the road. (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER) So I was driving around the North Circular, yeah? And I drove past World of Leather. I thought, “World of Leather!” Imagine if it was a world made out of leather. I hope it is. There might be five minutes in it. (LAUGHTER) So I went into World of Leather, but it was just a shop. (LAUGHTER) I went up to the World of Leather. man, he wasn’t made out of leather. It was just made up of all skin and hair and stuff. I said to him, “Hey, I thought this would be a World of Leather.” And he said, “How would that work?” (LAUGHTER) I said, “You get a leather chair like that, roll it over on its side. “You got a leather hill.” (LAUGHTER) He said, “Get out.” (LAUGHTER)

I was desperate. I go back in the car, I went south down the North Circular. West along the A40 towards Oxford past World of Golf. I thought, “Yes, World of Golf! “Imagine if it was a world made out of golf! I hope it is. “I hope it is. There might be five minutes in it.” I went in to World of Golf but it’s just a shop. I went up to the World of Golf man, he wasn’t made out of golf. He was just made up of old meat, of water, 95%, did you know that? 95% water, all of us, and yet they say there’s a shortage. (LAUGHTER) I said to him, “Hey, I thought this would be a World of Golf.” He said, “How would that work?” I said, “You get golf clubs, stick them in the ground like that. “They’re like trees. (LAUGHTER) “Golf bag kicked over on its side, it’s like a cave. (LAUGHTER) “Golf balls, “they’d be things in nature, that are white and round. (LAUGHTER) “Like the moon. Or a worm’s egg on the rim of a cat’s bottom.” (LAUGHTER) And he said, “I’m gonna have to stop you there.” (LAUGHTER) He said, “This is World of Golf.” “What you’re describing is World of Golf Equipment.” (LAUGHTER) Golf is an abstract noun. (LAUGHTER) “Get out.” (LAUGHTER) I said, “I don’t care. I don’t even like golf. I hate it.”

I was desperate. I got back in the car. I drove east along the A40, north up the North Circular. To Staples Corner. Office World. There’s an Office World. “Oh, I hope it’s a world made out of offices!” I went in the car park, and the Office World man came running across the tarmac towards me. The Office World man and he had a typewriter for a head. (LAUGHTER) And staplers for hands. And mou… Mouse, mice… Mouse mats, mouse mice mats for feet. And a desk tidy pen holding thing for his heart. (LAUGHTER) And he had a Balamory ruler for his cock. (LAUGHTER) With Miles Jupp’s face on it. (LAUGHTER) And he had a… A pen lid, yeah? Yeah, you know, a pen lid on a pen? A pen lid, yeah? That was his nose. A pen lid nose. And he had a… You know those little stickers, about that big, white? Little white stickers, round. You push the middle out like a Polo. Like a flat Polo-dimensioned sticker and use them for reinforcing a flimsy document in a binder, yeah? You seen these little white Polo stickers. He had about a million of them, yeah. And they were his mind. (LAUGHTER) All of your thoughts, yeah? Going round. Then he had a little… You know, a bit, a piece of string about that long, green, like wool, fibrous like wool is. With a tag on either end. Treasury tags, little metal tags on either end. He had about a thousand of them all tied up in a big spiral and that was his DNA. (LAUGHTER) Inside him, subatomic, Crick and Watson. Yeah, DNA. And he had, er, rubber, yeah, and that was his brain. And he had a… I don’t think they make these any more, actually. Like a black dial with letters and numbers on it. Black, in a housing, a printer housing. Remember these? You feed a… You feed a strip of… Remember this? Yeah. Huh? Yeah. You can’t get them now can you? No. You feed a strip of, like plastic through. You print out words to make a label for a desk or whatever. Anyway, not that. Forget about that. I’m not just… (LAUGHTER) Did you have one? You remember the strip that went through it? I’m not interested in the printer thing or the top part of the strip. What I’m talking about underneath the strip there was a… What? A thing that you tore off. Remember? To protect the sticky part of it. Underneath a thin, a transparent strip that you tore off the… That. That is what I’m talking about. (LAUGHTER) A transparent strip. He had that cut up into loads of much smaller, thinner strips and they were like, you know when you go, er, when you can see all bacteria in your eyes. (LAUGHTER) And he had a pencil sharpener. You know them pencil sharpeners? You put a pencil in it, don’t you? To sharpen it up. Yeah? Pencil sharpener, yeah? The pencil goes in, turn it around, it comes out sharp. A pencil sharpener, you’ve seen them. That was his anus. (LAUGHTER) Anyway, I said to him, “What’s going on here?” (LAUGHTER) He said, “Well, I heard you were coming.” (LAUGHTER) “So I quickly underwent all these painful “and expensive surgical procedures, “having parts of my body replaced with stationery. “Some of which is no Ion er 9 commercially available.” (LAUGHTER) “I had to stay up late and bid for it on e-Bay. (LAUGHTER) “And I did all this,” he said, “with a view “towards thwarting your attempts to get material out of coming here.” (LAUGHTER) I said, “Well, you didn’t thwart it, did you?” Demonstrably, I said to him, “I got about four or five minutes out of it.” (LAUGHTER) He said, “I thwarted it in the long run,” he said. I said, “How?” He said, “Well,” “You’re a professional comic I’m not gonna patronise you.” He said, “You know the rule of three.” I said, “That’s right. Any list of things, “funny things, should be three things long. “The third one should be the funniest.” He said, “That’s right. “So you should have done three of the things. “The third one should have been either the Balamory ruler penis “or the pencil sharpener anus,” he said. “But only the pencil sharpener anus, “if you’d had the foresight to tie it back in to the bleeding.” (LAUGHTER) But he said… “What I did,” he said, “You should have gone in there, 1, 2, 3, out.” “What I did,” he said, “was I had way more surgical procedures done “than I knew would be optimally funny.” (LAUGHTER) “But knowing your work,” he said, “I’ve seen you and I know how you work,” “I knew that you would feel obliged to list them all.” (LAUGHTER) “And that would mean that while there were pockets “of hilarity in the room, “on the whole, a list that long “would cause the trust and energy in the room to dissipate.”

(LAUGHTER)

So I’ve got nothing. (LAUGHTER) I drive around and look after kids. I’ve got nothing. I thought I’d copy some of the award-winning standup shows. The shows that are winning awards now. Copy them, yeah? The shows that are winning awards now. The sad standup shows. That’s the new thing, sad standup shows. “Oh, my dad’s dead.” “Oh, I’ve had chemotherapy.” “Oh, I’ve got divorced.” “Oh, I’m adopted.” You seen these sort of shows? They won’t be in a place like this. They’ll be in little art centres and whatever. Plus by the time a comedian’s playing here, er, creatively spent, normally. (LAUGHTER) Little, yeah, sad comedy shows and then at the end a bit of sad music comes in. Clair de la Lune or something like that. And the comedian goes, “but despite everything, I learned that life’s like…” You know. You’ve seen these? Sad comedy shows? No? You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’re not a comedy crowd, are you really? (LAUGHTER) Russell Kane’s done one. You’ve heard of him. He’s on the telly a lot. No? He’s done one about his dad dying? He’s done a sad, award winning standup show about his dad dying. His dad dies and then he goes a bit mad and then he becomes famous, and then he ends up getting off with loads of glamour models. It’s about how awful that was for him. (LAUGHTER) I’ve not seen it. Actually my wife saw it, Russell Kane’s show about his dad dying, and she said it was great. She said what was brilliant about it was you weren’t expecting it because it was a comedy but at the end, she said, it was actually very moving and she was crying. And I said to her, “You were crying at the end of a standup show?” She said, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, it’s not any good then, is it?” (LAUGHTER) You know, I’m from the ’80s admittedly, right? I’m old-school, but I think if you go and see a comedian and at the end you’re crying, right? That is someone who cannot do their job. (LAUGHTER) But like I said, I haven’t seen Russell Kane’s show about his dad dying. I’m sure it’s very good. What I am impressed by about it, though, is the fact that he managed to not resolve his grief for long enough to tour it commercially. (LAUGHTER) “Oh, my dad’s dead.” Oh, shut up. Shut up and give your award back, idiot. (LAUGHTER) All our dads are dead, aren’t they? All our dads die. We all die. What are we? We’re just meat being shoveled into a grave. (LAUGHTER) Do you wanna hear that on a night out? (LAUGHTER) Sad comedy shows. It makes me sick. Sad. What a… Sad. Sad… What an insult to ordinary people in a recession. (LAUGHTER) “Yeah, let’s go out.” “Oh, I’ve just lost my job. I’m so depressed. “I’ll go and see the comedian to cheer me up. “Count out all the money for the emergency. (LAUGHTER) “Where is it on at? Oh, the O2, that’s 47 pounds. (LAUGHTER) “And parking, that’s 30 pounds. “And we’ll need a baseball hat with the comedian’s face on it. (LAUGHTER) “We’ve just got enough. Oh, great. Ha, ha, ha, I’m crying now.” (LAUGHTER) Sad comedy. “I’ve only got one arm.” “Oh, fuck off back to New Zealand.” (LAUGHTER) You’re not even real. People doing… I could do a sad comedy show. Loads of awful things have happened to me. Adopted, divorced parents, 65,000 born-again Christians tried to send me to prison. You don’t see me doing standup shows about that. (LAUGHTER) Because I’ve got some self, I’ve got some dignity and self-respect. People doing shows about themselves. How self-indulgent is that? (LAUGHTER) I couldn’t do a show about myself if I wanted to. I don’t know who I am. Who am I? I don’t know. We’re defined by what we do.

I don’t do anything. I drive around and look after kids. (LAUGHTER) You couldn’t do a standup show about that. (LAUGHTER) People wouldn’t stand for it. (LAUGHTER) I don’t know who… I don’t know… Lee Mack knows who he is, doesn’t he? Lee Mack. Four and half million people watching, they come up to him on the street. “Are you Lee Mack?” “Yeah, I am.” People come up to me and they go, “Are you Terry Christian?” (LAUGHTER) “The bloke from UB40.” (LAUGHTER) “What’s Tanita Tikaram doing in the gents?” (LAUGHTER) “I thought Kim Jong-Il was dead.” (LAUGHTER) Impossible. I… All that’s happened to me since I went on telly is half a million more people now insist to my face that I’m someone else. (LAUGHTER) Right here this afternoon in the square in Sheffield getting all these carpets in. And… (MILD LAUGHTER) They’re not here normally, those. (LAUGHTER) We have to get… We brought them. We have to get them in. They don’t get themselves in, do they? I’m not the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. (LAUGHTER) Anyway, a bloke came up to me and he went, “it’s you, isn’t it?” I went, “Yeah!” He goes, “What are you doing here?” I said, “I’m doing a standup show “in the theatre here in Sheffield tonight.” He said, “Really? “Shouldn’t you be at the Hague war crimes tribunal?” (LAUGHTER) He thought I was General Ratko Mladic. The genocidal Serbian warlord. (LAUGHTER) He’s 67 years old. (LAUGHTER) it’s an impossible situation He’s going, “it’s you, isn’t it?” I was going, “Yeah.” The only dignified way out of it is to allow him to continue to think I am General Ratko Mladic. (LAUGHTER) He said, “Shouldn’t you be at the Hague war crimes tribunal?” I went, “Oh, no, you know…” (LAUGHTER) The woman out there, she did the form in wrong. She wrote over the line. She went, “Oh, God, it’ll take ages to do all this again. “You can go off, you know.” (LAUGHTER) He goes, “So you’ve come here?” I said, “Yeah.” “To Sheffield? “To do standup comedy?” (LAUGHTER) “Yeah, you know. I’ve had an interesting life. (LAUGHTER) “There’s a sad bit at the end. (LAUGHTER) “When I’m caught. “I play Clair de la Lune, I talk about that. “People are in floods, I’ve won a Chortle Award.” (LAUGHTER) He said, “No of fence, mate. “But I think what you’ve done out there is awful, obscene. “At worst, you should be in prison for life “and at best you should be executed.” I said to him, “I agree with you, to be honest, you know. “But what do you actually want me to do “because they in the Hague, they’ve said go off. “So, you know, what? What do you want me to do about that?” And he went, “Oh, all right, mate.” Then he went off. (LAUGHTER) Going to the dressing room here, laptop, wi-fi, Internet. Looked it up on Twitter. You have to look everything up on Twitter now, don’t you? Stay in touch with what’s around you! Looked up the bloke’s feed on Twitter. It comes up, “Met General Ratko Mladic in Sheffield today. “Much nicer bloke in real life.” (LAUGHTER) I hate Twitter. You love it, don’t you? You got Twitter? it’s brilliant. Your virtual online Utopian futuristic society. Direct communication between any individuals. Unfettered by government, you know, interference. Freedom of information. Arab Spring. We love Twitter. I hate Twitter. The only good thing about Twitter is if I have a mental breakdown and forget everything that ever happened to me, I could gradually piece my life back together by putting my name into the search engine in Twitter. Because about every 90 minutes, one of you feels obliged to do an update of where I am and what I’m doing. (LAUGHTER) “8:30 a.m., I can’t believe it. “Just seen Stewart Lee taking his son to school on the 393 bus. “They’re talking about Scooby Doo. He looks depressed.” (LAUGHTER) “10:00 a.m., can’t believe it. “I am sitting next to Stewart Lee in the Clock Cafe, Highbury. “He is eating a muffin. He looks fat.” (LAUGHTER) “11:30 a.m., Hackney celebrity alert. “Just seen Stewart Lee walking around Abney Park Cemetery on his own. “He looks fat and depressed.” (LAUGHTER) “1:30 p.m., wowaroonie! “Just seen Stewart Lee walking around Dalston Junction on his own. “Eating a burger in the street. He looks fat and depressed and fat.” (LAUGHTER) I hate Twitter. It’s like a state surveillance agency run by gullible volunteers. (LAUGHTER) it’s a Stasi for the Angry Birds generation. (LAUGHTER) If you’re an F-list celebrity, it makes your life impo… You’re paranoid all the time being spied on. To give you an example of what I mean. Last October, I was driving along the M40. I wasn’t gonna do a gig this time. I was going to Birmingham to put flowers on the grave of a relative. And I stopped at the Cherwell Services and I went to the florist’s there. I got a big bunch of flowers, and on the way out, the woman on the perfume concession stand caught my eye and she said to me, “Perfume, sir, to go with the flowers for the lady?” And I went, “Ah, they’re for someone’s grave.” And she went, “Oh,” and the other woman went, “Oh, no.” And then there were all people standing around going, “Oh, look, look at what’s happened.” (LAUGHTER) I thought, “This will be on Twitter. “It’s exactly the kind of thing that goes on Twitter.” So I thought I’d say something light hearted to bring the event to a close, you know. So I said to her, “Oh, never mind, give us some perfume, “I’ll spray it around all the graves.” (LAUGHTER) Got home, looked it up on Twitter. You have to look it up on Twitter now. Stay in touch with what’s around you. Woman’s feed comes up. “The comedian” in inverted commas, “Stewart Lee, came in our perfume stand today. “He is even less funny in real life.” (LAUGHTER) You know what? That didn’t happen. (LAUGHTER) It sort of happened a bit, but I changed it for comic effect. Because what really happened is just bleak. (LAUGHTER) I was going to Birmingham to put flowers on a grave and the woman did say to me, “Perfume, sir, to go with the flowers for the lady.” But I didn’t say any of that stuff. I just said… “Oh, for fuck’s sake. (LAUGHTER) “Er… “Excuse me? “Yeah, erm, in your job, “I’m not threatening you, I’m just saying… (LAUGHTER) “…that look, there’s a lot of reasons, aren’t there, “why someone could be buying flowers, “and I know that you… No. “I know you have to hit targets and… “But, you know, maybe you should think about what those… “All those reasons what they could be before you just, you know…” Got home, looked it up on Twitter. (LAUGHTER) Woman’s feed comes up. “General Ratko Mladic came in today. (LAUGHTER) “He’s even more grumpy in real life.” (LAUGHTER) Internet, Twitter. It drives you mad. Facebook and all these message boards. Five minutes on Google, right, I can find… I can put my name and I’ll find hundreds of people all slagging me off. I’m gonna read out some quotes now, Five minutes on Google. These are real, right? In the context of the show, you have to appreciate this. The first four quotes from Americans that I read out, three of them are real. I made one up. (LAUGHTER) The letters, people complaining about Islam, they were exaggerated versions of real ones I’ve had. The quote from the guy in Dubai, that was real, verbatim. And then all the things about the jungle canyon rope bridges, they were real political speeches from the past. (LAUGHTER) But I replaced the policy things in them. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. From Scooby Doo. Yeah.

And now… Okay, these are all real. Five minutes on Google. Can I have the jazz music and the lighting change please? (SOFT JAZZ MUSIC PLAYING) (LAUGHTER) Rowing Rob on The Guardian’s Comment is Free site calls me “a sneering tosser”. (LAUGHTER) Tokyo Fist on YouTube writes, “Smug elitist liberalism. Who is this cunt?” (LAUGHTER) Warto15 on Twitter writes, “I hate Stewart Lee with a passion. He’s like Ian Huntley to me.” (LAUGHTER) Huey on Youtube says, “Stewart Lee, I will shove my thick cock in your throat, “you gaylord.” (LAUGHTER) Z-Factor on Twitter writes, “Stewart Lee addresses an insular cadre “of socially challenged, prematurely middle aged, pseudo-intellectual men.” (MILD LAUGHTER) I know. Yeah. Look. (LAUGHTER) Not as exclusively as I’d like, to be honest. It’ll just be us again soon. It won’t last. It can’t last. We’ll be back to one night and then it’ll be all right. Pudabaya writes, “I spent the entire show thinking “of how much I want to punch Stewart Lee in his face. “The fucking smug face cunt.” (LAUGHTER) And that’s on a website that is actually called, beexcellenttoeachother.com. (LAUGHTER) A Jimmy Vespa on dontstartmeoff.com writes, “A shit-haired cunt. who resides at the very apex “of all that is absolute patience testing wank.” (LAUGHTER) “Seriously when there is the comedy equivalent “of the Nuremberg trials, “this bastard is gonna be hung from the highest fucking lamppost, (LAUGHTER) “pelted with wasps’ nest and dog turds “and eventually blasted with a flame thrower.” “Fucking hell,” he concludes. “I can’t put into words… (LAUGHTER) “…how much I detest this utter fucking cunt.” Man in a Banana Suit on the Guardian website writes, “Stewart Lee has made a career out of smugness. “I hope fucking Crohn’s disease kills him.” (LAUGHTER) Ricardo writes, “Whenever I see his photo “I dream he’s just seen my boot, “a split second before it rips his face inside out.” (LAUGHTER) Shindig on the dugout.net calls me an “aging cunt “with an Eskimo face from the ’90s.” (LAUGHTER) One from Mumsnet here. (LAUGHTER) Queen of the Harpies says, “My mate had a huge crush on Stewart Lee, “but even she’s starting to admit time hasn’t been kind to him.” (LAUGHTER)

And this one’s from a Sheffield football website and it says, “I know this guy, “not well, but I can confirm that he is a cock. (LAUGHTER) “I’ve spoken to him several times in the past at various get-togethers, “although not recently, and he is a pillock. “He used to go out with my wife’s cousin. “He came up a few times for Christmas and one or two other things. “I found him condescending and arrogant. “Anyway, they’ve split up now “and my wife’s cousin seems a lot happier.” (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) I mean, I know who that is obviously. (LAUGHTER) Unbelievable, innit? (LAUGHTER) I used to… Funny thing is I used to really like… I liked that guy, you know. “Is your cousin’s husband gonna be there at Christmas? “Oh, great, you know. “Wedding present he used to like. I should get him some records.” Then you find… Ten years later you find that, you know. Used to go out with him. Go out with him. Went to the Hyena Club in Newcastle, one night in 1999, in November, to see Lewis Schaffer, American comic, then we went into the comics’ bar, you know, till about 3:00 with him, you know. “You wanna drink, mate?” “Yeah. Brilliant.” You know. “Great.” Then you think, “What was he actually thinking?” (LAUGHTER) Get “I fucking hate this bloke.” (LAUGHTER)

You don’t get that, do you, in your lives. You don’t get it. What’s done is done. It doesn’t come back. His mum, right? The guy who wrote that’s mum. I had her to stay with me for about a week in London. When I lived in the flat above the estate agents by the fire station, if you remember that. (LAUGHTER) Not a big flat, you know. She was on some course. She was like an old hippie, I really liked her actually. I remember it was a Saturday afternoon and I was putting some, an old bed together and I had a record on. She was there. I had an old vinyl. The second album by Dr Strangely Strange, an Irish folk rock band in the ’70s and it… His mum, that wrote that, his mum. She goes, “Oh, I used to love this record when I was a kid. “I haven’t heard it for 30 years.” And she knew all the words and you know… And this was before downloads and CD reissues and stuff. And I said to her, “You can have it.” And I gave the mum of the guy that wrote that my original Island Pressing Pink Label gatefold sleeve second Dr Strangely Strange album like a cock would. (LAUGHTER) That’s the condescending thing to do, isn’t it? To give an old woman something of irreplaceable value, that she would love. This isn’t even… This is just some. I’ve got a 40,000-word document of all this. (LAUGHTER) Because I thought it would be funny, look on the Internet and see for a bit in the show. But I didn’t realise there would be so much. (LAUGHTER) it’s like pulling a thread. You start and you can’t… And everything unravels. (LAUGHTER) Knowing this is all there, it makes it quite hard to do this if you think about it, right? You think, “Oh, I’ll just go out in the world, “interact with some people, have a lot…” Don’t walk out during this. Don’t. (LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

This is bad. It’s bad for someone to say they hope you die, on the Internet. But that is worse. (LAUGHTER) What is it about this bit that you don’t buy into? You think, “Oh, I don’t feel he’s working hard enough really.” (LAUGHTER) (QUIETLY) Fuck you. (LAUGHTER) You go out now, do you? You think… I mean, this is obviously nearly the end of the show, isn’t it? I can’t recover it from this. (LAUGHTER) “I’ll go out for a bit, “I’ll come back in when it’s funny again.” It won’t be. It’s not gonna be funny again, is it? (LAUGHTER) You get… You can’t… You know, you being a comic when you know you’re under surveillance by people that despise you is quite hard. You think, “I’ll go out in the world, interact with some people. “Get some ideas, have a laugh. Go in the shop. “Have a laugh with a bloke, bit of banter, get home. You know, you get home, you look on the Internet. “A fucking cunt came in my shop today. (LAUGHTER) “He even reminded me of a paedophile. (LAUGHTER) “Who would kill a child. “I hope he dies from a wasting disease. “And all cocks go in his mouth. (LAUGHTER) “Fucking Eskimo face cunt.” (LAUGHTER)

And it’s all there, all out there. And you say, don’t you? I’ve seen you. You go, “Look at us, virtual online Facebook friends, Twitter community. “Virtual online Utopian vision of tomorrow’s better…” What are you? You’re like rats fighting in a ditch. (LAUGHTER) Over some piss. (LAUGHTER) So, you’ll forgive me if there isn’t really much of a show this year. (LAUGHTER) And if it just sort of stops. (LAUGHTER) We went up… We went up at… I’ve done the time that we’re supposed to. (LAUGHTER) There were already people walking out. (LAUGHTER) Well, I’ll just do a quick little bit and then we can go. (LAUGHTER) So I was driving round the North Circular and I drove past PC World! (LAUGHTER) (SCREAMING) And you know what? I couldn’t even be bothered to think of anything funny about that. (LAUGHTER) You can do it, can’t you? Get in your cars, drive around, look at all the shops, think about their names and think about how you could misinterpret them for comic effect. (LAUGHTER) Because that’s what I have to do day after day. For what? For this? For indifference? People walking out? (LAUGHTER) You do it! Get in your cars, drive around, look at the names of shops and then you can put it on your Twitter feeds, you fucking miserable Sheffield cunts! (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

I got back in the car from PC World. I thought, “I’m just gonna drive home now. “There won’t even be a proper end to the show, it’ll just stop!” (LAUGHTER) Then five minutes from home, five minutes from home, I was in Dalston and I drove past a butchers called City Meat! (LAUGHTER) And it’s like an illness, I couldn’t help myself! (LAUGHTER) (TOUGH LONDON VOICE) “Like meat, live in a city? “Get yourself down to City Meat! (LAUGHTER) “We got all the different meat animals. “Cows, pigs, chickens, etc., “but they live in the city of London. “Like meat, live in a city? ‘City Meat for City People’ “Get yourself down to City Meat! (LAUGHTER) (IN HIGH VOICE) “Do the City Meat animals graze on the grass “of the City Farm Hackney, butcher?” (TOUGH VOICE) “No, they don’t! Grass is for poofs! (LAUGHTER) “They’re city animals, “they live on what they find on the floor in the city!” “Like what?” “Like old, chucked away AIDS-infected spunked-in condoms! “Discarded hepatitis-ridden heroin needles! Licked out wraps of speed! “Torn-up pornography, crushed Polish beer cans, “and ripped up leaflets “advertising The Miracle Healing Church at Finsbury Park.” (LAUGHTER) (HIGH VOICE) “Doesn’t this diet of filth make them sick, butcher?” (TOUGH VOICE) “Yeah, it does! And they love being sick! The slags! (LAUGHTER) “Because they’re city animals at City Meat! “Live in the city, like meat? Get yourself down to City Meat!” (LAUGHTER) (HIGH VOICE) “And this City Meat butchers “was in London, was it, butcher?” (TOUGH VOICE) “Yes, in London. City Meat.” (HIGH VOICE) “Are you sure?” (TOUGH VOICE) “It’s City Meat!” (HIGH VOICE) “Are you sure you didn’t see a butchers called City Meat “on the side of the A40 in Shirley in Birmingham? (LAUGHTER) “In between the Cherwell Services and the cemetery?” (TOUGH VOICE) “It was in London.” (HIGH VOICE) “Birmingham.” (HIGH VOICE) “But you realised there’s no way the City Meat bit “will be a punchy enough end to the show “if the butcher had a Birmingham accent?” (LAUGHTER) (BIRMINGHAM ACCENT) “Do you like meat? (LAUGHTER) “Do you live in the city? (LAUGHTER) “Get yourself down to City Meat! (LAUGHTER) “We got all the different meat animals. (LAUGHTER) “Pork, that’s a pig. (LAUGHTER) “Beef, that’s a cow. (LAUGHTER) “Chicken, same, chicken. (LAUGHTER) “And they run all around the city of Birmingham. “They’re very happy like because I don’t know if you know, “in the last few years, there’s been a lot of redevelopment work here. (LAUGHTER) “There’s loads of green spaces and, all around, the cathedral’s “all been done up and… “In Birmingham now there is actually more miles of canals “than there is rats. (LAUGHTER) “And they’ re very happy. They ate all the locals’ food. “They have a big trough of Bovril, they lick that out. (LAUGHTER) “And in the morning, about 5:30, “Noddy Holder flies over in a (LAUGHTER) “Halifax Bomber, chucking out old faggots for them to eat. (LAUGHTER) “And at the weekend, for a treat, they have a balti now. “A lot of people think wrongly “that a balti is an Indian dish “but it actually originated in Birmingham or around Sparkbrook “and Bearwood, and they actually call that “the Balti Triangle now and it’s like a tourist attraction. “And at the week, on a Friday night, “people will come for a balti “from as far away as Kidderminster.” (LAUGHTER)

I got nothing. (LAUGHTER) So I got in the car one last time and I drive north to the industrial estates near Sunderland with the sole intention of visiting a retail outlet called Carpet Remnant World. (SOFT MUSIC PLAYING) I stood outside the Carpet Remnant World and I was overcome with a terrible sadness and it was very moving. Carpet Remnant World. It didn’t even sell carpets. (LAUGHTER) It sold remnants of carpets. (LAUGHTER) Remnants of human hopes. Remnants of human dreams and it spoke to me about the gulf between what we are and what we could aspire to be. Imagine to sleep, to dream, of living in Newcastle with a carpet. (LAUGHTER) To wake and to find instead that you live in Sunderland (LAUGHTER) with some carpet remnants. (LAUGHTER) it’s too sad to bear. So I went into Remnant Carpet World. You know what? It was a world made out of carpet remnants. Tiny, perfectly proportioned carpet remnant homes and long, wide carpet remnant avenues, lined with carpet remnant schools and carpet remnant hospitals. And carpet remnant universities. Free carpet remnant universities. And carpet remnant libraries that did not labour under the threat of closure and all of them full of carpet remnant people living in perfectly harmony from each according to his durability, (LAUGHTER) to each according to his weave. (LAUGHTER) The carpet remnant world man came up to me and he was made of carpet remnants and he said to me, “What do you think of our Carpet Remnant World?” And I said, “it’s beautiful. A Utopia.” (LAUGHTER) And he said, “Really? I always expect people to be cynical.” And I said, “Why?” And he said, “I was warned by my friends “at the World of Leather, the World of Golf, “and Office World and PC World “and both regional outlets of City Meat.” (LAUGHTER) Then he said to me, “But there’s a message for you “in Carpet Remnant World, Stewart Lee, and it’s this. “That a ragbag of seemingly disparate and unrelated items, “people, concepts, things, can, “if stitched together in the correct order, “with a degree of sensitivity, “give the impression of being a satisfying whole.” (LAUGHTER) And I said to him, “You mean…” And he said, (LAUGHS WEAKLY) “Yes.” (MUSIC FADES) (SNAPS FINGERS) (AUDIENCE APPLAUDS) Thank you. This is a beautiful theatre to be in, one of the nicest in the country. Thanks to everyone who’s worked so hard in putting this up tonight. Thanks a lot. Good night. (AUDIENCE CHEERING) (INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC PLAYING)