The Alternatives to Alternative Comedians

A friend of mine posted a little clip of comedian Stewart Lee onto Facebook, and it got me thinking. These alternative comedians aren’t wearing very well, are they? Either physically or in terms of how funny their routines are(n’t). They also don’t seem to much like the ease and speed with which the public found alternatives to them, in a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword, circle of life kind of way.

But thinking a little more about it, I decided that we should be grateful to the alternative comedians. Those earnest young things trooping around the stage shouting and “ooh ahh”ing like Frankie Howerd played too fast:

“BlahblahblahThankYouVeryMuchMyName’sBenElton…” <thuds microphone into the stand and marches off meaningfully> – as though anybody cared what his name was having just sat through an inane ten minute monologue that simultaneously sucked all the fun out of comedy and acted as an advert for every politically correct nut job in the country. I hate Margaret Thatcher as much as any member of the public with a functioning brainstem, but I don’t really think it’s good material for comedy. Tragedy,yes, but not comedy.

We should be grateful to those mostly forgotten, misguided ’80s “alternative” youths, because without their hugely unfunny routines there might not be the marvellous nostalgia that we have these days for their predecessors. Morecombe and Wise, Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques, Carry-On Films, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Ken Dodd and all the others who will be fondly remembered and quoted long after the likes of Ben Elton and Stewart Lee have pulled the microphones out of their arses and passed unnoticed into the night.

So thanks, guys. Thanks for being so shit, thus reminding us what funny comedy was like and how much we should value it. And lest we ever forget how bad comedy can be, we thankfully still have Michael McIntyre to remind us…

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About Paul Harper
These posts represent the collected thought of Paul Harper. Usually rants, occasionally lucid, always easily ignored. Read, don't read, your call!

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