The Curse Of Stig
June 21, 2015 8:41 AM   Subscribe

 
I like Stewart Lee and I like Stewart Lee's opinion of Top Gear but I'm not sure I like Stewart Lee writing about his opinion on TG because I'm still not exactly sure what that was all about.

Oh and TL;DR: Chris Evans is taking over TG.
posted by photoslob at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2015


That second link is pure genius.

I fucking hate Top Gear.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:09 AM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, that is some fantastic writing. I want to take quotes out of it, but the whole article is quotable. Here's when he starts going Lovecraftian:
Because, for years now, a vast, gaping inter-dimensional sphincter, the size of a gothic cathedral rose window, has throbbed and dilated silently at the heart of the BBC buildings on Upper Regent Street, belching fossil fumes and foul thoughts from a dark realm of negative space. I saw inside the pulsating meat oculus once, caught unawares as I stumbled across the Dave channel late at night, drunk. There, between Lee Mack’s laughing face and Robson Green’s leaping fish, compelling footage of the fetid portal’s sickening interior unfurled endlessly into the small hours. I saw it, so you don’t have to.
posted by tickingclock at 9:15 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a pulsating meat oculus
posted by crocomancer at 9:21 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


OMG, that second link is incredible. Amazing.
posted by tickingclock at 9:29 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Top Gear is comedy. This is like a rant about how right wing Steven Colbert was on the Colbert Report. I personally find Stewart Lee's standup bad to the point of being unwatchable. I can't believe Chris Morris, a genuine comedy genius, is wasting his time working for him as script editor on his show.
posted by w0mbat at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Top Gear is comedy.

Much like a sexist joke.
posted by srboisvert at 9:56 AM on June 21, 2015 [28 favorites]


"This is like a rant about how right wing Steven Colbert was on the Colbert Report"

Not really - there's an understanding that Colbert in character holds very different views to Colbert out of character. Absolutely not the same with boorish Jeremy Clarkson, who is just playing himself.
posted by dvrmmr at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2015 [17 favorites]


No, top gear is not comedy like the fake news shows because it isn't a fake driving show. You can't say something is played for laughs without a framework that allows us to be in on the joke, like on Colbert.

Top gear is j/k lad white faux ironic, if at all, which means it misses that mark completely.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


"It's just a joke. Like when they do their jokes on Top Gear! But coincidentally, as well as being a joke, it's also what I wish had happened."

I love this routine so much and this line still makes me laugh harder than almost anything I can recall.
posted by oliverburkeman at 10:14 AM on June 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


Top Gear is comedy.

Yes. That defence of Top Gear is precisely what Lee is satirising in the second link. He even explicitly breaks character in order to explain that to people who might not be that quick on the uptake.

I would attempt to explain that jokes about bigotry and bigoted jokes are different things, but...yeah...even I've got better things to do with my time.
posted by howfar at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


One thing that does offend me about Stewart Lee tbh is his disrespect for the values of the Carphone Warehouse.
posted by oliverburkeman at 10:26 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Last time I followed a link to the Guardian, there was some debate going on over whether they had descended into self-parody. There's that question answered.
posted by sfenders at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2015


Stewart Lee dissects the Top Gear routine (and the rest of the show) in great detail in If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask For One, which goes into what he was expecting from the audience at each phase of the performance. Great technical analysis—gives it to you straight, like a pear cider that's made from 100% pure pear.

Well worth reading, along with How I Escaped My Certain Fate.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Top Gear was one of my husband's favorite shows, along with Tosh and TMZ, which is a red alert for me. He genuinely doesn't understand why Clarkson was fired.
posted by Peach at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2015


gives it to you straight, like a pear cider that's made from 100% pure pears

FTFY you filthy animal.
posted by howfar at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Top Gear was one of my husband's favorite shows, along with Tosh and TMZ, which is a red alert for me.

DTMFA.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]




like a pear cider that's made from 100% pure pear.

Oh, a pear, huh? I suppose you have ONE MASSIVE PEAR that you made the all the cider in the world from?

Reference. Transcript.
posted by tickingclock at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't believe Chris Morris, a genuine comedy genius, is wasting his time working for him as script editor on his show.

I think they're surprisingly evenly matched these days. They're both, if anything, incredibly formal satirists, by which I mean they satirise using form, and satirise the form of things as much as the content, not that they wear nice suits, like Colbert and Jon Stewart.

I can see why Morris would want to work with Lee - Brass Eye and The Day Total were both razor sharp deconstructions of the form of news and current affairs programs, and Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle is a razor sharp deconstruction of the form of a standup show. I wouldn't be surprised if some of that was Morris' influence.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


For some perspective, Top Gear and "Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle" come from the same UK channel, BBC Two.

Top Gear is the most popular show on BBC Two, but "Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle" has been a ratings disaster which struggles to attract a audience even a quarter as large as Top Gear gets on the same channel. Years can pass without the BBC ordering a new season of Lee's show, despite some good reviews and a BAFTA. This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from.
posted by w0mbat at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Two and a Half Men was a ratings juggernaut for years. Clearly anyone making fun of the show was just jealous.
posted by kmz at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


(Also all those Oscar snubs for the Transformers movies. So much unwarranted hostility!)
posted by kmz at 12:30 PM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Years can pass without the BBC ordering a new season of Lee's show, despite some good reviews and a BAFTA. This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from.

Are you a Mail on Sunday journalist?
posted by oliverburkeman at 12:56 PM on June 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


w0mbat: "This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from."

I've never been on BBC2 at all but I'm still super hostile towards Top Gear.
posted by these are science wands at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from.

Are you actually trolling Metafilter? Because, if not, this is really embarrassing. The idea that Lee is competing with Top Gear is laughable, and even if you were right, who would care apart from Stewart Lee's mum?
posted by howfar at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from.

I don't know. To some extent Lee amps up his annoyances for the shows, but I don't get any sense he's misguided about his own motivations. He also addresses Top Gear's popularity vs. his own quite a few times, but I think on the whole his hostility is sincerely and genuinely motivated by dislike of the program, the presenters, and its values, not jealousy. I'm sure there's some part of it that is knee-jerk anti-populism, but certainly nowhere near all of it.

Generally speaking he is extremely anti-populist, but you only really see him working himself up into an extreme lather when something is both very popular, and either plain bad, or just horribly mediocre.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:26 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


This gives me some idea where his hostility is coming from.

Well, since we're reading minds, where's my hostility coming from?
posted by klanawa at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, I guess I'm actually deeply envious of Mike Pence? Glad that's cleared up.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:49 PM on June 21, 2015


I personally find Stewart Lee's standup bad to the point of being unwatchable. I can't believe Chris Morris, a genuine comedy genius, is wasting his time working for him as script editor on his show.

The fact that (accurately-described) genuine comedy genius Chris Morris apparently disagrees with your opinion about Stewart Lee should perhaps suggest something about said opinion.
posted by rifflesby at 1:56 PM on June 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Top Gear was one of my husband's favorite shows, along with Tosh and TMZ, which is a red alert for me. He genuinely doesn't understand why Clarkson was fired.

Clarkson is undoubtedly a dick, and he paid an appropriate price for that, but Top Gear was good TV. They were genuinely funny guys with a great control of language doing car porn with high production values.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:27 PM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


They were genuinely funny guys with a great control of language doing car porn with high production values.

Was it the language in the "There's a slope on that bridge" gag, or the "catch a n*" rhyme that particularly excited you? Or did you find the image of Guardian-reading lesbian teachers hilarious?

Hahaha gypsies.*

*It's just a joke, like on Top Gear...
posted by prismatic7 at 6:13 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Was it the language in the "There's a slope on that bridge" gag, or the "catch a n*" rhyme that particularly excited you? Or did you find the image of Guardian-reading lesbian teachers hilarious?

Actually the line I was thinking of was Clarkson ad-libbing MY EPIGLOTTIS IS FULL OF BEES.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:23 PM on June 21, 2015


Jezza Clarkson's just playing a character, inne? And you can tell he's a dedicated and serious actor because he plays the same character on Top Gear, in his newspaper columns, in his public appearances, and in his private life. I mean, wow, what a thespian.
posted by these are science wands at 11:57 PM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


One thing that does offend me about Stewart Lee tbh is his disrespect for the values of the Carphone Warehouse.

For me, it was always his ill-fated attempt to distil a joke about Café Nero into just 21 minutes.
posted by rongorongo at 2:21 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Top Gear was one of my husband's favorite shows, along with Tosh and TMZ, which is a red alert for me. He genuinely doesn't understand why Clarkson was fired.

Aside from the whole "rape joke incident", are there any known problems with Tosh? I used to watch the show on the treadmill and it just seemed to be him mocking "dumb internet videos" and then interviewing the maker of the video. Not the intellectual peak of the world, but worth the odd giggle.
posted by theorique at 2:46 AM on June 22, 2015


theorique: "Aside from the whole "rape joke incident", are there any known problems with Tosh?"

Here you go.
posted by these are science wands at 4:10 AM on June 22, 2015


Thanks! I never saw those episodes.
posted by theorique at 4:41 AM on June 22, 2015


I dislike Top Gear because, to me, its frat bros doing frat bro stuff and getting paid for it.

Cars are just a means for them to do pranks and be funny and just be outrageous. Those offensive jokes are a part of the entire experience.

I saw an episode about them driving through southern states with outrageous things written on their cars. It was so reminiscent of Jackass kinda dares. The cars were just props for the show.

Most of the people who love Top Gear are either subconsciously trying to relive their Frat days or getting a vicarious pleasure from what they couldn't do but always wanted to.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 7:15 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The cars were just props for the show."

Much like Car Talk isn't really about cars.

"Most of the people who love Top Gear are either subconsciously trying to relive their Frat days or getting a vicarious pleasure from what they couldn't do but always wanted to."

Why is that a problem in any way? Why hate on somebody else for what they like? I don't understand.
posted by phlyingpenguin at 8:19 AM on June 22, 2015


"Aside from the whole "rape joke incident", are there any known problems with Tosh?"

I saw one of his stand-up shows once, when netflix recommended it to me. Well, I saw about half of it actually, that was all I could take. Remembering it does help me understand how some of you feel about Top Gear. Personally I wouldn't be much bothered by the presence of rape jokes, or making fun of trans-gender people, or jibes about one-eyed Scottish idiots (which happens to describe me approximately as well as it did its target). So long as they're funny. Not that they usually are. Tosh is just hateful and crude, full of lame jokes based on non-sequitur idiocy the whole point of which is simply to be hateful and crude. No sense of humour I can detect. Or such was my impression, and I've heard nothing to suggest his other stuff is any better.

Being unable to see the difference between that and Top Gear is a bit like those people who can't see any difference between good Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons. Or between scientology and wicca, say. If you feel that way you're missing something. Not that Top Gear doesn't have its weak moments, and whole episodes. But they usually aren't the ones people complain about.
posted by sfenders at 9:20 AM on June 22, 2015


Stewart Lee (and Richard Herring) worked on the original radio show On the hour, which became The day today when it transferred to TV. So he has worked with Chris Morris on and off since the early 90's. An aside, but interestingly it also gives them some claim over the original development of the Alan Partridge character.
posted by devon at 9:53 AM on June 22, 2015


Personally I won't respect Lee until he has not just the approval of Chris Morris but also that of the modern Shakespeare, Patrick Marber.
posted by howfar at 11:19 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tosh is just hateful and crude, full of lame jokes based on non-sequitur idiocy the whole point of which is simply to be hateful and crude.

That was my impression of the Tosh.0 show. Seemed misanthropic and nasty in general, and especially to the unfortunate people in the featured viral videos. Then my gym changed up the treadmills and the TVs don't get Comedy Central any more.
posted by theorique at 11:23 AM on June 22, 2015


Yes. That defence of Top Gear is precisely what Lee is satirising in the second link.

"I'm not sure if it's evens worth trying to explain this, but bless you for making the effort. If years of browsing Metafilter has taught me anything, it is that right-wing people are almost unfathomably stupid. Trying to explain even the most basic concepts to them is essentially a waste of time. The cleverer ones have just enough intelligence to evade any opportunities to learn something that might arise; the dumber ones simply bluntly ignore them. They believe what they believe either because it is convenient for them to do so or because they have been lied to and are too lazy to wonder about what might be the truth."

That's just my comical lefty persona talking, by the way. I'm just being ironic. I don't actually believe that. That would be ignorant and hateful and wrong. Ho ho!*

* I probably shouldn't even be bothering to try to make this point. The thing that essentially drove me off Metafilter years ago is that the site has always treated earnest right-wing spite with kid gloves, as if it were something worthy of patient and redemptive condescension, while left-wing despairing humour needed to be immediately, humourlessly tidied out of sight - as if what someone feels about the hateful and stupid things they say makes any difference whatsoever to the content or its effects. But hey! One lives in hope.
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:50 AM on June 23, 2015


Guys, maybe it would be easier to create a running list of all the people/books/movies/shows that have said things at one time or another that offend us in some way. That way we can totally discard anything related to them, past or present. Now we just need a name for the list...
posted by Brodiggitty at 10:49 AM on June 23, 2015


We could call it, "The list of people, books, movies and TV shows that have helped perpetuate and normalise actively harmful ideas, ideas that we sanitise with the word 'offensive' so as to characterise resistance to them as an overreaction."
posted by these are science wands at 5:06 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


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