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The ‘If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One’ EP
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The ‘If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One’ EP

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Following his hugely acclaimed TV come-back 'Comedy Vehicle', Lee finds himself in search of ideas for a new Edinburgh show. On a long walk across London, he endures a coffee shop humiliation involving a loyalty card which suggests itself as a framing device. Later that month, a show is born.
Paperback, 104 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Faber & Faber
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I went to see Stewart Lee do the show after this, where he stretched out one or two ideas into interminable self referential jokes for his own amusement, like on this one, which I also saw. Anyway, at that show, there was a lot of people - myself included - who wanted to be the Best Stew Fan in the room. I did it by laughing about 4/10s of a second before less clued up people did, but I think some people were a tenth ahead of me, but what could I do? I suppose I could have gone to see the show a ...more
This book is the EP to the album that was How I Escaped My Certain Fate, and contains the transcript to Stew's 2010 show If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One. Not living in the UK any more, these books are the nearest I get to still watching live stand-up. Fortunately I am one of the Guardian-reading minority that thinks Stew is a meta-comedian of genius, as opposed to most people who seem to find him (to quote some of the critiques he's gathered on his website) ‘a sneering tosser ...more
Rod Begbie
This is one of the best things I've read in ages, but it's super-hard to recommend. It's a comedian transcribing, disassembling, explaining, and over-analyzing a 90 minute stand-up routine — one which is equally funny and beautiful, but just as hard to recommend to the uninitiated. (Or, let me be totally uncoy about this, most Americans)

But as an unabashed fan of Stewart Lee for years, and a fairly solid comedy nerd, this is one of the most glorious and enlightening things I've read.
John Humber
I sometimes vacillate between thinking Stewart Lee is the most brilliant stand-up artist that’s not been fully recognised and that he’s just crap. Either way I don’t really care because he never fails to amuse me. He’s never going to be a big, road-show stadium-filler; his type of intimate stand-up just would not work in an x-thousand seater stadium, but I would like to think that he could be acknowledged more than he is - at least enough to make a reasonable living for his family. And anyway he ...more
It's essentially a transcript of a show, with annotations. There are some funny bits...
However it under-delivers on the promise that it 'confirms Stuart Lee as the most...brilliant comedian of his generation.' Toby Young, from BBC radio 4 is quoted on the back of the book as thinking that Lee's comedy does 'the opposite of what really good comedy should do.' And this is closer to the truth, but not fair. Well, he does go on about Michael MacIntyre just a little too much (gives away his true fee
Like his previous book How I Escaped My Certain Fate that annotated 3 of his previous live shows, Stewart Lee!: The 'If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One' EP covers his live show from 2009 of the same name. I was lucky enough to see the show live twice and have since watched the DVD recording of the show several times, so this book is perfect for an obsessive like myself. It gives a thorough (and funny) insight into the background and context of how the show came together.
He, for
I'll admit that I am terribly biased when it comes to Stewart Lee because I loved him when I was a teenager and he was skinny and not old. Luckily for me, Lee is still incredibly funny (and admittedly, still adorably cute - though that's possibly not an adjective normally attributed to him).
This book is basically a transcript of his "If you prefer a milder comedian, please ask for one" show but with DVD extras (aka, the best footnotes of any author ever). It's probably not the thing if you're no
I love reading Stewart Lee's heavily-annotated stand-up. I like the way he writes, and the way he puts the whole thing together to create a structured routine that always makes an interesting point.

This is a follow up to the excellent "How I Escaped My Certain Fate" which I loved. Being based only on a single show, and containing little other than the transcript of the DVD version, it is very light. I read it in a couple of hours on a delayed Ryanair flight. This is a great environment for this
Bob Cairns
If you have any interest in the art of comedy then read this book.
Howard Jones
It's thin - it was a single train-ride to read - but very entertaining, assuming you like Lee's standup. It's basically a transcript of the DVD by the same name with copious (as in, 4 pages long, in one case) footnotes regarding the pacing, development and strategies behind the material. There's a bigger one in the same format, with 3 previous shows and an introduction/autobiographical section too, which I'm reading now.
Like a quick snack after the grand three-course meal of How I Escaped My Certain Fate, this was again a lovely insight into Lee's thought processes when both writing and performing his comedy. I'm a huge fan of his, and while it sometimes feels like he's hectoring me for liking more mainstream comedy, he is undeniably funny when you bother to pay attention to what he's saying. A day's read at most, but a good day.
A follow up to 'How I Escaped My Certain Fate' which is where I would recommend anyone start. This is more of the same, although I do think the stand up show is funnier that the previous three (of the four shows covered by the two books, I do think they get slowly better and funnier, and having seen the next show live, it does continue the trend); I just hope he keeps doing this for his stand up shows.
Kate Fox
Not just a book but a manifesto.
For an alternative way of doing comedy.
For an alternative way of thinking.
For an alternative way of making a living as a creative person in a mainstream world.
Has inspired many people I know who do just that.
Also a great, funny, well written read. A great example of how to explain the thinking behind a particular public persona.
Toby Litt
Just as perceptive and funny as How I Escaped My Certain Fate. (You should probably read that first.) And the routine footnoted here is edgier and more theatrically daring. Let's hope Lee does get round to writing TV Comedian, his promised next book.
Kristin Arnorsdottir-edwards
Having only discovered Stewart Lee in recent years, due to my OH obsession with him, I found the insight into his way of thinking fascinating. I especially enjoyed the Michael McIntyre tirades - as I find M M grating and patronising...
Rob Adey
These books (it looks like he's going to keep on doing them) are perfect for Stewart Lee - basically extending the Penn & Teller-y unpacking of comedy he does in his shows off the stage and onto paper. Funny and fascinating.
Simon Sleightholm
A great supplement to How I Escaped My Certain fate. I find Lee hugely funny, and the apparent self-awareness with which he deconstructs and criticizes his own work is both intriguing and entertaining
Phil Millward
Although nice to understand the writing process and why things ended up int the routine that is transcribed, overall it would be much better to watch this and have a commentary track than read it.
Alex Sarll
A smart, funny read, obviously. But the whole 'EP' conceit rather founders on this slim volume only costing a quid less than the far more substantial 'How I Escaped My Certain Fate'.
Just the transcriptfrom this show would have been enough, however the footnotes and added 'Warm Diarrhoea' make this read a little jewel of Stewart Lee perfection.
Grig O'
As usual with EPs, it's what they call "only for completists". Except, if you're not a Stew completist, that's your problem.
Just as great as the first one, I would really recommend it to everyone- especially Stewart Lee fans.
Less a Brechtian deconstruction: more an extension of Lee's comic persona-- nonetheless a must-read for fans.
Jon Bounds
More insight from Stew on society through the prism of a tubby man sweating on stage. Top.
Paul Freeman
short* and sweet

* if you don't read the footnotes#
# you should read the footnotes
Stevo B
Another excellent book by Stewart Lee dissecting his own comedy genius.
Way less funny and insightful than the previous book.
I like how he has reasons for his non jokes.
Morrissey's let himself go.
Chris marked it as to-read
May 24, 2015
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From Wikipedia (accessed Oct 2010):

Stewart Lee (born 5 April 1968, Wellington, Shropshire) is an English stand-up comedian, writer and director known for being one half of the 1990s comedy duo Lee and Herring, and for co-writing and directing the critically-acclaimed and controversial stage show Jerry Springer - The Opera. In a review of the comedy of the previous decade, a 2009 article in The Ti
More about Stewart Lee...
How I Escaped My Certain Fate The Perfect Fool Fist Of Fun tv comedian Dead Funny

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