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

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  730 ratings  ·  40 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, thanks to Jeremy Clarkson's casual slur against Gordon Brown and the appearance of a well-meaning y ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Faber Faber (first published January 1st 2012)
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4.36  · 
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 ·  730 ratings  ·  40 reviews


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Edmole
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Warwick
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, scripts
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
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.
James
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I really, really liked the previous book, which has clearly inspired this spin-off from a later tour. So there is no point repeating myself, suffice to say the routine is good (though it is scary seeing how many "ers", pauses and repeats there are when printed word for word) and the commentary is both funny and enlightening. However, the introduction was less detailed, with fewer 'worldly' insights, although the afterword about the Daily Mail reminded me why journalists get such a bad reputation ...more
Sam
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I already love Stewart Lee, so I was always at risk of bias here. But I really enjoyed this, having never seen this actual show.

What makes it for me is the annotations, which sometimes are there as other "jokes" (or as close to jokes as he likes to do), sometimes to describe why / how he is doing what he is doing, and sometimes giving some insight into the man instead of the character.
Jake
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
perfect reading for a hungover saturday when moving from under the duvet on the sofa is simply not an option.

stewart lee is my favourite comedian. until i came across him i would have thought that reading a transcript of a stand-up set would kill the material, but lee is so good that reading it with his annotations and anecdotes set in footnotes only adds to the hilarity. great little book.
Charlie
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Lee’s annotated transcripts — they are funny in a different way from live performance and give a very intriguing glimpse into the planning for a comedy show. (I am a Stewart Lee fan, so take that into account. YMMV)
Joe Lanman
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Genuinely made me laugh out loud a few times, and it's fascinating to read the footnotes for his thoughts behind the material.
Tim Worthington
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There's been a depressing tendency in recent years towards replacing the traditional 'comedy cash-in' book with a straightforward script book, containing the lines as hear on screen or on stage with the odd perfunctory stage direction thrown in for good measure. Good for people looking for a quick and easy Christmas present for that difficult to buy for relative that they saw chuckle at something once, not so good for the person who's already seen or heard it all before and has no intention of a ...more
John Humber
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
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
Daniel
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Rachel
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Mike Steven
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part of what I enjoy most about Stewart Lee ' s stand up, is when he deconstructs his own routines live on stage - essentially creating humour by explaining why something should be funny and how he is manipulating things to make people laugh. This book is a transcript of one of his stand up shows, accompanied with a large amount of footnotes talking about how and why the show is constructed in the way that it is.

I originally saw this show live , at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, and have seen the DVD
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BMK
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
John
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pierre
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Gordon
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, tee-hee
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.
Howard Jones
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Kate Fox
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Darcy
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Darcy by: Bevan
Brilliant look at the working mind of one of my favourite comedians. It breaks down the humour behind his shows without spoiling the jokes themselves. Contains some of the longest footnotes I've ever encountered.
Kristin
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
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...
Simon
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Rob Adey
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy
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.
Toby Litt
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jon Bounds
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
More insight from Stew on society through the prism of a tubby man sweating on stage. Top.
Merica
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Made me want to watch the show again then reread the book on repeat. A great read and satisfying till the very last page.
Paul Dore
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Continues Lee's last book where he deconstructs his own performances. The author provides many insights into his craft and his humour. Made me appreciate his shows and comedy even more.
Louise
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as great as the first one, I would really recommend it to everyone- especially Stewart Lee fans.
Stevo B
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book by Stewart Lee dissecting his own comedy genius.
Bob Cairns
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
If you have any interest in the art of comedy then read this book.
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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
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“If you are a young comic reading  this and are worried that you have sold out, or may sell out at some point, DO IT! KILL YOURSELF NOW!” 6 likes
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