I've been accused of a heinous crime. One I believe I didn't commit. A bit like The A-Team*. I've been accused of stealing. Not stealing something rubbish or easy to replace like money or wealth. No, much worse than that I've been accused of stealing IDEAS. Or an idea. For a joke. In this entry. The material I'm accused of stealing is about farting and it comes from the legendary stand-up Stewart Lee, who talks eloquently about the subject in his fantastic Stand Up Comedian DVD. The foul stench of plagerism is one some people underestimate but it's not a pong I'm happy with having surround me and my creative outpourings! I need to either clear up the mess or open a window. Ha ha! Farts. Smell. I'm ace. Hold on, I might not be. Lets see...
Now, in the entry, I refer to the fact that some of my original stand-up material was entriely based around farts. This is true. In fact I've got a semi-record of the veracity of this claim here. This material was written prior to me actually seeing Stewart Lee doing stand-up. I'd seen his Lee and Herring show, but I didn't really think it was so great. The first time I witnessed genius level Lee was in the summer of the same year I wrote my stuff. I'll never forget it. F#cking awesome!
A smoke-filled tent at the Glastonbury festival with my girlfriend. He walked calmly onto the stage and proceeded to describe reactions and laughter of the audience. No jokes, just pure technique. Amazing. And funny. And the sort of thing a comedy fan gets wet dreams about. It's a trick not repeated in the DVD but it's worth seeing. He's hypnotic. The best comedian I've seen live. He then went on to do a version of the DVD which you can still buy in the shops if you look hard enough.
I'd been warned about how good he was by my friend Tom Binns. No warning could have been loud enough to prepare me for him live though. I was an instant convert. I'd not really enjoyed the Lee and Herring TV stuff too much. It was okay but not as good as he was live, both Lee and Herring are doing better, tighter, funnier work nowadays on their own. Anyway, me and my girlfriend went to see him again in Leeds where he did a completely different set which was easily as good. I became an agressive fan. In fact I forced people to watch and like him. It made me really annoyed if people didn't laugh. I became obsessed and insufferable on the subject. I even started talking like him a bit in day to day conversation and sometimes even when I was on air**.
Then I calmed down a bit and just watched some of the Lee and Herring TV stuff which, as I think I've made clear, isn't really as good.
Now, my "hilarious" stand-up stuff had all the while been sort of forgotten. But the earlier versions of it really do display elements of parrallel thinking. Then came the blog entry over which I have been accused of stealing. This one. Which I've already linked to once. Not one of my best, but I write this thing everyday so, y'know. The quote from Stewart Lee "farts are the baseline of comedy, no matter how sophisticated our tastes get they will always be funny. Why? Because it's some gas which smells of s#it, coming out of an a#se." This is an idea which he explores in detail with precision. Not his idea but certainly something he owns by the end of it.
When I wrote the blog entry Stewart Lee popped into my mind. I though, am I ripping him off here? Nah - I thought this before I'd heard of him anyway. Now I'm not so sure. I think perhaps I should send him an email and ask him for his opinion? If he doesn't reply that to me suggests that actually I'm in the right and all that sort of stuff. If he does I'll officially apologise.
Before I conclude this entry I'll just tell you that he spent about two thirds of his live set in Leeds slagging off people who steal jokes. Namely Joe Pasquale. It was a set aimed at the terrible and debilitating habit we have in our society of stealing other people's ideas. Debilitating because in doing so we undermine and devalue creativity to the point that it gets lost behind a sea of those who quote the ideas of others. If I'm guilty I'll have to do something to amend things.
*I invented a great game once called the BA game. I'm ace me. Not only am I equal to if not better than Stewart Lee but also I can invent amazing games. Hang on a minute. No. My mate Ben invented that game. Ruined.
**Tom Binns once rang me laughing like mad doing an impression of me talking like him on air. I realised then that things were getting out of hand.