Stewart Graham Lee (born April 5, 1968, in Shropshire, raised in Solihull) is an English stand-up comedian, writer and director probably best 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.
On political correctness
- David Cameron never mentions it, but the Conservative Party won a by-election in Birmingham, and they sent out little kids with leaflets that said, "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour." And if political correctness has achieved one thing, it's to make the Conservative Party cloak its inherent racism behind more creative language."
- From 41st Best Stand-Up Ever
- It really worries me that 84% of this audience agrees with that statement, because the kind of people that say "political correctness gone mad" are usually using that phrase as a kind of cover action to attack minorities or people that they disagree with. I'm of an age that I can see what a difference political correctness has made. When I was four years old, my grandfather drove me around Birmingham, where the Tories had just fought an election campaign saying, "if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour," and he drove me around saying, "this is where all the niggers and the coons and the jungle bunnies live." And I remember being at school in the early 80s and my teacher, when he read the register, instead of saying the name of the one asian boy in the class, he would say, "is the black spot in," right? And all these things have gradually been eroded by political correctness, which seems to me to be about an institutionalised politeness at its worst. And if there is some fallout from this, which means that someone in an office might get in trouble one day for saying something that someone was a bit unsure about because they couldn't decide whether it was sexist or homophobic or racist, it's a small price to pay for the massive benefits and improvements in the quality of life for millions of people that political correctness has made. It's a complete lie that allows the right, which basically controls media now, and international politics, to make people on the left who are concerned about the way people are represented look like killjoys. And I'm sick, I'm really sick-- 84% of you in this room that have agreed with this phrase, you're like those people who turn around and go, "you know who the most oppressed minorities in Britain are? White, middle-class men." You're a bunch of idiots.
- From "Heresy", BBC Radio 4, 16th May 2007
- The twisting of the idea of 'political correctness' into a soft, one-size-fits-all punchbag for the right-wing media and your nan is a personal bugbear of mine [...] . In 2008, Edward Stourton published It's a PC World, which explained everything I ever wanted to say on the subject far more eloquently than I ever could have, and used actual statistical facts to back it up. Because no one can imagine a remotely pro-political correctness book, Stourton's book was, tellingly, misfiled by bookshops in the humour section, alongside Richard Littlejohn's Hell in a Handcart, those crappy politically correct fairy tales books and Al Murray's Pub Landlord annuals. Pundits on the Right like to imagine we live in a PC dictatorship, but the fact remains that in a high-street bookshop it is assumed that any book with PC in the title must be a hilarious attack on PC, rather than a book in its defence, because the only time you ever see PC mentioned is when people are complaining about PC. For money. And usually on the very publicly funded radio stations that these dicks believe are involved in a politically correct conspiracy to silence them.
- How I Escaped my Certain Fate: the Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian, pp. 82–83
Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
- The world of publishing is in crisis: publishers sell hot titles as massive discounts to supermarkets, driving independent publishers out of business. I remember when the last Harry Potter title came out, I think it was Harry Potter and the Crock of Shit. Remember that? Or Harry Potter and the Mitten of Wool? Or Harry Potter and the Stick of Wood. Or Harry Potter and the Forest of Embarrassment. Or Harry Potter and the meh meh meh. Anyway, I was in Tesco’s, and they were literally delivering the new Harry Potter books on forklift trucks, on pallets, into the supermarket. "Get your books! Pile up the books! Get a multi-pack of books! Why not take an extra book home, put it in the freezer?" You know, those Harry Potter books, you know they’re for children, don’t you? They’re aimed at children. People do that to me, "Have you read the new Harry Potter book, Stew, it’s good, have you read it?" No, I haven’t read it, because I’m a forty-year-old man. "You should read it, Stew, it’s about a wizard in a school." I’m not reading it! I’m a grown— I’m an adult! "Have you read Harry Potter, Stew, and the— and the Tree of Nothing?" No, I haven’t. I haven’t read it, but I have read the complete works of the romantic poet and visionary William Blake. So fuck off.
- Series 1 Episode 1: "Toilet Books"
- It's no coincidence that the worst published writer in the world today is also one of the world's most successful writers... Dan Brown. Now Dan Brown is not a good writer, The Da Vinci Code is not literature. Dan Brown writes sentences like "The famous man looked at the red cup." …and it's only to be hoped that Dan Brown never gets a job where he's required to break bad news. "Doctor is he going to be alright?" "The seventy five year old man died a painful death on the large green table... it was sad".
- Series 1 Episode 1: "Toilet Books"
- The eighteenth-century polymath Thomas Young was the last person to have read all the books published in his lifetime. That means that he would've read all the Shakespeare and all the Greek and Roman classics and all the theology and all the philosophy and all the science. But the same man today, a man who had read all the books published today, would've had to've read all Dan Brown's novels, two volumes of Chris Moyles' autobiography, The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson II by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson III by Jeremy Clarkson... his mind would be awash with bad metaphors and unsustainable, reactionary opinion; one long anecdote about the time that Comedy Dave put pound coins in the urinal. In short, the man who had read everything published today would be more stupid than a man who had read nothing. That's not a good state of affairs.
- Series 1 Episode 1: "Toilet Books"
- I don’t know if I’m the right person to be doing jokes about religion; in the past few months, I’ve become religious, I’ve started to believe in god, creationism and intelligent design, and the reason that I now believe in god and creationism and intelligent design is because of Professor Richard Dawkins. Because when I look at something as complex and intricate and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins, I don’t think that just could’ve evolved by chance! Professor Richard Dawkins was put there by god to test us, like fossils. And facts.
- Series 1 Episode 6: "Religion"
- I'm surprised she's friends with the Tories, Helen Bonham-Carter, because she's an artist and I'm not saying it's right or wrong, artists do tend, historically, to be on the left. People on the right tend to be practical, level-headed, capable, unsentimental realists; people on the left tend to be people with dreams, hope, vision, imagination.You have to have imagination on the left don't you. You have to be able to look at Ed Miliband and imagine that he represents anything other than the death of the post-war socialist dream. Ed Miliband, how did he manage that; how did he make the Labour party less popular than under Blair? That's like catching a baby that's been thrown out of an airplane and then tripping up and dropping it in a gutter.
- Series 3 Episode 3: "Satire"
Carpet Remnant World
- I was sorry to see the News of the World go down, I think it was a great campaigning newspaper. Who can forget the News of the World's high profile campaign against child sex offenders which led to News of the World readers burning down the home of a paediatrician, throwing rocks at a pedalo, stamping on a centipede.