REVIEW: Stewart Lee: Snowflake/Tornado at Sheffield City Hall

REVIEW: Stewart Lee: Snowflake/Tornado at Sheffield City Hall

By Adele Forrest | 11/02/2020

REVIEW: Stewart Lee: Snowflake/Tornado at Sheffield City Hall

THE comedian dubbed the “master of the callback” and the “world’s greatest living stand-up” proved he was just that during a two-night run in Sheffield City Hall.

Stewart Lee’s latest tour, Snowflake/Tornado, is two 60-minute shows of the highest calibre sliced together.

The first-half, Tornado, is inspired by the inaccurate description Lee's show was accidentally uploaded to Netflix with: “Reports of sharks falling from the skies are on the rise again. Nobody on the Eastern Seaboard is safe”.

This turned out to be the description for B-movie Sharknado 3 — but for two years, millions of Netflix subscribers around the world clicked on the comic’s show hoping for an ocean adventure.

In trademark style, Lee (pictured) continually references back to the description while also taking aim at the careers of some of his peers.

Jimmy Carr, Josh Widdicombe, Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais are carefully unpicked — Gervais doesn’t actually say the “unsayable”, but what would it look like if he did? 

Cue five long minutes — sometimes uncomfortable for both audience and comic — of Lee gagging, gasping, gurning and blabbering.

It is an endurance test and one he says a Mumsnet reader said “went on a bit”.

Even Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge — currently enjoying national treasure status — isn’t safe as Lee ridicules astonishment at her breaking of the “fourth wall”, sniping: “What did we do before she invented looking at the camera?”

Lee cleverly pokes fun at addressing the audience directly, which is a staple for stand-up comics, referring back to earlier in his set when he had broken off to talk directly to someone on their way to the toilet.

Even his own brand isn’t safe as he knowingly mocks the demographic the likes of the Daily Mail will associate him with — “the metropolitan liberal elite”.

In Snowflake, Lee examines people, like his nan, who decry “political correctness gone mad” at every opportunity.

And if being labelled a snowflake means you’re empathetic, then so be it. Hear, hear!

Lee is a total Marmite comedian — I could see audience members both completely stony-faced or bent over in stitches. 

My friend and I were the latter, although even my superfan pal had to admit some of the material was rehashed. 

Thank God Lee’s recent ill-health hasn’t put the brakes on his career as this was one, if not the best, comedy shows I’ve seen and is definitely worth checking out, or watching on Netflix...if you can find it.