STEWART Lee: Snowflake/Tornado Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Stewart Lee is back. He’s somewhat portlier – as many of us are – than he was before the pandemic struck and on typically excellent, sarcastically political form.

As the title of his current show, Snowflake/Tornado, suggests, he is wading where angels – or, at least, Michael McIntyre and Alexander Armstrong – fear to tread. It’s a funny old time for a “woke”, left-of-centre comedian to be doing a culture-war show.

After all, the “anti-woke” brigade are currently doing a pretty good job of satirising themselves. It’s hard to top the comedy of GB News’s recent interview with a taxi driver, in which they, no doubt, hoped to elicit a right-wing diatribe against the rail strikes, but instead got a pro-strike, die-hard trade unionist and former mineworker.

Lee’s show is comprised of two distinct halves (he’ll be playing the Snowflake half for the duration of the Edinburgh Fringe in August). He opens, contrarily enough, with the Tornado half.

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If you were to believe the comedian – who has spun many a gag out of made-up quotes – Lee’s TV show Comedy Vehicle was, for two years, erroneously assigned by Netflix the description for one of the schlock horror Sharknado films. For 24 months, he claims, viewers of the streaming platform turned on to his BBC show expecting “sharks falling from the skies ... Nobody on the Eastern Seaboard is safe”.

As Lee is keen to remind us, we’re in the hands of a professional. Needless to say, then, that, despite many Billy Connolly-esque digressions, both sections of the show are perfectly structured (the first half, for example, is topped and tailed by Sharknado-related material, closing with a glorious imagining of an Alan Bennett script for a British remake).

As to the culture wars. Nothing is “off limits” for Jimmy Carr, Lee observes, “except paying tax”. Due disrespect is paid to the faux “bravery” of Carr’s “jokes” about rape and the mass murder of Roma people by the Nazis.

A riff on £150-a-ticket American stand-up Dave Chappelle is a ludicrous joy, while Tony Parsons and Eamonn Holmes are worthy targets.

Deliciously, Lee (right) imagines the UK’s most famous liberal newspaper reviewing a show in which his audience is confronted with an empty stage.

“The perfect comment on Brexit Britain! Five stars, The Guardian.”

Stewart Lee plays The Stand (work-in-progress) and the New Town Theatre (Snowflake) throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August 3-28). For further information, visit: