STEWART Lee broke a three-year hiatus from touring in style with two back-to-back shows in one long and enjoyable night at the Brighton Dome.

The first half, Tornado, stems from the comedian’s discovery that his Comedy Vehicle TV show mistakenly spent two years on Netflix with the description from American sci-fi horror film Sharknado 3 as its listing.

This discovery, alongside the Times calling him the “world’s greatest living stand-up”, causes Lee to assess his own place in the comedy landscape.

Tornado is a brilliant set, that has more clear jokes than any of Lee’s previous work that I can remember, and even sees him doing impressions of Alan Bennett.

Dave Chappelle, Leonard Cohen, and Josh Widdicome are all discussed and Brighton itself is lauded/berated (it can be quite hard to tell) for having two comic shops, but none received as much attention as much as the comedian’s favourite topic, Stewart Lee himself.

The second half, Snowflake, is a less structured set than Tornado and is a little weaker for it in a purely comic sense.

It sees Lee addressing politics and the downfall of political correctness in recent years.

The set did include a couple of bits that were familiar such as an array of responses to a Christian evangelist asking Lee: “Jesus is the answer, what is the question?”.

But these were only done in passing and the sheer amount of material in the show means it can’t be held against the comedian.

Some of Lee’s extended riffs can feel more like endurance tests for both audience and performer than anything else.

One such bit came in the second half when Lee discusses what a comedian “saying the unsayable” would really be like. The six-minute demonstration that follows tested the patience of many, but other, similarly long routines certainly land.

One was a long enactment of a week’s worth of workplace conversations, while another was a less obviously worked bit about Tony Parsons’ cess pit, which eventually had Lee saying: “Thank God the laughter has stopped. Can it be noted by the local paper that I actually had to stop the laughter.”

Snowflake/Tornado isn’t perfect then, but with Stewart Lee offering some genuine insight alongside perhaps more jokes than ever before, it certainly shouldn’t be missed.

Hugh Finzel