In many ways, Stewart Lee shows are all previews. He’s always testing his stuff on the audience, working out why gags do or don’t work as he goes along, deconstructing his skits for even more laughs.

But Much A-Stew About Nothing was especially open in its aims: there were three separate 30-minutes slots being prepped to make up the new series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle.

He tagged on a free work-in-progress encore, too, and showed how he builds up an idea in much the same way Phil Spector might make a wall of sound.

Even half-complete, his tearing apart of Vodafone and its digital parenting advice – “what’s wrong with analogue?” – was worthy of three stars.

The rest of the material, which occasionally descended to agreement, ie claps not laughs, or “mass acceptance from a narrow demographic”, was mostly that rare thing in comedy: progressive.

Picking out his favourite Tories to explain why he’ll vote Tory was a clever set-up; his admiration for Peter Stringfellow’s work provided the best gag of the night.

A well-constructed piece on stereotypes using cabbies, call-backs and his imaginary black wife and gay husband was another keeper.

Even without overall narrative the material flowed. Because anyone who can combine the idea of a parasitic worm up a cat’s backside and shoehorn his wife into the joke knows how to weave lines together.