HomeArticleLee Camp’s New Stand-Up Special Is What Comedy Is Supposed To Be

Lee Camp’s New Stand-Up Special Is What Comedy Is Supposed To Be

Redacted Tonight‘s Lee Camp has released a new stand-up special, his first in over four years. You won’t see it in the new releases column on Netflix, and you won’t see him plugging it on Fallon or Colbert. And if you shell out a few bucks to watch it, you’ll understand very quickly why that is.

Lee Camp is the anti-Netflix. He is the anti-Fallon. His special, titled “Super Patriotic Very Uncle Sam Comedy Special Not Allowed On TV“, attacks everything that sprawling corporations and late night comedy pundits are built upon, and rips the rug out from underneath everything that they are selling. It’s the kind of biting, up-punching, the-emperor-has-no-clothes social commentary that comedy is supposed to be, the kind that makes you sincerely consider the possibility that everything you believe is a lie and makes you piss yourself laughing while you do it. It sticks out like a sore thumb against the vapid, innocuous beige mush that is the rest of the stand-up comedy scene today.

And if I had to pick a single thing I didn’t like about Camp’s special, that would honestly be the only one I could find: the way it made me feel just a little bit disgusted with all comedians not named Lee Camp. Watching it felt like having an itch scratched that I’d been trying unsuccessfully to reach all day, an instant “Yes! That!” recognition which has gone unsatisfied by the lukewarm fluff that comprises virtually all the rest of working comics today.

Comedy is meant to lampoon power and call bullshit what it is. Today it’s used at best for mindless escapism, and at worst it’s used to sell products and indoctrinate the public into supporting power and accepting bullshit. The most daring thing you’ll ever see most comics do is make fun of Donald Trump, and ooh, oh my, how brave and groundbreaking.

Camp doesn’t play that game. He begins his special after an introduction by the always excellent Abby Martin by cracking a joke about how far Trump’s head is up his ass, then saying “He’s a catastrophe, but here’s the thing: I’m gonna say his name probably one to two more times throughout this hour, and the reason is because he’s a fucking symptom. He’s not the cause of our problems, alright. He’s a symptom. He’s a visual representation of how fucked up shit has gotten.”

And then he blasts off from there. Corporatism, war, oligarchy, ecocide, white supremacy, police militarization, the looming threat of human extinction, mass media, mass surveillance, social engineering–he leaves no stone unturned in excoriating every part of our fucked up society which causes us all dissonance in our quiet, sincere moments, the uneven parts of our propaganda brain boxes which give us the sense that we’ve been lied to about everything.

There are hardly any comics who are ballsy and skillful enough to stand in front of an audience and tell them it’s all bullshit while still making them laugh, and the number of comics who can do that while clearly articulating why it’s all bullshit is probably a group of roughly one. Camp rattles off facts and figures as rapidly as he fires punchlines, pointing lucidly at the myriad ways we’re all being deceived and fucked over which are self-evidently absurd when fully exposed and looked at, then gives us an artful nudge with a clever reframe and gets us all laughing at the walls of our oligarchic cage.

And as tempting as it would be to point out all the terrible bullshit and take his laughs and go home, Camp isn’t content to just leave his audience with aching sides and an underlying sense of despair. He repeats two phrases throughout his special: “We’re being lied to” and “But people are waking up.” He highlights the ways that we are “being lied to on a mass scale”, then points at the various ways the social engineers have been failing to prevent us from seeing through the various glitches in the matrix. He talks about all the various groups that are getting screwed over by the status quo, and leaves his audience with a sense of hope as he shows how eyelids are beginning to flutter open across the board.

I might sound like I’m being over-the-top about my enthusiasm for this special, but I’m really not. Nobody asked me to write this review and I’m using my platform to write this because it’s the most interesting thing that has bounced across my screen today. This is the kind of comedy people are looking for, the kind that wakes people up and helps them see the world differently. It’s what we’re reaching for when we watch old specials by Bill Hicks and George Carlin, but don’t ever quite get. Yes, it is that good.

Anyway, check it out here if you feel so inclined. It’s about six bucks to watch it streaming and eight bucks to stream and download, and I don’t think anyone who enjoys my stuff will leave feeling like it wasn’t worth a whole lot more. In times like these, this is some sorely needed medicine.

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Latest comments

  • Big Pharma is sometimes code for ‘try natural remedies like herbs & spices (even pot-true) to cure cancer, etc’ or ‘vaccines are worse than the diseases they claim to prevent’.
    Medicines & healthcare in general costs too much, yes, lack of healthcare is evil, yes, and some medicines aren’t good for everyone (be a wise consumer), but to call doctors and, especially, pharmacists, drug dealers and pushers, when we know the truth, is wrong. The MAJORITY of doctors want to help their patients feel better, live longer or live as comfortably as possible despite an infirmity, and pharmacists dispense medicine ordered by doctors, they don’t treat people or prescribe medicines (they might recommend). Pharmaceutical companies do not endeavor to kill people or enslave them on medicines, but, generally, to correct disorders or cure illnesses. Those companies that price gouge desperate people or create ‘must take for life’ medicines need regulation/oversite, but, blanket statements about doctors and pharmacists being dealers & pushers is incorrect, cynical & suspect. There is a growing market for anti-Western, natural & ‘alt’ remedies, which benefits from distrust of traditional medical care.

    • Sorry, this is meant as a reply to Inforebelscum, below.

      • Margaret, I think you are overthinking this a little.The expression is not meant to be taken as literal.

        I used the example of Ritalin because Ritalin is often forced onto children without a doctor’s diagnosis. That is because, with rare exceptions, there is no real problem for Ritalin to solve. And in some states parents are forced to put their kids on Ritalin/other psychotropic drugs even though these drugs are extremely dangerous. Not to mention they are prescribed not to help the kid but to make him (boys are victims of these bullshit prescriptions far and away more than girls) more docile only.

        There are other examples but Big Pharma most assuredly uses the government to push their “approved” drugs onto the public.

  • The last REAL STAND-UP COMEDIAN I remember is GEORGE CARLIN .. Don’t know Lee Camp, but will check him out. PLEASE don’t under estimate the late GREAT GEORGE CARLIN no one has even come close to his intelligence, biting wit and delivery that has no peer.

  • Thanks Caity. $8 well spent

  • Lee Camp’s comedy special really was, no, is, as good as it gets. He really really is the best thing since George Carlin who having died over 10 years ago, amazingly recognized all the things that are so much more visible today – to those who bother to look. In Carlin’s ‘illusion of choice’ video clip, easily found on youtube, it is easy to assume that he, somehow, came back from the dead and is talking about our here-and-now.
    I downloaded Lee Camp’s special as soon as it was available and have watched it two additional times since then. I’ relatively sure that I won’t stop at two more viewings. It’s that good -and has the power to wake up caring people far better than their alarm clock.

  • “Notes on ‘Camp'” was an essay by Susan Sontag first published in 1964. It was her first contribution to the Partisan Review and created a literary sensation. Caitlin’s notes on Lee Camp maybe are not a premature ejaculation.

  • Just a heads up Caitlyn about a Counterpunch article slandering you pretty hideously:

    In some cases I have encountered, previously serious-seeming leftists have practically embraced Trump and channeled Moscow-hatched Caitlin/Diana Johnstoneite “red-brown” and “geopolitical” talking points [2] in the spirit of “the [nationalist] enemy of my [globalist] enemy is [somehow] my friend.” Their understandable hatred of the neoliberal Democrats (whose evils I have relentlessly documented and denounced in book and essay after book and essay for many years) has poisoned their hearts and minds. It has gotten the better of them. It’s a bit reminiscent of the German Communist Party’s disastrous sectarian response to the political rise of the Nazi in the early 1930s.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/16/barack-von-obamenburg-herr-donald-and-big-capitalist-hypocrisy-on-how-fascism-happens/

    • you won’t earn clicks through your site this way young man, so cut the crap Jeff or I’ll put you on a time out

      • That wasn’t my intent and I have no affiliation with Counterpunch or any other blog or news site. Just wanted to let Caitlyn and her readers know there was yet another piece villifyingbher for her criticism of “Russia, Russia, Russia” hysteria in case anyone with bigger platform than myself wanted to try and retort – or at the very least know that these attacks are ongoing even as the air slowly leaks from the tires of the whole Russia narrative.

        In fact, you don’t even have to click through. That’s why I copied the offending paragraph into my comment.

        Also, my name is spelled with a G. It’s Geoff.

  • Love his show. I’ll check out this special. Thanks Caitlin. Also, check out Ted Alexandro, a NY comic.

  • I will watch Lee’s stand up.
    This of course is not comedy. Nor will you see it on your evening news.
    When hubris and greed becomes one’s down fall.

  • “Pharmacists are drug dealers in lab coats”? Nonsense. Never heard of Lee Camp, anyway.

    • Society’s scourge is prescription drugs and doctors and pharmacists are the drug dealers and pushers.

      • A: pharmacists fill orders made by doctors, often for life saving medicines and often for medicines that spare ordinary people with no abuse problems from unbearable pain and loss of function, they don’t hand out medicines without these orders (and they don’t decide who is in pain from, say, cancer, and who is abusing drugs. We wouldn’t want them to, they don’t spend any time with the patient, records, X-rays, etc). For anyone to say pharmacists are drug dealers is bizarre.

        An aside; the ‘opioid crisis’ is based on false info, from doubling death #s by claiming Rx opioid meds, heroin, street fentynal, mixing drugs, mixing with alcohol, taking extra/’over’- dosing, dying while driving (drug or the injuries caused death?), no autopsy if drugs in system (heart disease actual cause of death?), meth or xanax + small amount of opioid gets counted as opioid death, many other non opioid Rx meds in those totals counted as ‘prescription drugs’ deaths, and on & on (most people don’t realize how fudged these stats are) has made people think anyone who takes pain medicine is an abuser. But there are people who were fine, working, coping with horrible pain now being cut off from helpful MEDICINE (they don’t party with them) because insurance companies, payers of disability insurance, uninformed non doctors, the govt (Vet Admin, SocSec, etc) realized the savings in cutting off the disabled. Yes, some people are dying (the numbers are still high despite kicking all these people with pain off medicine that helped them) because of abuse & street drugs. Most doctors, pharmacists and patients are you and me, not dealers & pushers. Did you even think before you posted? You’ve been brainwashed. See how easy that is when people don’t think about things. “Doctors and pharmacists” causing “society’s” “scourge”? No, mainly they cure, prevent illness and treat sick people.
        Some people abuse drugs (and/or alcohol, food, behaviors, etc), as well.

        • “Drug dealers in lab coats” is just an expression for a real issue. The public is told that “drugs are bad” and self medication is prohibited while at the same time Big Pharma is using the power of government to force the public to use Big Pharma produced “approved” drugs. Ritalin is a good example.

  • I paid for the stream and download. I could view the stream, but I couldn’t play the downloaded file. Why?

    • I bought the download, entered a username, it was accepted for purchase but becomes an invalid username when I try to login. The video seemed to start playing but hoorible audio and no volume control, no player just a play and pause button.

      Pretty shitty site, not help button or info to call.

      I’ll cancel through visa and try to figure out another way to watch.

  • PS Marx brothers are still my favorites.

  • Does it have canned laughter? That’s why I can’t stand to watch him on RT. Also, he is very obvious. I’d like to enjoy his humor as there isn’t much out there. So far, I only enjoy Jimmy Dore.

    • There’s no canned laughter on his RT show. It’s live.

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