In the same week that Ricky Gervais is 'outed' by the Guardian's Media Monkey as a detractor of the social networking site, comedian Stewart Lee announces the working title for his next show: Twitter Ye Not.

Mild manners are not what comedian Stewart Lee is all about. His latest touring show If You Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One, which calls in at the Beck Theatre this month, attempts to inform people as to what they're letting themselves in for.

Apparently though, some people got the wrong end on the stick about the show. Early on in the run, The Daily Mail called the part of Lee’s routine about Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond an “extraordinary attack” and the Solihull Observer was up in arms calling it a “sick blast”, a “surprising and cruel slur” and a “bizarre attack” on his former, fellow Solihull School student. Later, as the highly favourable reviews rolled in, it was not without a little twinge of irony that the Mail on Sunday carried a five-star review, in which writer Mark Wareham declared the Top Gear content to be a “daring theatrical tour de force”.

Stewart, in his typical laconic fashion, believes the problem arises when part of a comedy sketch is repeated out of context.

“This is what happens when you manufacture stories where there isn’t one because people are upset by what you didn’t say,” explains Stewart. “The Mail took one sentence from a 30-minute routine and wrote about what they imagined to be the content of the show. I now talk about that disparity between what’s said and done and what its reported as for half an hour on stage. The review in the Mail on Sunday goes to show how you can have two utterly different news stories in the same paper.”

Thus the media joins a long list of people, organisations and issues Stewart sees fit to subject to his trademark vitriolic diatribe.

I wonder what will be in the firing line after this?

"I’ve already come up with my next show," says the astute funnyman. It’s called Twitter Ye Not and the strapline will be something like ‘The worse comedian in Britain today as funny as bubonic plague’. I’m annoyed by people who keep saying, ‘why don’t you go on Twitter its really good you have to say something funny in 140 characters’. I want to do completely the opposite. I want to explore one funny idea in 140 minutes.”

A prolific writer, playwright and scriptwriter, Stewart returned to our TV screens last year for the first time in a decade with Comedy Vehicle for BBC2.

Stewart’s comedy career began in 1988 aged 20 and he went on to win the Hackney Empire new act of the year award in 1990. In the ‘90s, he contributed to various BBC Radio comedy shows, including Fist of Fun and On The Hour, with Steve Coogan and Chris Morris, performed as a stand-up almost nightly on the London circuit, and co-created four series for BBC2 with Richard Herring. Stewart also directed the Mighty Boosh’s breakthrough Edinburgh show, Arctic Boosh, in 1999 and in 2002, he was invited to help write and direct the composer Richard Thomas’ Jerry Springer The Opera, which won four Olivier awards after its National Theatre run.

Having turned 41, Stewart believes he has some entitlement to rage against the machine and trends such as social networking are fair game. He even turns the spotlight on his own kind, lashing out at observational comedy and angry comedians. Fellow funnymen Michael McIntyre and Frankie Boyle come under fire.

I tell him some of his material sounds like a middle class rant.

“The middle class has changed since the ‘70s and ‘80s. I’m the most middle class person in that I was adopted in the late 1960s when the adoption agency was run on social engineering terms, so I was placed at the exact dead centre of society.

“We didn’t have very much money but I did an arts degree at university, and ended up in debt and living in a house worse than the one I was brought up in. Meanwhile, Michael McIntyre makes jokes about vacuum cleaners.

“The show is about what do you talk about as a comedian at 41 when you’re faced with this kind of bland observational comedy or manufactured irrational anger from the likes of Frankie Boyle. This is what you’re up against as a writer at the coalface of comedy. I am like the oracle of Dephi, what I do tomorrow, Michael Michael McIntyre will do in 15 years.”

After making the kind of salacious statements Stewart cackles maniacally down the phone, presumably so that I, unlike my fellow members of the press do not mistake his comic outbursts for the truth. It is very hard to tell when he is being serious.

Stewart Lee comes to the Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes on Friday, January 22 at 8pm. Tickets: 020 8561 8371.