I was recently given free tickets to see Russell Howard (by my dad not by anyone wanting me to review. I’m not that big of a deal…yet) when he came to Leicester to preview his tour material. Obviously I jumped at the chance, and took my ex-housemate along as we watched Good News almost nightly when we lived together. Here’s what I thought of the show:
There’s always a worry that after admiring a comedian on the TV for so long that they would be a bit of a let down doing live stand-up, but Russell Howard did not disappoint.
The elements of what makes his television show Russell Howard’s Good News so cleverly funny were all there- from the mocking of current political events and using his platform to educate, to telling the audience side-splittingly relatable personal anecdotes. However, what made this show different to his TV show was his closer to the knuckle jokes and his more frequent, but never gratuitous, swearing. The effort that had been put into making sure each line was delivered at the correct time, and that each educational segment didn’t drag on, was clear. Not once did I get the impression that anybody in the room had a this is so awkward because we came here to laugh not be lectured on politics kind of moment.
The way that he ingeniously weaves relatable, funny every day occurrences, which make you cry with laughter, with some serious real-talk is what I’ve always liked about Howard though- and I’m sure many of his fans will agree with me. In his show at De Montfort Hall he had us roaring with laughter at one minute, nodding our heads vigorously in agreement the next, and then laughing again as he quickly spun a joke out of the state of the world right now.
There were of course moments which fell flat- which you would expect from any comedian’s tour preview. These moments were rare but Howard owned up to them and expertly changed the subject. One moment that stood out for me was a particularly dark joke which garnered a few awkward laughs but which Howard turned into another joke about our reactions. This had us all belly laughing in no time, and he swiftly informed us that he would remove that joke before he went on tour.
Another thing I’d list as a con was his frequent acknowledgement of his fame. “Now, I’m quite famous…” he’d say at the start of many a joke.
That being said, the good moments during this show far outweigh the bad.
His brilliant comedy aside, Russell Howard seems like he is a genuinely nice person- and I say that as someone who has worked in a comedy club and found out that many comedians are not-so-nice in person. A lady in the audience heckled him during a piece on mental health to tell him she was a mental health nurse. He stopped to tell her how much he admired what she did and had us all cheering for her. Another particularly touching and lovely moment came towards the end of the show. A lady had recently written to Howard telling him that her best friend had tickets to one of his shows later in the year but would not make it due to having being diagnosed with a terminal illness. She asked him to send her a video of him saying hello to her. “I can do one better than that” he said into his phone camera, “I’ve got 2500 people here in Leicester who want to say hello.” We all whooped and cheered for her as he spun the camera around to film us.
It would be easy to say it was lovely to see him using his platform to educate, but he was preaching to the converted since his audience was made up of his fans who usually agree with his viewpoint. I will say though, that it was lovely to see someone use their platform to make individual’s days brighter.
All in all I had a wonderful evening thanks to the efficiency and helpfulness of the staff at De Montfort Hall, the support act who got us all going and had us in stitches right from the very beginning, and of course thanks to Howard himself.
If you’re a fan of Russell Howard, or even if you don’t know who he is, I urge you to go and see him on his upcoming Round The World tour. You won’t be disappointed!
See when he’s in a city near you and buy tickets here.
Has anyone seen any good shows lately? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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