Russell Howard – Adventures
PLEASANCE COURTYARD (VENUE 33)
RUSSELL Howard’s brief outbursts on the BBC show Mock the Week don’t do justice to his considerable comic talent. Next to Frankie Boyle’s perfectly timed, gloriously un-PC interjections, Howard is often left to look like an eager rookie playing for the easy laughs.
But with an hour of our undivided attention, the self-confessed H-from-Steps-lookalike proves himself as a natural, and likeable, stand-up.
Tellingly, Howard, in one of many self-reflexive asides, says: “I can’t do deadpan.” He really can’t. In fact, he can’t even stand still. If the show was to overrun by five minutes, the hyperactive, hyper-tongued Howard would probably collapse.
But this childlike enthusiasm belies a sharp – if rather bog-standardly liberal – social outlook. And while Howard can extract whatever humour remains in over-mined gems such as the tabloid press or terrorism, it’s when he’s in biographical mode that his manic style works best.
These anecdotes range from infantile experimentation to drunken indiscretion, but they are usually united in theme by graphic, often bum-related, embarrassment for their teller.
One criticism is that Howard tends to go for the collective, mainstream jugular when he might do better to embrace his evident eccentricity. Despite this, he’s certainly a comedian who must be enjoyed live, rather than via a tightly edited, suspiciously smooth TV gameshow.
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