Russell Howard – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Russell Howard – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Russell Howard forcefully grabs the laughs from the get-go and never once releases them from his grip. He says he gets ‘giddy’ on stage, and that’s evident in the excitable way he dashes from topic to topic and the genuine glee he exudes as he does so.

There is something very child-like about the way he holds the world in wonder, finding joy in the smallest things. He spends his life pursuing those silly moments, whether it be in the arms of a lover or by witnessing the proud actions of a pensioner, then revels in spreading that positive mojo when he retells the tales.

That childishness extends to his language, too, as he drops immature, sometimes archaic phrases into his set, adding to his natural appeal. He may be a whirlwind of goodwill, but the impressive performance doesn’t mean he hasn’t a keen skill for writing as well, with every incident described with smart, funny observations and quirky turn of phrase.

He has a keen sense of pesky mischief, but it’s always benign, never malicious. Surely no one is naturally this upbeat, but he makes a convincing case, and it’s infectious.

Just because he’s performing with cheek and likeability doesn’t dampen the sharpness of his points, such as attack on the bigoted miseries wallowing in their fearful ‘what next..?’ view of Britain. It’s like being coshed with a piece of marshmallow-coated two-by-four. But if anyone doesn’t share Howard’s infectious joie de vivre, they thoroughly deserve to be mercilessly mocked.

Not all of his lively set may stand up to such cold scrutiny – but in the moment, such things don’t matter. You are simply swept along on a tide of goodwill, and can’t help but enjoy the ride.

Review date: 10 Aug 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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