Russell Kane

Russell Kane

Russell Kane won the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2010, on his third time of being nominated, having scooped best newcomer in 2006.

His career started in 2004, when he won the Laughing Horse new act competition, and the following year he was nominated for best newcomer in the Chortle awards.

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Russell Kane at Latitude 2023

Review from the Suffolk festival

Offering an astute analysis of the British psyche, Russell Kane comments on our ‘all or nothing’ attitude: emotionally repressed then getting roaring drunk, for example.

Moderation isn’t his style either, as hyperactive a toddler on Red Bull, pacing the Latitude stage and striking theatrical poses, as is his wont. The content, too, is big cartoonish stereotypes. From his vantage point of working-class boy turned middle-class ponce, he gets as much capital as always from mimicking both sides. On one, his ‘council-estate-tag-on-the-ankle’ family, on the other, fey, delicate young snowflakes fainting in shock at the slightest perceived offence.

He says he enjoys the multigenerational audience a festival tent draws, mocking every age group equally. However, he doesn’t seek to divide, letting slip the pragmatic reasoning behind many a stand-up’s plea for unity: ‘United rooms are good for comedy.’

The message, rather, is that every generation has its mores that are incomprehensible to others. ‘It’s the job of the young to irritate the old,’ he notes.

There’s plenty of playful scorn for the frivolous and the approval-seekers: middle-aged would-be Instagram influences, for example, or other social media cynically seeking likes. The hypocrisy of a comedian calling this out is acknowledged – Kane gets the criticism in before anyone else can.

He claims he ‘hates politics until it becomes funny’ – which means the likes of Liz Truss and Boris Johnson give him plenty of fodder. And returning to the national character, he has a detailed, vivid story of holidaying Brits being too drunk to fuck, which takes a familiar trope and brings it to life with detail and the compelling vigour of his performance.

There’s barely time for him to touch on his hardcore Ukrainian grandfather, defiant in the face of Covid lockdown, but Kane still packs about two shows’ worth of content into his 45 minutes on stage.

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Published: 22 Jul 2023


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