Russell Howard: Dingledodies

DVD review by Steve Bennett

There’s a segment in Dingledodies where Russell Howard mocks the misery-mongers who, taking their pessimistic cues from the Mail or Express, are forever complaining that the country’s going to the dogs.

Howard’s the perfect antidote to that mindset, a cheery lad full of joie de vivre who wants to spread the word that life is for enjoying. For him, children mean wonderment and fantasy, not feral knife-wielding hoodies who’d stab you for having the wrong ringtone, and wine flu is an empty scare story.

And although he occasionally takes issue with those with a more poisonous take on the world, he makes his point more effectively by merry example, rather than impassioned polemic.

‘Giggle’ is the word that most springs out from this set, recorded at the Brighton Dome. He aims to recreate the innocent feeling of helplessly giggling at some minor incident that tickles him – from chuckling at his own testicles in the bath to seeing a giant pub Jenga set collapse on a midget. He celebrates the carefree spirit, although there’s sometimes a nugget of something more important at a routine’s core.

His life-affirming attitude stands him in good stead for the playful banter he exchanges with the audience, culminating in a unique finale in which he invites one boisterous punter on stage for a bit of very entertaining physical horseplay.

His demographic seem as youthful as he is, but there’s more to him than superficial appeal: anyone wanting an uplifting escape from cynicism will find it here. Sometimes you might instantly forget the feelgood routine that made you have such a laugh – but that will probably only mean this DVD, Howard’s second, feels fresh on subsequent viewings.

Main Feature: 77mins
Extras: Live at the Apollo performances from 2007 (13min) and 2008 (21 mins); Bit of a Natter Q&A with some of his fans (16mins); alternative ending from another night's gig (3 mins)
Released by: 4 DVD on November 16
Price: £19.99. Click hereto buy from Amazon at £11.98.

Published: 16 Nov 2009

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