Russell Howard: Adventures

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

I can’t really do much better in describing Russell Howard than his own mother’s review, after seeing him perform stand-up live for the first time. ‘You’re a bit like a child telling people about a day out at the zoo,’ she said, and you can understand why. Like an overactive youngster, his delivery is so enthused at the various exciting thing he just has to impart, he can’t actually muster the patience to stick on one subject for long as the next one’s already knocking at his brain.

It makes for a dynamic, fluid show as he flits distractedly around the topics - plus you can’t help but share his gusto for life. This appealing energy is backed up by a great use of obscure, sometimes archaic language and imagry, delivered with the unconvincing posture of an Edwardian gentleman or street-cool kid, either of which he might adopt with a charming lack of conviction.

His is a world of ‘duplicitous sphincters’, ‘radiator pants’ and ‘human Buckaroo’ – fusing ideas and words not always meant to be together to create a vibrancy in the language to match his spirited delivery.

It’s not all loose frippery and half-remembered nonsense, however. Howard has got some sterling set pieces of laugh-aloud brilliance. His all-purpose newspaper review, especially was a wonder.

This pivotal routine provides a clue to the theme of his show, at least as much of a theme as such a scattergun offering can possibly have. He wants to urge us all not to see the world through the warped prism of a media that paints the world as a dangerous place that you would be foolhardy to interact with.

Real life is experiences, adventures, if you will, which Howard encourages you to encounter for yourself. Hardly a groundbreaking philosophy, but one he appears to practice, and a convenient peg for what could otherwise be a very disparate, but equally funny, stand-up hour.

It culminates in a comedy equivalent of Reasons To Be Cheerful, as Howard racks his brain to think of joyful experiences to tell to a potential suicide victim he would miss. Howard’s own show would easily earn a place in any such list.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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