“We’re all really angry at the moment”, screamed Howard to a packed arena audience. “The world’s a very dark and depressing place at the moment, but all we can do is laugh at the absurd.”
A seemingly simply solution from a comedian who wants to unite the world. At a time when the world is rife with division and distrust, Russell’s here to highlight the best in humanity, offering us a “giggle in the gloom” and moments of silliness at a time of uncertainty.
His mission for this evening may appear somewhat run-of-the-mill, but it appears for some reason or another to resonate with the sold out Newcastle crowd. While the Good News comedian’s latest tour, Round The World, has a more sombre and intimate undertone than his usual light-hearted material.
On a small round stage in the centre of the Metro Radio Arena, a more mature Howard makes light work of heavy topics including death, depression and mental health. His usual forays into politics go no further than bold declarations that Nigel Farage “does not speak for me” and a deeply impassioned rendition of the National Anthem in ode to the NHS.
After three years away from the live comedy scene, Russell has returned with a vengeance and a simple mission to recalibrate the world.
Sly digs at all things from ISIS terrorists to the “nincompoop” President Donald Trump and his grandma taking up hula-hooping as a new keep-fit hobby were skilfully smattered in between standard impersonations of Boris Johnson and a rather frisky queen and Prince Phillip sketch.
His Friday night Newcastle show kicked off in typical low-brow style with swearing and Skype- sex jokes galore curtesy of Good News co-writer and comedy support act Steve Williams, before a hyped up Howard bounded onto stage to wrestling-style warm-up
and straight into a passionate rant about the state of British politics in which one was safe.
Despite feeling a little like an episode of Good News at times, the heavily politicised theme did nothing to dampen the mood of the 10,000 strong Geordie crowds who were laughing throughout when Howard broke out the jokes his fans know and love.
From his self-deprecating jokes about his wonky eye or being the UK No 23 “weird crush” to being mistaken for a Pokémon and cringe-worthy family gatherings of which the audience can relate.
Much of Russell’s humour comes from finding the funny in the everyday mundane but is brought to life by his overly animated delivery, bold gestures and cadences that are as big as he puts an immense amount of heartfelt passion and youthful energy into every sentence. His celebratory stance of loving life’s lunacy and hating beige conformity aims to do just that-provide a “giggle in the gloom”.
With a combination of fun infectious satire and relatable cringe-worthy anecdotes, Howard has simply amped up his game and transformed into a charismatic yet zany comedian impossible not to warm to.