Russell Howard has become one of the most popular British comedians of our generation. Renowned for his ability to make light of even the darkest of headlines, it’s no surprise that tickets for Howard’s tour have been in incredibly high demand. Warwick Arts Centre recently had the privilege of hosting Russell’s tour for two days back-to-back, and The Boar was even luckier to be able to review it.
To kickstart the show, Andrew Bird, Russell’s hilarious support act, absolutely owned the stage. Energetic, charismatic, and overtly sarcastic, Bird’s performance was met with flurries of laughs and cheers. Bird particularly made fun of seemingly overused phrases and actions, such as footballers praying to God “every 20 seconds when they’re on the pitch”. He finished his performance on his hands and knees, praying to the Lord because he had “done his job.” It had the audience in tears of laughter and was a defining support act in the build-up to the main event.
The applause was electric when Russell entered the stage, and it didn’t take long before Howard’s no-filter dig at UK politics had the crowd in stitches. Suella Braverman’s name was particularly in the spotlight, and Howard didn’t hold back. Ironically enough, the very next day, Braverman was sacked as home secretary.
But it wasn’t just UK politics that came under fire. Howard openly mocked Warwick students, who he claims have all been “lied to”, considering the university is actually in Coventry. To this, Howard bluntly remarked, “Not so pleasant,” which had several members of the audience in tears, many of whom were Warwick students.
Howard himself lived in Leamington Spa for a brief period and used this as an opportunity to further dig at students living in the area. Nobody was safe from Howard’s unique knack of poking fun at whatever he sets his mind to.
He later alluded to so-called “influencer” Andrew Tate and poked fun at the habits young men may pick up in striving to be an “alpha male.” Howard’s ability to see the light in real ongoing issues is one of his defining aspects as a comedian, and he did not disappoint in his performance.
It’s something audiences see so often on The Russell Howard Hour, but there was a real atmosphere when brought to the stage live. To the surprise of a few members of the crowd, Russell slipped up a couple of times during his performance. After a failed football joke was met with a resounding silence from the crowd, Russell smiled and simply remarked, “Not a football crowd then”. The audience burst out laughing again, and it was a real testament to Russell’s comedic ability.
He carried on with some rather quirky and bizarre jokes that you just couldn’t help but laugh at. Traversing from his childhood upbringing to Gregg Wallace trying out some rather questionable things, it’s incredibly impressive just how much Russell can cover in such a short space of time.
The overall premise of the show was to encourage the audience to make light of things they otherwise wouldn’t have. In other words, to quote Russell himself, “Laughter is the lubricant of life.”
What was most impressive was Howard’s ability to bring it all together. Right until the very end, Howard was often linking jokes together, even referring to things mentioned right at the start of the show. All the audience had to do was sit back and enjoy it, or as Andrew Bird said, “laugh your arses off.”
The performances from both Howard and Bird were just hilarious to watch, and both comedians have upcoming shows to go and see.