Russell Howard interview

A star of the UK comedy circuit, Russell Howard's infectious humour is irresistible. Plus, his blonde locks and boyish looks have helped make him a bit of a hit with the ladies. We talked to the boy wonder about flotation tanks, Championship Manager and groupies.

Russell Howard

When did you first realise you were funny?

Probably when I was little. Everyone's funny when they're little. Properly, I guess, when I did my first ever gig. It was the first time I thought, "Yeah, I can do this".

Who's the wittiest comedian around?

Erm... Frankie Boyle is very good. And Johnny Vegas is extremely witty. There are also loads of really good unheard of comics that are great.

Do you make yourself laugh?

Not really. I have a deep lack of respect for myself. I can't really fathom why anyone would want to listen to me.

I did a floatation tank the other day. Basically you're in this sort of capsule just with yourself. It's like being locked in a room with someone you hate. It's the most depressing experience in the world. I don't really get on with myself.

You have made regular TV appearances on Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks . What do you prefer telly or stand up?

Stand up, it's loads easier. Although Never Mind the Buzzcocks is quite easy - trying to outwit pop stars isn't difficult. The others are good fun, but they're a proper slog.

Have you been offered many TV gigs?

Yeah, especially when I was younger. I got offered loads of presenting jobs interviewing pop stars. If I ever have to ask what Jamelia what her favourite cheese is I'd shoot myself in the mouth. When you just want to be on telly for the sake of it it's really sad.

You've been described as a bit of a heart throb. Do you have any groupies?

No not really. I get the occasional comment from a girl when I'm out with my girlfriend - it drives her mental. It's all very odd. Because I share my name with Russell Brand - who's this lothario - I feel this pressure on me to bang, but that's not me. But I tell you what, if there was a competition, I bet you I've played more hours of Championship Manager than Russell Brand. That's what I bring to the Russell world.

How much of your live show is improvised?

It kind of depends on the audience really. I'll have an hour of material ready to go, but I like smudging it in.

I was in Salisbury the other day, which is a really great, mad little place. There were loads of heckles flying in left, right and centre. And then there was this really weird moment where this 14-year-old kid got into the gig - god knows how. He had shorts on and walked along the front of the stage halfway through my set.

I asked if he was alright and he said, "Yeah, I'm just looking for the toilet." He looked properly terrified, I just couldn't bring myself to say anything other than, "They're just over there mate". So he wandered off and I turned to the crowd and said, "I just looked into his eyes, he looked so vulnerable, I couldn't say anything else", and this bloke shouted, "Weak, you're weak Howard!" You can't plan stuff like that - it's so funny.

For more from Russell visit his official website: www.russell-howard.co.uk

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