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Star interview: Comedian Russell Howard sold out at Dorking and Crawley

By This is Surrey  |  Posted: November 05, 2008

  • Comic: Russell Howard has sold out at Dorking Halls and Crawley Hawth Theatre

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He shot to fame in the world of stand-up and is hot property on TV too. Russell Howard talks to Katie Archer about sell-out tours and rubbish parties

It's a tough life being a stand-up comic – no polite theatre-goers here, but a demanding army of hecklers to deal with. Standing up in front of an audience just waiting for you to stumble, trying to make them laugh every night is the stuff of nightmares for many.

But Russell Howard revels in it – he's more at home on the stage than anywhere else.

He has already been to Surrey a couple of time this year. Over the summer he played Croydon's Warehouse Theatre's Edinburgh previews, before heading up to the Festival Fringe itself for five dates.

Then in September he brought his latest tour to Fairfield, Croydon before heading down to the coast in October for the Magners Paramount Comedy Festival in Brighton.

Now Howard, who is fast becoming one of the UK's most popular comedians, is bringing the Dingledodies tour to

Dorking Halls on Friday November 14 and Crawley's Hawth Theatre on Tuesday November 25. Both dates are sold out.

Audiences can expect a different experience with each date.

"My show changes each night but it's always just about the things that make me happy.

"That's why I've given it such a vague name, because it means I can do whatever I like with it each night.

"It's also a homage to Jack Kerouac's book On The Road, where he describes shuffling after people who are far more successful as being a dingledodie and that's how I feel about my life really."

Howard also takes inspiration from On The Road for his own material in his shows.

"Jack Kerouac's book was this huge long parchment that he was tapping and tapping away on as a kind of stream of consciousness.

"I like the idea of experiencing things and writing about them in a scattergun kind of way."

In the past year Howard, 28, has had three sell-out stand-up tours and continues to be in demand for TV appearances.

What does he think is the reason for this snowballing success?

"I have no idea - it slightly baffles me. I don't dwell on things like why it works, I just go with it.

"I always try to come up with new jokes and move forwards so I reckon by the time I'm 35 I'll be really good."

Although stand-up is his first love, Howard has enjoyed his foray into TV – particularly with the comedian panel show Mock The Week.

"That's my favourite show to do but also the hardest.

"On Never Mind The Buzzcocks I'm on with pop stars who have to have jokes written for them so you can just take the p*** out of them if you want.

"But on Mock The Week it's all comedians competing against each other so you have to be that much better."

Just before he headed up to Edinburgh Howard finished his BBC6 Music show that aired on a Sunday morning, co-presented with fellow comedian Jon Richardson.

This was Russell Brand's former radio show and although Howard says he had good moments on it, he's not sad to let it go.

"I find radio really restrictive – well, radio sketches are fantastic, but a show like this was completely different.

"We were on air on a Sunday morning so we had a whole list of words we couldn't say because families were listening, and we had to play music too.

"I never felt like myself and if you find yourself boring, which I often do, it's like you're imposing this dull person on the nation.

"And I realised how much I feed off the audience as a performer, but you can't gauge a reaction on the radio.

"But the other thing was, as a kid I used to go to HMV and look at the videos of all these geniuses like Billy Connolly but with radio the furthest you're ever going to go is to the Radio 1 Breakfast Show and I would never want to do that in a million years."

So where next for Howard? He says he'll be taking a break from touring until September next year (although once his 2008 gigs are finished he does have a load of Dingledodies dates in June), but there are plenty more projects in the pipeline.

"Me and Jon are taking a break from each other after the radio show – it was a very intense relationship of staring into each other's eyes for a while.

"But we really want to do a TV film together – after we saw the film Superbad we thought it was hilarious but it's not relevant to the experiences you have at parties here when you're growing up.

"We want to do a really honest reflection of c*** scout hut disco parties.

"Someone always got s***faced, someone always got drawn on and

there was always a girl who got naked."

He's also taking a more serious TV route with a documentary about the Homeless World Cup, where homeless people are given the opportunity to play football.

"Last year there was a girl from Scotland, Lindsay Cooper, who was homeless but did so well she is now playing for Aberdeen Ladies.

"Football is the most fantastic thing in the world but there's no connection between footballers and real people.

"It will be a really interesting film about people at the very bottom of it all rising out of the murkiness through football and it's just really beautiful."

●Russell Howard - Dingledodies comes to Dorking Halls on Friday November 14 and Crawley Hawth Theatre on Tuesday November 25. Both shows are sold out.

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