wonderbox

19:40

A night spent watching a Russell Howard gig is always going to be a good one, and this didn't disappoint. I've seen the man himself five times now - two recordings of Good News, two arena shows and one warm-up gig - and I have never not laughed until I've cried. Whilst it may sound like an odd thing to say of a comedian, Howard is so brilliant because he is naturally funny - comedy just comes very easily to him. He doesn't have to stick to what he's supposed to. I don't think any two shows will ever be the same because he just wanders in and out of his set stories without realising he's doing so, having to backtrack to remind himself where his original point was going. It's more like having a two hour (albeit rather one-sided) conversation than it is watching a comedy gig.

I have to admit that I don't think I enjoyed this show as much as I did Right Here Right Now, but it doesn't mean I didn't have a cracking time. I think it was just because I found there was a little more stuff that sat on the border of funny and offensive than there usually is at his gigs. But there's a difference between Russell and other comedians, and it's a difference that makes me respect him - he always goes on to explain how he can't make choices for others, that it's not his place to judge, and what have you. He is just taking something that he finds to be ridiculous and making comedy out of it (don't we all?), and he makes a point of the fact that it doesn't mean everyone should find it ridiculous. Comedy is subjective, after all. And, like I say, I still had a brilliant night. I must have done, because I got the face twitch that happens when you've been laughing too much. You know the one.

The final part was possibly the most wonderful thing ever. If you're familiar with Good News you'll know he ends the show with an 'It's not all doom and gloom' section. Wonderbox ended in much the same way - a story about a kid who Russell has got to know over the past few months who's pretty damn amazing. So there was a standing ovation when the show finished, but it was not so much for Russell as it was for Deryn, the kid involved. For a comedian to end an arena show with the focus on someone other than themself shows their character, I think. He was quite happy to let this amazing kid take the final applause and appreciation in place of himself. And I think at that moment we all fell in love with him a little bit more.

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