Russell gets funny about what’s making him angry

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Russell Howard, Around the World, Sheffield Arena, Friday, April 7 {http://www.sheffieldarena.co.uk/home|Sheffield Arena|click here}

Comedian Russell Howard may be the cheeky chappie with the mile-wide smile, but he’s angry as hell and making us laugh about it.

If you’re just doing jokes about his hands and hair, it’s boring

He said that his new stand-up show is heading in the same direction as his much-loved TV show, Russell Howard’s Good News

“It kicks off from where we left off in Good News, about the NHS or tampon tax, stuff that winds me up.

Lots of stuff about our leaders, also stuff about depression, anxiety and self-harm.

There’s also stuff about my grandad, nan and lots of stuff about unicorns! It’s a real smorgasbord.”

He should be riding high on this tour, which is his biggest ever, including a record-breaking 10 nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

However, “Every day, waking up and finding out about what Trump is saying and what our leaders have done, I desperately try to find funny things to say.

“You have to just keep reading and you have to evolve with what Trump’s saying.

“If you’re just doing jokes about his hands and hair, everyone’s heard that, it’s quite boring. You have to get into the nitty gritty.”

He also enjoys taking snippets from his personal life or what’s happened to him and seeing where that goes on stage to keep the routines fresh.

“That’s the good and bad thing about stand-up. It’s created with audiences, rather than before.”

Russell has been very keen to talk about how depression affects young people.

“That’s quite a change with this show. I think it’s really hard being young these days, there’s an incredible amount of pressure.

“I’m 36 now. I look back at my youth and I was so lucky. Now they have to have a presence on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.

“Not only do they have to develop a personality, they have to develop a brand.

“Every thought, picture or moment are put on the internet to be judged and analysed. You’re constantly on display”

Not that Russell’s own life is free of problems. He parted company with the BBC and Good News moves to Sky from September, because BBC bosses didn’t like the more political turn that his show was taking.

He wanted to talk about things he cares about but “the BBC didn’t fancy it”.

Mind you, even the unicorns are political, it turns out. Someone claimed on a demonstration that unicorns are “animals of peace”.

He said: “You do know that they’ve essentially got a weapon on their head? For all we know, they may stiff old ladies and fly away, that may be what they get off on.”

Russell does provide a bit of escapism on TV, though, with his US Road Trip series with his mum. They are doing a new series .

He said: “She’s so positive and such a lovely lady, she’s very warm and authentic. If we travelled around, she would make you laugh and you would make her laugh. It would be fun, there wouldn’t be any competition.”

Travelling with his mum has kept him grounded, too. “You can get carried away with yourself. Every day we’d get to a new hotel and she’d say, ‘how amazing is this’?”