Hyperactive multi-accented metrosexual Russell Kane prances about the stage like a natural jester playing up to the student element of the audience (drunker, easier to please). He is no beginner at this laughs malarkey; as he writes on his About Me section of his website: ‘I’ve had three of those Perrier nomination thingies, I do national tours – I’ve even written a play which is going to the Soho theatre… and I’m writing a novel.’ Get him. In 2010, in Swansea land, the gifted comic wittily fills stereotypes of Guardian and Daily Mail readers, Welsh vs English, Australians and Americans with absurd observations and personal anecdotes.
The Enfield stand-up has plenty in common with his namesakes Brand and Howard, at least in camp modern man-nerisms and flamboyance, if not Dandy dress sense. Plucking out traumas from his own childhood and puberty he turns pain and embarrassment for tricks – the tough father who only has to look at a shelf to put it up, the gran who catches him full-frontal masturbating after a night out on pupil-dilating substances. Kane skips about the stage with a sing-song Oxford voice, upon heading into non-PC territory (jokes about disability) he asides ‘Must not laugh. Quick, let’s make a cone of protection out of copies of the Guardian.’ At other times he gruffs up as a Gary or Dave, leans back on an imaginary transit van.
At the end he stops his meandering musings to tell a standard-form joke: ‘Philosophically speaking a Scotch egg is the most evil snack imaginable for a vegetarian. Because it has death on the outside, and the potential for life within.’
Kane is well-educated, and not afraid to show it, and yet his whirlwind set has its downfalls: often the humour sinks from silly to basic toilet humour or predictable outcomes feeling at odds with the insightful splices of thoughtful truths – relating to xenophobia, racism and bigotry – and the twisted laughs gained from the darker side of human life. Still he is an endearing performer, fast-paced, wide-eyed and swaggering; all skinny jeans and spot-on comic delivery. I’m certain we’ll be seeing more of him.