Russell Howard is currently in the middle of his 'Round the World' tour, with which he broke Frank Sinatra’s record for most consecutive shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “Old blue eyes had been beaten by young lazy eyes”, he told us of his feat.
We had a long distance chat with the British TV personality, fresh off enjoying a standing ovation from a show in Seattle, ahead of his first ever China gig here in Shanghai on May 25.
How did you learn about your following in China?
With YouTube you can find out where people watch your videos, and it turns out loads of them are being watched in China. It’s really fascinating. But also according to YouTube, a lot of people are watching the show from Vatican City, which is pretty funny as well, the idea of the Pope watching Russell Howard's Good News.
British humor is very unique compared to humor from the rest of the world. What do you think sets British comedy apart?
A lot of it is self-deprecating. We’re duly aware of our flaws and we’re very good at mocking ourselves. A lot of British comedians are rarely heroes in their stories. The humor is always about your inadequacies and failings, and English people love to hear about when somebody fails. We love losers. As soon as anyone becomes successful, we hate them in England.
You’re pretty serious when it comes to football. You’re a big Liverpool fan and you’ve played for a club in the lower leagues before pursuing a career in comedy. So, Messi or Ronaldo?
Messi. I admire Ronaldo, he’s the T-1000 of football—he’s built himself by training. But Messi is Charlie Chaplin, Bob Dylan, and Bob Marley rolled into one. He’s so brilliant. He’s just perfect.
Awkward celebrity moments?
I was on a chat show with singer Kylie Minogue, somebody I really fancied when I was a teenager. It was the first time that I’ve met somebody that I masturbated over, and I think she knew. It made me think a bit—if I was Kylie Minogue, I would go up to every man I meet who's about my age and just whisper into their ear, “I know what you did”. Did I say masturbated over? I mean masturbated about.
Tell us the latest entries on your list of things that can fuck off.
1. Donald Trump
2. Petrol station road signs in America because they never tell you where they are. Ridiculous. Absolute nonsense.
3. The idea that an English comedian can’t travel to China and make anyone laugh.
[Cover image via Avalon]