There are few male comics of whom you could say that it’s a close call which is their biggest moment: winning the UK’s most prestigious comedy prize last year in Edinburgh or impersonating Beyoncé for Comic Relief. But that’s Russell Kane for you: uncategorisable, motormouthed and savagely funny.
Even better, Kane’s going to be right here at Guardian Towers from 3pm today, doing a live webchat and answering your questions. Maybe you’re curious to know who his comic heroes are. You might want to ask about recipe tips – he claims to be a pretty fine cook. Or perhaps you just want to ask him how old he really is (there’s some controversy).
In any case: roll up, roll up, post your questions in the comment thread – and make sure you’re back by 3pm.
– Russell Kane’s Smokescreens and Castles is out on DVD on 7 November. More details at: russellkane.co.uk
You asked, Russell Kane answered:
Having been raised in Southend, what would you say were the 3 defining characteristics of a “Seasider”? And what, in terms of comedic currency, have you taken from your homeland? (P.S. I was also raised in Southend. I’m not really a fan :D)
I was raised in Enfield and our beachhut was in Southend, so for me the seaside was the classic working-class getaway: potted cockles a treat. It’s just far enough from London to have its own heart, its scene, the Horrors etc, but near enough to London to make ironic dwelling there a feasible thing.
As a Southender myself I am the subject of constant hate crime in the form of weak jokes involving regional stereotypes. Do you think shows such as TOWIE help or hinder?
I think you need to look up “hate crime” in Wikipedia. Has anyone set a whelk on fire and thrown it at you, or called you a dirty vinegar user? Stereotypes are there to be savoured, explored and expunged.
If you had to fight David Dickinson, Noel Edmonds and Eamonn Holmes in a dark room for charity who would win?
I would win. I would use Eamonn Holmes as a fleshy shield and suffocate them both. Mwah-ha-ha-ha
Great show in Worcester on Saturday we went for a Thai meal afterwards what did you do?
The sad truth is that whenever possible, Richie (my tour manager) and I hit the road and get back for a night in the south-east, bit of family time. But as I don’t have a family, as I live in a vacuous, narcissistic void, I watched TOWIE on catchup and sobbed into a chianti with my burmilla. It’s amazing how many tears a cat can absorb.
You’re strangely fanciable. Oh. Not a question.
Strangely fanciable is the same as the term “photogenic”. It means repulsive in reality but somehow defying aesthetics. But thanks anyway. Meet me online later … and remember the webcam.
Who are all the people who chuck abuse at someone they’ve never heard of? Seriously if there’s a web chat for someone I’ve never heard of I just move on having expended no energy in commenting.
Anyway… Russell – fab tour, brilliantly funny and original.
Despite your very straightness you are often mistaken for being gay, do you feel like you spend a lot of time fighting off homophobia and does that not make you want to be less camp?
I don’t spend a lot of time fighting it, but I do get some very vicious homophobic comments. It amazes me that hatred can be so determined and inaccurate at the same time. Happy to take on venom, even if it’s being spat incorrectly.
How are you feeling about returning to host I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now?
What is your number one jungle survival tip?
Very excited about going back, not many places on TV a comedian can perform live without delay down the barrel of a camera. Only swearwords and overtly sexual stuff is taken out. I pretty much get to do my own sociological style, about for example Gillian McKeith putting spices in her knickers and passing out. True story.
Survival tip? Spend every night in a hotel about an hour’s drive away.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what weapon will you take up in order to defend yourself and any remaining loved ones from the slavering hoardes of undead?
Throw salt over them! Oh, that’s slugs, isn’t it. I’m dead.
It is literally impossible for me to comprehend how rude people can be just because they are on the internet.
Russell, when you do webchat Q&A’s like this, how much does it bother you when people are just downright horrible to you? Is it easy to brush most of it off or are there any topics that someone might bring up that would genuinely make you angry or upset?
Not really. I think people, when spurting nastiness towards comedians, forget that our skins are impossibly thick due to years on the circuit. It’s like throwing a thimble of tea at a Transformer and saying: “does that burn, Optimus?”
Who told you you were funny?
Teachers, shortly before sending me to the headmaster, who would assist me in being less funny for the rest of the academic year.
What is satan’s last name and his/her (you never know!) favourite sandwich?
Satan’s last name is “Bub”, first name “Bealze”. Favourite sandwich? Two fried duck eggs with freshly chopped chives. And a bit of ketchup. When you bite into the sandwich, the yolks go over your first and it looks like you’re holding the World Cup.
Why do guardian readers, or at least a lot of people on this site insist on having a go at anyone who has achieved any sort of success? You can answer that if you like Russell, although it’s more of a general dig at what I’ve seen on here.
Anyway, I think you’re pretty hilarious, especially the stuff about your dad. As something of a beta (guardian reading) male with an alpha (daily mail reading) father I can relate to that…
Actually here’s a question seeing as everyone keeps going on about adverts: What would you do an advert for? If I was super famous like Tom Cruise I’d do an advert for something really shit like a JML duster with extendable handle. Imagine that…”Hi I’m Johnny Depp, have you ever struggled with those hard to reach corners?”
Not being poncey or anything, but I like to think I wouldn’t do a TV advert. I might do a bit of corporate here and there, behind the scenes, but full-on telly advertising makes the art of mockery more difficult. You’re sort of inside the system then. That said (sickbags out), if someone invented something that would genuinely sort out our social problems, even if it was an evil profitable tempted, I might be tempted.
We all know Ricky Gervais made some tasteless comments recently about the disabled. My question is: in the event of the total breakdown of society and a return to a more base, violent culture, like in mad max, would you use your skills as a comedian to mock those less fortunate in order to curry favour with your new king( or baron or whatever he’ll call himself), to prevent yourself from being forced to fight a pack of hungry dogs in a pit for the entertainment of a baying mob? would you do it then? What if you had no food and your only other choice was to become the indentured love slave of a leather-clad biker gang? Please be concise in your answer.
Would I mock the afflicted to avoid being eaten by dogs? Yes. Sorry, the afflicted, you’ll still be afflicted whether I mock you or not. So I would mock you, survive, then we could all do sambuccas and go dancing.
I’ve enjoyed some of your performances. My questions… How old are you? Do you practice your photo poses in front of the mirror at home? Following the Ricky Gervais outrage, will you continue to use the word ‘retarded’ in your performances?
(a) my age is going down each year, monitor Facebook to see how old I think I am; (b) every single pose is always taking the piss (seriously: use Google); (c) so far as I know, I only use the phrase “emotionally retarted” to refer to working-class men whose emotional literacy can be somewhat backward.
Have you ever been to China?
I did a gig in Hong Kong. That’s as close as I’ve got; I thought it was going to be a much more culturally challenging experience, and was disappointed to find someone from Gary in the front row, from Westcliff.
Your tour is called Manscaping, so what are your manscaping rituals? And how much time do you spend a day on your hair??
My main manscaping ritual is my Babyliss iStubble Manscaper, which can be used, say, to sculpt one’s ab-topiary into a more pleasant shape. Time on hair: from bed to out of front door, 40 mins total. Hair gets 38 of those minutes.
You commented on Twitter about the campaign to keep the Cromer Crab Company open (the campaign was reported in yesterday’s Observer). What is it you like about a Cromer Crab? Are you ‘turned on’ by politics or community campaigning?
Cromer Crab is part of my childhood, one of my dad’s favourite foods. He was always going on about them. And even if they take those same crabs to Grimsby and Scotland, they won’t have been made in Cromer. Plus, surely, you lose some freshness no matter how do you do it! Politics and community campaigning — I was feel guilty about how little I do on a practical level. Josie Long’s show was a revelation. I recommend it highly.
Who would win in a fight between Ricky Gervais and Richard Herring?
It’d be a close match. My only hope is that any brain damage Ricky Gervais received wouldn’t be tinged by the cruel brush of irony.
Which comedians would you cite as your biggest influences?
Which comedians make you laugh the most?
Honestly hadn’t seen any comedy at all before I performed. Laurel & Hardy and the writers I admire: Evelyn Waugh, etc, I’ve no idea how I’ve ended up doing this. Who makes me laugh now? Andrew Lawrence, Lee Mack, Daniel Kitson, Ross Noble, Sarah Millican, Josie Long, Nick Helm. And, of course, King Stewart Lee.
I’m a bit of a comedy junkie. The past few years I’ve been feeling that there’s a lot of very hack-esque comedians performing (and doing very well) on an ever increasing amount of panel shows and comedy showcases in the UK.
I won’t mention anyone, but it just seems to me that there is a lot of banal and easy comedy doing better than it perhaps should. I don’t include you in that category, but do you agree that there’s a lot of watered down and populist crap being eaten up by audiences today?
In other words, is it harder to find real talent nowadays and easier to find someone with the balls to go on stage and say average stuff in a confident way that strings the audience along without being deeply funny or meaningful?
OK. I think that comedy, unlike music I suppose, is much more democratic. Easy enough to have watered-down music and play it, who knows who likes what, it sells. Laughter, however, not so easily fabricated. The sound of laughter is the ultimate democratic approval of the theatrical experience. Whether you’re talking about EasyJet or Gaddafi’s demise, the rule is it must be funny. And tempting as it is (me included, am an unbelievable literary snob), it is impossible, I would even say illogical, to create a continuum or league of comedy worth when it comes to material.
It’s my Birthday!
May your birthday be as corking as an imperfect bottle of wine.
A few questions.
1) If at all, at what age did you contract chicken pox?
2) What advice would you give to a ‘wannabe’ comedian?
3) Are you free on the 14th of April of next year? If so, I have a proposition.
Thanks Rus. You’re the 3rd best!
1) Eight. Very itchy.
2) The same advice a wannabe weightlifter would receive. No magic answer, get down the gym, work out three times a week for no money, no rewards and no recognition. See how enthusiastic you are in a year. If you’re still buzzing, do it again.
3) *just checking phone, I’m so un-iCloud* At the moment, yes! Contact Avalon management.