My Comedy Hero: Russell Kane on Ross Noble, Laurel & Hardy and Stewart Lee
- Brian Donaldson
- 24 May 2017
Stand-up and TV guy picks an improv king and slapstick duo among his comic icons
The reason why it's tricky for me to pick a comedy hero is that up until ten days before I first performed stand-up comedy, I had never watched it, unless you count my dad's VHS tapes of Jimmy Jones and Roy Chubby Brown. After being the only person in my family to go to university, I managed to pick the only university in the land that had no stand-up society, no stand-up club, and I never heard anyone talk about stand-up other than the kids on the American Studies degree going, 'oh my god, Chris Rock and Bill Hicks!!'
So, it wasn't until my mid-20s before I put my arse on a seat in The Comedy Store. Until then, I'd put people like Laurel & Hardy and the Three Stooges on a pedestal. I was bookish and the books that made me laugh more than anything were by Flaubert, though the fact I can't read him in French makes me a real ignoramus.
I've now absorbed and learned about comedy and watched the things any normal teenager would have watched: Raw by Eddie Murphy and Bill Hicks talking about cigarettes. But because I don't come to them with postulant reverence, to me they just look like really, really good stand-ups.
But who since I started comedy has made me laugh til I cry and who have I taken bits from and absorbed into my DNA like an alien without parents, as that's what I am when it comes to comedy? Well, don't tell him, but Stewart Lee would definitely be up there. It's hard to make a stand-up laugh but his latest show did that to me.
And a bit of a mentor bordering on a hero would have to be Lee Mack who I was booked to support on his tour around 2005. I sat at the side of the stage and watched that show every night and learned much of what you will see on Right Man, Wrong Age; and that's about how to use your body and accents and face so that when you tell a joke the whole ripple of it goes through you. That's how Lee Mack does it, and that was transformative for me. He's a real bridge between the one-liner comics and the more modern stuff.
I still send Tim Vine one-liners on a weekly basis: I admire people who are nothing like me. And Ross Noble has taught me to go on stage with one word and see what happens. So much of what I have going on now is thanks to him.
Russell Kane: Right Man, Wrong Age is on tour until Wed 26 Jul.