My Comedy Hero: Russell Kane on Ross Noble, Laurel & Hardy and Stewart Lee

My Comedy Hero: Russell Kane on Ross Noble, Laurel & Hardy and Stewart Lee

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.

Russell Kane: Right Man, Wrong Age

Russell Kane discusses why it's perfectly okay to be 20 but feel 40 (or vice versa) and explains why nobody really feels their age.

The Cookie, Leicester

Mon 21 Jan 2019

£11 / 0116 253 1212

Tue 22 Jan 2019

£11 / 0116 253 1212

Wed 23 Jan 2019

£11 / 0116 253 1212

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