BBC Comedy Presents: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2006
Russell Howard: Wandering: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2006
Russell Howard: Adventures (Work in Progress): Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 2007
Russell Howard: Adventures: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2007
After Hours Comedy: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2007
Andy Zaltzman and Guests: Battersea Arts Centre, London, 2015
I first saw Russell Howard before he was famous at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006. I watched the then-unknown comedian from Bristol perform a memorable ten minutes for the BBC Comedy Presents showcase. As I watched from the Pleasance Dome bar, this figure emerged into the spotlight and frantically ran around the stage projected wild mannerisms to emphasise his comic style. I made a mental note to see him again and caught his hours long show Wandering the same year. This time he was performing in the Pleasance Courtyard and as I sat down in my seat, my mobile phone went off and it was my friend outside the venue trying to contact me. My new phone kept ringing and ringing as Howard bounded onto the stage. My phone wouldn’t stop and with it being new, I couldn’t see how to switch it off. Howard got more frustrated as did I but carried on nevertheless and managed to incorporate my mishap into his act with a glorious insult which got a big laugh.
I saw him again at the Fringe in 2007 where he presented his show Adventures. Like a hyper-charged kid, his delivery was so motivated at the various exciting things he was talking about that the audience loved him and this made for a dynamic, fluid show about real-life adventures that he had encountered so far during his life.
It wasn’t until eight years later in 2015 that I caught him again as he topped the bill for the show Andy Zaltzman and Guests. Now a well-established comedy TV star, his unforced eager technique was still on show and was a real tonic and he provided twenty minutes of razor-sharp, topical comedy.