Russell Howard talks ‘fear’ of having Boris Johnson on his show: ‘A lot to joke about’

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Comedian Russell Howard, 40, gave the real reason why he wouldn’t feature any politicians, let alone Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his late night TV show, The Russell Howard Hour. The presenter is known for his quick wit, sassy sense of humour and relentless mocking but you can bet your bottom dollar Mr Johnson will never step foot in the studio.

You want to be able to talk about them without the fear of being too nice

Russell Howard

In an interview last year, Russell gave his verdict on the PM after he was named as Theresa May’s successor, branding him “half alpaca, half thesaurus” in a hilarious chat with Today FM.

But more recently, he explained why he wouldn’t want him on his show in front of his audience.

“I wouldn’t have him on the show, we’ve been offered politicians before,” he said.

“It’s difficult because you don’t want to be cozy or chatty with them.

“You want to be able to talk about them without the fear of being too nice.”

He added: “You’ve got to be a comedian and take the mickey, you can’t try and be people’s friend.”

And amidst the tough times we’re living in, Russell explains it’s never been a greater time to be a joker, especially when it comes to vital government decision making.

“I’m such a news junkie,” he said, referring to the world grinding to a halt as coronavirus raised its ugly head.

“It’s a terrible time for humanity, but a phenomenal time to be a comedian.”

Russell noted that while there’s a lot to talk about – from local lockdowns to more restrictions – there’s also a lot to joke about (cue one of Boris’ infamous bumbling speeches).

“The very fact that our government was looking to hire a ‘pandemic preparedness officer’ six months into the pandemic is just awful and hilarious,” he laughed.

“Because it’s that idea that Boris Johnson is trying to travel back in time to fix the coronavirus,” he told Radio Times.

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Public health threat or not, Russell has still been providing the laughs.

He revealed he’d been doing gigs in car parks, open spaces and laybys before finally getting back into the studio once productions were given the all clear to start back up.

“It’s a lot more intimate, a lot more focused and then the guests come in and we have a chat,” he said, noting it was only himself and the camera crew in the studio for the first episode.

Despite the shake up, the comedian wasn’t too bothered by the changes they had to make.

Russell Howard’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]

“I think it’s good. It’s very strange performing to utter silence, but I’ve had that happen to me before, so it’s all right!

“Not for a while, but in the early years I was very often doing that, so I just have to summon my 18-year-old spirit!”

The fourth series of The Russell Howard Hour restarted on 10 September and from the second episode onwards a live audience returned, split into socially distanced groups.

Russell’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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