Comedian Russell Kane explains reasons behind his Hornchurch stop-off on UK tour

PUBLISHED: 13:42 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:42 16 January 2014

Russell Kane performs at the Queen's Theatre next week.

Russell Kane performs at the Queen's Theatre next week.


It’s been a busy few years for Essex comedian Russell Kane, juggling gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo with writing his debut novel and presenting various shows for the BBC.

Russell Kane, winner of the Best Comedy Show category at the 29th Edinburgh Comedy Awards.Russell Kane, winner of the Best Comedy Show category at the 29th Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

You can forgive him then for choosing the quiet life for the next five months as he embarks on his latest stand-up tour, Smallness.

Shunning the sprawling arenas, Russell has chosen to book rooms that vary from 200 to 1,200 seats – taking in Hornchurch’s Queen’s Theatre on Wednesday.

“I’m by no means the first person in the theatre to do this but I wanted the space to comment on the material, and you don’t often get that luxury,” he explained.

“But if you were doing a show about the letter T and you could find a T-shaped theatre, you’d be insane not to do that.

“I see what I do as work, so for the last show I was promoted up a level, playing slightly bigger rooms and being a little bit more recognisable. Maybe the next one will be called Largeness and I’ll put 10 Hammersmith Apollo dates on sale.”

The 500-seat theatre in Billet Lane is actually a step up from the uber-intimate shows Kane put on at the Edinburgh Festival last year – playing to just 55 people each night.

His visit will be a welcome one for the funnyman, who grew up in Southend and has family in Romford.

Last year, during a visit he tweeted: “In actual Romford. Non-ironic, full-on Romford. #FamilyAndTing.”

Smallness is centred around British psyche and the way most people spend a lot of their lives looking back.

“I’ve experienced this feeling of nostalgia a hundred times,” he said.

“I left university and landed the dream job doing copywriting, so why am I thinking about university? When I’m at university, why am I thinking about my nan’s flat? Well, we’re addicted to the smaller.

“I think it was Schopenhauer’s theory that we’re cursed by longing for the thing in front, so we grab it and then long for where we were before.”

It seems Kane has a knack for landing dream jobs. In 2009 he was chosen to front I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now on ITV2 alongside Joe Swash and Laura Whitmore.

Jump forward and in 2012 he was co-hosting Britain Unzipped, now known as Unzipped, with Radio 1 DJ Greg James on BBC Three and is now the face of sketch comedy show Live at the Electric on the same channel.

More recently, he’s been presenting yet another BBC Three show with Greg James, a celebrity chat show called Staying In With Greg & Russell.

With so much happening it’s handy that Kane’s method of writing seems as chaotic as his schedule.

“I don’t write down my stand-up ever, you won’t find a document on my laptop that says ‘Smallness by Russell Kane’,” he said.

“If you’ve ever seen a show by me two nights in a row, I think you’ll be shocked at how different each night is. There are different endings and I’ll leave bits out. I don’t know how to write jokes and I don’t have punchlines. So when I’m on the road, the show will be bits growing off the end of other bits. I may add a dramatic element to a story, but everything is true, really true.”

With his debut novel, The Humorist, released in 2012 he harbours ambitions of writing a second, although he admits stand-up is his “bread and butter”.

“At heart I’m a writer, I love creating things,” he added.

“There’s something about stand-up that’s uniquely terrifying. I did a personality test when I was doing my job and I was shocked that it concluded I was an introvert. At dinner with family and friends, I can dominate a conversation, but in real life, I’m weirdly shy.”

Tickets are selling out fast for Russell’s appearance at the Queen’s Theatre, but he returns to Southend in March.

n For tickets and details for Russell Kane’s new tour go to

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