The importance of being Russell

PUBLISHED: 11:48 02 March 2009 | UPDATED: 11:22 12 August 2010



A COMEDIAN who found his funny side in the same month his father died is due to appear at Ravensbourne College today (March 2).

A COMEDIAN who found his funny side in the same month his father died is due to appear at Ravensbourne College today (March 2).

As part of his Gaping Flaws tour, comedian and writer Russell Kane is appearing in a one-off gig at the college in Walden Road, Chislehurst to poke fun at all things flawed in Britain.

And the former Big Brother's Big Mouth presenter is quite used to exposing the flaws in his own family, with much of his set dedicated to ribbing his own 'emotionally illiterate' late father who he describes as "the silverback of all that is negative".

It was when his father died of a heart attack in 2003, that Kane started to find his feet as a funnyman.

"Weirdly, he died in the same month that I got into comedy," said 33-year-old Kane. "I had done some comedy before he died but all I got from him was the usual scathing remarks: 'Yeah, I've done comedy, been there done that, I used to be a red coat in Butlins'."

Laughing, he added: "He died quite suddenly of a heart attack, and I think it was almost as though I couldn't prove him wrong. It was like he was saying 'Oh he's doing well, I better pack it in then'.

"I only keep him on stage because he died, I wouldn't do it if he was still alive. Luckily enough it makes for a good career.

"That's terrible to admit isn't it? But when there's someone that you have that kind of relationship with its not that you needed them to die but their death has a weird kind of artistic release."

Despite dissecting his family life on stage, even in front of a celebrity audience at Live at the Apollo last year, the if.comedy Award nominee still gets the seal of approval from his mother.

"She cries with laughter," he said. "It's because all the stories are true. Sometimes I might change it to bring out the more dramatic elements but each and every story happened."

But he knows how there is a fine line between laughter and scandal following the 'Manuelgate' saga last year involving his former fellow Radio 2 comedian Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

On the furore surrounding the prank recorded on the answerphone of Andrew Sachs, which sparked 10,000 complaints to the BBC, Kane said: "I just knew it would make my life more difficult as I work for Radio 2 and now comedians, who are naughty, are being analysed.

"So all I thought about that was 'I can't say the word bum now'."

He added: "It has affected me from the basis of my creative writing because you have to think of every nuance and syntax of everything to get the best out of it, and now I have to be more careful.

"It is the editor's job to judge how the public react, I wouldn't have a clue myself. But its difficult.

"Sometimes you can say something not that funny - like someone's got a big bum - and people love it and then you say it to a different audience and they say 'how can you say something so misogynist!'

"Its not always clear where truth and reality lies."

* Russell Kane: Gaping Flaws is at Ravensbourne College, Chislehurst on March 2. Call the box office on 020 8289 4900.

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