Russell Kane interview!

Brian Donaldson caught up with Russell ahead of his Camberley Theatre show on May 3rd.

Russell Kane is a changed man. For his Right Man, Wrong Age tour, you may encounter someone with a new look, fresh perspectives and a different approach to his comedy. “In the last year I’ve been married and had a baby. I’ve changed my hair, I’ve changed my look, I’ve thrown all my eyeliner in the bin. I literally went to my wardrobe one day and got all my ridiculous clothes and took them to the Sue Ryder shop for some other man having a midlife crisis then bought the four exact same suits in different colours from Topman. Then I got my hair as flat as it can go and I thought, ‘that’s it: this is me now’.”


russell-k-use-mid-resIn fact, Russell can pinpoint the exact moment when he needed to alter his outlook and write a new show. It started with somebody at the door . . . “I’m always looking for the moment that can make me look ridiculous in a way that is compelling. I was in the middle of spray-tanning myself upstairs in these tiny pants when the doorbell went. I went downstairs in my dressing gown and this window cleaner was touting for work. He leaned in and said, ‘I’m really sorry to disturb you: is your mum or dad in at all?’ Initially you might have thought this was a compliment, but it’s really not. He could be talking about how I’m putting myself across so I thought: ‘clothes in the bin’. And at that moment, there was Right Man, Wrong Age.”


In the world of stand-up, acts are continually expected to evolve and grow and turn over a significant amount of material every one or two years. For some this burden might prove too much, but for Russell Kane this is a challenge he relishes. “I’ll keep changing, and I don’t really ever want to stand still. I don’t care if it confuses people about where I’m coming from. I’m protean; I don’t want to be recognisable in five years’ time; that’s what keeps my writing going. One day I’m learning Spanish, the next I’m learning survivalism. I might do my maths GCSE next week: who knows?”


For now, though, Russell is focused on making Right Man, Wrong Age the best show it can possibly be. His topic this time around is how we never quite feel the life-stage that we’re in and the age that we’re at, whether we’re 80 or 18. “When you’re 18, you look in the mirror and think ‘I know what I want to do, so why am I trapped in this 18-year-old body?’ while the 80-year-old is still waltzing and dancing around in her head. That’s going to be my jumping off point and from there I’ll do lots of accessible observations as well as the odd thinky bit. But I don’t want to disappear up my own bum with this show, I just want to go on in my suit, like Michael McIntyre or Peter Kay, and just be funny and have lots of big laughs. My only job in life is to be funny.”


Inevitably, his new fatherhood status will have to be addressed in his show. As ever with Russell, he’ll work hard to avoid easy clichés and tired stereotypes as he tackles a subject that has been raised on many a stage by several generations of comedians. “It’s so hack to talk about having babies that I need to find another way in. It’s like walking into Pret at 5pm and there’s one boiled egg left: that’s what’s left to say about childbirth. But when you’re coming at it from a male point of view, you need to find a way in. I’ve never heard a man talk about caesarean section, so that might be the way to go.”


If you’ve seen Russell on stage, you’ll know there is a physicality to his act which matches the blizzard of ideas and words. So, how does he wind down after a show? “Nothing exotic, just a glass of red wine. I would like to get to bed earlier, but I need a good movie or, if I’m feeling particularly tired, something like Towie or Take Me Out; something that lobotomises me. I’m always reading good stuff, but now and again you need a burger because you can’t live on quinoa all the time. So I need something mega mainstream to bring me down.”


Normally in the run-up to a touring show, Russell will have almost a month of preview gigs under his belt. This time around, he had to ditch most of those plans to film his BBC series, Stupid Man, Smart Phone, for which he jetted off to various inhospitable parts of the world (the Arctic Circle, North Africa and Costa Rica among them) to see if he could survive purely with the aid of a constantly fully-charged mobile device with a permanent Wi-Fi connection. This is another example of a man who constantly wants to stretch himself, both physically and intellectually, whether it’s going on to Radio 4’s Saturday Review alongside AS Byatt to discuss the new Julian Barnes novel or writing his own next literary work. In 2012, two years after he won the Edinburgh Comedy Award, Russell published The Humorist, the tale of a tormented comedy critic who discovers the secret blueprint for humour, and he is continually working away on future literary projects.


Kane also has ambitions to tap into the online market with his stand-up. “I’ve not really seen other stand-ups doing it; I’ve seen some using their social media and doing bits of sketches but I haven’t seen many take the risk of doing stand-up down the barrel of a camera, posting it and seeing what happens. I did a thing recently, which I called The Kaneing, where I looked at a celebrity news story and put it on my Facebook wall. I was worried it might seem a bit embarrassing and desperate, but it got 64,000 views overnight.”


The popularity of Russell Kane is in little doubt, but he’s keen to make the most of his time at the top of the British stand-up tree. His sense of gratitude for the job he’s doing is palpable and he confesses that touring the country and making people laugh is something he will never tire of. “I love it. If I ever have a bad day and feel miserable, I think about the things my family have done for a living. The fact that I can walk into a hotel, lie on the bed, watch a sci-fi movie, go and do an hour’s work on stage is incredible.”


Jack Nicklaus v Gary Player 1966

As you know, 1966 is the year that Camberley Theatre opened. Here’s another great story we’ve found, also from that famous sporting year.

Did anyone see England’s Danny Willett win the Masters yesterday?

Well, on this day in 1966 this is what happened – including ‘The Incident’ and ‘hitting a steward on the head and landing in the car park’!

Read more about it here from the Guardian and watch as events unfold in this clip….


Jay Rayner patrolling binge drinkers in Guildford…?

Jay Rayner

We have the fabulously talented Jay Rayner appearing at Camberley Theatre on April 16th.

You can get tickets and read about his show here

He has taken time out to answer our blog questions…read about his night out with the Surrey Police in Guildford!

  1. What’s your favourite thing about going on tour?

It’s always meeting the audiences. At the end of the first half there’s always a Q&A and that’s when we get into the nitty gritty of restaurant going in Britain today. I may be the guy who writes the reviews but everybody has an opinion and they’re always fun. And funny.

  1. What can the Camberley audience expect?

People are always unsure what kind of night they’re going to have with the big hairy guy off Masterchef. Put most simply, it’s stand up comedy in the first half and kicking jazz in the second with a lot of anecdotes, some of them filthy. The bottom line is that I bore very easily and live in fear of boring other people so I can guarantee it’s a full on evening.

  1. Have you any funny or special memories of Surrey in general?

As a reporter I once went on a night shift with the Surrey police when they were patrolling binge drinkers in Guildford, but I’m not sure if that counts as comedy, tragedy or farce. I’ll be honest. I don’t have any funny memories of Surrey. That’s why I’m coming. To create some.

  1. This is our 50th Anniversary year, can you remember your first theatre trip and / or the first piece of music you bought?

My parents took me to the theatre a lot from a very young age. I suspect my first experience was at the Players, which was the last redoubt of classic English music hall, in a theatre under Charring Cross Station. There was lots of audience participation and singing along. I will have been three or four years old. But the specific one that stays with me is seeing Angela Lansbury in Gypsy in 1973. Curiously I knew it was a cracking performance. As to the first piece of music I bought, it was Mr Blue Sky by ELO.


Wow – great first single bought! We’d really like to know if he had the blue vinyl version….?!


The Searchers and Bob Potter?

Staying in a ’60’s theme, we are very honoured to have The Searchers performing at Camberley Theatre on April 1st.

Tickets available here

The Searchers were part of the original Brit invasion of America in the 1960s which was spearheaded by The Beatles. Both bands were actually part of the Mersey Beat scene.


They’ve always played lovey guitars, this clip from 1963 shows a joyous collection of Burns, Gibson and Fender guitars.

We caught up with Frank Allen from The Searchers, just back from touring Australia and he gave us some great answers to our blog questions – including a lovely anecdote about local legend, Bob Potter!

What’s your favourite thing about going on tour?

In essence the actual time on stage and the amazing reaction we get from our shows. Perhaps if we are travelling to another country, say  The States or Australia there are sights, sounds and customs that  give an extra bonus to out work. We always got to Australia in March so we enjoy fantastic weather while our chums are suffering with the chilly weather back home. 


What can the Camberley audience expect?

As much as we can a history of The Searchers in music, anecdotes in humour. The big hits, the smaller lesser known ones, album tracks and B sides. The occasional number by another artiste behind which there is usually a connecting story. Anything in fact that will interest, delight or amuse those who come to see us. I like to think that we will all go home with the feeling that we have just spent some time in the company of good friends. 

Have you any funny or special memories of Surrey in general?

We used to do Lakeside quite regularly and as people know it is owned and run by the very idiosyncratic and fascinating, not to say forthright, Bob Potter. In the eighties we were going through our ‘casually dressed’ period in an attempt to keep up with current trends. When we came off stage on the first night he very sharply quipped ‘ My waiters are dressed better than you’. He was right and we got straight back into uniforms for the rest of the stay. 

This is our 50th Anniversary year, can you remember your first trip to the theatre and / or the first piece of music you bought? You were performing in 1966, what were those golden days of pop really like?

I don`t recall the first time at the theatre. my earlier memories are of playing down the road at The Agincourt Ballroom, again for Bob Potter.

 The first disc I paid full price for was Elvis`s Heartbreak Hotel and I didn`t even own a record player. I had before that bought a second hand Frankie Laine E.P. 

 In 1966 actually our career had begun to dip slightly so we were on shaky ground. The last hit, Have You Ever Loved Somebody, was in that year. Up to then we had enjoyed a wonderful run of 1 chart singles. But it was still magical and exciting to be a fully fledged professional musician. We just didn`t think it would last all through the decades to where we are now. And still no sign of retirement.

Thanks Frank – I’m sure the band will be impeccably dressed on April 1st when they play Camberley Theatre. Tickets available here  (Just look at that lovely Rickenbacker guitar!)


The Sound of Silence

Back in 1966, the year Camberley Theatre opened, Simon & Garfunkel reached Number 1 in America and Top 5 in the UK with a song that would become the 18th most performed song of the 20th century. If you love the sound of Simon and Garfunkel, you are in for a treat. On September 9th we have ‘Simon and Garfunkel Through The Years’ playing live at Camberley Theatre.

For tickets and more information click here:

But for now, here they are as two youths in suits, Simon  Garfunkel and ‘The Sound of Silence’