A while ago, the comedian Russell Howard sat on a plane watching the DVD of Adele performing at the Royal Albert Hall. Although it’s early days, we may as well append a ‘sold out’ to that; it surely will be. ‘Blimey.’ That he’s surprised is surprising in itself; with little fanfare and even less controversy, Howard has become one of the most successful stand-ups of his generation.He was struck by how beautifully incongruous it was to see the south London singer effing and blinding away, winning the crowd over with her ‘awwright, haaw ya going? For the Royal Albert Hall, as he has for every other show, he will wear just a T-shirt and jeans; Howard has never worn a suit, and to start wearing one now would be 'peculiar... If reading the above has you rushing to the window to see if the sky has turned blood-red, chances are you’re over 30. Howard himself, ridiculously well-preserved at 33, seems fairly astounded too. A clean-cut, Bristol-born economics graduate turned respected stand-up (Perrier nominated at 26) who proved himself in the ‘bear pit’ of ‘Mock the Week’, he was given his own topical clip show, Russell Howard’s Good News, by BBC Three in 2009.While the quote “Life is too short to be taken seriously” is printed boldly on the outside of the brand-new building, the owners of the Irvine Improv have taken some pretty serious steps to enhance the comedy-going experience. 16 and Daniel Tosh, who taped one of his early comedy specials at the previous Improv location, will return for a set at 9 p.m. “Gabe, Daniel and Maria, they spent a lot of their early years performing in Improvs and we have great relationships with them.Millions of dollars have gone into the new state-of-the-art location, which is still in the Irvine Spectrum, now just across from the Edwards theaters. It’s great that the bigger stars come back here to perform in a more intimate setting that you just don’t get in a 10,000-seat theater.” The club expanded its staff from 40 to 185 and features a showroom capacity of just over 450, about 150 seats more than the old venue.
Howard describes Good News, which returns for an eighth series this week, as “good, disposable telly which you can watch while you’re doing the ironing or eating your tea.Guitarist Nick Thune strums along to songs about the awkwardness of running into the homeless at a Coinstar machine, how to kill two birds with one stone, and he gives his ode to Craigslist missed connections in this half-hour stand-up special.Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco finds humorous quirks in mundane, everyday errands.Then, he offers guidance on how to handle the various dilemmas that often arise while on a first date in this half-hour stand-up special.Josh Sneed proposes trading the state of Montana to Canada in exchange for free health care.