Russell Howard returns with a new world tour, his first since 2017. Respite is an exclamatory rant against the world, and what it’s come to. Empowering his audience, touching a few nerves and getting one of the loudest applauses Wembley Arena’s probably ever heard – it’s safe to say this show went down a storm.
Focusing on themes including politics, religion, women, men, sexism, the modern-day ‘snowflake’, Howard exposed his fans to his opinions with brutal honesty. Often with comedy when touching on politics and religion there is a feeling of being either chastised or having their opinion dictated to you however Howard had a frankness that delivered his opinion with ease and logic. Although it is clear he knows his liberal audience well and knows that his opinions and jokes will land well within the parameters he gives his set, they are well thought out and researched.
His sketches around family were heartwarming and relatable and it was easy to see through Howard’s bravado and confidence to the complete utter affection he holds for them all. Similarly, his sketches around feminism are balanced and resonated with both the male and female audience members. Calling women on some of their hypocrisies led to many laughs and deflated chests (you could feel the female fans begin to bristle as they heard the start of a joke at the female expense) as Howard spoke honestly and openly.
Perhaps my favourite thing about the whole show was the sheer showmanship of Howard’s performance. Continuously revisiting gags and one-lines gave the production a slick and well-rounded feeling. However undoubtedly the strongest point of Howard’s show was his call to action to the public to support influencers of substance and look at the world around us. Do we want beauty standards being dictated by influencers to 13 year old girls on Instagram instead of the limelight or news headlights being shone on community projects reducing knife crime. As the consumers of mainstream media it’s our interests that are fed by the media platforms, do we want to read about lollies and vaginas or the increasingly tense situation between Iran and the USA? If we’re not willing to be educated on the world around us is it so surprising it’s going to shit….?