We get to know British comedian Russell Kane ahead of his Dubai show
Comedy-lovers in Dubai have been utterly spoilt over the past year, with the likes of Eddie Izzard and Kevin Bridges already visiting the city in 2017, and John Bishop in the pipeline for December. (News that Dara Ó Briain and Michael McIntyre are to perform in 2018 and 2019 respectively has also been met with huge excitement.) This month the laughs continue, with the arrival of award-winning comedian Russell Kane.
The popular British stand-up and TV star is taking to the stage at the Madinat Theatre next week (Thursday November 9 and Friday November 10), as part of the DXBLaughs series, where an extra date has even been added, after the Thursday show sold out. And the comedian can’t wait to visit. “This Dubai show has taken me by surprise a bit,” Kane tells Time Out Dubai. “We kind of floated it as an idea and then it all happened really quickly. I’ve not visited Dubai before, and can’t wait to come out and have a look around – it seems like an extension of Essex.”
Given he hails from the British county himself, we’re sure he means that in a good way, but British show-goers can expect to have plenty of laughs at the expense of their home nation.
“From what I know about doing gigs that have lots of British people that aren’t living in the UK, they love to hear stuff about their country,” Kane says enthusiastically. “It’s a very specific performance where they want a mirror held up so they can laugh about home and remember the UK.”
Kane started working in comedy after colleagues at the marketing agency he worked at told him he was “really funny so should give it a go”. So he did just that, and has since gone on to win several awards, including the main prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010.
“I love it, but it’s tough doing a job like this, being on the road a lot,” he says. “Especially for an attention-seeking hyperactive madman like myself.
“Obviously to be a comedian you need to be already quite funny in real life, but the most important thing is that you’ll have to want to work for nothing for five years while you get established, and that’s the one thing that most people don’t have.”
His latest tour Right Man, Wrong Age has been a massive hit. It’s pithy and self-deprecating, all based around his experiences of being a first-time father.
“It’s about being forced to grow up, having a kid, getting married, settling down, all those male fears about giving up parties and all that.
“It’s intimate, but I’ll tell anyone anything if I find the laughs and it’s paying the mortgage,” he says dryly.
Kane’s also well-known for his television work, where he can “get his energy out”.
His 2016 series, Stupid Man, Smart Phone was was “done pretty much for real”, and came from the growing trend to just Google everything to become an expert.
“I decided to test that theory, trying to survive in the wilderness with only a phone,” he says. “I was dumped in the desert at one point and had to transport a camel from one place to another. It’s really funny but it was really hard. Actually, it was pretty horrific so it would take a lot of persuading to do another series.”
He’s recently done a show with All4 called Rage Room, where contestants smash up a set depicting things that annoy them.
And continuing with angsty theme, he’s also set up a series of acerbic Facbook clips, called “Kaneings” – a series of three-minute rants on things that irritate Kane (anything from British holidaymakers to forced Halloween fun).
He says the response to them has been “phenomenal”, and it’s something he wants to grow – using Facebook as a content portal.
But right now, the comedian’s focus is firmly on touring. Kane says he’ll do around 20 to 30 one-hour previews to small audiences before a show is ready to take on the road. In that time, he’ll finesse it.
“I do all the hard work with an audience there, that’s what makes it so terrifying,” he admits. “I just trial it with them and work out where the laughs are. I love performing to a live crowd, though. There’s trepidation, of course, but so much adrenaline.
“Shows of around 500 to 1,500 people are my favourite, you can get that big whoosh of laughter without losing the intimate, confessional feel.”
So from an office in Essex to touring the globe, with the next stop being here in Dubai, things are anything but quiet for Kane.
“I just did it on a whim,” he says. “I never thought it would end up with me flying around the world doing stand-up. It’s crazy.” Dhs195. 9pm. Thu Nov 9 and Fri Nov 10. Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim. For tickets visit www.dxblaughs.ae.