The Comedy Cast with Russell Hicks

Russell Hicks
Russell Hicks

Hello and welcome back to The Comedy Cast; today you’ll be hearing from American stand-up comedian Russell Hicks.

We kick off the interview with Russell being in the midst of his Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience, he tells me he’s been doing about 4-5 shows per days, his own solo show The Brain is in the Heart, as well as spots all over the city.

We have a wee chat then about podcasting then, Russell has just started a new podcast, Off the Grid. He had, of course, already been hosting a podcast about comedy called Art, For Fuck Sake, so we get talking about the art form, why he’s interested in it and some of the mistakes people make when appearing on them.

Russell’s changed quite a lot since starting out in comedy, going from a person who, in his own words, didn’t like the audiences and being an angry-Bill Hick’s type of comedian to someone who has learned to embrace spontaneity and improvisation while on stage, indeed now, the vast majority of his sets are improvised.
So, we get chatting about that and I ask him about how he practices his sets and how he prepares for something even though so much of it is made up on the spot.

We get chatting then about a comedic hero we both share, Lenny Bruce and his importance. Russel speaks about how Bruce didn’t mind not getting laughs because he was being honest and the laughs would come later. He says that this approach is what really inspired him to become a better comedian.

We get talking then about the idea of the critic. We go to town on this, our shared hated for critics and criticism comes to the boil here. You won’t like this if you’re a critic, but there’s no apologies here.

Russell is a brilliant writer and I urge you all to visit his website and read his blog posts. There was another article about hero worship, so we speak about that and why people who worship heroes can’t see the wood for the trees, they get too mixed up in thinking that an idol is perfect when really we’re all humans and prone to mistakes and the like. Russell believes that of course we can praise people and admire what they’re doing but it’s important to remember that we can all achieve our goals and putting people on pedestals only leads to putting far too much pressure on ourselves.

Russell Hicks will be already well-known to some thanks to his videos on YouTube where he takes hecklers to task and destroys them. We get talking about putting heckle videos online, the temptation of doing it to earn a few bob but also how it’s not a real reflection of a comedian’s set. I ask him whether he was ever nervous of attracting the wrong crowd becaose if the videos, would they attract hecklers to his show?

Russell Hicks’ website: here
Russell’s YouTube: here

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