Russel Kane “The humorist”
Friday 17th August 2012, 2.30pm
An audience of all ages greeted Chair Damian Barr as he introduced award-winning, stand-up comedian Russell Kane to the stage.
During the event Kane described himself as having “new puppy energy” – and it was with this bounding, cheery playfulness that he addressed his audience.
Kane told of his rise to this point in his career, starting with his anger at the school system that first fed him to the world without qualifications; then the moment while serving in a shop, he realised that he needed to read and study to progress in life. This propelled him to sit exams independently and gain success enough to study English at University where his appetite for reading, writing and success saw him leave his studies with a first in Creative Writing. He immediately started work as a copywriter in an advertising agency, where he employed his imagination and writing skills with good effect. Alongside these skills, his humour also flourished, and encouraged by his colleagues to take his humour to the stage, he became the figure we now recognise as stand-up comedian.
By Nature Kane is a storyteller, and uses the comedy platform as a way of telling his invented stories. His new book ‘The Humorist’ is fed from Kane’s overactive imagination and immersed in his comedy profession.
Barr commented that the dialogue in the book is strong, which Kane attributed to him having open conversations with himself ‘in character’ – just to see if his ideas would work while writing.
Describing his book as having a “looped chronology” – he read chapter one, treating the audience to his linguistic competency. Adjectives flowed to describe quite a macabre opening scene where the audience of a comedy club lay butchered. The scene was shocking, yet read by Kane, appealingly intriguing.
Kane progressed to inform that the main character, Benjamin White, a comedy critic, had an almost autistic ability and understanding of the make up of comedy – yet this power had left him with the curse of never being able to emotionally experience humour. He couldn’t laugh, giggle or even smile.
We were told that the book includes some ‘magical-real’ elements in it too, when Benjamin White realises that there exists an actual formula for humour – and based on his own genius he’d be able to distil this down into it’s lethal, core elements. A finding that would give the power to make a joke that killed.
His own comedic experience and knowledge also informs the book; such as the work of Bill Hicks, Graham Chapman, Lenny Bruce; and also rich topics such as ‘fatal hilarity’ – quite literally the point at which one ‘dies laughing’ advise the text.
The event was as linguistically entertaining as it was comedic. Throughout, one felt in conversation with Kane as opposed at the end of a prepared speech.
The event ended with the suggestion that there would be more literary fiction from him in the future, once his current TV rise had settled enough to allow time to truly develop his ideas.
And unlike the crowd in chapter one of his book – his audience left the theatre in one piece.