Comedian Russell Howard talks fairy cakes, footballers and karaoke…

You’re back with a new series of your BBC3 topical comedy show Russell Howard’s Good News on Thursday. How would you describe it?
“I’d say it was a cross between Dave Allen and TFI Friday.”

What big news events will you be poking fun at?
“Well, there’s a general election coming up and the World Cup. There’s also National Hug Week when people wander around offering you a free hug. I can’t think of anything worse than strangers coming up and scaring or arousing you. Either way, it’s not good.”

Any recent stories you’d like to have been able to feature?
“The John Terry saga was interesting. We wrote a song about footballer Marlon King in the last series, and it was sung by fans at a Luton Town game, which was on telly. I wanted to show a clip the following week, but ITV owned the rights.”

You do a lot of material about your mother. Does she make you laugh?
“My mum’s a very funny lady. She’s amazing at karaoke and once ad-libbed a song about taking my nan shopping. I’d love to show that on the programme; she’d probably do a tour on the back of it.”

So funny bones run in the family?
“All my family are pretty funny, but I was never the funny one. I was a shy child and I’m still massively socially awkward – that never goes away.”

What’s your strangest fan experience?
“I was doing a stand-up when a rather mature lady presented me with a lot of fairy cakes, and quite aggressively told me to eat them – in front of 9,000 people. I thought they might contain Rohypnol, so I got two people from the audience to test them before I ate one.”

How do you feel about being recognised?
“For the most part, people are pretty pleasant. It does make doing observational comedy a bit harder, as you slightly wish you could go back to those days when you could just watch people. Now they say: ‘Why is Russell Howard looking at me?’”

Have you recovered from your Sport Relief cycling exploits?
“The hardest thing was wearing a Lycra catsuit. That takes some getting used to.”