TV & Satellite Week talks to Russell Howard on why Australia has the funniest news stories and why his grumpy granddad should host breakfast TV, as Russell Howard’s Good News returns on BBC2 this Thursday…
Did you know that roundabout in Tewkesbury has been named Roundabout of the Year?
“Straight away the idea that there’s a roundabout that’s been deemed the best gives you something that you can write about.”
Where do you find your material?
“I write the show with three mates and we’ve also got about 10 researchers who spend lots of time surfing the news. They then give us a selection of stories which we look at and say, ‘Are these the kind of stories that you’d tell your mate down the pub?'”
What’s your favourite country for funny media stories?
“The Australian media has been a pretty fruitful source for us and I think that’s because their news coverage is a lot more relaxed than ours. There was a really good story about this lady from Sydney who said that a pervert ghost was ruining her life.”
You’ve toured there, haven’t you?
“Yes, it’s just an amazing place. I saw an advert on the outside of a coffee shop that said: ‘You wouldn’t shave yourself with a chainsaw – why not try our coffee?’ And you’re just like, ‘That doesn’t make any sense.’ But there’s something brilliant about it and I think all adverts should be like that. How about: ‘You wouldn’t slam your testicles in a wheelie bin – why not buy a microwave?'”
So, did you buy a coffee?
“Of course, why wouldn’t you? It was fine and I had to concede that it was better than shaving myself with a chainsaw.”
Do you think the Japanese ‘true love bra,’ that only opens if the woman’s heart is beating fast enough to show that she’s truly in love, will catch on?
“Apparently the official heartbeat reading of love is somewhere just above shopping but below jogging. If the true love bra catches on I could see it creating problems, especially if I’m around my nan’s house and her favourite presenter, Alan Titchmarsh, comes on the telly.”
How dependent are you on the weekly news?
“You just have to wait and see what happens. That’s why it’s great when something happens that everyone is talking about and the jokes then really resonate.”
Have you got any new shows in the pipelines?
“Yes, a thing called Gert Lush Christmas and it’s set in a fictitious town in the West Country. My sister is definitely going to be in it, which is good, and it will be shown the Christmas after next.”
One last question – if you were placed in charge of national television, what would be your first decision?
“I’d revamp breakfast news shows like Good Morning Britain; I think they should be more grumpy. If you had my granddad on every morning just moaning, it would offer a definite alternative to the chirpiness of morning telly.”