Netflix has blessed us again with a Russell Howard comedy special. Given his last special was released in 2017, it has been a long time coming for the British comedian to grace us with his on-screen presence once again.
Howard is an incredibly successful British comedian with an impressive television and stand-up career. He has two shows, the “Russell Howard Hour” and “Russell Howard’s Good News.” He was scheduled to have another Netflix special in 2020 for his “Ignite” tour, but this was originally pushed back until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was released early in December of 2021 as a happy surprise to his fans.
Howard doesn’t hold back when it comes to the impact that COVID-19 had on him and the world. “Corona was a beer [and] Harry was still a prince,” Howard reminisced. He even opens the show with a surprising comparison between the plague and our current pandemic regarding the songs that we sang during them. He contrasts “Ring Around the Rosie,” a 1300s pandemic tune, with Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s 2020 hit “WAP.”
The comedian exhibits his usual comedic genius while speaking about current issues. He emphasizes that we as humans have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves, and more importantly, that we have lost sight of what actually matters in society. In a tone that mixes humor and anger, he jokes about the fact that knife crime in Britain has increased by 40%, and children are carrying knives to school because they’re scared.
Why does this particularly upset him? He highlights how adults are calling the police about jokes just because they don’t like them. Seriously, just ask Jo Brand. Howard even mentions that people seem more concerned about the Russians hacking their hot tubs than their children living their lives in fear. That absolutely baffles him. However, he tackles these issues with exaggerated characters, including a belligerent conservative who makes you cackle at the absurdity of it all. He channels what he calls his “last sane person on planet Earth” attitude to make you cackle with glee, mocking the stupidity of it all.
However, Howard does not dare go too far across the line when it comes to offensive jokes. The characters he creates perfectly capture their intended characters, such as the innocence of his mother, or the deftness of his father. He weaves his family members into these important moral roles where his own enlightenment ensues.
Howard has struck gold with his show. After the first five minutes, one can’t help but become a heaping pile of giggles. He is a master of mixing comedy with social issues, to the point where the everyday person can laugh at at least one joke he comes up with. His formula for comedy is perfect.
Stream “Lubricant” on Netflix, along with his other comedy show “Recalibrate” if you are in need of a good laugh.