Russell Howard’s Good News
Thursday, 9.30pm, Comedy I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of Russell Howard, especially as this is the debut of his seventh season. Yes, it’s a news parody program, hardly a new thing these days. But while, say, Ten’s The Project blends actual news with incidental satire, Good News is satire all the way. Howard’s delivery is more high-voiced and hysterical than Graham Norton’s, but the first 18 minutes of this episode reminded me quite a lot of Norton’s three-minute opening monologue. Howard stands alone on stage in front of a live audience; he’s equipped with a giant video screen containing vision of babies who are disinclined to be interviewed, and with pictures of the royal family that act as photo punchlines for his routines. Visual puns abound, and if there is no news-based item that’s up to the task, then he’ll jolly well film himself as various characters to make the point. Howard is very funny, even fall-about funny at times, but his delivery does start to grate after a bit. Mind you, do you know anybody else who could pull off an 18-minute monologue at the beginning of every episode?