Russell Howard walks out of live comedy set after audience member films him

The Mock the Week comedian finished his set after only five minutes.

Russell Howard

Russell Howard’s bad news: the TV comedian recently ended a live comedy performance early after noticing an audience member filming him.

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After just five minutes into his set, Howard – known for Mock the Week and The Russell Howard Hour – had a dispute with a woman pointing her phone at him at the Bambalan bar in Bristol.

According to BristolLive, Howard said filming was ”literally the worst thing you can do” and suggested she try to ”live in the moment”. He then proceeded to mimic the woman, aiming his own phone at her.

Howard told the audience comedians are a “dying breed” as they won’t test out new material for fear of the performance being filmed and uploaded to YouTube.

He then launched into an old routine, telling the audience he would do some “safe material from now on”. However, Howard soon stopped, telling the woman she had “ruined” the evening.

“I was really looking forward to this gig,” Howard told the crowd, before apologising and leaving the stage.

The woman reportedly told those around her she was only taking pictures and a few videos. This version of events was contested by other audience members.

Speaking after the event, compère Mark Olver told the publication he should have been clearer in stating people shouldn’t be filming the set.

“I like creating a space where comics feel free to experiment and comfortable trying new things, and I totally get why Russell cut his set a bit short.

“He’s gutted and didn’t want to disappoint anyone but comedy is something you have to write in front of people and having a recording of that process out there in the world makes being creative really difficult.”

A spokesperson for Howard told RadioTimes.com: “Any comedian whose set is being recorded at a new material night would find it distracting. The beauty of live performance, particularly at this strange time, is it’s intended for the room only.”

Billed as a ‘work in progress’ show, the night – which just £5 a ticket – also featured sets from Jarred Christmas, Abi Clarke and Louise Leigh.

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