RUSSELL Howard is hoping Steven Gerrard joins him backstage at Glasgow's SSE Hydro for a kickabout.

But the Rangers boss might be met with the TV star wearing his wife's wedding dress.

Comic Russell is a massive Liverpool fan and watches every game - and Gerrard is his all-time hero.

But he's yet to meet the football legend, despite Gerrard sending him a signed 30th birthday card and also playing in the same five-a-side tournament.

And he's hoping the Light Blues gaffer might take a night off to see his new world tour Respite.

It will see Russell play massive arenas in the UK before carrying onto Europe, then North America and Australia.

Russell, 39, said: "It would be amazing if he came down, I've got a season ticket at Liverpool and just loved watching him play.

"I have never met him, but I got very close and I'm actually trying to get Steven to come on my TV show next year.

"In the bigger places we do in the UK, we'll get a football and have a kick around before the show.

"At the Albert Hall last year, we were playing in the dressing room, trying to chip the ball into a bin.

"That whiles away 20 minutes.

"So with my tour manager and support act, I'll play footie, look at my notes, have a shower and then go and do it.

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"It's pretty bland, there's no drugs, no excitement really, no pain.

"In all honesty, it's an odd one, I'm quite a normal bloke and I didn't feel I'd ever be doing stuff like this.

"It's pretty strange to perform in front of 12,000 and then go home to watch a film.

"You have this crazy experience where everyone is laughing at everything you say, but it's all kind of make believe and nonsense."

Russell - who's from Bath - has quietly turned himself into one of the biggest names in comedy.

He broke the record for the biggest-ever crowd at a standup show in China.

And he also smashed Billy Connolly's record of doing six successive nights at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1987 - Russell did 10 in 2017.

He also has almost 3.5 million followers on Facebook, more than any other British comic - and his Netflix special Recalibrate has been viewed over 127 million times.

He said: "My wife is a doctor, so she's very good at putting things into perspective.

"She's got a proper job.

"It's useful and a lot of my cousins work in the NHS as nurses and midwives, so I'm surrounded by people who have incredibly difficult and important jobs.

"So that helps whenever anyone says to me 'Oh my God, your job is really hard'."

But his hard-working wife Cerys did spark a stunt for Russell - he added: "To be honest, I had a mad idea to perform the whole of the tour in a version of my wife's wedding dress as we got married this year.

"But then I was like, what the f*** are you thinking?

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"I think it would be funny for like a minute if I came on and said 'Yeah, I got married this year but I don't want to go on about it' and then just started doing stand-up.

"The problem is whenever I try to wear different clothes from my everyday things on stage, I end up looking a bit like an estate agent or a Championship player that's been signed on deadline day."

Russell has taken things from his extensive touring and TV work to help make his new show.

And his aim is simple - to give people a fun night out.

He said" "People turning up to see me in places like the Sydney Opera House is amazing.

"I get to travel, see the world and it all feeds into my comedy.

"I was in India doing a TV show with my mum and I saw things that you wouldn't see if you were just doing comedy clubs in the UK.

"You see the world from a different perspective.

"Seeing footage of Boris Johnson on the TV when you're in Mumbai and you see the look of confusion on people's faces when they see this sort of bizarre creature and you're going, 'Yeah, he's going to be our Prime Minister' and they can't quite get their head around it.

"It changes everything.

"I'm quite big into comedy that can try and connect.

"I know that sounds incredibly lofty and whatever, but in a world of rampant nationalism and populism, comedy is one of the great things that really does connect.

"Whether it's Richard Pryor, Peter Kay or Lee Evans, irrespective of you're political views you can sit down and laugh at them.

"That's why my show is called Respite, the aim is to make it piss funny as there's so much pontificating going on."

Despite all the venues being booked and so many thousands of tickets sold, Russell is still honing the show.

And he admits, that even now he still struggles to make some jokes flow.

He explained: "There's so many people that I've watched like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr or Michelle Wolf and I saw Simon Amstell doing a show recently trying stuff out.

"50 percent is great and the other 50 percent doesn't work.

"All the comics are doing it as obviously it works to a degree but you haven't quite got it right yet, and there's certain bits that you are just telling wrong.

"But that's what keeps us going.

"Even the greats like Billy Connolly, I bet there was bits where even he couldn't make them work but still kept trying."

And Russell is jealous of singers like his pal James Bay - as they get to try things out behind closed doors.

He said: "It's funny as James is a good mate of mine and we often talk about the different processes, and the way he will write a song and I will write a joke.

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"I am envious of them as they get to do it away on their own, in a room and get to write Hold Back the River.

"Whereas there's me on stage going, Hold Back the Flood?

"And trying something night after night, and by the fifth night it's Hold Back the River.

"Comedy is created with, not for - so the audiences don't realise how incredible they are, as they allow you to be funny.

"Their laughter is telling you that you can go a wee bit further.

"When it's really great, it feels like this beautiful synchronicity.

"Once you get to the big shows, you've worked out all the kinks so you can provide people with a really great evening.

"The process is all for me, and the tour is all for them."

Russell Howard starts his world tour Respite with a UK arena run from September 18, including gigs at Aberdeen P&J Live arena on September 20 and Glasgow Hydro on September 21. Tickets available at


RUSSELL will be hitting the Edinburgh Fringe for a run of gigs that he's billing as Work in Progress.

The idea is for him to fine-tune material for his World Tour and raise money, which he's donating to children's charity The Kiyan Prince Foundation.

He said: "I'm only doing a 200-seater and all the money is going to a charity.

"Basically it gives me carte blanche as we're making loads of money for a charity and I can try out all the jokes I want.

"I can be in the place for two weeks, go see loads of shows and be inspired.

"I've an hour already, but the plan is to write new stuff when I am there.

"It would be taking the piss if I charge full whack and come out with notes.

"But it's a tenner for charity, it feels alright as they know what they are letting themselves into.

"They are my favourite gigs too, when you are trying to figure stuff out and trying new jokes - by the end of the run, you've got 20 minutes that you can push into the tour."

The Kiyan Prince Foundation -