Comedian Russell Howard has spoken about the dramatic impact his brother’s epilepsy had on him on a new Netflix stand-up show and accompanying documentary
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Comic book Russell Howard recounted how he let his epileptic brother Daniel share his bed for a year after a terrible seizure left his younger brother who feared he would die in his sleep.
On a new Netflix stand-up show and accompanying documentary, the two talk about the unusual accident that led to Daniel’s condition.
Russell, 41, also remembers how his brother slept in his bed night after night, touching his leg with his own as an early warning system if he started shaking.
He said, “When I was 18 my brother had a really bad epileptic seizure. We found him on the floor. He was blue. We were scared.
“We thought he was going to die. We got to the hospital and he was fine. Two days later he came back bravely.
“But later that night he knocked on the door and said, ‘Is it okay if I sleep with you? Is it boring to go to bed, innit? ‘
“He put his leg on me. Okay good. He’s had a tough couple of days. I can live with it…
“It went on for a year, this leg on me. Only recently did I say to Daniel, ‘What was that?’
“And he said, ‘You know, I was scared of going to sleep in case I wake up dead. Didn’t mean to burden you with it. So I just slept there with my leg.
“I thought if I started shaking you would wake up and I’ll be fine.”
Russell and his family also talk about the accident – when Daniel fell off his bike at the age of 10, resulting in his epilepsy – and the seizure four years later that scared the family that he was going to die.
Russell, who was born in Bristol, said, “Daniel has epilepsy and the bad thing is I know when it happened because we went down a hill on our bikes and a battery fell out of my light on the back of my bike is. ”and somehow folded up.
“And I looked around and Daniel walked over to the battery, hit his head and kind of lay on the floor.
“That was before the days of helmets and all of that.”
Daniel had headaches for about a year and then had seizures that culminated at the age of 14 when the family feared the worst.
Russell said, “He’s upstairs with you [sister] She and Kerry called me and my brother said, you know, he was starting to adjust. Papa cried.
It was the only time that I saw him cry, it was absolutely horrific. “
Daniel survived and showed that comedy runs in the family, even breaking the wind when he regained consciousness, causing laughter from the rest of the Howard clan.
Elsewhere in the documentary, titled “Till the Wheels Coming Off,” Russell – a regular on Mock The Week – admits that he originally thought he was making a long hiatus from comedy after a world tour and the film signal about 20 years in business.
But Covid meant the tour had to be postponed and made him realize that gigs are “better than real life”.
Predicting that Russell will never retire from the stage, Kerry says, “I think he will be like Billy Connolly or maybe more like Ken Dodd who will lock everyone up and stay on stage,
like, four hours.
“I really think he will go like this. Probably until he’s 80. “
Daniel added, “Will he ever stop? Probably not. You know, he’ll have a gag in his coffin somewhere. “
Russell’s new stand-up show, Lubricant, and a documentary detailing his attempts to keep performing during the pandemic – Until The Wheels Come Off – will both be aired on Netflix from December 14th.