Comedian Russell Howard tells Roz Laws why the Midlands holds a particular attraction for him.
He earned an estimated £4 million last year and sells out huge stadiums like Wembley.
He’s only 30 but millions of people watch him every week on television shows like Mock The Week and BBC3’s Russell Howard’s Good News.
But does comedian Russell seek out the bright lights of London and a glamorous showbiz lifestyle?
Not a bit of it. He’s much happier playing for his local pub football team in his home town of Leamington Spa.
The genteel Warwickshire town is not where you expect to find one of the country’s top comedians. But he’s lived here for two years because of his girlfriend Cerys, who’s a medical student at Warwick University.
“Being a doctor is a proper job and you have to respect that,” says Russell, explaining why her career, rather than his, has dictated where they live.
“I just write jokes for a living, you can’t say what I do is a job.
“It’s nice to be going out with someone who’s doing such an inspirational, worthwhile job. Not that she’s very sympathetic to me – I’m a massive hypochondriac, always complaining about some ailment or other, but she just ignores me.
“We met at a venture scout disco when I was 21 and she was 17. She’s my mate’s little sister, which caused quite a few problems at the beginning because he didn’t want me to date her, but it’s fine now.
“In fact I’m an usher at his wedding next year.”
And might wedding bells be ringing for Russell soon?
“I hope so, at some point. I haven’t actually asked her yet, though.”
Where the couple will live in the future is still up for debate. Bristol-born Russell likes the Midlands so much he might even stay here when Cerys qualifies in 18 months’ time.
“We are settled here. I really like Leamington, it’s a relaxed place and I have a lot of good friends there now.
“I like drinking in the White Horse and playing for their football team, the Cricketers Reserves. You couldn’t find a finer team, although I admit we haven’t been doing very well lately.
“There are also lots of places in the town to walk my Jack Russell dog, Archie.