My Favourite Stand Ups: Richard Herring

It’s a new type of thing I’m going to occasionally write!

That’s right it’s My Favourite Stand Ups (MFSU) (MFSU!) and today I’m going to talk about Richard Herring.

Short, undetailed bio: So Richard Herring started out doing sketch comedy in the Oxford review. He got big with Fist of Fun in the 90s with double act partner, Stewart Lee. Now he’s the king of comedy podcasts with Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP!), As it Occurs to Me (AIOTM!) and the highlight of the bunch Me1 vs Me2 snooker (Deeply concerning!).

So Richard Herring is a comedian that talks about big, important topics in a very funny and interesting way and quite a lot of the time talks about cock. He’s had shows including Christ on a Bike – religion, Hitler Moustache – racism and Talking Cock – I think you can guess. He talks about these subjects in a way that is subversive and far from obvious, actually growing a ‘Hitler moustache’ for a year to perform the aptly-titled show where the first line went “maybe racists have a point”. Herring has had some controversy over the years with his show Christ on a Bike being picketed for discussing religion and Hitler moustache causing a larger discussion to take place where he (brilliantly, I think) pointed out and explained why comedy should be allowed to discuss very important and dark subjects and to fully understand his routines you have to actually listen to them, something very few people who criticise him seem to really do.

He is now big on the podcast market with RHLSTP being one of the most popular comedy podcasts in the world where he interviews comedians while using his trademark emergency questions. These shows are consistently both hilarious and insightful at least partially because Richard manages to both put his guests at ease and tear out the best anecdotes from their subconscious both due to extremely intrusive and very funny questioning. One thing that I find very refreshing about Herring is his ability to talk to very different people with very different comedy styles and not give a classically judgemental ‘idiots like observational comedy’ or ‘That’s just stolen from someone else’ stance. His style in general tends to be somewhere between surreal/alternative and anecdotal with self-effacing mocking of his own routines constantly pushed to the forefront.

He is also one of the top dogs of Twitter with International Women’s Day always being a highlight as well as his subscription service of retweeting Alan Sugar’s live sports commentary. His account is probably my favourite on the site and it (as well as scriblit’s) being the first I check every day.

What I think is refreshing about the way he tweets, speaks and writes is that he has the kind of opinions I think I have but amn’t able to express with nearly the same eloquence or intelligence he does. He puts things I want to be able to say in a way that I amn’t smart enough to be able to say them (Use that sentence as an example of something he would be able to put much better).

This level of intelligent comedy is prevalent in Fist of Fun which Herring performed and wrote during the 90s with Stewart Lee that has since become a cult classic with jokes such as the moon on a stick and Rod Hull’s appearances becoming back-referenced in Herring’s other projects and in comedy geek circles worldwide. Through all of his projects though Herring manages the perfect level of self-awareness, knowing exactly when a sketch doesn’t work and making sure to point it out leaving the audience at ease.

What I think makes Richard Herring great is is what I think is true of all the great comedians, he makes me wish I was smart enough to say the same things he does.

Now it’s very hard to prove how funny a comedian is without seeing their stand up so here’s a link to somewhere where you can get pretty much all of his stuff: http://www.gofasterstripe.com/cgi-bin/website.cgi

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