Live comedy review, Richard Herring 'Oh fuck i'm 40'
Tim Clark21 May 2008
It¹s not nice to call a stand-up comedian “nice”. Modern comedy has been ground into shape by the grit of angry men, pacing through cigarette smoke in pokey clubs - men who look as if they might tell you to fuck off if you asked for an autograph.
Comedians with a sunny disposition don't have the bite to get close to the bone, to get to humour that is so acute it is almost sobering.
Richard Herring however, shows that if an audience really likes you, you may not have to bite at all.
A few minutes into his "Oh Fuck I'm 40 " stand-up show, Herring begins to discuss paedophiles – he has a problem with the word “paedophile”, which implies child rapists love children. He continues. He doesn’t like children – if society hates paedophile “lovers of children” they should think he’s great.
He sticks with the subject for some minutes. No-one is leaving. There is no mumbling beneath the laughter. Three women in the stalls, who look about 35, are giggling uncontrollably, along with the rest of the audience. Herring believes the audience reacts this way because they trust him:
“Sometimes you see people doing subjects I do in the show just for shock value. I like to think I at least have some satirical point about what I’m doing. I’m as much examining people’s attitudes towards those things as anything else.” he says.
“You can make mistakes but I think people understand the reasons why I’m saying things.”
The reason people trust the motives behind Herring’s comedy, almost certainly has something to do with the way he presents himself. Slightly podgy, with floppy hair and a rather sweet smile, he delivers his comedy with affability.
In Oh Fuck I’m 40 he details all the bits of getting older people don’t really want to talk about – like the fact 40 year old men still fancy 16 year-old-girls, as well as the well trodden fields of blowjobs and penis size (explicit and self-depreciating). As one half of the comedy duo Lee and Herring, his over-the-top niceness provided a balance to Stuart Lee’s acerbic, sarcastic style.
While as a solo act, he’s taken a definite step towards the centre, his stage presence is still undeniably benign. And he seems aware of the power this gives him. About do take his show to Jersey, as horrific child abuse and murder is uncovered at an orphanage in Haut de la Garenne, he does not intend to alter his show.
“I used to do a joke about Maxine Carr. When I did a show near the area where it happened I thought ‘should I not do the joke out of respect for the people that happened to, or is it more disrespectful not to do it?’” he says,
“But usually when I do a joke in an area where a thing’s happened, it goes down much better. It’s a release to laugh. And it’s good to just say the wrong thing sometimes, as long as you do it in the right way.”
Richard Herring's 'oh F*ck i'm 40' is touring throughout the UK
Original review posted by Caroline White
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