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Stand Up Spotlight: Richard Herring

By @hmsbeefnuts

I’m a fan of comedy, or rather, I am a fan of certain comedies and comedians. There are a lot of bad comedians on the stand up scene in the UK. A lot of very poor comedians, in my opinion, fill an awful lot of stadium gigs. Comedians like Michael McIntyre, Pete Kay and Lee Evans earn millions of pounds a year selling out stadiums up and down the country and entertaining literally hundreds of thousands of people. But I don’t like them, sure they a chuckle worthy at times, but their comedy is mass market trash for the multitude. Now there is nothing wrong with that, it entertains a whole load of people, but it just isn’t for me. I like my comedy with a bit more of an edge than; ‘Garlic? Bread?’, or ‘everyone has got a draw in the kitchen with stuff in it’.

 

That kind of comedy isn’t big or clever, it does nothing except illicit a recognition chuckle; ‘yes! I have one of those!! Haha’. Boring, and samey, and not what I’m after. OK, so we know what I don’t like, but what do I actually like? Well here is the first blog, of two, so far, where I will put the spot light on my favourite stand up comedians. This week we shall look at the great Richard Herring, self proclaimed King of Edinburgh, Lord of the Podcast and one of my two favourite comedy type blokes. But why is he so good? Well I’m not entirely sure I will be able to fully illustrate how great Mr. Herring is, but I shall try my best. What? Don’t look at me like that, you know what you want? You want the moon on a stick. Hahaha, see what I did there? No? Well you should go away and watch some early Lee and Herring, then re-read that joke…. see, funny eh?

 

I first became aware of Richard Herring during secondary school. At the time I was watching stuff like The Day Today, and Brass Eye, and then one Friday Night, I sat down and watched Lee and Herring’s Fist of Fun. I instantly had a new favourite show. A stand up show with skits and sketches, Fist of Fun was incredibly fresh, and incredibly funny. It was the kind of show that we would all talk about in the playground on Monday morning, quoting the best lines and going over the best bits. It became priority viewing. I still use some of the phrases I picked up from Fist of Fun, including moon on a stick, and there were an amazing array of characters, including Simon Quinlank, master of all hobbies (including Vicar’s arse rubbing), and Rod Hull, an imposter to the beloved children’s entertainer, who loved jelly, played by the actor Kevin Elden. Check out one brilliant comedy moment below.

Fist of Fun ran for two series, and then stopped. The BBC however did an unbelievable thing. They commissioned a new Lee and Herring show, This Morning With Richard Not Judy (TMWRNJ) on a Sunday morning, in a slot usually reserved for religious programmes and cooking shows. TMWRNJ was even better than Fist of Fun, and in school we couldn’t believe the BBC were allowing Rich and Stew to do this sort of thing at 11.15am on a Sunday. Once again Stewart Lee was the grouchy cool one, with Herring acting like a naughty school child, and it worked perfectly. It was around this time I first saw live comedy, and thankfully it was Lee and Herring tour. Live comedy was new and exciting and felt almost dangerous. I have seen many gigs since, but this was an awesome first time out. TMWRNJ was treated poorly by the BBC, but it managed to last for two series before it all went quiet on the Lee and Herring front, at least my knowledge of it.

It was a few years later, I was now out of Uni and hadn’t really heard of anything that Herring, or Lee had done. Then one day I Googled Herring, and noticed he had a book, Talking Cock, based on one of his stand up shows. I bought it, read it and immediatley wanted more. Luckily for me Herring was constantly touring, he happened to be in a local theatre, I booked tickets and my first Herring experience in a while was Menage et Un. His stand up was intelligent, hilarious and actually meant something. Oh Fuck I’m 40 quickly followed, then The Head Master’s Son, Hitler Moustache and Christ On a Bike. I caught up on the shows I had missed, Some One Like Yoghurt and The 12 Tasks of Hercules Terrace. Herring’s stand up is often filthy, but always has a heart to it, always has a point. His try at reclaiming the Hitler Moustache for comedy was a show that was both hilarious and meaningful. When I and a group of friends saw it live we all left with a slightly changed opinion on voting, I highly recommend everyone watches the DVD, it is eye opening. Christ On A Bike is seemingly an attack on Christianity, and whilst it does poke fun, and Herring clearly likes to point out the ridiculous nature of organised religions, at it’s heart, it has interesting things to say about religion as a whole, and the ending may come as a surprise to some.

Richard Herring has also done a hell of a lot of free content, downloadable from here. As It Occurs To Me is well worth a listen, as are his Leicester Square and Edinbrugh podcasts, where he interviews fellow comedians. It is hard to pick between Herring and his former partner Stewart Lee as my favourite comedian, but as no one is forcing me to make such a decision, I will not. Stewart Lee will be the focus of my next Stand up Spotlight, so for more information on him, keep checking back. As for Richard Herring, I missed his latest show What Is Love Anyway, but will pick it up from GoFasterstripe.com  an excellent independent comedy website that has a treasure trove of brilliant comedy DVD’s including many from Richard Herring and Stewart Lee. I think the best way to illustrate the comedy of Richard Herring is to actually see some, so here we are, enjoy…

PODCASTS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME* *IF YOU SHARE THE EXACT LIKES AS ME.

By @hmsbeefnuts

Four years ago, I didn’t know what a podcast was. Or, if I did, I certainly had no interest in listening to them. Right now however, I’m listening to a podcast, I listen to podcasts when I walk my dog, when I chill out, whenever I can really. I only really listen to music now in my car, the rest of the time, I want to listen to like minded geeks, comedians, journalists and ex pro wrestlers talk about important stuff, or more likely, rubbish for an hour or so. I have found most of the podcasts I currently listen to on my own, for to my knowledge, few of my friends listen to them. I thought then, it was about time I wrote a little something about the shows I never miss, shows that offer free entertainment every week, and who can argue with free?

VIDEO GAMES

Eons ago now it seems, Gaming website Gamesradar.com had one of the greatest podcasts of all time, TalkRadar. Sadly this has gone, but the current crop of gaming goodfellas are back with a new podcast, RadioRadar. Only one episode old, RadioRadar is a serious gaming podcast, with a sense of fun, a great listen for all the relevant gaming news. Here is a link to Gamesradar.com, where you can find RadioRadar, as well as another podcast, and one of my favourites. GamesRadar UK Podcast is quite simply anarchic genius. All the regular hosts are funny, interesting and simply awesome. I always laugh at this, Cundy is a personal hero of mine, top bloke.

The other major video game podcast I listen to, well, it isn’t really about video games at all. Podtoid is a 2 hour glimpse into the mind of games industry hate figure Jim Sterling, as he talks a load of rubbish with his colleges Jonathan Holmes, and others. I can’t really explain what this podcast is about, but expect Willem Defoe movie pitches, Jim’s ideas for crazy schemes that Jonathan Holmes can get involved in, (past adventures have included grave robbery, a one man zoo, and a pirate adventure cove with a rotting corpse). Not for the easily offended, but this is genius, very different, but comfortably similar, every week is a sonic adventure to the dark reaches of the human mind, in a funny way, check it out here.

GEEK/COMICS

When TalkRadar died, the regular crew went out on their own and created Lasertime. Lasertime is a podcast obsessed with nostalgia. Great topics such as WWE, 80’s adverts, movies, food and drink mascots, TV shows, they cover something for everyone, always funny, always interesting, well worth a listen. An offshoot of Lasertime is Cape Crisis, a podcast dedicated to comics and comic related subjects. One again, I can’t talk highly enough about this one, and these guys are partly responsible for my comic obsession. The same guys do Lasertime, so if you like that, you are sure to like this too.

The Geek Box and Comic Conspiracy are both podcasts that are produced by the same people, slightly different casts. The Geek Box discusses all things of a geek nature, usually things in the news, Comic Conspiracy is obviously a comic based podcast, and deals with all the news of a comic bent. Check them out here.

COMEDY

King of Edinburgh, Richard Herring is always doing something podcast wise. He is one of my favourite comedians and is always worth a listen. Currently he is in Edinburgh and doing his daily podcasts from there, as he interviews fellow comedians. Another comedy podcast is The Comedy Button, from some of the same people who bring you The Geek Box. This is always funny, with stories from the cast and genuine tomfoolery.

RANDOM OTHER SUBJECTS

A new one for me, RodPod is Rowdy Roddy Pipers podcast. Expect old school wrestling stories, with no holds barred. Some of the things I have heard on this have shocked and amused me greatly, Piper has met a whole lot of people and lived a life few others could even imagine. Amazing.

Mysterious Universe is a great podcast all about the weird and the strange. From Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts and every other strange thing you could imagine, this is a wry look at the world of science, science fiction and the paranormal. Always interesting.

Good Job Brain is a podcast from the people who brought you The Geek Box etc. Basically QI on the radio, Good Job Brain is a quiz/general knowledge podcast that takes different subjects every week. Very interesting and funny. It is thanks to this that I know what the juice from a Beaver’s anus is used for in food stuffs!!

That’s enough for the time being I think. Hope you like some of these suggestions. Catch you soon.

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