Richard Herring interview: Hitler Moustache, How Not To Grow Up and much, much more
Matt chats to Richard Herring about his new book, his thoughts on comedy autobiographies, his career and a whole lot more...
Following on from my column a couple weeks back, I had the opportunity to recover from my blundering idiocy and interview Richard Herring. Here’s how it happened.
Thanks for meeting us for the interview. You have a book out.
A book called How Not To Grow Up.
You know all about it. I don’t need to be here.
I’ve been reading the book and I think it’s fantastic. How did it come to be that you’re writing a book?
Well, a few years ago I did a show in Edinburgh and then toured that show called Oh Fuck, I’m Forty. I think I realised, just going through that existential angst and worrying about what my life had become and whether I’d become at forty what I had thought I would be at 20. It had been quite a turbulent year for me. I realised that I wasn’t the only one, this kind of weird, immature man where everyone else had proper jobs and were settled down.
I realised in the course of that show that there was this idea of kidults. There were quite a lot of people who had stayed artificially young and were quite adolescent in their forties and fifties, and increasingly even old people, 60s, 70s, 80s, still see themselves as much younger. It’s in the book, really.
That Christmas, having met a girlfriend and decided to pull myself together a bit, which is halfway through the book, I realised I had this opportunity still to do stuff. I think I got frustrated through my thirties at how difficult it was to get scripts made and books made, and slightly opted out (not entirely, but…) and slightly given up a bit. I decided to push myself and work a bit harder.
So I came up with some book ideas and there were various different ones. I took them to Ebury, and various other places as well, and my editor, Jake, who worked with me on the Talking Cock book, saw the things I came in with and had seen the blog, and book of the blog, Bye Bye Balham, which I put out myself. Then there was a diet book and I had an idea of stopping drinking for a year, to write about that.
Well, I got three months in. I did three months and then when I realised it definitely wouldn’t be a book I thought, ‘I don’t have to do it anymore.’
There was also the idea of doing a book about the Forty show. And Jake liked the idea and he pointed out elements of the blog.
The story with the bank manager [*in the book, Herring is called in to see his bank manager and delights in embarrassing the man by telling him that he’s writing a book called Talking Cock], that’s the book. The book is about you trying to cope with a world where everyone is growing up but you, and about that phenomenon in the modern world, not having to grow up anymore. Not having to be like our parents.
So, he said that was the book. To be honest, for a while I thought ‘OK…’, I couldn’t quite see what the through line would be and I couldn’t see how it would work.
I agreed to it and thought ‘let’s see how it goes’. But when I came to write it sort of a year later, that year had this brilliant narrative arc, and with a bit of distance, I could kind of see that there was this story there to be told.
I wanted to do it more honestly. I think my stand-up in the last few years has become a lot more honest and not me playing this falsely childish character who is immature, a sexual failure. I wanted to write a bit more truthfully. And from the blog, because you can’t write truthfully in a blog for a lot of reasons, because things are happening at the time, and you can’t write about it like a personal diary because it will affect the world as well. Because if you write, “I’ve met this girl and she’s got a boyfriend and I really fancy her,” she would have read that and he would have read that it would have affected the world.
Were they things that you left out of the book even?
There are things that I left out, because there’s only so much you can write about. You always go for the more comic thing. If anything, I was probably having a bit more sex than I talk about in this book. But I don’t think it’s as interesting to talk about successes as it is about failures. It’s fairly honest about everything. I don’t go into as much detail about that, if it had just been a catalogue of ‘and then I went out with this girl and then I went out with that girl’…it’s funny to talk about the girls I failed with, or where something went wrong or was a bit dubious.
I was reading a lot of Jonathan Ames, or I was a few years ago, Stewart Lee had given me these books by Jonathan Ames and he’s this American writer, and he’s quite perverted and very honest about it. There’s something very liberating about saying the things that you most want to keep secret because you realise that what you’ve said isn’t that bad.
I’ve read quite a lot of comedians’ biographies just recently and a lot of them are about ‘Oh, I’m brilliant. This is how I became really fantastic and successful.’ Like Peter Kay’s first autobiography just seems to be him going, ‘This is how it all fell into my lap and how brilliant I am and I was funny even when I was in school,’ and to me that’s just a bit boring and a bit weird and not that interesting to read about.
It’s more interesting to read about someone who’s failing, or having difficulty and has an interesting perspective about where they’re at.
I’m in this position where I make a good living doing what I want and it’s my job and it’s always gonna be. And I’m doing okay but I’m not a household name and it’s not about me meeting famous people, or if it is, it’s about me meeting famous people and saying the wrong thing to them. So, I think that people can openly relate to that. I think that there were lots of funny things.
For instance, there’s a funny thing that’s not in here that’s in the show about me saying “Suck my big cock,” and she says, “Well, average size cock.” That was one of those routines where I thought ‘can I do this?’ because if I do this, then I have to admit that I said to someone “Suck my big cock,” and that’s incredibly embarrassing but once I said it, you realise that everyone has said something like that and not everyone would have got this response.
I’m interested in being as truthful as possible. Obviously, once you get into that routine it does become more fanciful, but it starts in a true place.
So, in my work I kind of want to be honest and document the life that I was leading. I wanted to make sure it didn’t look like I was bragging about anything because I’m so dour that, I mean, it is a very naval gazing book, but I think I have enough distance from it and enough self-awareness to make that amusing rather than self-pitying most of the time.
It was a very difficult and sad time and I wanted to get that across and write about that.
No, it’s not. It’s quite interesting, Steve Martin’s, it’s a very short book. A lot of comedians really like it. I quite liked it but he really glossed over a lot. I would have liked some more details. It is fascinating.
I read Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography and, again, he glosses over a great deal of stuff, doesn’t mention some of his major films and doesn’t talk about any of the controversial things in his life. Going out with lots of young girls and getting married to a young girl, and it’s a very self-aggrandising thing. I just don’t see the point in doing that.
Charlie Chaplin’s is a slightly different thing, but I just wish in hindsight that he’d been a bit more open and had a bit more self awareness. Because I love reading them and I’m sure people will be able to do this with my book, but you can read between the lines and see what they’re trying to say about themselves.
I think, the Peter Kay one, I read it, Andrew Collins gave it to me, and I’m not a fan of Peter Kay’s. I think it’s just because it’s not my sense of humour and I don’t really see the point and it disappoints me that he’s popular. He’s good at what he does, obviously.
Did you not get his DVD every single year it’s been released?
I think I’ve got one of his DVDs somewhere. I’ve never watched it. People keep giving me his stuff. I’m not really having a gripe against him because I think that he’s done really well and people like him. But I think he’s a fascinating character.
At the end he reveals that he’s done a lot of these stories as routines and you realise that, in his mind, the routines become the reality. He’s told a story, made it funny on stage, and it’s become the truth. Which, I suppose to an extent, can be said of the fight story in my book, which was a routine. But I think, with my comedy, it’s not about me necessarily saying a really funny thing or coming up with a really brilliant punch line at the end of it. In fact, it isn’t that at all. In both senses of the words ‘punch line’.
You know, it just seems weird to write a self aggrandising book, and I want to make it funny. I think if you wrote a very serious book about that time it would be too much to bear. Some people think this is self pitying or naval gazing, but most people seem to get that it’s not. If you read the Amazon reviews, those are regular people reading it and some of them don’t know who I am at all, and one them says it’s like Zoo magazine. They obviously haven’t read Zoo magazine.
I wanted to do an honest book about this promiscuous lifestyle because you see it on TV drama and it’s always this wide boy, good looking bloke who’s breaking people’s hearts and who’s a bit of a dick and disrespects people. And it’s horrible. And anyone who is a womaniser, I mean, the term womaniser is a pejorative term. I think there’s a lot of people out there who are single or serially monogamous and have a nice time with each other and are nice to each other and are honest, and I wanted to document that as much as anything. As I also have in some of my previous work.
I’m fascinated by the difference married girl/single girl, married person/single person.
So, people pay for the book. They get the podcast for free. And you’ve been doing the podcast for quite a long time now.
We’re coming in at number 109, but we’ve also done about 5 or 6 that aren’t numbered, so about 115, 116 podcasts with Andrew (Collins). And there’s 10 As It Occurs To Me with another series coming up soon. A bit too soon.
At least you don’t have to plan for it. That would ruin it!
That’s true. I was thinking of making the first one everything I’ve done since the last series to make it a bit easier for myself, but I’m not sure I’m even gonna have time to sit down and do that so I think it’s probably best to just leave it for the weekend.
And, obviously, I blog, which I’ve done for seven-and-a-half years, which is free.I did try to keep a daily blog for a while and I don’t know how you’ve done it for so long. I found it very difficult.
I found it very hard around the year and two year mark. But I think the change has been, and the thing that’s made me take on the next step, is losing the fear of doing something that’s rubbish. So, if you’re doing the podcast every week then it doesn’t matter if ten minutes is useless or if the whole thing is useless, so long as next week you get it back on track again.
Seven to eight years ago the idea of putting something out that wasn’t ready was very frightening to me, but you have to get to the point where you go. ‘I’m gonna sit down and try and write something, hopefully something funny will come out’, or ‘I’m gonna sit there with Andrew Collins and hopefully something funny will come up’, and usually it does.
I used to sit there for maybe an hour thinking, ‘Nothing happened yesterday, what can I write about?’ but now I’ve just got to the point where I sit down and go, ‘This is what I’m gonna write about and maybe it won’t be funny, maybe it’ll be a serious one, maybe it won’t work.’ I’ll just see what comes up. And I very rarely now, with the blog do I sit down for more than an hour writing it. I’ve just got that kind of mindset that, once I’m into a challenge like that it’s gonna be very hard to stop doing the blog, particularly towards the ten year mark now. I’m now aware that I’m three-quarters of the way to 10 years. Maybe that will be enough of it. There are times where you’ve had enough of it and you want to give up.
I think also, with the book, I just realised what a massively vital tool it is. If you’re a fan of the blog you will recognise bits and chunks of the book. There’s a bit towards the end of the book…there’s an old couple outside of WH Smith’s and he’s blind, she’s going in to buy his paper and they’re fiddling with coins and I help them, and they’re really in love with each other. When I went to read the blog back, I’d even forgotten it happening. It was just so apt for the book and it would never have got in the book if I had just sat down at 42 to write a book about turning 40. I wouldn’t have remembered 80% of the things I have.
I had a personal diary for things as well and, of course, that was incredibly useful as well. I had so much material and I was writing 12,000 words a day. There was a week where I pretty much put most of it together. It probably took me three or four months to write the first two or three chapters and then, I just sat down and put a version together.
Because I was just using stuff out of the blog and rewriting it a bit, I was able to do masses and masses of work in a day. It was incredibly useful and I think once you’ve realised that… I mean, it is hard to keep a diary going because there’s no one telling you, “Where’s the diary today?” With the blog, people kind of do get, if there’s a day when I’ve left it, “Ooh, you’ve stopped doing the blog, what’s going on?”
And you don’t have any worry about people reading the blog and then coming to your show and saying, “Oh, now he’s doing the bit…” of using up your material?
I think people mostly get it. I mean, a few people do say that but I think, when you think about the amount of work I’m producing, I think it would be churlish to complain that I’m reusing stuff. There’s a bit in the book which has been reused about three or four times, which was in Fist Of Fun: You Can Choose Your Friends and now the book. I kind of feel, if something is good, and particularly if it hasn’t made a big splash, you can reuse it a little bit.
Occasionally people say, “I’d heard all of Hitler Moustache in the podcast,” and you say, “Well, you really didn’t.” I tried out two or three little ideas. I think a lot of people like hearing the progression.
The idea of Hitler Moustache almost did come up in a podcast, I think. Then I talked about having my phone stolen [which happened immediately after Herring was last interview for this site] and then I wrote about that in the blog and then they can come and see the show and see the final version of that routine and really get that honed versions. Those ones are the rough ones.
I think if you’re the kind of person that gets annoyed by that, don’t read the blog or listen to the podcast and just wait for the final show. But I don’t think you can really criticise me for, I mean you can, but you can’t complain too much if I’m giving this stuff away for free. If I was charging you every time and you had to pay to make me say the same thing, then maybe. But I think I’m showing you my working out and you can choose to listen to that
Most people find that interesting at least, but also, I think most of my stuff bears a couple of repeats and you can listen to it again.
I think it does. I’ve always been very open about that. The blog gives a very open… it shows what it’s like to be a comedian in the 2000s. In the first decade of the 21st century that’s what it’s like to be a working comedian. So, that’s quite an interesting record for anyone to look back at.
Because it’s daily, you get the frustrations and the points when I’m depressed and the points where I’m like ‘Ooh, this is a really important gig and something amazing has happened’.
People do enjoy the soap opera of it and the pay off of it. I mean, if you’ve sat through it for seven years and you’ve been through those difficult times where 30 people come to see me in Carlyle and then you read about me getting 650 people in Nottingham, you actually get people vicariously enjoying that process.
So, hopefully, it doesn’t put too many people off. I don’t get too many complaints about it. I used to get complaints about reusing material, but I think now people get that I’m producing 66 minutes of comedy in the podcast every week, and double that when I’m doing both podcasts, and I’m doing a radio show. I mean, we’re doing the 6 music show and the podcast every week and not really doubling up on material. And I was doing As it Occurs To Me and the podcast and not really doubling up on material. I’m writing the blog.
I think you’ve got to accept that I’m producing quite a lot of stuff. I mean, in the last few years I’ve produced a lot of stuff. Mark Watson is about the only person I can think of who perhaps produces as much different stuff or maybe a bit more stuff than I do.
You did mention Hitler Moustache earlier, which I wanted to ask you about. It seemed that with this show you had something that you wanted to achieve. Do you feel like it was a success, that you had some success with it?
I think it was a successful show and I think it definitely worked. It was a show that people went to, enjoyed and then went and talked about down at the pub for three hours after the show. A lot of people came up to me after the show and said, “I’ve never voted but I’m definitely going to vote from now on,” which makes it feel like it’s a worthwhile thing, even if it’s a hundred people out of the 20,000 who’ve seen it.
It feels like a very complete show and it had a point.
When I started it, I wanted to talk about racism and talk about the way that we judge each other. There’s always a serious point behind everything I do, even if it’s quite hidden. But I hadn’t anticipated it turning into quite such a political show as it was. Events turned it into what it was. But I think that if it’s getting people talking and getting people interested then…
I enjoyed it. It was a very difficult show to perform so it was enjoyable show to tour because you’ve really got to concentrate throughout the show. The pacing of it, and there’s a lot of complicated ideas to get across and a lot of talking.
I was very pleased with the way it turned out and, hopefully, it’s made a little bit of a difference to people.
I really enjoyed it. It was after I saw that show that I came up and spoke to you. I don’t know if you read…
I did read it.Ah, well, then, first of all, I apologise.
To be honest, it does happen all the time and I’ve been in that position. If you read the book, there’s a part where I go to an ITV party and want to say the most inappropriate thing to every person I see. And I’ve met people that I admire and who are big people in my life and they’re not necessarily the most famous people in the world, but you find yourself going ‘ooh’. So, y’know. It happens a lot and so you get used to it.
What happens more often is that you get someone who clearly likes you who comes up and is just incredibly rude to you because they don’t want to look like they’re arse licking. They’re either trying to joke along, but it doesn’t come out as a joke, or they are just so keen not to look like a massive fan that they say the most offensive thing that comes into their head. I’ve done that.
When I first met Dawn French I was ridiculous and awful to her and she was just very lovely in return. Very nice and giving in return. You learn to do that. It’s a nice thing to have people like you that much that they’re confused when they meet you. It’s confusing for me because I don’t think of myself in that way.
What I’ve done I think is, I’ve built up a following of very loyal fans over 10 or 15 years and new people are coming all the time, and to me they’re the most important people.
Most of my work now is self-generated and I’m making a good living and I rely on those people for that. I rely on them to, if they listen to the podcast for free, to occasionally buy a book or occasionally buy a CD or at least come to the gigs in order to make my living.
So, I’m very happy to meet people and it doesn’t bother me if people are rude to me when they obviously like me, and when people are kind of flustered.
Because I come off stage, and you’ve been concentrating very hard for that length of time that your brain turns to jelly a little bit, so often I’ll meet people and fans that I’ve known for over 10 years and then suddenly I can’t remember their name. And I am quite good at that generally, but your brain goes to jelly.
So, I’m in a weird position and there are hundreds of people clambering around me and so sometimes they feel that they’ve upset me, or I’ve upset them and you go ‘It’s just a quite difficult situation’.
Some people want to talk to you for 15 minutes because you’re signing things and you say, “Well, I can’t really because there’s a big queue of people behind you.” Most of them will completely get it and are polite and are like you, are contrite if they think they’ve made a mistake.
And hey, I don’t remember that particular incident. So, it doesn’t really matter, and you bought my DVD.
I have them all. The problem I had with this interview, actually, is that I wanted to ask you specific questions but I got them and watched most of them at about the same time and I couldn’t remember what bits came from which show.
I can’t remember either, so you can bluff your way through here.This might not be a big question for the readers, but I love Time Gentlemen Please, so I’m going to ask you about that for me. I think it’s a really under-rated sitcom. Do you feel like making it was a positive experience and was it difficult making a sitcom for Sky?
The Sky aspect didn’t bother me at all. People worried about that, but they gave us a lot of freedom and a lot money to make it. I earned a lot of money from doing it.
I basically wrote an American-style sitcom, pretty much on my own. The series was 22 episodes and I wrote, I would say, 80% of it. Al (Murray) chipped in, me and Al wrote to begin with and Stew wrote a couple of episodes that I rewrote. It was incredibly difficult. We got nine extra episodes halfway through, so I wrote 9 episodes in about 10 weeks, which was incredibly stressful.
I was going out with one of the actresses in it at the time and it was an incredibly stressful, weird time. When I see them now I think the writing is very tight. I think there are 20 main characters and I managed to get most of them in most of the time. I’m not in any way saying it’s as good as 30 Rock, because it isn’t, but you look at 30 Rock and they manage to get all of that stuff in.
There are episodes of Time Gentlemen Please where I watch them now and I’m quite impressed with the level of in-jokes in it and the fact that the catchphrases aren’t just catchphrases, they’re altered.
When we first did it we decided we were going to make it realistic and then we realised that it wasn’t going to work. It took a little while for the acting style to settle down and for it to become equal among everyone, or at least that Al’s allowed to be bigger than everyone else. But it was unfashionable, deliberately, in that it’s like a very rude Carry On film with slightly cleverer jokes hidden away in there.
I’m surprised at how much they let us do. It’s incredibly full of swearing and some quite unpleasant ideas, but I really like that broadness to it. We deliberately wrote it with no cultural references in it in that hope that, if it didn’t work out at the time, they could put it on TV in 10 years time and it would still work. And I think it would.
I think at that time Al’s character, the Pub Landlord character, was an incredibly exciting and interesting thing, when he hadn’t got to that stage of doing the big ITV shows and the stadium gigs and stuff. I think it’s a really brilliant satire of that attitude. That’s the character, rather than the scripts. You can buy it for four quid, the complete series now, so it’s really worth a look and maybe watch just five episodes.
Nearly everything that I like now I hated the first time I saw it. I didn’t like 30 Rock, I didn’t like Larry Sanders, I didn’t like The Simpsons, I didn’t like any Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm I didn’t like the first time I saw it. I think it just takes a little while. I hated The Office the first time I saw it.
I think The Office is a good example in that I came to that with that fan-boy mentality of not liking Ricky Gervais from his previous work. It took me a long time to be able to leave that behind and I think that comedy fans went to Time Gentlemen Please with that same thing of they didn’t like it because they didn’t like Sky or they didn’t like Al or they didn’t like the fact that I was doing something different or whatever it was.
If you can go to it without an agenda and with a clear mind and just enjoy it for what it is, I think you’ll find it very rewarding. The way three or four plots come together in twenty-two-and-a-half minutes and everyone comes in and has their little go.
I’m impressed with it when I see it and I say that because it doesn’t feel like I had anything to do with it now., I can’t even remember writing it. It’s a blur to me, the whole thing.
In terms of my career, I think it was a good thing and a bad thing. I earned a lot of money, just because I did about six years work in two years. It was six years of well payed work that I had done in two years. So, I had money left for the first time in my life.
We never made any money with Lee and Herring because we just paid off our debts with that and maybe had a little left. So, for the first time in my life I had some money in the bank, enough money to buy a house and put a mortgage down.
But, in a way, I’d burnt myself by doing it. It was incredibly difficult and also, by having lots of money, for the first time in my career, I didn’t have to go out and work. It was post that that I got into that funk of thinking, ‘I’ve worked really hard for 15 years, I’ve created lots of things that I think are good, and none of it, apart from On The Hour, which I didn’t create, none of its had any kind of recognition from anyone.’
I was disappointed that Lee and Herring had disappeared and I think we did some really good stuff and it would have been interesting to carry on with that. Time Gentlemen Please kept me up while it looked like Lee and Herring wasn’t happening, but by the end of it I realised, ‘Oh, Lee and Herring definitely isn’t happening anymore.’ Where am I going to go and what am I going to do?
I think, in a way, I am quite lucky that it wasn’t massively successful, because I would have just become Al Murray’s writer. Which would have been a very lucrative way to be, but wouldn’t have been as artistically interesting as what I have ended up doing.
I’d worked really, really hard for close to two years, but for all the 10 years before, me and Stew had just devoted our lives to comedy. I’d gotten to the point of thinking, ‘What is the point if none of this gets us any recognition?’ I mean, even comedy fans weren’t liking it, and that was very disappointing to me. We got no recognition at all, apart from Sky giving us a second series, which was nice.
It was that that led on to me having three or four years of trying to work out who I was and what I was going to do. I did plenty of work in that time. I did Christ On A Bike and Talking Cock and there was stuff going on. But it put the brakes on in a lot of ways, I think.
Ultimately, I think it was a good thing to have done, and ultimately, it’s a good thing that it didn’t carry on afterwards.
I think it’s nice that the IT Crowd is this broad comedy that people seem to like, that’s like an old-fashioned sitcom, but modern. I think that Time Gentlemen Please is in the same ballpark as that. Sort of Cheers crossed with a Carry On film.
It’s disappointing to me that all of the things I’ve done (chuckles)… I mean, it’s disappointing, but also it’s quite good, that I’ve managed to carry on having a career, but it hasn’t broken through that ceiling.
In a way, to be massively successful you’re more chained up than you would be if you’re not doing anything. I can do whatever I like, but if I’d created Little Britain and then created Hitler Moustache people would say, “Is that a good idea? Is that the right way for your career to go?”
So, I’ve actually got this freedom and autonomy that a lot of successful comedians don’t have. And, hopefully, I’m still creating interesting things that, if I was more successful, I wouldn’t be doing.
I had a lot of money and you kind of think, ‘What’s the point in working this hard? What’s the point in going round clubs for £20 or writing?’ And I realised, I guess through all of this, that creating the work was more important.
I was sitting back and waiting for people to accept my scripts or to pay me for scripts, and it’s in the last three or four years that I’ve realised that I can be autonomous and you can just get out there and do it.
So, you can write a book and you can publish it yourself, quite cheaply, actually, and you can put stuff up on the Internet, you can do a sketch show.
As It Occurs To Me and Collings and Herrin are amazing things because you can do your own radio show, you can do your own stand up and sketch show, you can do it, whoever you are. You could do it with this tape recorder and you do it in the corner of a room and then you can put that on the Internet. People could listen to it, and, if it’s good, more people will listen to it. So, there’s this incredible freedom now where you are released from the broadcasters.
And that’s not to say that I want to never work for the broadcasters again, because it’s lovely to get some paid work and it’s good for profile and everything like that.
I think, in real life, a lot of people sit and go, “I’m waiting for… It’s so difficult to break into stand up, into writing, there’s some clique,” when actually it’s just about getting on with it.
I started again, with a big leg up, obviously, but its taken five or six years and, in broadcasting terms, people are starting to take me seriously again and people are coming to see my shows.What are you doing over the summer? Edinburgh or…?
I am doing Edinburgh. As It Occurs To Me starts up in a week, more or less.
I’m doing Christ On A Bike again in Edinburgh, which is the show I did in 2001. I’m gonna have another look at it and probably rewrite it. It was my first ever solo show and it was my favourite show and it’s not on DVD.
Again, I don’t think it got the credit it deserved. And I think that a lot of people that like me now certainly wouldn’t have seen it and, where people have seen it, that’s the one where people ask me, “When’s the DVD of that coming out?” So, partly to give myself a little break of having to come up with something else and partly because I think it’s a really good follow up to Hitler Moustache because it’s another quite serious subject.
If nothing else, I‘m hoping I’ll appeal to Pope Benedict, because my last show was about Hitler and this show is about Jesus, so he’s my core audience. His two main interests are covered in that.
I want to have another crack at it. It’s got my favourite ever routine that I did. That is the show, when I did it in 2001, where I realised that I could do stuff on my own, when there’s a routine in that show where people were generally laughing so hard, it was the most amazingly powerful…
It’s very odd. You get a routine where nearly everyone in the room is in pain with laughing and you’d see that and go, ‘Well, I haven’t even got to the really funny bit of this routine yet.” It was an amazing thing to feel that power and understand why stand-ups can sometimes get a bit turned by their power over an audience.
I’m doing more podcasts with Andrew in Edinburgh. I’m doing one As It Occurs To Me in Edinburgh and it looks like, hopefully, I might be doing a Radio 4 show. It’s not definitely happening, but it’s about looking at symbols, like the Hitler moustache, and try to look at why they have the reputation they do and whether it’s possible to reclaim them for whatever reason.
So, there are lots of things coming in. I want to get to writing more plays. I was going to try to write a play for this year’s Edinburgh, but I just didn’t have time. I’d love to be writing drama for TV.
This year started and my year was booked up till the beginning of September, before the year even began. Obviously, there are a few things you can drop in along that, but it was pretty incredible to have that far ahead accounted for.
My guess is that I’ll probably do another series of As It Occurs To Me in October, November and December, which takes us to the end of the year. So, just more of the same and we’ll see what happens.
Richard Herring, thank you very much for your time!