Over the Christmas period I’ve been laid up ill with flu. My partner has been ill as well, although she’s been diagnosed with bronchitis. I’ve matched her symptom for symptom at the exact same points in time. Mine is still flu, she insists. A ‘man cold’ or something. It’s not the same as her bronchitis, it’s not as bad.
One of the problems we both had, her with her bronchitis and me with my flu, was that laughing caused us to cough. Which is what brings to me to Richard Herring’s latest stand-up DVD, Oh Fuck, I’m 40!. A DVD which, under the circumstances, nearly killed me.
Whilst Richard Herring might not be a name you recognise from the recent crop of popular stand-up comics who have found an audience through panel shows, you might recognise him from off the telly. As part of the comedy partnership Lee and Herring (along with Stewart Lee) he’s is best known for two TV shows; Fist of Fun and This Morning With Richard Not Judy. In the time since they were on he’s kept himself busy with, among other things, writing on Al Murray’s Time Gentleman Please and penning the Guardian’s recent guide to writing comedy.
Oh Fuck, I’m 40! is a performance of the show Richard Herring has been touring to celebrate his mid-life crisis. Herring admits that he’s been dressing younger, carrying a skateboard around with him and has even been involved in a physical fight with a trainee Maths professor.
Herring delivers his stories and observations with all of the confidence that 20 years of experience can provide. He’s always completely comfortable on stage, whether when explaining why hating children should make him the best person in society or interacting with the audience.
The show isn’t without its flaws. It’s a little slow to get going. Also, after the ‘Free Hotdog’ bit, I’d question whether we needed further t-shirt slogan analysis in the form of the ‘Give Me Head, Til I’m Dead’ bit. Although, perhaps I’m just annoyed that I didn’t win the ‘Free Hotdog’ t-shirt and so am taking some sort of subconscious revenge against it.
Those are minor complaints, though. Oh Fuck, I’m 40! is a fantastic stand-up show. Having the entire set themed is a pleasant change from the majority of stand-up DVDs released in time for Christmas. The material isn’t going to be for everyone, pushing the term ‘risqué’ as far as I think I can take it before I’d have to say ‘the most offensive thing you’ll ever see’. It’s also not for the masses; there’s no gurning for the Lee Evans fans and Peter Kay fans will be disappointed to know that there’s not a single joke about nans on the whole disc.
If you like your comedy edgy and intelligent with a heavy heaping of filth, then Richard Herring’s Oh Fuck, I’m 40! comes highly recommended. It’s so funny I nearly coughed up a lung.
Extras It’s rare that I get to use the word ‘bonanza’ on this website, so this is exciting to me. This two disc set really is a bonus feature bonanza. Included on the main disc is a 20 minute interview. On disc two we get a warm-up performance of the set (introduced by Herring as for ‘nerds’ who want to see a shorter version of the show they’ve just seen).
There’s also a video podcast by Herring and Andrew Collings (who have a weekly audio podcast available for download). The set also features an interesting short film in which Herring acts.
Probably the highlight of the disc, though, is the footage of Herring dealing with a drunken heckler at a show. It’s not like when a comedian is playing a theatre and the person who has a dig feels humiliated at the first come back. Rather, Herring takes on a drunk who consistently interrupts his routine and has to be escorted from the building. It’s like seeing one of your friends become infinitely funnier when dealing with an annoying drunk at the local pub.
Get the DVD from Go Faster Stripe right here…
9 January 2009