Richard Keith Herring (born 12 July 1967) is a British stand up comedian, writer and director, most famous for his work in double acts with Stewart Lee and later Andrew Collins. He is also a pioneer in Internet Comedy, being a long-running blogger and podcaster.
Herring began his career whilst at Oxford University, appearing with the Oxford Revue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and also struck up a partnership with Stewart Lee. As the double-act Lee And Herring, they wrote material for The Day Today forerunner On The Hour, created and starred in sketch shows Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World (Radio 4) and Fist Of Fun (Radio 1) and presented three series of Lee and Herring on Radio 1 which mixed sketches with music chosen by the duo themselves. They later starred in a television version of Fist of Fun and a live Sunday morning show called This Morning With Richard Not Judy (TMWRNJ).
Lee and Herring split up amicably after TMWRNJ was canceled, and Herring moved on to touring Stand Up as a solo act, an act which became notorious during 2009 and 2010 with his shows Hitler Moustache, which attempted to 'reclaim the toothbrush moustache for comedy' and Christ on a Bike which dealt with issues of religion. 2009 also saw the beginning of As It Occurs to Me (AIOTM), an 'internet stand-up and sketch show' which was recorded live in front of an audience and released for free as a podcast.
Other forays into online comedy include The Collings and Herrin Podcast with Andrew Collins and his Blog Warming Up which has been updated daily since November 25th, 2002, making it one of — if not the — world's longest-running daily blogs, and is now released in podcast form and on Soundcloud.
Herring has released several of his stand-up shows on DVD, has various podcasts available, amongst them the long running Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP) in which he interviews comedians, and he has written the autobiographical How Not To Grow Up. He also appeared as contestant in series 10 of Taskmaster.
Tropes associated with Richard Herring
- An Aesop: Played straight at the end of many of his shows.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Herring's show Headmaster's Son describes his time at a school where his father is the headmaster/principal.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Dismissed in Talking Cock after reading the results of his audience survey Rich concludes that for most men having a bigger bladder would probably be of more use since it means they can drink more beer without... yeah.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Herring joked in AIOTM that he was using his good material from his position as a writer on Russell Howard show Good News to develop routines for AIOTM instead. Shortly after, he lost his job on Good News.
- Call-Back: Herring makes references to Fist of Fun and his work with Stewart Lee, possibly as a Take That! to reviewers who still remind him of his TV work.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: He regularly remarks that he doesn't tell jokes in his comedy, going as far as to say in AIOTM that he never told a joke in the entire series. Lampshaded in a routine where a man leans out of a taxi and shouts 'Tell us a joke mate!' leaving him unsure of how to respond despite being a comedian.
- Deconstruction: Another trope he shares with Stewart Lee. An example of this is in Hitler Moustache. He makes fun of the appearance of Carol Thatcher after noting that she was fired from a job for using the word 'Golliwog'. The show then breaks down into a conversation with himself debating whether he is as bad as Carol Thatcher for mocking her appearance when she did the same albeit more generally. Probably also an example of Hypocritical Humor.
- Determinator: The whole point of The 12 Tasks of Hercules Terrace was Rich's modern day attempt to emulate the mythical hero and avert a mid life crisis. Perhaps the most impressive were dating fifty different women in fifty consecutive days, and completing Consecutive Number Plate spotting - which involves spotting car number plates in the correct order - something that he acknowledges almost drove him crazy.
- Lost in Character: Rich's "Hitler Moustache" was real. He had major worries as to whether he should shave it off for his parent's wedding anniversary.
- Malaproper: Herring mis-pronouncing the word 'pumpkins' as 'cumpkins' in an episode of AIOTM led to multiple CallBacks throughout the series riffing on the Cumpkin. In case you were wondering, 'You take a jack-o-lantern, get at least five men to cum in said jack-o-lantern, and then get a woman to put it on her head'
- Mistaken for Racist: In Hitler Moustache he recalls how he had his iPhone stolen in Brixton, then realised he was a white man with a Hitler moustache driving around with the police to find the (black) thief.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Herring often portrays himself as an idiot, when in fact he is a graduate of Oxford University.
- Self-Referential Humor: Herring often refers to the fact that he is no longer on television as much as he used to be when part of Lee and Herring, and also often remarks on Stewart Lee's greater success of the duo.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: Rich challenges God to do this in Christ On A Bike.
- So Unfunny, It's Funny: Does a (hilarious) routine about being jaded after twenty years on the comedy circuit and how he's trying to challenge himself by not being funny.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Quite a lot, the Collings and Herrin podcast especially was two very intelligent people being extremely vulgar at times (see the 'Cumpkin' bit above).
- Take That!: Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre, Lembit Opik, Andrew Collins, Keith Allen, Patrick Marber. Much like Stewart Lee, the list goes on.
- The Unfair Sex: Discussed in Talking Cock, strictly speaking there should be just as many women having affairs as men. Unless there's one gigantic super-slag woman somewhere.