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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interview with Comedian , Author , Podcaster - Richard Herring

Before we get down to this interview id like to thank Richard for taking time out of his busy schedule of Podcasting and Gigging among other things to participate in this interview with me , Right lets get to it

Ross - As it occurs to me is a genuinely fresh idea for a podcast , how much stress does it cause you to write every week during its run ?

Richard - It is genuinely incredibly stressful, especially the night before. My madness and frustration is only very slightly exaggerated. On Sundays I am nearly always cursing myself for doing it, but usually by the time it's done the relief is so great that I want to do more. It's like childbirth in that sense. But is much more painful.

The AIOTM crew 
Ross - How did you choose your fellow AIOTM cast members ?

Richard - I had worked with them all before. I met Emma at University and we did sketches together back then. I saw Dan Tetsell in Edinburgh doing a show with Danny Robins and asked them both to be in That Was Then This Is Now (along with Emma) and Christian was brought into that Radio 2 show to do the music. I loved the TWTTIN cast so when it came to doing AIOTM I wanted to bring them back together - but had felt there wasn't enough to do for two male actors and chose Dan over Danny, though there was nothing personal in that decision. 

Ross - As most fans of yours should already be aware you do a daily blog , during a AIOTM run do you sometimes hold things back from the blog to include in the show ?

Richard - No not really. I feel that as I am producing so much free content that it is OK to repeat between platforms and then it is up to the consumer to decide if they want to consume some or all of it. Very occasionally I might save something up, if the blog is about something else from a day, but usually I will find the funny angle in the blog and then incorporate it and expand on it for the show. I might then take that thing and use it in my live work. I am happy to mix and match.

Ross - Do you find it difficult to keep up a daily blog ?

Richard - It's pretty easy now. There was a point when it was difficult and annoying, but I got over it. I think the key is to give yourself the permission to fail, or for a blog (or a podcast or bit of a podcast) not to be that good. Or not to fear that it might be. Usually I will come up with something with some merit in it, but if you're writing 365 blogs a year and doing an hour or so of podcasts a week, then it can't all be gold. Yet if you aren't scared to give things a spin then usually something good comes out of them. In the past I used to spend ages some times trying to think of something to blog about, now I quickly choose a subject and get on with it.

Ross - After reading 'How not to grow up' i was amazed at how open you are about certain things in your life , do you ever have any regrets about any of the things you put out there ?

Richard - No, being open is actually very liberating and I think honesty is the key to being a good comedian and a good human being. People (generally) respect the openness more, even if I am revealing something embarrassing. We are all flawed and it's a relief to read someone else admitting that, but it's also a relief to write it and for people to forgive you or empathise with you. I have found the things that I have been most scared of writing about are generally the most successful things. I still lie occasionally, but honesty is the best policy. And we are much more similar than we imagine. 

Richards new book i highly recommend it .

Ross - I personally love the fact that you play smaller more intimate venues , how do you feel about it , would you like to play these big stadium shows like other comedians where you don't really have the same connection with your audience ?

Richard - I don't have much interest in playing massive venues, but nor generally do I have the choice in the matter. Generally a room of about 200-300 people is the ideal size for comedy, but I play smaller and bigger venues. Somewhere like the Hammersmith Apollo is  a brilliant 2000 seater place that I would love to play in my own right one day and I have enjoyed the 500 and 600 seater places I have played on tour. There's a part of me that wants to try and master all kinds of comedy and all kinds of venue. But I don't really see why people would want to see comedy in a stadium when you're just watching a screen. Buy the DVD. Live comedy is such an amazing experience and it's a wonderful feeling when everyone in the room feels involved. So I will be more than happy to stay at the exact level I am at right now.

Ross - What are Andrew Collins' true feelings towards tiny Andrew ? 

Richard - I think he found it funny and disconcerting in equal measure. It was strange the way it steamrollered out of either of our controls. And it was more the introduction of characters that were supposedly from his family that he didn't like. But I think he sees that it is a very funny character, that bears little relationship to him. I think we've finally killed it off now anyway. I don't want to have to keep doing the same things every week until they outstay their welcome. It's strange when something takes off so completely like that did though.

Ross - The Collings and Herrin podcast is one i look forward to every week is it nice to have that kind of platform to be the Richard Herrin Character ?

Richard -  It is fun to remove the internal censor and to say things that you shouldn't be allowed to say. As long as people get that it's a joke it's fine. But again it's liberating. It's fun to be allowed to be that horrible and rude and for people to actually like it and enjoy it when I rip into them. But sometimes I feel a bit sick afterwards, because sometimes Herrin pushes it further than I would really like. Or isn't funny enough to justify the nastiness. It's fascinating though and I kind of enjoy the failure and the times it creates a genuine tension. Because it's exciting as a performer to be testing the limits and experimenting. But I would hate to think that anyone was hurt or upset by the stupid things Herrin says. He is a twat. That is the secret of his success, I suppose. 

Ross - Speaking of the Richard Herrin character is it really just a case of  you turned up to 11 ?

Richard - I am much sweeter and more sensitive and a whole lot less perverted than any character I have portrayed in almost any comedy I've done. But I have my moments. It's the dark part of your psyche that thinks awful things and feels anger and jealousy and all that stuff. We correctly usually repress this side of ourselves, but I don't have the same hang ups as Herrin or AIOTM Herring and am a lot more content (generally) than he is. But then there is a tiny part of me......

Ross - Has Andrew repaid you the money for the CD he gave away yet ?

Richard - No, it keeps mounting up as well. Plus now we have to take compound interest into account.

Ross - In my eyes you appear to be one of the hardest working comedians out there , do you ever feel like taking a break from a lot of the side projects you do and just concentrating on one specific area ? 

Richard - Maybe I should, but I like the variety. I think I need to take some time trying to do some writing for TV and get a sitcom or narrative comedy off the ground. Because that's the thing that I think I am best at and yet haven't  had too much luck with actually getting on TV. So I might try and push into that in the autumn, but I have work lined up until May 2011 at which point I will be doing a new Edinburgh show I guess, so it's hard to fit it all in. And I worry about overdoing things and burning myself out. But although things are hectic it's all going well and the last few years prove that one is the master of your own destiny and you can get places by just getting on with it and working hard. As a comedian you can have this autonomy. And all the free stuff I do fuels the paid stuff and gets people coming to see my shows and buying my DVDs etc. It's a slog, but it's working, so I think I have to keep pushing onwards.

Ross - And Finally do you have any thing you would like to plug at the moment ?

Richard - My DVD Hitler Moustache is out on October 25th (if you buy from go faster stripe you can get an extra DVD with some excellent stuff on it) and my tour starts in December -
Plus there are more live AIOTMs and Collings and Herring podcasts to look out for. Best just to keep an eye on richard herring if you're interested!

Once again id like to thank Richard for this interview its been my pleasure i hope you all enjoy it and please leave comments 
Cheers Ross


  1. Another great read mate, a good insight to the life of a comedian and podcaster too, think i will definately pick up the book and dvd too. keep up the good work mate.

  2. Never took the opertunity to listen to his podcast, follow him on twitter alright. I'll start today and work backwards I suppose! Great read Ross, welldone!


  3. Good read there, glad you got @CollingsA to tweet it or I would never have seen it.

  4. Nice interview with a comedian I've long enjoyed. Cheers for posting it.