He's a bit late to 'come of age,' but Herring makes a good stab at it anyway
Saturday 11 August by Alison Lutton
Richard Herring, a man with an average-sized penis, is finally having a mid-life crisis. For someone who confesses to having spent the majority of his career cultivating a puppyish stage persona, this could easily be a very bad thing indeed. After all, nobody wants to hear a portly, middle-aged man who used to be on the telly spend an hour whingeing about how he got old.
Thankfully, there are no Grumpy Old Men-style curmudgeonly diatribes here. Practically a fogey he may be, but Herring retains his slightly awkward verve. To the uninitiated, this means that Herrings style may seem entirely slapdash: he leaps freely from one topic to the next with little evidence of continuity. However, once settled on a particular topic here, a wry look at the crude t-shirts which middle-aged men definitely should not wear, much less take seriously he is inimitable. His shambolic charm and insistence on pursuing every nuance as far as possible masks what is actually a perfectly-crafted narrative.
There is nothing one-dimensional about Herrings wit. Subsequent stories, for example an account of a recent fist-fight in Liverpool with a university lecturer and an audience of 21-year-old girls, underline that, though masked beneath layers of joviality, Herring does have a point. This point that growing old disgracefully is a lonely fate affords Herrings frequently puerile commentary a pathos which only adds to its hilarity. Herring may be over the hill in the traditional sense, but Oh f**k, Im 40! marks a comic coming-of-age which cannot be written off.