Anyone familiar with the work of Richard Herring will no doubt be aware of the âstooshieâ that arose from a recent Guardian article in which Herring had to defend himself against the implication that he may be a wee bitty racist. Of course, having an entire city adorned with pictures of you mocked up as Hitler probably confuses the issue for some, but anyone with any lingering doubts will be set right by the content of his show âHitler Moustacheâ.
As the audience sat in the Anderson Shelter-a-like surroundings of the White Belly, Herring informed us that he was reclaiming the Hitler, or more correctly the âtoothbrushâ, moustache for the purposes of comedy. Chaplin had it first and then olâ Adolf came along and ruined the look forevermore. Herringâs decision to base his whole show around the dissection of the moustache and the ensuing effect it has had on him was an inspired one, and shows a certain dedication to the comedic cause. It also makes him look a bit odd, but letâs gloss over that.
The âtache is more than just a weird bit of facial hair, itâs a vehicle that allows Herring to serve up humourous anecdotes about his life, to rail against voter apathy and to question our value judgements. Stand-up comedy often calls for a skill in analysing the self, but here Herring was able to link his observations into a commentary on society at large. But if all this is sounding too serious, donât worry. The Herring we know and love is still in evidence, letching at young women in the British library.
This is comedy at its best, comedy which makes you laugh whilst also making you think. The toothbrush moustache helped the rise of both Hitler and Chaplin. In its current guise it could see Herring rule this Fringe.