Scotsman review of Glasgow gig
Comedy review: Richard Herring
Published Date: 16 March 2010
By ANDREW EATON
RICHARD HERRING: HITLER MOUSTACHE
THE GARAGE, GLASGOW
A recurring joke in Richard Herring's current show is that he has spent the past year wearing a real Hitler-style moustache, all for the sake of making 'essentially quite a glib point'.
Has it been worth the risk of offending Jewish people, upset
ting his family and friends, and being mistaken for a fascist in a year in which the BNP is being taken
seriously enough to warrant an appearance on Question Time?
Yes, on balance. Herring's point is actually an important one - that Hitler's moustache was just that, a moustache, and that granting it symbolic power is a victory for the kind of prejudice that, at its most extreme, leads to fascism - and no different from judging someone because of their skin colour.
Herring uses this as a launch pad for a clever comic lecture about the power of symbolism, and language, to shape the way we think about the world.
If this sounds a little po-faced for a stand-up show, Herring's winning mix of goofy charm and seriousness of purpose mostly keeps it on the right path, although his self-deprecating style is problematic.
Obsessed with picking apart his own prejudice, he spends almost ten minutes arguing with himself about whether it's ok to use the word Paki in his set, which just makes it all the more conspicuous that he feels no need to question his frequent use of the c word as an insult.
The result is that he can comes across as if he's protesting a little too guiltily about his own liberalness; I prefer him when he directs his anger outwards, such as when he castigates his audience for its failure to take easy, simple steps that would defeat the BNP in the polls.
The result was a genuinely uncomfortable moment for an audience mostly congratulating themselves on how liberal they are. That's more provocative than a man in a comedy moustache.