Guardian - My greatest mistake 23/10/10
My greatest mistake: Richard Herring
Comedian Richard Herring on the night at the Edinburgh festival when it all went horribly wrong
o Graham Snowdon
o The Guardian, Saturday 23 October 2010
Comedian Richard Herring recalls a gig he would rather not remember.
I did a gig at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe about four years ago called Best of the Fest. I'd just returned to doing stand-up comedy so wasn't feeling massively confident, but was getting more so.
On the same night, I'd been asked to do a special interview show â€“ my stand-up act had been doing well that year, so I was quite chuffed. But then it turned out there'd been a booking mistake and it wasn't happening after all. So I went to do Best of the Fest in a bad mood, having had too much to drink.
Rhys Darby, who's also known for being in the TV show Flight of the Conchords, was on before me doing a brilliant act involving robot sound effects and a lot of very impressive technical effects. The audience just loved him; by the time it got to me, it felt like the headline act had already been on.
I was doing alright, but compared to Rhys it was a bit of an anticlimax. Then I got quite a minor heckle from the audience. I just said, "Sorry, I can't do sound effects," and went off on one. In my mind I was doing a parody of myself, but in my drunkenness it looked like genuine anger and that I was implying the audience was stupid for enjoying Rhys's act. It was awful. By the end Rhys had left, so though word had got round about what I'd said, I couldn't even find him to apologise.
A lot of it was just to do with how I was feeling when I went in. What sticks with me was the hubris of it all, starting the night thinking I was such a great comedian and for it all to unravel so horribly. It was so humiliating.
As a comedian you have to remind yourself that it happens; every now and again you can just have a bad gig where things go beyond your control.
Richard Herring's new DVD, Hitler Moustache, is out on Monday. He was talking to Graham Snowdon