Review of gig in Sheffield
28 April 2005
Compere: Toby Foster
Acts: Richard Herring
After the frankly disturbing news that Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise has got his grubby little mitts on my future wife Katie Holmes, I was in severe need of a laugh tonight, so it was a good job it was a Thursday night. The Lescar was particularly packed tonight, no doubt anticipating seeing someone “off the telly” in the shape of Richard Herring.
The night kicked off though with Toby, sporting a very severe haircut which, it turns out, was a mistake – he may be looking for a new wife soon. Happily, Toby seemed a lot healthier than last week and had recovered the power of speech: always a bonus if you’re a compere. He also happened upon a midwife in the audience, which gave him the excuse to tell his much-loved midwife story.
Our first act tonight was the very tall and very Welsh Steve Williams. Steve’s relaxed and seemingly effortless delivery made the first half of the show go just swimmingly. Describing Michael Jackson as “a wrong ‘un” was a good start and then going onto to describe how his Welsh accent wasn’t exactly suited for seduction techniques was inspired.
Steve also had plenty of topical material in his act and kept slipping in the odd ad-lib. There was also a long discussion on the difference between English and French, and more specifically how the word ‘bakers’ and ‘boulangerie’ sound so different (“Ou est le Greggs?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it) plus a warning from Steve about the perils of reading a book by testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong while in a doctor's waiting room.
An excellent opening slot from Steve, who managed to remain immensely likeable and funny even while coming out with statements such as “I’m a fan of flashing”! His act was very well received tonight – look out for him, there’s no reason why Steve can’t become a big star soon.
Our open mic spot was next, and I’m afraid I’ve completely forgotten his name. It was Gary, I remember that. Apologies if you’re reading this Gary. Anyway, Gary was from Newcastle and I’m afraid his nervousness rather betrayed him. Understandable perhaps, but it meant that some of his lines were lost somewhat. Some good moments though, and I’m sure he’ll be back. And I’ll remember his name this time…
Time was pressing on, and so without any further ado Toby introduced our headline act Richard Herring. Just 2 months after Richard’s erstwhile comedy partner Stewart Lee played here we had the other half of the former Fist Of Fun duo.
Richard got off to a brilliant start by talking about the recent death of the Pope, not because he didn’t like him (“after all, anyone who didn’t like the Pope must be mad…or a homosexual…or wanting to stop the spread of AIDS…or not want to cover up child sex abuse”) before spiralling off into another excellent tangent about masturbation, phoning people up to ask their permission to masturbate over them, and his notion that one sperm should be the size of a trout.
It was all very silly and very funny (especially the part about the time when Richard’s prospective Conservative candidate came to visit him and Richard forced him to pledge to make a necklace from the vaginas of all the female contestants in Celebrity Wrestling…apart from Annabel Croft) but the act disappeared off track disappointingly about 15 minutes in.
Now, I can see what Richard was trying to do with the yoghurt routine. It was cleverly written and not many comedians would be able to get mileage out of 30 minutes of the same subject. But, in my opinion, the joke was stretched far beyond its natural lifespan (a point referred to by Richard in the routine so it was obviously deliberate).
There were some funny moments during the yoghurt routine though, including the idea of Richard filling a bath with 1000 different types of yoghurt and smearing it all over his naked body but generally it left a lot of people looking a bit confused – which was no doubt the intention. To be fair, he was very well received (with some people cheering for an encore as he left the stage) but I think Someone Likes Yoghurt will polarise the Edinburgh critics somewhat.
Still it was nice to see Richard back on stage again, especially at the Lescar, it was just a shame that the whole yoghurt routine was overstretched. For Richard's perspective on the night, why not read his blog diary type thing which can be found at www.richardherring.com