Friday 27th January 2012
I had two glasses of wine after my gig last night and today was almost good for nothing. How did this happen to me? I had plenty to do before heading off to my gig in Hertford, but I was tired and sluggish and got distracted by the Murray v Joke-a-vitch semi final- That's right, I call him Joke-a-vitch: I am implying his tennis is a joke, using comedy to undermine him. It seems to be working what with him being the number one player in the world. But maybe when he gets to hear of my clever nickname his form will slip. Or he might just say "How can you say that? I am palpably the best at tennis in the world?" Whatever, Joke-a-vitch.
Increasingly my comedic endeavours seem to be turning towards the world of sport, something I am only vaguely and casually interested in and which I know very little about (as my commentary and refereeing of me vs me snooker should tell you). Yet there's something funny about a man with no knowledge commentating on something he doesn't really like. Twitter gives me the forum to explore this new medium for comedy, but ideally I'd like to be at the point where the BBC give me my own studio and allow me to commentate on everything they put out, which you can listen to if you press the red button. It would make sport entertaining for people who didn't like sport.
I pretended to be coaching Murray via Twitter, advising him to hit the ball where his opponent couldn't get it (a joke that me and Stew wrote for On The Hour, which I've always enjoyed - a British player complaining that the game was no fun and they couldn't do rallies because the other player "kept hitting it where I couldn't get it") as well as to try and win the next point if he wanted to win. In the fourth set I advised Murray to take it easy to begin with, to lure old Joke-a-vitch into a false sense of security, then to start playing properly and win all the points at the end of the set and then he'd win. I called it the Herring Manoeuvre and Murray seemed to take it to heart and go for it. It's a daring tactic, but a telling one. Check the record books, the player who wins the last point of match has always won the contest. I am amazed no one else has noticed this. Many players work really hard to win the early points, but they're wasting their time and energy - just win the last points and you're golden.
Murray screwed up in the fourth set - perhaps he'd lost track of the score, but at the point where his opponent was 5-2 and 40- love up he should have activated the Herring Manoeuvre, but he didn't. He gave it a much better crack in the final set (though as he won a few games it was only a semi-Herring) but it became clear that Joke-a-vitch had unbenownst to me been reading my tweets too, because just as Murray seemed to be pulling off a semi-Herring, Joke-a-vitch came back with what is known as the reverse-Herring and won it. He won the last point. Proving the efficacy of my bold tactics. But Murray and I had underestimated him. Maybe next year Andy. When I used to play tennis as a teenager I wasn't very good at playing winning shots so employed the tactic of just hitting the ball back and waiting for my opponent to make a mistake. If Andy can perfect that then I think we might have a British champion. A Scot with an English coach, showing perhaps that we should be working together, not dividing. This is how we combine - with the Scotchman doing all the work and the Englishman sitting on his sofa in his pants telling him how to do it from afar.
Yes, that's right Scotland - that is in no way a satirical joke. I genuinely believe that I was coaching Murray.
I am hoping the Herring Manoeuvre will become an acknowledged sporting tactic - not just sport, it's one I am using in my comedy career too. If you're a sport journalist do try and popularise it. And if you're in charge of a sport channel why not employ me to commentate on your sports (and I could also fill some time with snooker tournaments). I really think I'm on to something.
Tonight's gig in Hertford was a cracker. Well over 300 people turned up, which is extraordinary for a town I've never played before and the crowd were up for it from the start. Hopefully it's a good sign. Tomorrow's gig in Salisbury is very close to selling out too, though there are tickets for the massive Nottingham Playhouse on Sunday. Hope you can make it along. There's no snooker or commentary, but this will be the last show that's like that, so don't miss it!
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
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