Comedy Central interview

5 Minutes with…Richard Herring
Posted on January 5, 2011 by pellm

Richard Herring is back in town and he’s back on his bike…as Christ that is. We nabbed five minutes of the Fist of Fun star’s time to ask him about his show, Rasputin and working with Stewart Lee.

Happy New Year! What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
To be nicer to Andrew Collings on our podcast. We’ve just recorded the 1st of the New Year. I failed.
Richard Herring

Richard Herring

You’re in town for Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming. What’s it all about and what’s different about it second time around?
It’s an investigation into why I am obsessed with Jesus when I am a committed atheist. I am also trying to discover the real Jesus and find out if I may be him. It’s basically a personal exploration of religion, but one that most religious people seem to enjoy.
There are some new bits that weren’t in the original version and some bits taken out and it’s maybe a bit more thoughtful in places, but a lot of it is the same, it’s gratifying that a show I wrote 9 years ago is still resonating.

Have you had any religious hysteria or backlash aimed at you because of your show?
I had a passive aggressive rather threatening email from an angry woman in Inverness who told me that God would not be mocked and who didn’t like the title of the show. Because I think Jesus did say, “Judge things you haven’t seen and chuck a stone at them just in case while you’re at it.” The show is actually not too offensive to Jesus if you bother to come and watch it. I think it’s pretty fair. Most Christians enjoy it.

What message do you hope to put across to your audiences?
A lot of it is about how much good stuff there is in Christianity and why we all believe in made up stuff to help us get through this bleak, short life. I am really trying to make people laugh, but most of my shows have stuff to think about too.

Who’s more fun to work with Andrew Collins or Stewart Lee?
Andrew is generally less grumpy and intense than Stew, but I have had a lot of fun with both of them and Andrew is getting more grumpy, so maybe that is something to do with me. Stew and me argued more than Andrew and me, but I was younger then and we would argue the toss over stuff that wasn’t worth the effort.

If you could bring back any TV show what would it be?
I am just watching It’s the Garry Shandling Show. Would love to see more of that. Arrested Development and Police Squad also ended much too soon.

How did you become such an expert on Rasputin?
I studied history at college, but was always fascinated by Rasputin. I did a show about him in the early 90s which I researched quite heavily for and also have a film idea so have been reading a lot, but I just studied hard for a week for Celebrity Mastermind.

Richard HerringIf you could pitch anything in the Dragon’s Den what would it be?
Sham gel – hair gel that becomes shampoo when you get into the shower so you can take no bottles in.

When was the last time you laughed ‘til you nearly peed?
There are moments on the Collings and Herrin podcasts where we lose it. The last one involved outrageous sexual slurs on a rival podcaster.

What did you learn about yourself, from writing ‘How Not To Grow Up’ last year?
I think I saw how lucky my life is and how I needed to push onwards and hope for the best. I was able to balance up my life a bit and determine where I needed to grow up a bit and when it was cool to be a big kid.

What was the first thing you thought this morning?
Having to get up to take my car into the garage to change the brake fluid. I hadn’t slept much so: I was annoyed.

Finish the sentence: ‘The best thing about being a stand-up is…
The autonomy.

Richard Herring touring ‘Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming’ at theatres nationwide until 21st May. For details see:

Hear the japes and shenanigans when Richard and Andrew Collins guested on our podcast series Utter Shambles with Robin Ince and Josie Long.