Left Lion interview

Paul Klotschkow had a chat with Richard Herring
before his appearance at The Playhouse this month

From TV fame as part of Lee and Herring in the nineties to the comedy wilderness in the early noughties and back again; the career of Richard Herring has always been interesting. Over the last few years he’s become a regular of 6music, a prolific podcaster and come to within an inch of winning Celebrity Mastermind. We caught up with him before his appearance at the Playhouse…

Why are you resurrecting the Christ on a Bike show?
I first did it at Edinburgh nine years ago and it was the first time one of my shows ever sold out. I’m doing it again because it’s not currently available on DVD and I’ve got loads of new fans since then who have never seen it. Parts of the show have also been rewritten and I’ve added four or five new routines to it. It was the first solo show I ever did, so I am fond of it.

Do you get much feedback from disgruntled Christians?
I do a little bit. But if people do complain you’ve just got to take it with a sense of humour and walk away. Pretty much everyone who sees the show seems to enjoy it. Recently I got an email from someone who had a list of reasons as to why the show is offensive to Christians and I asked him if he had actually seen the show. He said that he had but couldn’t pick out any specifics. But I’m sure he wasn’t lying as God would be able to see in his heart and see the truth. But the show doesn’t really attack Jesus or Christianity and it also says how silly atheism can be too.

You’ve played Nottingham a few times in the past. Any notable memories?
On my way to play Edinburgh in 2001 I stopped off in Nottingham at Just the Tonic and it was the first time that the Christ On A Bike show had really gelled. Last year I played at The Playhouse in front of 600-700 people, which is much more than I usually get. It was a great to see that I had gone from playing tiny rooms to this great big room. I must thank Darrell from Just the Tonic for helping with that.
When Lee and Herring used to tour, every time we came to Nottingham we would always go to The Tales of Robin Hood. It was so preposterous and it used to make me laugh that before you went in the Sheriff of Nottingham used to say “Get ready to leave behind your humdrum lives”. How does he know my life is humdrum? My life is actually quite good fun!

Richard Herring - performing at The Playhouse on 13 April
Richard Herring - performing at
The Playhouse on 13 April

You must be distraught that the Tales of Robin Hood is now a Tesco?
Nottingham you idiots! What have you done?

Were you gutted to not have won Celebrity Mastermind considering the amount of points you got?
I was very gutted. I had revised really hard and knew all of the answers to the questions I was asked. I did make a couple of silly errors, but I was more worried about being humiliated and I don’t think I was. I was up against people who were answering questions based around their professions whereas my subject was Rasputin, so I’m pleased to have done so well. For days afterwards it felt like I had been taken hostage, it was a psychological nightmare!

What draws you to making the As It Occurs To Me and Collings and Herrin podcasts and putting them out for free?
It came out of frustration from not being able to get work on the radio. Doing podcasts was appealing and it meant not worrying about what we were doing. The Collings and Herrin podcasts came from when I would go on Andrew’s old 6Music show and we would have our little chats. We discovered that the podcasts were easy to do and we got a geek we know to help us. What appeals about doing the podcasts is that you can have an idea in the morning and people are listening to it by the evening. It was never our intention to do this when we started, but they are a good way to advertise work you are doing and hopefully people listen to the podcasts and will pay to come to the shows.

Will Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard not Judy ever be released on DVD?
We are trying to get it released through Go Faster Stripe. There is someone at the BBC who has looked in to getting it released, but they seem to be dragging their feet, which is very short sighted of them as I get asked about it about three to four times a week, so I think there is an audience for it.
I think the BBC are reluctant to release it as they invested a lot of money on us in the 90s and saw very little return. Ideally we will buy the rights off them and release it through Go Faster Stripe. We would be able to do it in a very cost effective manner through them; a run of 2000 would make it worthwhile. There is a very loyal group of people who would buy it. I was watching clips the other day and I think it stands up very well. Whenever you see these lists of the Top 100 sketch shows we never get mentioned; we’ve been wiped from history.

Richard Herring’s Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming will be at The Playhouse on Wednesday 13 April.