List review of How Not To Grow Up

Richard Herring - How Not to Grow Up! (3 stars)

* Source: The List (Issue 655)
* Date: 28 April 2010
* Written by: Jay Richardson

Expanding on his 2007 stand-up show, Oh Fuck, I’m 40!, this unlikely coming-of-age memoir chronicles Richard Herring’s hurtle towards middle age and the various crises it accelerated. Unmarried, childless and avowedly immature, the mood-swinging comedian agonises about being perpetually overlooked for awards, the fights he’s lost and the threesomes he’s never participated in. To suggest it’s 300 pages of navel-gazing is an understatement and in truth, How Not to Grow Up! frequently reads like someone trying to write their way towards a more profound book.

Nevertheless, Herring captures the nausea of encroaching responsibility well and even during his more self-indulgent episodes, remains consistently funny and seldom less than damningly self-aware. A particular highlight recalls a scuffle with his former comedy partner Stewart Lee, Herring having dreamt of ‘punching him in his smug leonine face, my fists like steaming jackhammers, over and over again … ’