Bolton News reviews Happy Now?

Richard Herring, The Lowry Theatre, February 19

IS Richard Herring happy now? Well all I know is he left a sold out Lowry theatre happy after performing his latest and 12th show as a solo stand up comedian.

Having originally made his name as part of cult favourite comedy duo with Stewart Lee, this year's show, named Happy Now?, brings in a new era for the 48-year-old comic.

He has become a father, and swapped late nights and hangovers for and prams and nappies.

Previous shows such as Hitler Moustache and Christ on a Bike have wrestled with weighty ideas and concepts, but this show is much more autobiographical while still dealing with the question of whether happiness is attainable.

His quick witted, thought provoking style is lapped up by the audience, and no matter his responsibilities as and a husband and father, his boyish, edgy humour remains.

Frankie Boyle said he believes comedians should give up stand up when they reach their 40th birthday because they lose their edge, but Herring shows he is still razor sharp.

Having a young daughter does not stop him from exploring the thoughts of his inner demon, imagining the worst things which could happen to his child.

Some of the biggest laughs come when he satirises and pulls apart the traditional phrase 'you either love it or you hate it' referencing Marmite, saying that as with most other things, some people will like it, some people won't, some people won't mind it and some won't have tried it.

This doesn't sound funny in black and white, but trust me, it was in reality.

Having built up a loyal fan base through his popular Leicester Square Theatre podcast, which is usually brimming with silliness but managed to elicit a confession from Stephen Fry that he attempted suicide, Herring is expanding his appeal and filling large theatres such as the Lowry.

His reputation within the industry as a comedian's comedian is already secure but his podcasting empire also helps to bring in those enticed by the comedy stars he features on his shows, which have included David Mitchell and Bob Mortimer.

And in a well timed twist of fate, his diehard fans are rewarded by scheduling clash which could not have been planned better by theatre bosses if they tried.

Shrek the Musical in the theatre next door, which provides amusement to the man himself, referencing one of his well known jokes, "you should have put a Shrek in it".

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Herring tells us he is happy, and that fatherhood has provided many moments of joy, as well as worry.

And his fans will still be happy as he proves his new arrival has not made him lose his appeal.