Skinny review of Glasgow Happy Now?

Richard Herring @ Citizens Theatre, 17 Mar


Craig Angus | 22 Mar 2016

In his twelfth show, Richard Herring examines if we can ever hope to be happy.

Happiness is transient and fleeting but Richard Herring seems to have found it. He stands tall, wearing a veritable gaze of contentment, alongside wife and baby daughter in the promotional material for Happy Now? (below). The pursuit of happiness makes an interesting concept for this show; fury and incredulity seems to drive a lot of stand-up, and Richard Herring has been an outspoken, often controversial presence in the comedy world. Herring is clearly happy – the stress of childbirth and not wooing Gemma Chan aside – and Happy Now? is lacking in fire, save for a (quite brilliant) routine about Paul Daniels and inappropriate font choices, which provokes audible gasps from the Citizens Theatre on the day of the iconic magician’s death.

On the flipside, it is a very touching hour, a disarming performance full of love, with Herring’s contemplation of his daughter’s laugh and surreal sense of humour a highlight. It’s an enjoyable show, and Herring – despite poking fun at Stewart Lee, and his other “more famous” peers – seems genuinely content with his chosen profession, stating that being on stage is where he feels most comfortable and acknowledging that being a ‘mid-level’ comedian has its perks. He’s a guy who plays snooker against himself, commentates on it and releases it as a podcast – how’s that for creative licence? Paradise seems alright.