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 â€“ the stress of childbirth and not wooing Gemma Chan aside â€“ 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 magicianâ€™s death.
On the flipside, it is a very touching hour, a disarming performance full of love, with Herringâ€™s contemplation of his daughterâ€™s laugh and surreal sense of humour a highlight. Itâ€™s an enjoyable show, and Herring â€“ despite poking fun at Stewart Lee, and his other â€œmore famousâ€ peers â€“ seems genuinely content with his chosen profession, stating that being on stage is where he feels most comfortable and acknowledging that being a â€˜mid-levelâ€™ comedian has its perks. Heâ€™s a guy who plays snooker against himself, commentates on it and releases it as a podcast â€“ howâ€™s that for creative licence? Paradise seems alright.