Bruce Dessau reviews Vic Reeves RHLSTP

Podcast Review: Richard Herring Interviews Vic Reeves

By Bruce Dessau on 21/11/2019

Richard Herring's acclaimed Leicester Square Theatre Podcast has been getting out and about recently, interviewing stars all over the country. Recent scoops have included Michael Sheen, Russell Howard and Caroline Quentin and he has just released his interview with Vic Reeves, recorded in Canterbury this summer. It is timed nicely to plug the imminent return of Vic and Bob's Big Night Out, even if the revival of that breakthrough show is not really touched on here – although they do talk about the original and how it went stratospheric quickly.

It's an interesting interview for a number of reasons. Herring's interview with Bob Mortimer is one of the best RHLSTPs so Bob is a tough act to follow. Also Vic has done RHLSTP before so Herring tries to take a different tack this time round, starting out by discussing Vic's forays into the music world, which started when, unknown at the time, he appeared in a Shakin' Stevens video for What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For? in 1987 (at 1:36). The deal was brokered by Vic's then-manager, the legendary Malcolm Hardee, and he received £10. Hardee also tried to sell Vic a pair of shoes which he said belonged to pocket-sized music hall comic Little Tich.

There was also some illuminating chat about Vic's appearances on Top of the Pops. When they filmed Dizzy with the Wonderstuff he had a shot before each take and there were so many takes he was pretty dizzy himself by the time they had finished filming. If you watch the clip (weirdly also around 1:36) he is looking into the onstage washing machines hoping to find a camera in one of them as had been the original plan. (update: as has been pointed out by some fans, Vic sounds somewhat refreshed in this interview too).

You also get a few titbits about stars Vic has met over the years. Bowie was grumpy and Morrissey, who was initially a fan, was allegedly unimpressed when Vic came up with Morrissey the Consumer Monkey. 

There's also some nice insight into Vic's comedy motivations, some of which fans will have heard before, but it is nicely articulated here. Vic had never seen live comedy so he came to it from a different, more art-based angle, which may be why he stood out then and still stands out now.

It's not always a comfortable interview. I've interviewed him a few times myself and it's not necessarily easy to strike up a rapport with him. Sometimes Vic turns the tables and asks Herring questions, about his family, about his methods of transport, and it is hard to know whether to respond with a comedy answer or a serious answer. Vic also seems to have difficulties mentioning Stewart Lee when he is talking about double acts, but there are some nce moments when they compare notes on the telepathy that can build up between comedy duos.

There's some familar stuff here but also some good new stuff on Bob here which I won't spoil. And a proper joke about Kurt Cobain's wife. Yes, as Richard Herring points out, Vic can do proper jokes. Vic is always good value and it's worth a listen just to hear about his early recording of Ultravox's Vienna, which sounds like an embryonic dry run for his Club Singer.

Listen here. See a full list up upcoming Richard Herring interviews here.