Broadway Baby review of COAB

The Gospel According to Richard

5 stars

Beth Kahn
August 13, 2010

This year, Richard Herring is resurrecting his first ever one-man Fringe show, ‘Christ On A Bike’, which he performed in 2001. While re-hashing an old show might seem lazy, this is material that deserves as a second outing, and the riotous laughter of the packed-out crowd suggests it was a good move. After nineteen Fringe shows, Herring is a master of the art of stand-up, and this is a stunningly accomplished and commanding performance. His subject is Jesus, a figure who Herring admits to being obsessed with, despite being a self-proclaimed evangelical atheist. It’s easy for a cynical comedian to poke fun at religion, but this show is altogether more nuanced and thoughtful than just crass jokes at the expense of believers.

There aren’t many comedians who could turn a close reading of the New Testament into a side-splitting comedy routine, but in Herring’s capable hands it becomes a rich source of comedy. While he is cheerfully irreverent, the show does not set out to be gratuitously offensive, and Herring thoughtfully unravels the contradictions and hypocrisies of religion, while confronting his own doubts, and considering the aspects of Christianity that he finds so compelling. This is sophisticated and thought-provoking comedy that makes serious points between the many laughs.