Skinny interview for the Glasgow Comedy Festival

GICF '12 PREVIEW: Richard Herring 'What Is Love, Anyway?'
Having sorted out religion (Christ on a Bike), politics (Hitler Moustache) and penises (Talking Cock), the star of the award-winning podcast As It Occurs To Me and Radio 4’s Richard Herring’s Objective, seeks to define and destroy love
Preview by Bernard O'Leary.
Published 05 March 2012

Most important question first: Tell us about your show.

It’s called What is Love, Anyway? and in it I seek to define love and then destroy it. I am not sure I am entirely successful as you punch love in the face then two new loves jump up to take its place. It’s an autobiographical look at my own romantic successes and failures (mainly the latter) and my battle between cynicism and romanticism.

What's going to be unique about this performance of your show?

Every show is different, though what is exciting is that you never know what that difference will entail before you’re there. Last year in Glasgow a couple of dozen Christians picketed my “Christ on a Bike” show, because they felt it was wrong to do a show mocking Jesus (which is what they imagined I was doing - thus being upset by something they had invented themselves). I wonder if they will be back now I am threatening to destroy love. I suspect not. They don’t want me criticising Jesus, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem when I have a go at the central tenet of his philosophy.

If your show was a dear friend who had just died, what would you say about it in your eulogy?

My name is Dr Frankenstein. I created this show from the ether and I will now create another to replace it.

What inspires you, other than comedy itself?

I want to improve at my job. There is so much to master with stand up that every year I see a leap forwards in my technique and abilities. It’s a fascinating job and I will never perfect it, but will enjoy trying to do so, year on year, for the rest of my life.

Is there anything in particular that you're dreading about playing in Glasgow?

Glaswegian Christians. Everywhere else in the world Christians stand for peace, but in Glasgow they are really in favour of you turning the other cheek whilst they punch you again

Where do you stand on Scottish Independence?

I would prefer a world where there are no countries at all and we all saw ourselves as human beings. We all came from Africa originally. But whilst we have these artificial divisions based on geography and history, it seems fair to me that the Scots get their own land that is theirs. And why not call it Scotland? If you do that though I want some of your oil for thinking up the name.

Who would get your vote as president of an independent Scotland?

Ian Krankie is my favourite Scotsman. If he can keep Wee Jimmy Krankie under control then he should be OK with the rest of your countrymen. But be careful he might insist on having sex with you all.

What's your favourite comedy festival in the world?

I know Glasgow won’t go for any arse-licking bullshit, so I will be honest and tell you it’s the Edinburgh Festival and accept the inevitable opprobrium. Damned if I lie, damned if I tell the truth. But Edinburgh is the first festival I appeared at and where I premier all my shows and is the greatest arts festival in the world. If only the people there were properly Scottish like they are in Glasgow it would be perfect.

If you were organising a fantasy comedy night, who would you have as MC, support and main act?

Greg Davies is an amazing stand up and compere and I’d love to see Stephen Merchant and Tim Minchin forced to mud wrestle to decide who would support the other

Would you like to make a disparaging comment about the Edinburgh Fringe in order to appeal to the Glasgow public? (Don't worry, nobody will remember this by August)

I think the Edinburgh Fringe should be transferred to Glasgow for one year. I’d love to see the mime acts and student drama groups trying to hand out leaflets on Sauchiehall Street. It would be a terrible purging of the innocents, but more entertaining to watch than 90% of the dross that goes on at the Edinburgh Fringe. Glasgow just takes the best acts, which is, let’s face it, a much more sensible approach, making the Edinburgh Fringe a mere audition for Glasgow.