The Sprout interview

Interview: Richard Herring

Posted by CeefaxOfLife from Cardiff - Published on 07/03/2012 at 21:42

Richard Herring

TheSprout was lucky enough to get a few minutes on the phone with comedy don Richard Herring ahead of his show What Is Love, Anyway at St.David's Hall on Thursday 12th April 2012.

What is your show What Is Love, Anyway about?

ItÂ’s about love and other about big things as itÂ’s interesting to investigate big concepts. In my last show I suggested that religion and love were closely related, that they were unprovable and faith based and the audience bristled at the thought that love is unreal. I thought it was an interesting thing to explore. The show is quite autobiographical, looking back at odd things that happened to me because of love from 6 years old to 44 and at changing attitudes to it. It's a way of exploring the subject that resonantes with people.

HowÂ’s the tour going?

Great! ItÂ’s hard work but tiring with the driving and hotels, but the shows are really good fun. IÂ’ve been touring for 10-11 years, with audiences gradually building up, most places now are 200-300 seater venues and this show seems to resonates the most. IÂ’m getting better at what IÂ’m doing.

How do you prepare for such long tours?

I donÂ’t think about it too much, only think a few gigs ahead. If someone asks where IÂ’m playing tomorrow I might not know, I check the Sat Nav on the way there. ItÂ’s a 75 date tour, if you think thereÂ’s 70 odd shows to go youÂ’ll get depressed. I try to stay healthy but end up eating junk to stay awake, I donÂ’t have a training course or do Buddhist chanting, I just get on with it and hope for the best, and youÂ’ll get bursts of energy. DonÂ’t prepare is my advice

How was the gig in Bridgend last week?

Lovely yeah, itÂ’s a wee one and a long way to drive so I wasnÂ’t really looking forward to it but it was a cracking gig. On this tour IÂ’m playing places like St DavidÂ’s Hall, which is huge and then an 80 person venue like Hobos, but I like the variety and it was one of my favourite gigs of the tour. I turned up grumpy and tired after the drive, but it was great fun and you meet people afterwards and theyÂ’re really grateful that you made the effort before they wonder what youÂ’re doing in Bridgend! Saying that IÂ’m really excited to play the main room at St. DavidÂ’s Hall, itÂ’s always been a little bit of an ambition of mine to move up to it.

Why did you start doing comedy?

IÂ’ve always been interested in comedy from a really young age and when I was a teenager I was more interested in listening to comedy records than music records. I knew I wanted to do this, I didnÂ’t know whether it was possible, but I was always writing. I went to university and met Stewart Lee, we did some stuff together and that went pretty well, so we moved to London.

Were you the funny kid in school?

I was annoying in school because I was intelligent and good exams but me and my friends could be quite disruptive in classes, trying to crack jokes or whatever, which probably made me doubly annoying. Also my dad was the headmaster of my secondary school, which added another level to it. It was a bit of an odd experience; itÂ’s hard for me to work out if the people who didnÂ’t like me did so because of my dad or because I was a bit of a d***. But we started very early, we were writing sketch shows when we weÂ’re 15 and even when I went to uni I had 3-4 years expericene of writing my own stuff, and when there I spent most of my time doing comedy rather than any work. I did what I could to make it a job, gave myself five years to see how it was going, it went well and IÂ’ve carried on.

Is that the advice then to young people, write and keep on writing?

The advice is to just do it and donÂ’t expect success too quickly. IÂ’ve been doing this for 20-odd years and you just keep learning. You really want about five, ten years of apprenticship before you really think about getting in but itÂ’s not always how it works. In the last 8-9 years IÂ’ve learned so much about performing and your confidence grows and you learn by doing it. You need the talent to do it, the energy, the amibition, the thick skin to carry on through the early gigs, but you need to keep doing it. You also need to write, thereÂ’s lots of stuff you can do online now - blogs, podcasts, filming sketches - to try stuff out and find your voice but donÂ’t expect to play the Apollo in six months.

Quick-fire Round

Did you move to Harpenden to be closer to Craig Charles?
No, is he here?
According to WikipediaÂ…
No, thatÂ’s not why I moved here.
Would you ever write a children's book?
Yeah I wouldnÂ’t mind it, I got a few ideas, itÂ’s something I might think about next year.
Will you podcast on your wedding day?
No, I don’t think my fiancé will not allow me but I would if I could. I want to record the speeches as a DVD extras.
Earth Hour is at the end of the month, who would most like to have a candlelight dinner with?
Apart from my fiancé? Amy Pond from Doctor Who, not the actress who plays her but the character, she’d have to stay in character for the length of the dinner.
Video games or board games?
I play a lot of both but probably board games, although I do like playing against fictional opponents rather than real onesÂ… both.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles but I prefer The Kinks
Vinyl, CD or MP3?
MP3, IÂ’m not into hanging on to old technology and I listen to much more stuff now..
North or South?
Hard question, I was born in the North, I grew up and live in the SouthÂ… The Midlands
Finally - Lion, Tiger or Bear?

Richard Herring plays St DavidÂ’s Hall on Thursday 12th April 2012.