Fest review of WAGTD

Richard Herring – We're All Going To Die
By David Hepburn Published 17 August 2013

It takes a brave man to look at death in the face and laugh. It takes Richard Herring to poke the Grim Reaper in the eye and make everybody else chuckle at the great beyond as well.
“Imagine you’re dead” isn’t exactly the most uplifting start to a hour of standup, but the Edinburgh veteran relishes taking potshots at the taboos presented by the subject. He quicky widens out his musings into love, politics and religion without ever abandoning his core theme – a rarity in a genre where titles are often just a vague catch-all for disparate jokes.
It’s very much a show of two halves, with the first seeing Herring skilfully pinball around subjects, before setting up a second 30 minutes of longer set-pieces. These include an in-depth look at the practicalities of the nursery rhyme There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly and a masterful dissection of the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet. The latter is perhaps the most satisfying section, ending the show on a high and showcasing the comedian’s sharp eye for the absurd.
The structure of the set is impeccable, with barely a word wasted in the pursuit of laughs, while there’s plenty of call-backs from previous shows, blogs and podcasts for Herring’s loyal band of comedy nerds to enjoy.
It’s all massively impressive stuff and, while some parts seem rather rushed, is clearly the work of a performer at the top of his game.