Richard Herring: Lord of the Dance Settee
By Lewis Porteous Published 09 August 2014
Perhaps the most prolific comedian of his generation, Richard Herring’s detractors tend complain that he spreads himself too thinly, putting out too much product across too many media. That his latest standup show appears to have been cobbled together at the last minute, its title stemming from a routine last performed on TV in the late '90s, could be viewed as an unfortunate play into the cynical hands of his critics. Is Herring now unable to match the precedent he’s set for himself?
In fact, this scattershot hour is the man’s most purely enjoyable yet, and makes some of his more thematically unified work feel over-written by comparison. It’s become customary for him to perform at breakneck speed, but here we are treated to playful material often presented with leisurely ease. It’s actually closer in tone to his podcasts than previous Fringe hits Hitler Moustache and Christ on a Bike.
All the usual Herring staples are here: rigorous analysis of the mundane and inconsequential, fabricated rage directed towards children, have-your-cake-and-eat-it ironic misogyny, digs at a former comedy partner that contain only a modicum of genuine bitterness, petty attacks on long-dead poets and disingenuous allusions to his own failure. Yet, despite playing to a half-empty theatre, he seems more comfortable than ever with himself and his role as a performer, as though the torrents of words were a defence mechanism all along.