Richard Herring Press

RICHARD HERRING INTERVIEW - THE FLUMCAKE!

Richard Herring is one half of comedy duo Lee & Herring, he also writes various other things on his own, most notably his play, premiered at the 1996 Edinburgh Festival `Punk's Not Dead' and of course this questionnaire.
Read the words that he has typed and enjoy.

Full Name, including any embarrassing middle names

Richard Keith Herring

Age in Dog Years
?

I have agreed to do this questionnaire because:-
a) I am so desperate for publicity I'll take advantage of any opportunity to see my name in print ( )
b) I really have nothing better to do with my time ( )
c) I just like filling in questionnaires ( )
d) Some other reason? x


Because you asked me to.

Have you looked at the Flumcake On-Line site before agreeing to this Questionnaire (Y/N)?
No

If No then shouldn't you have checked to find out what you're letting yourself in for?
No, I don't care what you do. There is nothing you can do that will hurt me.

How would you describe your job to anyone who asks?

I am a comedy writer who also sometimes performs.

And what does your job really involve when not covered in PR double talk?
The same way. I have no reason to lie and PR is unimportant to me

Why do you think you were asked to fill in this Questionnaire?
From your tone and line of enquiry I expect because you want to take the piss. Which is fine. If you can't take it , don't dish it out. You seem to think that show business is necessarily a cynical attempt to promote oneself and make money. Neither of these things are my prime motivation.

The Editor Responds: I should point out here that I didn't explain that the first 30 odd questions were standard so Mr Herring began to think I was taking a deliberate pop at him, I have since apologised and explained the situation. He seemed to understand

If you found someone raking through your trash late at night would you:-
a) Take out a gun and shoot him like the dead dog he was? ( )
b) Offer to give him a hand and point out some interesting rubbish which could mean a sudden uprising in your popularity?
c) Shout at them to stop making such a bloody racket you're trying to sleep? ( )
d) Some other option? x


Be very surprised and question their sanity.

describe yourself in 10 words.
short, fat, middle-class man, decent, but weak-willed, funny-ish

Now do question 10 again but answer it honestly this time.
I am being as honest as one can possibly be about oneself throughout

What do you consider your best attribute?
Sense of humour

And your worst.
Too many to mention (stomach?)

You are offered a job doing a commercial for Cocaine Sweets (the drug you can take between meals without ruining your appetite) obviously you have some moral problems with it but they are offering you more money than you would know what to do with. Do you take the job and why.
We won't do adverts because we are uncomfortable with the idea of someone paying us to say something that we don't think. Also celebrity based adverts are generally a cynical attempt to make huge amounts of money for no work, done by people who are already wealthy beyond any normal person's wildest dreams. It seems rude to take a lot of money for trying to make people a lot poorer than you part with their money. You also lose all integrity amongst people who respect you. Listen to Bill Hicks he had some great stuff to say on the subject. Even if I liked the product I don't see why I should be paid to say so. I am anti-drugs on the whole, but feel people should do what they like.

You are offered a job advertising nappies/diapers. The role involves you dressing up as a baby. Do you take the job and why?
No. See above. I have no problem with humiliating myself, but only in something which I think has artistic integrity!

As above but you are also required to test the quality of the production the *ahem* natural way. Do you take the job?
This could never happen. Are you mad? I refer you to the answer to question 14. I earn enough money (not a huge amount, but enough for me) I have no interest in making money for it's own sake. If I get paid a lot I tend to put the money towards working on a project I'm not being paid for. I refer you to my Edinburgh shows of the last 6 years, which have lost me in excess of 20,000

You wake up and you discover that your entire career has been a dream. Do you:-
a) Weep into your pillow and never get up again. ( )
b) wonder why the hell you're filling in this questionnaire when you're not actually famous. ( )
c) Try and re-create your dream in the real world, before getting locked up in a mental institute ( )
d) Something else entirely. x


I would be upset, because I worked very hard and I'd prefer to spend my dream time having sex with Juliette Binoche. I would try and do the same career, but if I failed it would not be the end of the world. There is no guarantee that I will be working in a year's time. I have always understood this. I am not going to kill myself if it all comes to an end.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
small twigs

Are you bored with this questionnaire yet?
Not yet, but I may be soon

Did you cry or cheer when Bambi's mother got shot?
I have never seen the film Bambi.

What's your favourite type of music?
Punk Rock

Who's your favourite Spice Girl?
Mel C. We met them and she is the funniest, friendliest and despite our routine in which she is known as an "ugly woman who can jump" she is actually very pretty. Mel B was also a good laugh.

Why didn't you choose Mel C?
Aaaah, but I did. And she really is my favourite. I didn't just say that to be like Tony Parsons.

If you could be anyone in the world, who would it be?
Michael Palin. Very funny, very decent, very nice man. All things I would like to be, but shall never be.

Got typing cramp yet?
No, I type all day long

Describe your most embarrassing moment, preferably one I could sell to the papers and make some money from.
I tend to routinely embarrass myself in front of famous people who I admire and who I want to impress, by being rude or too sycophantic. So I tend to keep away from the whole showbiz thing for this and other reasons.

What would you like enscribed on your tombstone?
Don't care. I'll be too unwell to be able to read it.

What will you actually have on your tombstone?
I am not convinced that I am going to die.

Do you know the way to San Jose?
I've been away so long I could go wrong and lose my way

Mama-Mia, Mama-Mia, can you do the Fandango?
I can do it better than Freddie Mercury can.

What is your solution to world poverty?
Take all the rich people's money and give it to the poor. Then you'd have to give it back because the rich would be poor and vice versa. Hopefully at some point people would become fed up with this stupid system and decide to share everything equally.

If I take any of your answers out of context will you sue me?
No, you can do nothing to hurt me. I have a copy of the original answers.

You're a comedian. What happens when the laughter stops. Do you go home or just try telling another joke.
I go home and watch TV or play video games.

Why Rod Hull? (either the character or the real person, it's up to you)
Presumably because his mum and dad had sex on a given night and the sperm and egg met up.

You tend to cater for the students in your career (hence having Dale Winton, Geoffrey from Rainbow etc as guests) don't you think that you're
a) limiting yourselves and
b) cause yourselves a few problems when you become old, and are still making jokes about masturbation?

We do lots of different things. I have written plays and do some journalism, Stew writes films and music journalism. We appear on stuff like Ant and Dec and on Radio 4 discussion programme's about literature. We have never actively sought a student audience. We just do what we think is funny. When we were younger that was studenty because we were or had recently been students. As we get older things will change. But part of a comedians job is to act childishly, which is also a student's.

Do you ever get fed up when people walk around behind you shouting "Moon on a Stick" or any other catchphrases from your show?
Not really. It doesn't happen that much. Hardly anyone has any idea who we are. Stew got a bit annoyed about it when we were on TV, but he'd have been more annoyed if no-one had done it and no-one had watched us at all.

The On-Screen messages and the diary at the end of the show. Isn't that just encouraging people to break innumerable piracy laws by taping the shows then 'forgetting' to wipe them. And isn't this just going to cut into your profits when you release the show on video?
Yes. As we point out ourselves. We've always felt those videos of TV series are a bit of a rip off for the fans, why not just tape them yourselves and then make a sleeve of your own, saving 26. What we'd get paid for such a venture hardly ever relates to number of sales. As it is the BBC don't really like Fist of Fun so have never repeated it or suggested bringing it out on video.

You made a big show in the Fist Of Fun book about how original it was, when in fact it was rehashes of your radio show scripts. Discuss. (Can I be really annoying and mention how the second series was also a rehash of your radio show or will you get upset and hit me?)
Quite a fair point. But what we actually said is that we'd worked hard on the book, rather than just rehashing the TV material. Most people didn't hear the radio show, so giving them reworkings of largely very old radio ideas was not a rip-off. The important point is that
a) we wrote the book ourselves (most people don't)
b ) we tried to make it as full and funny as possible (most people just fill it with pictures of them in funny hats and then take the money and run)
c) Hardly any of the ideas were in the first series of Fist of Fun which the book came out on the back of, and would be new to the vast majority of people.
d) The BBC said there was too much in the book and we should take out some of the writing.. We refused. Thus the book has a lot of material in it.
Also as time went on the only way we could justify the time taken to do the radio show was as away to try out material and see what the select few thousand radio listeners (rather than 2 million TV viewers) liked about it. We also did put in a great deal of original stuff to the second series (and book) Don't criticise us for not working hard. We work very hard, much harder than most comedians and we also reply to all our fan mail personally which takes fucking ages and no-one else does it. No-one else would reply to a questionnaire with so many questions in it. We are fucking great..


The Editor Responds: I could have worded that question a little better, as I pointed out later I wasn't trying to imply that they were a bunch of lazy sods sitting on their arses all day long and fleecing the book buying public, I was trying to be mildly sarky but I think I pushed it slightly too far, again, I have since apologised

Are you planning on doing the Edinburgh Festival again this year. Either as Fist Of Fun, Lee and Herring or any Solo show.
Yes, we're doing a show together called "This Morning With Richard, Not Judy" which will be a bit like the show we're going to do on TV next year. Stew is doing a stand-up show called "King Dong versus Moby Dick" and a "Cluub Zarathustra" show. I am writing a play called "Excavating Rita" about archaeology. I might not be in this though

At last years festival you did a show called "Punk's Not Dead". The year (I think) before that you did a show at around about lunchtime called "This Morning with Richard not Judy" as well as this you where doing the Lee & Herring show. What are you man? A workaholic, I would have thought that one show was more than enough. Did you feel like dying at the end of it?
Yes, but I do it every year. And so does Stew at many of them (we did two shows each and a radio show a week which we were writing while we were up there in 94) Edinburgh is all about trying stuff out for us and has never been a place where we'd hoped to be discovered. Thus we try to keep the double act going and work on other projects. Especially for me, because I don't do stand up and so it's important to keep some kind of solo work going or we'd both go mad.

Do you ever feel a pang of guilt for all those insults you make to people from Somerset? I notice that you're doing a gig there and in the publicity you're still slagging the place off. PR obviously isn't a big thing as far as you're concerned!
People in Somerset like the jokes. They understand what we're doing. PR is not important to us. We do what we want.

Do you actually get any decent heckles at your shows, or do they tend to be typical student stuff, or is everyone too nice nowadays?
We don't get heckled much now, because people pay to come and see us, because they like us. So they're unlikely to tell us to get off, especially as there's not another act to come on. Once a bloke I was picking on said "The sleeves of your jacket are slighlty frayed" which was true and also a very funny, surreal thing to say.

What is your opinion of slagging people off in the front row of comedy gigs.
We think it's important that the joke is ultimately on us if we do that. We don't do much of it. Unless they're heckling us, then they have to be put down. On the last tour I would pick on the youngest person I could see and say how I was better than them because I had A levels and pubic hair etc. The joke here is obviously that that is a pathetic thing for a 30 year old man to do. We would then let them take the piss out of me and I would act crushed. Do you see? Anyone can do the "look at his shirt, did you get it at Oxfam" kind of "improvised" audience banter

Any further comments?
Never send us another questionnaire. This one was too long. Cynicism is a good thing, my friend, but don't be cynical about everything. Not everyone does things for the same motives. Make sure you reserve judgment until you have accrued evidence and listened to what they have to say. If you think I'm a twat please feel free to say so. Also make it clear that Stewart Lee had nothing to do with these answers and my views and his are not necessarily the same. That is all. Sorry i wasn't very funny.

The Editor Responds: Again I'd like to apologise for any offence caused with the questions, although this was more because I hadn't explained that most of the questions weren't aimed at him specifically and I don't think he's some sort of lay about, busy puffing up his achievements to look good! I'd like to thank him for taking the time out to craft some well thought out answers for this questionnaire and for being a nice guy when I contacted him afterwards to explain myself!


Source - THE FLUMCAKE