Richard Herring Press
Interview with Rich conducted by Amber Holloway - 1998A: You met Stewart at University. What was your first impression of him?
R: It's a long time ago and hard to remember. I think we had quite a good laugh and seem to remember looking at old cricket photos and making up conversations between the blokes in them. Compared to the other people doing comedy at University he seemed to have some idea and want to do something original. I had no idea what it would lead to.
A: In a previous interview with Stewart, you both agreed that you have been friends for 10 years, and if your friendship was going to break, it would have done so by now. Do you think there is anything that would break that friendship?
R: Probably. Like if I murdered his family. It's hard working together all the time. I would hope that if we got fed up with working together we'd still be friends, but the future is a blank page and we cannot tell what shall be written thereon, my friend.
A: Was there anything in the last series of TMWRNJ that you thought wouldn't work?
R: Wasn't sure about Roger Crowley to some extent. Once we were rehearsing the French Exchange student I was pretty sure it'd fail, as taking the swearing out spoilt it. Wasn't sure about anything really. Nearly everything was OK though.
A: Is there anything that you yourself would like to change in the next series of TMWRNJ?
R: LOADS. We'll get rid of at least half the stuff and put in new ideas. Also the repeat will be longer and on a Monday or Tuesday evening.
A: Having just come off of tour, what were the high and low points of the tour? Why?
R: On the whole it was strife free and fun. The low point was the pointless argument with Stew right at the end, which was embarrassing and slightly soils the memory of the tour.
The high point was probably early on when we realized the show was O.K., despite so little time to prepare. Maybe the first night in Hull or the Richmond show. Brighten was also fun because so many people came. And Bristol was good because it was home territory.
A: Is there anything you do deliberately, or by accident that really annoys Stewart?
R: Lots. He gets annoyed when I sing the same line of a song over and over again. Again when you're in close proximity to someone for a long time you will find things to get annoyed about. But the tension is probably good for the act!
A: Are there, in your opinion, ups and downs to having fans; if so, what are they?
R: Yes, in my opinion there are. Many ups - The vast majority of fans know the level of joining in that they can go to. They write great letters and take an interest in what we're doing. It's great to chat to them and hopefully they will stop us becoming too shit. Also they give us money (but that's not really important!).
Downs - a few get too obsessed or want us to be their friends or lovers - this isn't possible. They then get annoyed when we can't give them what they want and start to hate us. Generally fans remain faithful. It's the people who aren't fans who are the problem.
ON THE WHOLE IT'S DEFINITELY UP!!
A: Do you think you're attitude towards fans would change if you became more famous? At the moment you have a really good attitude towards fans, by taking the time to reply to letters personally, sign autographs and let fans have their photos taken with you. Would any of this change if you became more famous?
R: It will get hard to do all that if 2000 people were coming to gigs. Brighton was too many and in a tour sometimes you need time to yourself. We're finding it difficult to reply to all the letters/ e-mails. It takes so long (I did a solid month after the second series of FOF) which means you can't get new work done.
So yes, I think it probably will have to change which is a shame, but I think we'll always read what people have to say. It keeps your feet on the ground.
A: Do you have any advice for people who want to start writing their own sketches?
R: WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.
Keep writing and performing anywhere you can until you find your own voice. Don't expect success immediately. It will take years to be any good, but the more you practice, the better you will get. Set a time limit for success (5 years) and then give in if you're failing.
A: Are you and/or Stewart going to be at the festival this year?
R: Yes. We're doing TMWRNJ for 5 nights at the end.... Stew is also doing 10 nights stand-up at the beginning and my new play "Playing Hide And Seek With Jesus" will be on throughout (Aug 5th - 31st). Don't know if I'll be in it though.
A: How are your plays coming along?
R: Nothing is happening with the old ones at the moment. "PHASWJ" is making slow progress. I have just started on it. But I had some good ideas last night in bed, that may swing it. Better go and get on with it now.
A: Thanks again on behalf of everyone.
R: That's O.K.
Interviewer Amber Holloway (A)
Thanks to Richard Herring (R)