Richard Herring Press

Richard Herring Interview 11.02.03 Little Theatre Leicester

Do the audience expect to see your cock in the show
I think some of them do. I did a play called Excavating Rita in which I was full frontally naked for five minutes, which I wrote, so I have done it before. And the poster for this show might suggest possible nudity with the fig leaf, but I wouldn't subject people to that for an hour and a half.

What type of person comes to see talking cock?
Some of the Lee and Herring people and they've all grown up a little bit, cos time has passed. But I think as I've done Edinburgh shows for the last fifteen or so years, and done plays, I've built up a different audience for me as a solo performer. And I think most people who know the Lee and Herring stuff wouldn't nescescarly associate Talking Cock with that guy. Its a really mixed bunch

I wondered if the saucy name of the show was attracting groups of hen parties.
It does a bit you get a lot of cackling women groups of gay men, all sorts, which is nice.

I thought there would be more people shouting tonight out from the crowd, show us your cock and the like.
It varies from place to place, often it's quite sort of high pitched at the beginning, when people are joining in. It's a good show because people are expecting one thing and getting something a bit different. I quite like the subversive expectation of the show.

It's not purely comedy the show is it, its partly informational almost like a lecture.
It's sort of like a comedy lecture. I want people to think about the stuff and talk about it. My primary motive is to make them laugh.

Did you consciously take the Family Fortunes format with the survey answers.
I didn't . Ha, ha. I didn't think of that

Do you think about your own penis far too much now after doing this show.
I do now it's driving me a bit nuts. I start imaging things, diseases and injuries. When I first started writing the show I got so sick of penises.

Are you uncomfortable saying the word Vagina
No I'm not I'm not uncomfortable with any word.

I thought that given your recent interest in serial killers you might have mentioned the Russian serial killer who blamed his crimes on having a small penis.
I might do something about that in the book, I'll look that up. The new Jack the ripper book Patricia Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer: Jack The Ripper-Case Closed, I'm reading. She says he had that thing where you've got a short urethra, he had painful operations, she thinks that will have driven him to be a serial killer. And to be honest having read some of the stuff on the web site I've been sent I'd say that could be true, because blokes get so obsessed with it . If you start thinking about stuff too much it does start driving you nuts. its a society thing and its a terrible thing that we can't talk about it more openly. It leads to perversions. There are blokes who would be classed as perverts and you can see the link to how they would have got there and its sometimes sad rather than evil.

We had a P.E teacher that would openly mock boys genitals in the shower.
He probably had a small cock himself, I think whenever people do that, if anyone ever complains too much about anything its cos they've got an issue with it themselves, is what I've learned from life.

As a writer do you suffer from procrastination problems like constantly making tea
That's why I'm writing the Warming Up section on my web site (a diary Richard updates daily). If I've got a dead line I can write really quickly and well. In a sense forcing myself to update Warming Up every day creates it's own deadline. So I know I have to get the out of the way before I can start my proper work, and because I'm writing a book I want to get some idea of my prose style, and this is a really good exercise.

Do you secretly fancy Avril Lavigne
I haven't really seen her, only with her hair all over her face. She looks alright. I'm just worried for her. I keep hearing her song in the car and when I go running I listen to the radio so I hear it about three times a day. It's only a joke I'm sure she's lovely.

Do you really find London a miserable place to live, do you only live there out of necessity
A bit of both, I do kind of like it. It's a great place to live in a lot of ways as there's so much going on. If you're working really hard like I am at the moment, getting anywhere is fairly miserable. My girlfriend wants me to live in Hampshire where she lives and I don't think I can, I think I've got to live in London.

It seems its a place everyone wants to live yet when they get there they just bitch about it.
when I first lived there I had no money at all and its a horrible place to live with no money. Now I've kind of got a little bit of money and at least you can get round you know, it's alright.

In your diary 'Warming Up' you noted how you'd helped a woman on the tube up the stairs with her heavy suitcase. Then were faced with the prospect of helping her further, as you'd taken the suitcase the wrong way. You were worried about falling in to an endless cycle of helping.
Ha, ha yes but I just think It's a shame people aren't more helpful really. And I understand most of the time its because you can't fucking be arsed. I often walk past women dragging a pram up the stairs, it would be so easy just to grab the end and help out.

Have you been invited to any plush West End parties of late
NO! God, that's from today's diary isn't it?

Well you won't get invited to any hanging round here.
On reflection are you pleased that you chose a career in comedy. Do you ever wish you had an ordinary office type job.
Yes I am, sometimes it is actually a bit like working in an office. When I wrote Time Gentleman Please (Al Murray pub landlord show on Sky) that was a year of solid writing mainly alone to be honest, Al helps out but he's doing the show. And doing that really helped me out, I did six years work in two years basically which earnt me money to free myself up. I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I'm doing.

My brother is a writer and he'll bitch and moan about it but says he'd never trade it for a regular job.
I've done office jobs very early on, and sometimes I've had offices in way of my management and it's nice to have the social scene going on, cos it can be very lonely being a writer.

Will you be working with Stewart Lee again
There's no reason why not, but no ones offering us any work. we always did stuff individual as well anyway, we haven't fallen out and its not our choice were not working together. Though I think we would both say its been nice to have a few years concentrating on our solo stuff. And because our solo stuff is going so well it's going to be hard to fit anything else in. There's occasions where we talk about doing a show in Edinburgh together and we've got a sit com about hostages, which would be great if someone would take it up.
Its all to do with who's in charge and quite a lot of people rising up through the echelons are now kind of fans of ours, were well respected in the kind of comedy world were in.

A lot of the people you've worked with have gone on to become extremely famous, have you noticed?
Ha, yes and we're still....I have noticed but to be honest I think it suits both of us. Its nice to be able to walk down the street and about once a month someone will come up and say , ooh you're that bloke from er Father Ted is what'd probably happen ha ha.

What do they recognise you from , Fist of Fun.
All sorts it varies . I think the last series we did was great and we were really getting somewhere great with it and it's a real shame it stopped. But the same thing happened to Morecambe and wise they did a TV series and then got stiffed and then five years later came back, so..

We loved TMWRNJ, but it seemed under publicised by the BBC
I think it was a weird time, the second series Jane Root had just taken over programming, and it just wasn't her thing. They just kept on putting it on a odd times and stiffing the repeats. Apparently someone said it didn't go well in the post Simpsons slot on a friday but out of ten shows in the second series only two of then went out in that slot, so we didn't have a real chance to perform well cos they kept getting cancelled.

Do you really not have a copy of the first fist of fun series?
I think I do somewhere, actually when I went out with Julia Sawalha (Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous) she wanted to see it and my dads got the tape, I sat down to watch it with my dad and Julia. In the episode my dad was supposed to be in a jar and I was waving a photo of Julia (Richard used to profess his love for the actress on the show six years before he actually got to go out with her in real life), I was saying dad this is my girlfriend, Julia this is my dad, as I'm really siting there with my dad and Julia, so it was very bizarre, and the second show I was in the shrine dressed as Julia going oh Richard I love you I love you. So we watched this and there was a sort of silence and my dad just went, that was a bit embarrassing wasn't it, and we all really laughed but it was weird.

Why should people come to see Talking Cock
They don't have to if they don't want to. It seems to be going down really well with audiences, its funny and I think you learn something I think, and its quite life affirming. It's a good night out and its fun and it should get you thinking about stuff. The book I think will be interesting as I'll be able to go in to more detail about stuff think the show is interesting as say as much as I could about stuff so you've got to go a way and talk about it and think about it after the show.

Using the toilets afterwards was a bit of a difficult experience
Imagine what its like being me!

Source - Flashing Hobo