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With a career stretching back more than 30 years, stand-up, writer, podcaster, and occasional self-playing snooker star Richard Herring is a British comedy institution.
It was while studying history at Oxford University that Richard began honing the his profoundly ridiculous/ridiculously profound comic mind. Through the Oxford Revue, Richard made his Edinburgh Fringe debut in 1987 (sparking a lifelong association with the festival), and met Stewart Lee, forging the double act that would propel him into the national consciousness.
As a writing duo, Lee & Herring contributed to landmark radio comedies, before achieving breakout radio and TV success. Together with Stewart, on Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard not Judy, Richard brought brilliantly acerbic surrealism to primetime schedules – notably to Sunday lunchtimes – in a way that seems impossible in this era of bland cookery and chat shows twenty years later. The influential pair went their separate ways around the turn of the century, when Richard rose to success, as performer of a dizzying number of hit solo Edinburgh shows, and as a writer of sitcoms. Often a pioneer embracing new formats, Richard has written an entry for his blog, Warming Up, every day since 25th November, 2002, and has become a one-man podcast powerhouse. When a guest slot on Andrew Collins’ BBC 6 Music Show gave birth to The Collins and Herring Podcast, it drew comparisons to Derek & Clive, and led Richard on to self-produced solo internet projects. With Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast, he teases candid and absurd anecdotes from comedians and other celebrities, and with As It Occurs to Me?, he subverts mainstream broadcasting with a fan-funded weekly sketch comedy that defies all attempts at labelling. His almost unrivalled pedigree and willingness to push boundaries make Richard Herring a must-see act.
Watch Richard Herring: Lord of the Dance Settee
Richard is in a frivolous mood with this show about daftness, whether the term ‘cool comedian’ is an oxymoron, bouncing joyously on the sofa and how his whole career is a failed attempt to top a piece of slapstick comedy he pulled off aged 16.
See Richard Herring Live
Richard’s hit 2018 show, Oh Frig I’m 50 is touring the country now. For tickets, see here.
Raised in rural Cheddar, Somerset, the son of his Secondary School’s Headmaster, Richard Herring’s obsessive love of early alternative comedy drove him – via an audition performance of his self-penned song ‘My Penis can Sing’ – to join the Oxford Revue at university. Herring first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe as Part of the Revue in 1987, and joined fellow cast member Stewart Lee in the comedy troupe The Seven Raymonds, before forming a double act with him that swept through the comedy circuit and onto TV screens.
Writing with Lee, Richard contributed to Weekending and Armando Ianucci & Chris Morris’ On The Hour (BBC Radio 4, 1991), where they wrote material performed by Steve Coogan in the very first incarnation of Alan Partridge. The duo took to club and festival stages around the world, and were given their own radio vehicles with Lionel Nimrod’s Inexplicable World and Lee & Herring’s Fist of Fun, which transferred to TV in 1995 (BBC 2). This Morning with Richard Not Judy followed with two series on BBC 2 in 1998 and 1999 (and a sell-out theatre tour between the two). Broadcast as-live on Sunday lunchtimes, the show drew a cult following and the confused ire of many a writer to Points of View. Being dropped from TV after a change of scheduling hierarchy signalled the end of Lee & Herring’s professional partnership, eventually sending both comics back to their individual stand-up roots..
Richard has been a virtual ever-present at the Fringe Festival since his debut; with plays, such as Ra Ra Rasputin (1993) and Excavating Rita (1997); with his chat show Richard Herring’s Edinburgh Fringe Podcast (2011-2013); and with more than a dozen solo stand-up shows.
In partnership with Al Murray, Richard wrote two series of Time Gentlemen Please (an early vehicle for Murray’s Pub Landlord character) (2000-02). Richard also wrote and starred in You Can Choose Your Friends, a feature-length comedy drama for ITV, in 2007.
Richard has written a new entry for his blog, Warming Up, every day since 2002, and these writings have been collated in two volumes: Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles. Richard has also written a guide to modern adulthood, How Not To Grow Up (2010), and – in conjunction with his show of the same name – a book on the history of the penis, Talking Cock (2003).
Richard maintained a presence on radio, writing and performing in shows such as That Was Then, This Is Now (2004-08), and Banter (2008-09). Guest presenting slots with Andrew Collins on BBC 6 Music, led the two to collaborate on the Collings and Herrin Podcast (2008-11). Embracing the on-demand format, Richard has produced three series of the sketch show As It Occurs To Me (2009-17). Alongside a national stand-up tour of his latest show, Oh Frig, I’m 50!, Richard is currently recording a 13th season of The Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Richard has recently relocated from London to Hertfordshire, where he resides with his wife, the comedian Catherine Wilkins, and their two children.