Monday night in Lancaster. We drove up after work from Manchester to pay a brief visit to my parents so they could wish me a happy birthday, then we said farewell and went to the Lancaster Grand Theatre to watch Richard Herring perform his current show What Is Love, Anyway? The previous night he had been at The Lowry, Salford which is about ten minutes walk from my house. It had been sold out when I was looking for tickets a few weeks earlier, and anyway I much preferred the idea of watching him perform in a much smaller venue in my beloved/despised home town Lancaster. It was his first visit to Lancaster and this seemed to be reflected in the embarrassingly large number of empty seats. However the mood was good and the laughs came loudly and often.
As usual for a Richard Herring stand-up routine there is a theme (this time is obviously Love, following on from Jesus in Christ on a Bike, fascism in Hitler Moustache) that is rigorously dissected. The theme is the focus and the stories he tells are the source of the humour; there is little time of gags. It's not good form to go into too much detail about the content of a comedy show when writing a review, and it is especially wrong to give away any of the jokes, so I will skim over this bit. There are personal details such as a Valentine's day card Herring's father gave to his mother when they were both 13, Herring's own diary entries and a poem he wrote as a teenager, and a touching yet hilarious story about the mental decline of his grandmother.
|Me & Herring (note Chuckle Brothers in the background)|
It's a wonderful, hilarious and thoughtful show. I'm glad it was this one I went to see with my fiancee, as opposed to say Hitler Moustache. When I watched the DVD of Hitler Moustache with her she quickly became exhausted and exasperated by the shouty ranty manner of Herring, and the way in which he doesn't finish a sentence before starting the next one when he gets worked up. Richard Herring is getting married (in April I think) and I am too (in May), so perhaps we are getting sappy, soppy, wimpy, girly. I hope not.
After the show Herring appeared spontaneously in the theatre foyer to sign the free programmes and punt his DVDs (which can be bought from Go Faster Stripe, a fantastic independent producer of comedy DVDs). Four years ago he did a show called Oh Fuck, I'm 40 so I got him to sign my programme Oh Fuck, You're 30 and I also got a happy birthday for good measure. I apologised "on behalf of the idiots of Lancaster for not turning up," which he said didn't matter. I bought Lee & Herring's Fist of Fun series one DVD on which he wrote something which looks like "MCR," or ""MGR"... maybe "MBR".... I have no idea. After I had my picture with him I said "I hope you were smiling," to which he replied "I was, but it was insincere". OK, fanboy section over.
Great birthday, great show. Hope Herring returns to Lancaster next time around, although I fear that all the old school Lee & Herring fans of my generation have, like me, moved away to Manchester, London or further afield. We'll see next month when Stewart Lee performs his current show Carpet Remnant World at The Dukes in Lancaster.