Richard Herring is back with his 11th consecutive stand-up tour in 11 years. Having previously tackled big themes such as politics (Hitler Moustache), religion (Christ on a Bike), love (What Is Love, Anyway?) and death (We’re All Going to Die!) he’s taken a different tangent for his new show, Lord of The Dance Settee, based on a misheard line from a hymn.
‘It’s a load of stuff from my life,’ he says. ‘I’ve done “Big Themes” with my previous shows, and I wanted to do something with a bit more storytelling, without any obvious connection this time.
‘It’s a bit about looking back and looking forward. Lord of The Dance Settee was a joke I did in Lee and Herring (his early ‘90s show with Stewart Lee) and I talk about one of the first jokes I did. A lot of the stories come from being a child, then a teenager, then a mid-life crisis and where I am now and looking at my place in the world.
‘It’s really just funny stories. I think you could watch it without realising there is any kind of connection at all, but it does kind of come together at the end.’
So, is there a theme?
‘Well, I do start off by saying there’s no theme in the show. It’s sort of a joke – a lot of it’s about trying to come to terms of getting older, countryside versus city, loneliness versus being with other people, movement versus inertia – there’s all these themes I can see, but then I’ve seen it more times than anyone else.
It’s a funny show and it gets laughs all the way show, but there’s wistful bits, and some parts there are serious, but being funny is the number one thing, if you can make people think a bit, or touch them in other ways, that makes the job more interesting
‘It’s a funny show and it gets laughs all the way show, but there’s wistful bits, and some parts there are serious, but being funny is the number one thing, if you can make people think a bit, or touch them in other ways, that makes the job more interesting.’
He’s previously been called The King of Edinburgh as he’s been at pretty much every Festival Fringe since 1987, but he’s taking this year off. How come?
‘I’m definitely taking a year out and I’m going to stay in London. Me and my wife have just had a baby and last year I was quite ambitious and did a lot of things, I put on a play (I Killed Rasputin) which lost a lot of money, it didn’t do as well as I hoped.
‘I do okay up there, but it felt like it was time to take a break. I’ve gone relentlessly almost every year since I was 20, so it’s time to take a step back. It’s quite freeing.’
But that’s not to say he’ll be taking it easy this summer.
‘I’m not going to be slacking off. I’m going to do all my solo shows and a new one over six weekends at Leicester Square Theatre,
‘It’s going to be slightly tricky to relearn them all, but writing them is harder than learning them for me. I might do a little bit of tinkering. Inevitably, I might not quite remember them, but I wrote the shows, so I can do what I want. If a bit isn’t working, I can change it, or it might become a new joke. And that’s the joy of being a stand-up comedian, you can change things and ad-lib.’
See Lord of the Dance Settee at The Ashcroft Centre in Fareham on Thursday, April 16, and The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea on Sunday, April 19. Go to hants.gov.uk/ashcroft or wedgewood-rooms.co.uk.