Praesidium

Monday, May 22, 2006

Herring

Tonight I went to see comedian Richard Herring – one half of Lee and Herring, from such TV shows as Fist of Fun and This Morning With Richard Not Judy. Admittedly, he seems to have dropped off the radar a bit since those heady heydays, but his show at the Oxford Cellar comedy night was a preview/warm-up of new material for the Edinburgh fringe. Predictably for such a small venue, the place was packed – so much so I had to perch on a barstool, and got brushed by numerous passers by, including the man himself.

I forget the name of the warm-up act, but he claimed to be Britain’s only Deaf – sorry, deaf – comedian (‘If there are any others, I haven’t heard’). He was actually pretty good, and it helped he talked about philosophy (‘If a deaf man falls over in the woods, does anyone care?’). As he said, it’s the one subject where not being able to hear lecturers – and therefore having to think for yourself – may be an advantage.

As for the man himself, I have to say that given my higher expectations I was partly disappointed. Some of his material had me in tears (see later), but some just wasn’t really funny. He had several that were either tired or quite tasteless – no doubt he’s hoping Paul McCartney doesn’t re-marry by August – and it says something he had to clarify that paedophilia, terrorism and Hitler are all bad things (‘Paedophilia numbers not going down well in Oxford’).

As I said though, there was some really funny stuff too. The best bit was probably going on about how the French call potatoes ‘apples of the ground’, and how we should respond by calling apples ‘potatoes of the sky’, just so that in French they’d be pommes de terre du ciel (pardon my French...). Also dealt very well with hecklers – but maybe it’s not a good sign that what he ad-libbed was better than a lot of the jokes he’d been working on.

Still, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a live comedy show before – at least, not a proper one, as opposed to the magician/comedian/entertainers types you get for children’s parties (‘How old are you? 6? When I was your age, I was 8’) It was an interesting, and enjoyable experience.

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