Like most new parents, Richard Herring enjoys talking about his offspring. Admittedly, most mums and dads won’t start discussing their fears of accidentally throwing their child over a fifth floor balcony at the nursery gates, but it’s this kind of uncomfortable insight that proves parenthood has done little to smooth Herring’s edge.
In fact, becoming a dad for the first time has given the Yorkshire born comedian an ever heightened sense of self awareness. With his very own bundle of joy, he finds himself questioning the very meaning of happiness, a funny but philosophical debate at the heart of his latest tour, Happy Now?
After all, if anything could numb his cynical, over-analytical side it’s surely the arrival of baby Phoebe? And if it does, what does this mean for his comedy career?
Thankfully, Herring remains as thought-provoking and raw as ever, only now his subject matter revolves around fidelity debates with his wife and how he makes his daughter laugh (cue justification for getting busy with robots and a brutal dissection of popular nursery rhymes).
He does occasionally drift into softer material which is somewhat at odds with his edgier jokes. But to his credit, Herring is quick to admit that spending hours attempting to amuse a one year old is likely to have at least a slight effect on his comedic stylings.
As we delve deeper into Herring’s complex views on happiness, we’re offered some refreshingly honest insights into keeping content. It’s a double edged sword, he muses. If you’re happy, you’re worrying what will come along to spoil it and at least if you’re unhappy, the only way is up, right? And don’t we need to experience the lows in order to recognise the highs?
The combination of honest comedy and armchair philosophy works well, giving the audience enough laughs for an enjoyable evening as well as food for thought on the way we approach our own pursuit of happiness.
As Herring insists, it’s not always where you think you’ll find it. But it’s probably that time you ate a chocolate Cornetto when you were three…