‘The King of Edinburgh’ returns to The Stand with the daily podcast all the cool kids are calling ‘RHEFP!’ Running almost every day throughout the Fringe, each show consists of an informal chat with a comic guest, a brief set from an up-and-coming stand-up and the chance to win a bundle of prizes. Guests for this year include Sarah Millican, Sean Hughes, Alexei Sayle, and here, David Baddiel.
After a rambling and amusing intro, Herring brings out his guest to discuss their own show and whatever topics spontaneously come to mind. Herring made national headlines recently when, during an appearance on his Leicester Square Theatre podcast, national treasure Stephen Fry admitted to having attempted suicide last year. Part of the response seemed to be surprise that Fry chose an irreverent comedy show to reveal this agonising experience. Yet, as those who watch or listen to these podcasts appreciate, behind his childish demeanour Herring is an adept interviewer, precisely because he makes his guests feel so at ease. This was apparent in how Baddiel readily joined in with both puerile jokes about masturbation and more serious discussions of life as a touring comedian.
Herring also displays proficient knowledge of his guests’ careers, often engaging them with questions about the less known or even failed aspects of their work. As a result, Frank Skinner gets only a passing mention here, as Herring instead focuses on the short-lived Channel 4 show, A Stab in the Dark, which he wrote for and Baddiel presented. This approach garners interesting responses and Baddiel didn’t disappoint, revealing that his co-host, a pre-politics Michael Gove, suffered from chronic flatulence.
Before a concluding chat and the prize giving, Herring invites a lesser light onstage to impress the audience and plug their show. After a flustered start, Katie Mulgrew, daughter of comic Jimmy Cricket, recovered well and finished with a couple of strong lines about her father’s now disgraced 1970s showbiz friends.
The success of each show will ultimately depend on the manner of the guest, but Herring is such a genial host it’s difficult to imagine anyone not providing a lot of entertainment. Although the podcasts are available free online, it is worth seeing live, not least for Herring himself and the opportunity to take part in the gloriously disorganised closing competition.