Another Email interview

Hi Richard, here's the list of questions. There's quite a few, so feel free to take as long as you need with them.

Firstly, for the uninitiated, who are you Richard Herring, and what do you do? I am a comedian and writer, probably best known for my work in the 1990s in the double act Lee and Herring, but also the writer and/or performer of shows/books such as Talking Cock, Time Gentleman Please, Someone Likes Yoghurt. I also write a daily blog at

Who are your main influences?
As a kid I loved Rik Mayall and Monty Python. Now I like The Simpsons, Larry David and the Larry Sanders show

What do you do with yourself when you are not writing or performing comedy? I play an awful lot of poker. I also like traveling and watching films.

In addition to letting people know what you're up to, your Warming Up blog also gives people quite a powerful insight into the way you approach your work. Was this your intention when you started it, or has it evolved this way? No, I intended it to be a way for me to warm up in the morning and maybe generate some material. I didn't expect it to give any insight into my personal life, but that sort of became inevitable as it's difficult to think of stuff to write about sometimes

Have you considered the possibility of any internet-only projects? I have considered publishing books on the web site or maybe providing some exclusive content that people would have to pay for. I doubt I'll get round to it.

You're often associated with a particular generation of people in comedy (obviously Stewart Lee, Steve Coogan etc). Which of the newest comedy crop have you worked with, and who would you like to work with? I have worked with Dan Tetsell and Danny Robins on That Was Then This Is Now. I have gigged with some great new comics like Josie Long, Isy Sutie and Russell Howard

You've mentioned in Warming Up about some of the lesson pleasant people in the industry (your anecdote about Jane Root, for example), do you reckon there are many 'good guys' at all in the entertainment industry? Yes there are plenty of good guys. I am the best one though

Many comedians have raised objections to acts such as the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. What's your view on this, and have you come up with any serious censorship problems in the past? I don't think it will come down to being relevant to comedians, but if it does me and a lot of people like me will fight it all the way. I believe in free speech more than anything else

Do you feel that your work, and the wider field of comedy as a whole, is really making a positive/significant contribution to society, or is it all just a highly involved way of arsing around? A bit of both. I think it provides an important release valve for people, allowing us to laugh in the face of the shit that life can throw up and also to look at ourselves and realize what is ridiculous and what is good about our existence. But you know arsing around is a big part of it

Have you ever tried to break America?
No not really. Me and Stew played Montreal and wrote a sit-com script for Fox and there was a chance that Christ on a Bike might have been put on in New York, but nothing came of it [Follow-up question] If successful, would you bother to put it back together again or would you just pretend it was like that when you found it? I see what you did there and it is amusing.

If we were a television production company and we commisioned you to make any kind of a telly thing of your choice, what would it be? I'd like to do a televised version of my blog. I have written a pilot but so far no-one has taken it on.

What's all this about you becoming the new 'face' of Walkers crisps? This is something you have made up for comedic value. It is an amusing idea. But I won't do adverts.

What are your current projects?
I am doing an interview show about poker called "Heads Up With Richard Herring" which will be on the pokerzone channel from November and then no doubt til the end of time. I am writing a sit-com pilot for the BBC called "You can Choose Your Friends" I am writing a book about poker called "The Poker Joker"

Any chance of seeing any of your programmes on DVD?
I talked to a man at a party in Edinburgh who said he'd look into releasing Fist of Fun on DVD (he worked for the BBC). I don't think it will happen

You're sorely missed on TV, will we see you on it in the future? How about in the past? I crop up occasionally. It could happen again, but don't hold your breath,

Have you considered going one better than Stewart Lee, by writing a 10 hour opera about how all fundamentalist muslims are gay and dance around wearing lipstick? No I think you should do that

Finally, we have an excellent idea for a show. Basically, you'd do a cracking stand up routine, and the audience would be invited to heckle you, and you'd just sort of have to put up with it. It will be called Harangue Herring. What do you think? If you can get it commissioned I will do it.

Thanks for your time. And sorry for the more ludicrous questions.

Luke Elliott