Metro 27

Richard Herring: Sporty kids continue to make my life hell
Sporty kids made Metro's resident comedian Richard HerringÂ’s life hell at school, and now they're keeping punters away from the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Edinburgh Fringe is now well under way, although thus far it has been overshadowed by the Olympics. We only became comedians because we were bullied by all the cool and sporty kids at school, and now theyÂ’re sticking it to us again. And if we boo them as they climb up on the podium, itÂ’s us who look like the bad guys.
As a nerdy, academic kid, I never understood why everyone disapproved and shunned you if you bragged about being good at maths but showered you with praise if you were cocky about being great at football. The sporty kids already got the perk of being able to get off with whoever they fancied, which was not something that came with a solid grounding in algebra.
Surely it was they who should have remained modest and me who should have been allowed to crow about how I could recite the Fibonacci sequence and the formula that defined it (Fn=Fn-1+ Fn-2 – oh yeah, I’ve still got it ladies but I will only reveal the seed values if you take your tops off).
You can imagine what a struggle it was to keep my virginity intact until I was nearly 20. But, amazingly, I somehow managed it.
There are about ten million comedians in Edinburgh this year, all fighting for the nine available punters, so there are some desperate publicity attempts going on. Student theatre groups tend to walk around with their faces painted, singing songs and handing out leaflets, unaware they are alienating everyone they pass, most of whom merely envy them their youth and the fact theyÂ’re wasting it by doing mime or contemporary dance.
At my first Fringe, the sketch team I was part of, The Seven Raymonds (I think you’ll see just how funny we were when I tell you there were actually only six of us and none of us were called Raymond), were getting audiences of two (on a good day). Then we came up with a brilliant ruse of pretending to be a religious group protesting against this ungodly sketch group. We walked up the Royal Mile with one of our team locked in a cage on wheels, claiming he was on a hunger strike until the show was banned, handing out leaflets saying: ‘Do not come to see The Seven Raymonds’. It was devastatingly effective. No one came. Until the last day, when we came up with a much cleverer ruse of handing one free ticket to couples in the street – quite a few of them came, paying for the extra ticket. Shame we didn’t think of it earlier.
Luckily this yearÂ’s show, Talking Cock, needs no such cheap publicity stunts because it is definitely the funniest and cleverest comedy show of all time, as well as the most affecting piece of drama in the past two and a half millennia of theatre.
You should commit murder for a ticket (though check to see if there are any at the box office first). You might think thatÂ’s a bit arrogant but the cool thing is that now thatÂ’s been in the paper I can put all that in quote marks, attribute it to Metro and stick it on all my posters.
However, these days it’s actually about how many stars the newspaper gives you (out of a maximum of five). Well, the good news for me is that I have just given my show six stars. So I can also add: ‘****** Metro’. And believe me, I am going to. I knew this job would have some perks eventually.
See Richard HerringÂ’s Talking Cock: The Second Coming in Edinburgh before he tours the country with a reworking of his smash-hit 2002 show. @Herring1967

Read more: