Richard Herring: BritainÂ’s Podfather of Live Comedy
August 22, 2012 By Bob Cochran 1 Comment
There are an increasing number of excellent podcasts recorded before live audiences such as Greg ProopsÂ’ Smartest Man in the World, The Thrilling Adventure Hour and No Pressure to be Funny. British Comedian Richard Herring, whose prolific podcasting over the last several years has earned him the nickname Â“PodfatherÂ”, was one of the first to realize the potential combining the audience-generated energy of a live performance with the creative freedom of the podcast with his award-winning As It Occurs to Me.
Last August saw him return with to live performance podcasting with Richard HerringÂ’s Edinburgh Fringe Podcast ,a daily series of live podcasts during last yearÂ’s Fringe Festival. They featured highly informal chats with popular UK comics like Nick Doody and Paul Sinha and comedy writing legend Barry Cryer, whose worked a wide variety of comedians from Jack Benny to Graham Chapman, and also brought laughter to generations of BBC Radio listeners as a regular panelist on the long-running Â“antidote to panel gamesÂ” IÂ’m Sorry I HavenÂ’t a Clue.
One of the greatest things about this podcast is that itÂ’s not only a chat show with Herring interviewing and exchanging hysterical anecdotes with established comedians, but he also uses it as a vehicle for helping gifted new comics, such as Edward Aczel reach a broader audience, too.
American listeners may be familiar with some comedy talent that has appeared on the show, including Paul Provenza, whose credits include the film The Aristocrats, ShowtimeÂ’s The Green Room and Satiristas, an incredibly profound and profoundly funny compilation of interviews with comedians from George Carlin to Lee Camp. It just happens that Camp was also one of the other American comics who was featured in last AugustÂ’s series of podcasts.
Earlier this year, Richard Herring moved the podcast south to LondonÂ’s Leicester Square Theatre for a series of weekly performances. The format was similar to the Edinburgh podcasts, and featured some very memorable episodes including one with HerringÂ’s former comedy partner Stewart Lee in which they discuss their careers, stand-up comedy and Jerry Springer, The Opera. Another very amusing episode is the last of the series, which featured Armando Iannucci and Graham Linehan, creators of some of the most influential radio and TV series of the last twenty years, including On the Hour, Knowing Me, Knowing You, IÂ’m Alan Partridge, The Thick of it and Veep, Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd. Their informal, laugh-filled conversation included discussions about the origins of Alan Partridge and the Â“Sitcom RaceÂ” between Linehan and Iannucci. Iannucci also talked about the HBO series, Veep, and both Linehan and Iannucci spoke about the frustration they went through during HollywoodÂ’s failed attempts to create US versions of The Thick of It and The IT Crowd.
Herring has recently begun producing and uploading a new series of daily Edinburgh Fringe podcasts. So far, as of this writing there are eight available that include guests such as Simon Munnery, Lucy Porter and comedian, author and former WWE wrestler Mick Foley, with much more to come later this month. As if thatÂ’s not enough, thereÂ’s a new series of Leicester Square podcasts slated for this Fall. I for one am not complaining because, as the long as the Podfather keeps it up, IÂ’m guaranteed many hours of laughter and enjoyment.