Big Issue reviews WAGTD

Aug 12, 2013

Comedian Richard Herring brings new meaning to dying on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe

 Dying on stage is the fear of most comedians, but Richard Herring would probably welcome it. That’s death in the real, not metaphorical sense by the way. It would be great publicity for his tenth different stand-up show in as many years. Having previously tackled Hitler, Jesus, love and love of phalluses, Herring has now turned to the biggest issue of them all.
Having had no evidence to the contrary in his life so far, Herring says he is most likely immortal. He certainly doesn’t appear to need to breathe as he steams through an hour railing against death, though mostly our attitudes towards it, as if time's running out – which of course it is – as he reminds us again and again.
Dressed as a funeral mourner in a black suit and tie in a spooky graveyard set – well, as spooky as a couple of cardboard headstones and a smoke machine can create – he deconstructs Hamlet’s ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ soliloquy, believing it answers less of life’s big questions that the song about the little old woman who swallowed a fly.
He is also, unsurprisingly, obsessed by the cause of his own death, less a water-related demise gives rise to demeaning Herring based puns.
The subject matter may be dark and the delivery twisted but Herring manages to put the fun into funerals, the laughs into slaughtering, the gags into gagging (etc). But beyond the humour, Herring implores us not to focus on the certainty of death, but to celebrate the miraculous impossibility of life.
Richard Herring: We're All Going To Die! is on at The Pleasance Courtyard until August 25