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Tuesday 14th December 2004

I spent the day preparing for another gig (this time at the University of East London Student Union - a venue I have always dreamed of playing) and for the recording of my stint as Comedy Controller of BBC7. This should be broadcast some time in February - there will be details on the home page - and essentially I have to chose my six favourite radio shows and then talk about them a bit. One of my choices (a rare interview with the band Spinal Tap) may not be clearable, so I also prepared an intro for an episode of the Goons. I am very proud of my rudeness in this intro, as well as my disrespect fringed with ultimate respect, so am going to share it with you as a teaser, just in case it never gets broadcast.
"Spike Milligan and the Goons are pretty much responsible for all decent comedy that exists today. Without them none of the comedy you and I love would have happened, and things would have been very different. Perhaps they would have been better. Perhaps by existing the Goons edged out some other comedian who would have done something more groundbreaking and revolutionary and funny. Who knows? Because of their influence on all comedy I think it is the duty of everyone in the world to listen to their shows, even though they aren’t all that funny anymore. It’s a bit like the way we have to suffer Shakespeare at school, because it teaches us something important and because we owe it a debt. I never listened to this too much as a kid, but I did have a book of the scripts and I did love the writing – getting to hear it, some of the performance is a bit tedious, but nothing dates as badly as comedy and there’s still plenty of brilliant stuff in these shows, however much you hate Harry Secombe. To add another fascinating and morbid layer to the show you might like to listen to it with this in mind – probably pretty much every single person you are listening to is now dead – obviously all the performers and probably the band, but also everyone in the audience. You are listening to the laughter of the dead – they were once so full of life and a sense of fun and now they are gone and yet their ghostly guffaws still travel down the ages into our ears. You may be laughing now, but in fifty years time most of you will be dead as well. Let the next half an hour remind you or your own mortality and the transience of joy.
And with that in mind please enjoy, “The Goon Show!”"

Thankfully the gig went well - the University of East London Student Union was not the most inspiring or fancy of venues and it took almost as long to get to as flying to Croatia did. I can honestly say that it's a long time since I've seen anything as disgusting or offensive as the graffiti in the gents toilet, though this gave my old opening "Suck My Cock" graffito gag an extra resonance. It was nice to be playing to English speakers again and I tried out some new stuff, as well as some new old stuff (if you see what I mean). I felt almost like I was a proper comedian and really enjoyed myself. As long as I have a gig like this every three then I'm not going to mind the more difficult and upsetting ones
I even wrote some topical material about the report that British teenagers are amongst the heaviest drink and drug users in Europe. At least we're best at something! That's showed the Europeans. I believe the children are our future.
The report says that 26% of 16 year old boys admitted to binge drinking at least three times in the previous month. How do you think the 16 year old girls did? Higher or lower?
29% of 16 year old girls did the same. 16 year old boys should be ashamed of themselves.
Am I alone in thinking that these figures just aren't high enough? What else do 16 year old kids have to do but drink? It should be 100% of 16 year olds, 31 times a month - even in February.
I certainly binge drank more than 3 times a month when I was 16 - admittedly mainly on Cinzano and Lemonade at that point, which slightly invalidate my toughness credentials.
Come on youth of Britain. You have to do better than this. Next year I want to see us top that table.
And so on.

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