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While the title of the show caused a storm in a tea cup in the Scottish capital, Herring is no stranger to causing controversy of one form or another.

Christ On A Bike, depressingly yet predictably, was picketed at several shows on its spring 2011 UK tour, Christians reacting to its perceived blaspheming, despite the protesters having likely not seen it.

“It was a bit sad more than anything else, people getting upset about a show they have only imagined in their head,” he recalls matter-of-factly of the placard-wavers.

“I like to tackle big subjects and some people think you shouldn’t be joking about these things. But there is humour in all subjects and a way of approaching topics to make you think about issues.

"Some Christians thought a show [of that title] by an atheist was anti-Jesus or anti-Christian, when it was not – it was my own personal journey having been brought up Christian and then turning away from it.”

Moreover, as much as his Christ show was driven by a self-confessed obsession with Jesus, it was as much by his passion for questioning authority and challenging rules.

“I like to question and point out hypocrisy, my own especially,” he says.

“Because if something is true then it will stand up to questioning. If people say you mustn’t question something, then you are getting into dictatorial areas where people start doing crazy things like flying planes into buildings and drinking poison.”

His quest to understand, pick apart and challenge, as well as spread hilarity, has led him thus far to take on: Christianity, love (told from the point of view of a long-time singleton who had recently tied the knot), as well as fascism (Hitler Moustache, in which he attempted to re-appropriate the pencil ’tache ruined for evermore by the angsty Austrian). And now, of course, masculinity and men’s genitals.

“People think that if you are doing comedy about something then you are making light of it, ” he says. “But that is not necessarily the case.”

This is how he manages to combine serious topics with wilful gutter filth, and it is how he can take an audience-wowing show that on the surface appears to be about mouthy misogyny and knob gags but manages to send you home sore from laughing, and also thinking about your relationship with both your little fella and your significant other.

He’ll also teach you a few new euphemisms, too.

Richard Herring, Talking Cock 2: The Second Coming. Oct 17-20. £15 
Purcell Room, The Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX 

Tube | Waterloo
southbankcentre.co.uk 

 

Photos: Getty


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Interview: Comedian Richard Herring on his controversial stand-up show 'Talking Cock', playing in London this week
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