The other night I had a chance to see Richard Herring's current show, "What Is Love, Anyway?" in Didcot. The last part of that sentence might need some explanation. Didcot is a town outside Oxford with a train station where you transfer if you are going to Bristol. I have a soft spot for it because last year I saved my boyfriend's life there. He tripped on the steps and was about to pulverize his face on the cold concrete, but I caught him with one hand and gently returned him to an upright position. I couldn't use two hands because I was carrying a cup of coffee. Apart from that, however, Didcot has always seemed sort of grim. Leaving the train station, we crept toward the Sainsbury's with the sinking feeling that a town where you have to orient yourself by reference to the distant Sainsbury's sign is not the one where you necessarily want to spend a Friday. It was nice to find that the venue, the Cornerstone Arts complex, seems to be the anchor for a small new urbanist development--cinema, coffee shop, etc. It was nice and I would be happy to go back some time.

I hadn't heard of Richard Herring before, but it was a very funny show. The topic was love and he opened the show vowing to deconstruct and destroy it. Despite the argument that British standup is sometimes more aggressive than the American variety, you won't be surprised to hear that he didn't. It was actually quite sweet in places, though not sentimental. I can't find any clips on YouTube but here's a bit from an earlier show in which, my friend explained, he tried to reclaim the Hitler moustache on the grounds that it actually originated with Charlie Chaplin:

02/20/2012 18:26

About that life-saving gesture (well done!): it fascinates me that we probably wouldn't drop the cup of coffee in that flash of a moment, even if it were to save a life. It seems that our reason wouldn't have time to override our reflexes.

02/21/2012 15:35

Richard Herring is very good. In my opinion, his old comedy partner, Stewart Lee, is even better. Lee & Herring did a couple of shows on BBC in the '90s, including Fist of Fun (which you can watch on Google Video, and they just released the first season on DVD).

Lee's work tends to be fairly ponderous and layered, so it doesn't do well in snippets. But his shows are remarkable. I highly recommend "41st Best Standup Ever," which is usually available in full at Youtube.

By the way, I used to read you over at Democracy in America, where my friend Steve Stromberg used to write.

02/28/2012 07:50

Francis--it's true. I wonder if it's because the act of not dropping something is so much more ingrained than the act of rescue?

Alex--I hope that doesn't imply that you've stopped reading at Democracy in America ;-)

02/28/2012 07:53

I always hesitate to implicate myself, madam :)

But I'll certainly look forward to reading this blog, especially with such refined comedic tastes.


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