Richard Herring: The Headmaster's Son

Article by Ciaran Woods | 27 Mar 2009
  • Richard Herring

Damn, this man is funny. Within seconds he’s riveted the audience, within a minute he’s got five hard belly laughs out of us. A heckler at the front is jeered out of the building by the crowd itself. Then Herring recounts the premise of the show.

This show's about whether Herring’s childhood as the son of his school’s headmaster is to blame for his shortcomings as a man. Of course it's silliness of the first order, and comedy gold. But halfway through this you'll realise that his 'shortcomings' aren't just manufactured comedy fodder. It is Herring’s sense of personal failure that pervades and marks the evening. You’re laughing hard - but you’re also watching a man’s broken heart as he acts out an argument with his 16 year-old self over the trajectory of his life.

This is a man exposing his own humiliation to find some meaning in the wreckage of his childhood dreams. It is really funny. But sometimes it’s like watching someone perform vivisection on themselves.