Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Collings and Herrin - Derek and Clive?

I am pretty much obsessed with Richard Herring, For those imaginary readers that don't know who he is, he is a comedian that had moderate success in the 90's as part of the duo, Lee (as in Stuart Lee) and Herring, If you count moderate success as getting a TV show on the telly, and is now in a loose double act with Andrew Collins of the much missed radio/late night ITV partnership, Collins & Maconie.

Now, even though I really really liked the studenty Fist of Fun, the first thing Lee & Herring got on TV, I always thought that TMWRNJ, their sophomore effort I suppose, was 30 percent funny and 70 percent rushed. But what do I know. I still patiently watched every episode waiting for the jokes.

I always thought Lee and Herring were at their funniest when simply bouncing jokes off each other; with Herring playing the role of naive Somerset virgin and Lee the equally absurd worldly London trendy. Watching these episodes back now it is quite something to think that Stuart Lee went on to have the more successful post Lee & Herring career. Herring does pretty much all the leg work in the double act and is a great comic actor. His whale milk drinking, rat shagging character is really really funny. These early personas have stood both comedians in good stead, with Lee in particular carving out a very good career as 'Britain's most highly regarded stand-up comedian' (official) and a master of ball achingly knowing irony; and Herring playing the eternal, winky obsessed, 'kidult'.

Herring has been writing a daily blog, daily, for as long as I’ve been a user of the internet. I am probably one of his more recent converts, having only been reading it for a couple of years. His musings are always interesting, even when they are about poker, and are sometimes very funny. It's a real achievement that he has managed to keep the quality of his blog posts so consistently high for so long. I don’t think he has missed a day. Reading his blog is one of my great little pleasures. It's a bit like getting a comedy pamphlet delivered straight to your door every morning for free. More recently Herring has teamed up with journalist, recent radio outcast, film twerp and all round nice guy, Andrew Collins to record a weekly podcast. I have admired Collins since i was a teenager because, as he worked at the NME, I thought he must have been one of the coolest men in the world. I have since discovered that this was probably not the case.

The podcast is sometimes jaw droppingly rude and bold in a way that just would not be possible in any other medium. Just as Derek and Clive first found infamy on bootlegged cassettes, passed surreptitiously between those in the know, most notably Led Zeppelins, listening to the Collings and Herrin podcast frequently feel likes you are bearing witness to something really unique. For myself, whose comedy year zero was The Young Ones and Rik Mayall pretend farting into a microphone at the first Comic Relief event, it feels brilliantly naughty to hear some of the things that Collins & Herring, or rather their alter egos Collings and Herrin, see fit to say. Collins takes on the role of naive nice guy to Herring's vicious misanthrope and some of the off the cuff material they produce is of simply awesome quality.

My only problem with the podcast is their complete lack of self knowledge about which episodes are good and which are boring. As far as I can judge the quality varies by about 2 percentage points either way. One week there may be slightly too much dead air, but an off hand comment about Collings being bummed by a mouse whilst at Glastonbury, or offering his ball point pen to a tourist and perhaps being mistaken for a toilet trader can tip the balance either way. Anyway, enough of my yackin, Listen to my clip above that i made myself from a bit of episode 68, and then go and listen to the other 70 episodes.

1 comment:

  1. At last - been waiting for this one for ages!


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