Thursday, 30 July 2009

Richard Herring and his Hitler Moustache, Brighton

Saw Richard Herring's live show, Hitler Moustache, last night at Upstairs at the Three and Ten in Kemptown. It was an Edinburgh warm up show. I'm not a natural gig goer. Although i love stand up i find the potential for prolonged, embarrassing silences and performer humiliation way too much to bear. I'm the sort of person that has to say something, anything, to fill a void left in an stilted conversation. For me the thought of someone on a stage, being shit, in a silent room full of dispirited faces, is a vision of hell. This is why i will never go and see Rhod Gilbert (ho ho). This is also why i have never understood hecklers. To be a heckler you'd have to have a powerful combination of a staggering lack of empathy, a redundancy of compassion and leonine like confidence in your own betterness than the poor person who is attempting to entertain you. My sister told me about a time she went to see one of my favourite comedians, Simon Day at the notorious stand up hell that is Bangor university student union. Like so many comedians before him, I've heard, he died horribly and at one point said the terrible words, "I'm really sorry about this" to the tiny unamused audience. Those words, and the image of noble Simon Day, suffering in unwanted silence, have stuck with me ever since. The awk would have been incredible.

According to the Brighton Argus the Hitler Moustache set would at points make me "genuinely laugh-out-loud". This made me slightly less nervous. I would have been sorely disappointed if i went to a stand up gig and the comedian only managed to produce jokes that made me laugh internally; or, in fact, jokes that only made me pretend to laugh out loud. That wouldn't be very entertaining at all. We arrived at the venue half an hour early and had the usual gallon of wine. Then, at 8pm, made our way upstairs to the tiny room with its tiny stage. My first instinct was to sit at the back of the room, out of sight. If Richard was shit and a disappointment, i could feel sorry for him in the shadows. Amanda was up for sitting towards the back as well as she has a morbid fear of being dragged up on stage to "participate"; a hang over from too many South African childhood pantomimes perhaps? We were already hovering over the safely hidden seats when the mischievous Gods of conflict avoidance challenged me to be a better man, as they have so many times before, by presenting us with two seats directly in front of the mouse like stage. Amazingly, my love of Herring won out and we threw awk to the wind and advanced to the front.

The gig was great, i didn't feel at all awkward and was very pleased to have taken the chance and not settled for the easy option, as i would have normally. A small victory. Herring was very good making me genuinely laugh out loud pretty much all the way through. Although i do admit to falsely laughing out loud on one occasion. At one point he even singled us out, saying i looked like a bit like David Brent with my "combination of every beard style known to man" face . He also indicated that Amanda should be as creative with her ladygarden as she is on the allotment. When he left the stage i was excited to see an enormous and truly terrifying red/yellow puss mark on his back, a remnant of a recently exploded cyst. Lovely. A grand night.

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