DVD Review: Richard Herring – Hitler Moustache
This is Richard Herring’s 7th Solo DVD, filmed at the Chapter Arts Centre and produced by the Go Faster Stripe team in April this year.
The premise for the show is simple: can Richard claim back the Hitler moustache and make it acceptable for man to sport once more? An interesting question, and there was only one way to answer it; grow a Hitler moustache. The show is partly the story of what happened when he did this, the people he encountered and their reactions. Perhaps more importantly, the show serves to expose the absurdity and hypocrisies of racism and bigotry in the modern world. And as you would expect from this man, there are plenty of laughs along the way.
From the moment Herring hits the stage, it’s obvious that he has been doing this for twenty plus years. His hard earned stage presence, along with his obvious linguistic abilities lead to one of the most confidently delivered and intricate performances of a comedy show that you are likely to see. The fact that Herring is not one of the comedians you see regularly popping up on Panel Shows and other TV stand up shows is a testament in itself to his comedic ideals, actively trying to explore subjects of taste and morality rather than keeping within strictly controlled boundaries set down by mass media. His long set pieces are punctuated by a number of one liners and punch lines, but this is done in such a manner so as not to detract from the underlying message, which is where the real beauty lies.
The topics covered are varied and explored in great detail; the show is so dense it is often hard to keep up with Richard as he uses his verbal dexterity to traverse such heated and controversial topics as racism and fascism with ease and pace. Left in more amateur hands the idea for the show could have easily devolved into a torrent of tasteless jokes and clichés. In the hands of Herring, he himself questions the dubious nature of the jokes he is making in order to expose the fine line between comedy and evil, in such a way that you never doubt him. You trust him to take you into areas of conversation where you are reluctant to tread for fear of offending or exposing you own underlying prejudices.
The show is undoubtedly funny, yet packed with so many ideas that the laughs are not constant. This is not a problem as you always know that he is taking you somewhere meaningful. The show might not be for everyone, not least for the one audience member who left during the interval. The message is a strong one and it is not dumbed down – if you are looking for some light hearted comedy this may not be for you. Often scattered with a decent amount of crude and crass language, this DVD is probably not one you would want to watch with your Gran.
Even if you know Richard Herring and are familiar with his work, this is a stand out show of his. For anyone who is new to him, this is a great performance that will make you laugh, think and question your own moral standing. It is proof, if proof were needed, that this hard working comedian deserves his place amongst the list of the most respected UK stand ups. Proof that amongst this recent swathe of family friendly comics and broad material that there are still those who think there is something more important that can be said and done with comedy, whilst remaining funny and entertaining.