Edinburgh Review: Richard Herring

Richard Herring’s already infamous Hitler Moustache show is intended to rally as much as entertain, and he admirably achieves both, writes Paul Fleckney.

Richard_Herring1So after the very public falling out between Richard Herring and the Guardian over their misrepresentation of Hitler Moustache, what of the show?

Well, it is worth looking at how Herring ends the show. Instead of the regulation big joke, he reads from a book a vehement anti-fascism plea by Charlie Chaplin. It is a fitting end, because this 60 minutes is as much about fighting fascism and promoting democracy as it is about comedy. This includes an angry two-minute aside, when he repeatedly shouts “you should be fucking ashamed” towards anyone who didn’t vote in the European elections.

Much of the show is given over to the effects of his growing a Hitler – sorry, toothbrush – moustache. Whether he should shave it off for his parents’ golden wedding, people’s reaction (or lack of, as it turns out), the burden it became, whether it is a futile gesture.

There is a constant iterative process at work, checking his own prejudices, comparing comics to dictators (arrogant, requiring adulation), pointing out assumptions we might have made, questioning whether cultural differences are divisive or should be celebrated – it is an extremely thoroughly thought out piece of work.

Some of the funniest moments are in his faux-logic, such as the conclusion he comes to from pointing out racists only see two types of people (black and white), while non-racists see 195 different nationalities. His passage on Nick Griffin includes some stellar lines, even if the overall laugh count is down on Headmaster’s Son, Herring’s gag fest last year. The story of Herring chasing a (black) mugger and cruising the streets with the police – all with his ‘tache, don’t forget – is another highlight.

It is essentially a man’s hour-long struggle between wanting to entertain and wanting to rally. Some entertainment value is lost as he spins these two plates, but this is still an very powerful, extremely funny show.
Fours stars
Hitler Moustache is on until August 30 at 8:40pm at the Underbelly. Click here for tickets

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