Review: Richard Herring ‘Christ on a Bike’ DVD
Release date: 28th November 2011
Richard Herring, son of Keith, King of Edinburgh and Rasputin expert, has been for years a performer on the peripheries of public popularity. Unlike many of those with more fame and money, Herring is a comedian that works tirelessly: his daily blog has been running since 2002; he has recorded some 167 podcasts with Andrew Collins; he wrote and performed the first free online sketch show, As It Occurs To Me, for the past two years; he is a generous benefactor of the charity Scope, encouraging equality for the disabled; and all this is surplus to the fact that he tours a new full-length show every single year. Some would say he is selfless, like Jesus.
Christ on a Bike – The Second Coming, which is released on DVD via Go Faster Stripe this week, is a revision of Herring’s first solo show. It is a foray into the hypocrisies of the Bible in which Rich asks whether he, a Yorkshire born yoghurt-eating man, has anything in common with the Messiah. He grapples with his Christian upbringing, using the show’s framed narrative of a bike race with Jesus in order to come to terms with his atheism in a sensitive and hilarious fashion.
Herring’s versatility as a performer is one reason why almost everything he touches turns to comedic gold: his style can effortlessly merge one-liners with more protracted, slow-paced jokes. The criticism of God’s linguistic capabilities when dictating the commandments is a moment of witty insight, and is a warning of the dangers of attributing anything with infallibility. Similarly, Herring recited the entire genealogy of Joseph the carpenter – “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse” etc. – only then to deconstruct it, is an example of a perfectly-timed juxtaposition.
The DVD itself comes packed with over nine hours of extra footage, ranging from a Yahtzee masterclass to an in-depth look at the misguided and angry correspondence Herring received whilst touring. Some would say the ability to fit so much in is just shy of being a miracle. Some would say that this show is a parable. Is Richard Herring Jesus? To quote Herring, “that is for you to say.”