Last night I headed for the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith with PJ and the only other 548 people in the world who’d ever heard of This Morning With Richard Not Judy. Or 547, one person did shout out when Richard Herring asked if there was anyone who’d never seen the programme. Maybe 546, someone we overheard on the stairs during the interval didn’t seem very sure who Stewart Lee was, though it could’ve been the same person who shouted earlier. Anyway. It was a late 90s comedy series, and several of the participants were back together at one of Richard Herring’s comedy nights at the Lyric.
The evening started with Trevor Lock, he of Trevor and Natalie, they of being easy on the eye, who never spoke on the programme but fortunately didn’t reprise that role, instead delivering an odd set, a bit like a downbeat early-era Harry Hill, barely pausing, chucking weird images out and rapidly morphing them in even weirder directions. Few jokes as such, but a constant stream of quite-funny-ness.
Stewart Lee was up next, a total contrast in style, masterful, calculated pacing, timing and delivery even with a creeping flesh disease. An absolute great.
After the interval, host Richard Herring took the t-shirt slogan “Give Me Head ‘Til I’m Dead” to it’s logical conclusion, then a long way past, in luridly Herring-esque detail, before demonstrating his superpower (as he pointed out, easily enough to earn him a place in the third series of Heroes) of having small hands, and outlining how he’d use such a power for good. They are small hands too, you have to wonder if it hampers his Guitar Hero playing.
Speaking of guitars, following Herring was TV’s Emma Kennedy with her band, performing funked-up kids TV themes with dance accompaniment from a red-lycra clad gimp/ninja, concluding with a contractually obliged spot-on rendition of the TMWRNJ theme tune leading into what much of the audience had been waiting for, a brief Lee and Herring reunion.
Maybe it was driven by a wave of misplaced nostalgia, but even after seeing the original routines, and the Tedstock versions on YouTube, the two of them are brilliant together, and just as things seemed to have reached a moon on a stick-based peak, Paul Putner’s Curious Orange emerged, resplendent in full Davros regalia, for a truly magnificent finish.
The only minor disappointment was the lack of The Actor Kevin Eldon, he of Simon Quinlank, Rod Hull and Pause for Thought for the Day, and it would’ve been lovely to see everyone on stage together, maybe doing Sunday Heroes (ahhh!), but that’s being terribly churlish, it was always made clear everyone would be doing their own material. A fantastic night, roll on the next ten years, apart from the inevitable and massively depressing ageing it brings…
(Addendum: Richard Herring’s write-up is, weirdly, much better, almost like it was written by someone who was actually involved.)