The Secret Of My Success: Richard Herring - Life and Style - The Independent

The Secret Of My Success: Richard Herring

Richard Herring is a comedian, writer and actor and is better known for his TV work with Stewart Lee, which includes Fist of Fun and This Morning With Richard, Not Judy. Over the past 12 years, he has written and appeared in 15 shows for the Edinburgh Festival. It's Not The End Of The World is his fourth play at the Fringe and runs until 30 August.

Monty Python inspired me from the start and comedy has been my life ever since. At Oxford University I did a lot of stand-up, which is where I met Stewart Lee in 1986. He was doing his own stuff, so we decided to work together. The London comedy circuit led to writing for Radio 4 and we eventually ended up with our own radio series, Fist Of Fun, which became a TV show in 1995. Things have steadily progressed from there and I have continued writing while doing This Morning With Richard, Not Judy.

I work hard and have good intentions above being a fantastic performer. Back in the radio days Stu and I worked hard for no money, but I enjoyed it. I've learnt my trade through the ranks and it's important to have that experience. Through it all, I know that I'm good at writing comedy and I've found that writing is not as limiting as stand-up, where it's much harder to stay at the top.

We always choose our work carefully and some decisions we've had to make have been tough. We had the chance to be involved with The Day Today on TV, but decided against it as it wasn't our scene. I want to work with something I'm happy with and I don't believe money should dictate that, which is why I still have huge admiration for Michael Palin because he seems to do what he wants while maintaining his integrity.

I was lucky to have met Stu, as we've worked well together for many years. I tend to be the perfectionist whereas he likes to go with the first thing we've written. Looking back we were at the right place at the right time, as stand-up is far more competitive today than it was when we first started out. We've succeeded because we're not enamoured with being celebrities and through it all have stayed quite normal blokes.

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