My Secret Life: Richard Herring, comedian, 43


My parents were... My dad was my headmaster and my mother also taught me at school. I did a whole show about whether it psychologically scarred me, but when I look back, I think all the bad things about me were already in existence. I was in a fortunate position where I had a very solid family – my parents have been together since they were 13. It's almost hard to live up to that!

When I was a child I wanted to... I went to the career adviser when I was 16, and tried to explain that I wanted to be a comedian or a writer. That was not on the list.

If I could change one thing about myself... I'd like to be a little bit taller, and that would probably make me a little bit thinner. If I could just squash myself upwards, that would sort it out.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... I've run a marathon – I think that's the most surprising thing about me.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... I have a lack of practical skills. I can't mend anything or do anything manly; I don't understand how anything works.

At night I dream of... doing my maths A-level again, and I can't remember any of it. What I see when I look in the mirror... Grey hair and my wrinkles. But I look better than I did when I was younger, although I am a bit crumpled.

My favourite item of clothing... A blue and black striped jumper, like a blue Dennis the Menace. It was from Paul Smith and it was really expensive, but it's just ruined now.

It's not fashionable but I like... playing Yahtzee on my iPhone all the time. And I've played in minor Scrabble tournaments.

I drive... a Volkswagen gold automatic car, quite badly. I bumped it the other day.

My favourite work of art... The Angel of the North. It's a really good populist bit of art that's also quite inspiring. I like the grandeur of it, and that it's all rusty.

My favourite building... is a little amphitheatre in Pompei. Last time I was there I sat on my own and sort of communed with the spirit of people who did my trade 2,000 years ago.

My secret crush is... Amy Pond from Doctor Who. But not Karen Gillan. If she is willing to go out with me, but all the time act as Amy Pond, then that's an open invitation and I'll dump my girlfriend – she'd understand.

A book that changed me... The New Testament. Even as an eight-year-old, I discovered all these inconsistencies. So I think, weirdly, it changed me from being religious to being non-religious!

My greatest regret... The BBC cancelling the TV series I did with Stewart Lee, because one person didn't like it.

My real-life villains... People at the Channel 4 comedy department who think it's edgy to mock people with mental and physical disabilities without any wit. They are not being edgy, they're being pricks. You've got to make a point, not just mock people who don't have any power in society.

The person who really makes me laugh... Tim Minchin and Daniel Kitson are the two people that when I see them, I think I could never be that funny or that clever.

The last time I cried... Embarrassingly, it was watching Love, Actually when I was a bit depressed, about four years ago. I just started weeping uncontrollably and thought 'I can't carry on with my life'.

My life in six words... I will quote Samuel Beckett: 'Try again. Fail again. Fail better'.

A life in brief

Richard Herring was born in Yorkshire in 1967. He studied history at Oxford, where he wrote and performed for the Oxford Revue. He has collaborated with Stewart Lee for radio and TV, writing for Armando Iannucci's On the Hour and heading up shows such as Fist of Fun and Lee and Herring. After his successful stand-up shows Talking Cock, The Headmaster's Son and Hitler Moustache, he is now touring the UK with Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming. He lives in west London with his girlfriend

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea