Richard Herring offends with ill-timed Twitter joke about Robin Williams character and moans about 'po-faced social media'

It’s his job as a comedian to laugh at death, he says

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The Independent Online

Richard Herring has incurred the wrath of Twitter users after posting a perhaps ill-advised joke about the death of Robin Williams.

The actor was found dead in an apparent suicide yesterday (11 August). His publicist confirmed that he had been suffering from severe depression.

Herring unsurprisingly managed to offend droves of social media users after he shared a series of tweets about Williams, starting with a reference about Patch Adams, one of the characters Williams played in the film of the same name.

Adams was a medical student who helped his patients by using humour.

“As upsetting as this year has been I am wondering if God is finally handing out divine judgement for Patch Adams,” tweeted Herring.

Cue an onslaught of responses who suggested that the ‘joke’ was arguably a “bit soon”. Herring’s 2013 show, ‘We’re All Going To Die’, explored how we feel about death.


But Herring defended himself, arguing that he was just doing his job as a comedian and also noted that the untimely deaths of Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this year on 2 February following a drugs overdose.

He went onto lament his perceived oversensitivity of social media users.

Herring then finished by joking that he was looking forward to the death of comedian Stewart Lee as he has “some dynamite stuff” already in mind.

The comedian also tweeted a link to a post written for the Metro in March this year, in which he discussed how we “need to talk about death more”.

“I find the way that social media responds to death and disaster mainly bewildering,” he wrote. “If a celebrity dies, it now feels that everyone has to write a post about it, even if they have nothing original to say. It’s like we’re all the prime minister of our own little country and the world would be shocked and appalled if we didn’t make some kind of statement.”

He is the latest high-profile name to have caused controversy with their insensitive take on Williams’ death, with others including TalkSport presenter Alan Brazil and actor Todd Bridges.