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
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.
As upsetting as this year has been I am wondering if God is finally handing out divine judgement for Patch Adams.; Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) August 12, 2014
@Herring1967 I understand your view. The joke is what it is. I might laugh at it next week. But he's not even cold yet. That's my issue.; zhivila agbah (@zagbah) August 12, 2014
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.
I am a comedian. This is how we cope with bad news. We would all be delighted to have the same done with us in turn #deadherring; Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) August 12, 2014
Can we take it as read that the deaths of PSH and RW are terrible tragedies and we're all very upset about them? Obviously not.; Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) August 12, 2014
He went onto lament his perceived oversensitivity of social media users.
The po-faced social media tribute is one of the least attractive things in the world. Laugh it up when I am gone, folks.; Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) August 12, 2014
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.
I've got some dynamite stuff ready for when Stewart Lee pegs it. Might have to kill him myself. Fed up of sitting on it for so long.; Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) August 12, 2014
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.”
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