A stroke of innovative comedy genius, or a desperate cry for help? Richard Herring’s new snooker podcast has divided opinion since it began in December last year. Is it even a comedy podcast? Herring says not, insisting that it is a serious sports podcast and should be treated as such. He also says the podcast is an attempt to whittle down his listenership to zero, at which point he will have won. And redefined the very concept of art. Should we be concerned?
The setup is simple. Herring records himself (Me1) playing himself (Me2) at snooker on a mini table in a cramped basement then publishes the results on the British Comedy Guide website. As well as the two players, Herring also inhabits the roles of two commentators who interview the two players and comment on the match, and the referee. It can get confusing but then great art is sometimes challenging.
Whether this is great art, a scathing satire on ‘challenging’ comedians, or a meta-comedic takedown of postmodernism (it’s definitely one of those things) remains to be seen. But the show is not just coldly intellectual, there is a distinct strain of melancholy here too. Born Phoenix-like from the ashes of the Collings and Herrin Podcast, which ended last year due to a ‘lack of enthusiasm’ on the part of Andrew Collins, Herring’s new podcast is haunted by the spectre of Collings. Like a spurned lover prostrating himself at the feet of the object of his affections and wailing ‘this is what you’ve done to me!’ every missed ball and foul shot seems to sigh ‘come back, Andrew, come back.’
Me and him and them and me
We’ll show you what we can do
With a load of balls and a snooker cue