Comedian and writer Richard Herring is no stranger to controversy himself and thus makes the perfect host for a series that tries to turn popular opinion about unpopular objects or people upon its head. "I'm going to turn the taboo into the to-do," he quips in his introduction before informing us that the item he is considering as having been on the end of an unfair press is the golliwog.
In a vox pop among Londoners - black as well as white - the overwhelming response to the golly is that it was a harmless toy, a symbol of its time that would not have a place today but was never an embodiment of racial hatred. Herring very cleverly introduces some marvellous examples of why this is not the case, the most appalling being a short story by Enid Blyton in which her choice of names for three gollies is too offensive to print. There's no preaching, just intelligent and extremely funny assessment, ably assisted by black comedienne Ava Vidal who pulls no punches in her views on this sorry doll. It's time to consign the golly to a museum.Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 8th November 2011
The script for the first Objective of the second series has been a tricky one to get right - the golliwog is an incendiary item and I wanted to write a show that was funny, though not disrespectful to the broader issues.Richard Herring, BBC Radio 4 Blog, 8th November 2011
Richard Herring was at the BBC venue at the Edinburgh Fringe with a one off Scottish special about the See You Jimmy hat.Jon Aird, BBC Comedy, 22nd August 2011
Not one to ever play safe, comedian and writer Richard Herring has begun a series of four programmes in which he will be attempting to reclaim objects that people have grown to hate. In the first instalment of Richard Herring's Objective, he revisited the subject of a previous stand-up show by asking why the Hitler or toothbrush moustache remains so morally questionable. His mission was to remind society that the same "nasal welcome mat" once signified comedy through its rightful owner Charlie Chaplin.
It was funny and occasionally distressing to hear what happened when Herring himself grew said offensive moustache and the reactions he received when he went walkabout. But beyond the laughs, this extremely intelligent performer also made a political point - the skill was that he did so without listeners feeling like they were being preached to.Lisa Martland, The Stage, 25th October 2010
Richard Herring's latest series is based on the idea that he will try to rehabilitate some apparently harmless object that people now object to. He begins with Hitler's moustache. Why should that little piece of facial hair still provoke such hatred? He discovers (from a German moustache historian, yes, really) that Hitler grew a beard in the Second World War then shaved it down. During his rise to power, that moustache became very popular. After the war, not at all. So Herring grows a beard then shaves it down Hitler-fashion to test reaction today.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 14th October 2010
Facial hair is usually associated with harmless eccentricity these days but during the 30s and 40s it was a moustache that embodied pure evil itself - specifically the toothbrush 'tache sported by Adolf Hitler. In this series, comedian Richard Herring sets out to rid a number of inanimate objects of their unfortunate associations, with his sights set this week on the Führer's face furniture, arguing that Charlie Chaplin popularised the toothbrush moustache long before Hitler first reached for his razor, and that the style needs reclaiming by today's funnymen. While quite amusing, the show's a bit hit-and-miss with Herring veering dangerously close to sermonising when the BNP comes up. But fans of the comic and his irreverent style will find much to enjoy.Tom Cole, Radio Times, 14th October 2010
Hi Richard thanks for taking the time out for my inane questionnaire. How's things with you right now?Waylander 101, 16th September 2010