Richard Herring: Hitler Moustache DVD

Review by Steve Bennett

The concept is simple enough: Richard Herring tries to reclaim the toothbrush moustache from Hitler and back to comedy, where it began on the upper lip of Charlie Chaplin. So he grew one, and started to note how people’s reactions to him changed.

As a high-concept stunt, it’s novel, if fundamentally flawed – as the natural reaction to seeing a man sporting such face-furniture would probably be to consider them an oddball, rather than a fascist. Not even Nick Griffin’s dumb enough to wear the Hitler ’tache.

Herring himself admits that the point of his gesture is ‘glib at best’, and the show can feel like he’s trying to force ideas into this pre-conceived structure. But there are interesting concepts at play here, despite the red ‘Herring’ of that moustache.

As always, he likes to cheekily subvert accepted ideas with deliciously flawed logic. His justification for asserting racists are in some ways better than liberals is a particularly fine example of this. Whereas other material is more morally ambiguous – for example when he gets laughs from repeatedly saying a racist insult, then berates himself for doing so, then gets to say it more.

If nothing else, it’s fun on the DVD to spot some genuinely pissed-off people in the audience, who the director doesn’t shy away from showing. There are also a couple of men with Hitler moustaches of their own, which is weird.

As part of his research, Herring watched Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, and was greatly taken by a passionate, and deathly serious speech that the comedian delivered against fascism. It obviously inspired Herring to write his own straight diatribe, berating anyone who didn’t vote for helping open the door to the BNP in the 2009 European elections. The threat of the far-right seems, for now, to have subsided but it was clearly a pressing issue that Herring felt genuinely outraged by.

Yet you do get jokes as well – including a lovely gag about hubris that deserves far better reaction than it got, but strangely wouldn’t have worked so well if it had – in a typically intelligent, well-structured and sometimes provocative show from a constantly inventive stand-up.

Richard Herring: Hitler Moustache
Recorded at:
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
Running Time: 101mins
Extras: Preview version (plus intro), Out-takes, As It Occurs To Me documentary, The Unbearable Shiteness Of Being (about being on tour); How Not To Grow Up, Turning 40, Whilst we changed the tapes (9 mins of inertcal blether), Plugging Stuff (Clips from other releases); Little Hitlers (photo montage). A third disc of extras is available for those who buy it direct from Go Faster Stripe.
Released by: Go Faster Stripe/PIAS, out now
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £11.99

Published: 5 Nov 2010

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.