Richard Herring: Talking Cock

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

It's a wonder no one thought of this before.

Given the sheer number of knob gags ejaculated from the mouths of comedians every day, it's a surprise that no one has yet decided to theme an show around their 'Spam javelin', as Herring calls it.

The acclaimed comic also had another bright idea: Get his substantial fan base to write the show for him.

For this offering - cleverly billed as the male answer to the Vagina Monologues - is based on the responses to a questionnaire posted on-line at

This has produced a number of statistics about what men, and women, think of the 'yoghurt-spitting sausage', as well as some revealing opinions and painful anecdotes that bring a tear to the eye (on your face, idiot).

Herring unveils these results at relevant points on the big screen behind him, which sometimes makes the proceedings seem like a pornographic Family Fortunes. ("We asked 1,500 people what they called their penis")

Of course, this show was always going to be a list of cock jokes - though it's actually more of a catalogue, as the gags are meticulously grouped together and weaved around some serious points.

Why are men always boasting of their penis size? Yet why is it essentially an object of shame? Why is the John Wayne Bobbitt story considered funny, when if a similar thing happened to a woman it would be shocking?

Mind you, these points are always flippantly made. For every mention of 'penile fascism' there's half a dozen about 'our fathers' spunking cocks'.

And no answers are offered, other than a plea for everyone - male, female, straight or gay - to celebrate the importance of the penis. But it does give the show some feeling of structure, even though it is still evolving as Herring receives more replies to his survey.

And it's hard to compete with some of those responses. Once someone confesses to having put his penis into a jelly spooned into a toilet roll, it's very hard to top it with a joke or pithy observation. To his credit, 'Dick' Herring does.

This was never going to be the trickiest of topics to make funny, but with his incredulous style and intelligent agenda, Herring has successfully created an unfailingly entertaining show of substance from simply talking cock.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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