Let there be laughter

14:26 11 January 2011

Richard Herring

Richard Herring


Richard Herring intelligently dissects the bible in Christ on a Bike, a show that sees him work up to an imaginary race against Jesus on a push bike

As we recover from the excess of Jesus’ birthday party, it is hard not to warm to comedian Richard Herring when he shuffles on to the stage be-sandaled and be-bearded to begin his new show Christ on a Bike.

His latest stand-up offering at the Leicester Square theatre is the second coming for the Oxford graduate as he revisits his first ever solo Edinburgh show from 2001.

There is nothing fusty about his performance, though, as Herring, pictured left, dissects the foundations of Christianity with the intelligence and wit for which he has become famous for over the intervening years.

The prevalence of atheism these days was proven at the outset, when one sole hand out of some 200 responded to the question ‘who believes in Jesus?’.

And the quite brilliantly Herring goes on to put himself against the Messiah and picks apart the seemingly glaring errors contained in the gospels. “I’m not saying I’m Jesus,” he declares, “that is for other people to say.”

Using a tried and tested device he picks out easy biblical targets for ridicule. The funniest by far comes when he dismantles the opening page of the New Testament. He has learnt its weary wordiness by heart and delights (and receives great applause) in reciting whole thing before pointing out the most glaring of errors that demolishes its relevance – becoming angry in the process.

It soon becomes clear that Herring is exploring a fascination and knowledge in the life of Christ.

Describing the show before he started the run, he said: “It’s a show about Christ and my continued obsession with him, even though I consider myself a committed atheist.

“It’s a serious question but it is not a controversial show – most of it comes from a personal angle – and ultimately I am the victim of the jokes.”

The brilliant device employed by Herring and explored twice throughout is a dream sequence in which Jesus Christ challenges him to a bike race which quickly turns into a poignant parable, watched by Buddha eating a hot-dog and Allah doing nothing controversial.

The childish fantasy starts out funny and ends up thought provoking – the comic has done a bit of thinking here.

In fact Christ on a Bike does not offer belly laughs in its entirety, but where laugh-out-loud comedy is lacking, Herring more than compensates with his intelligent observation on organised religion and electric dramatic monologues. It is a shame that this was broken up by the interval.

When the non-believing comic takes the 10-commandments – literally the word of the Lord – and clobbers God for his verbose literary failings the auditorium erupts with laughter. And what was previously a divine list of moral rules becomes the inane ramblings of a madman.

It is a reflection of modern times, perhaps, that this kind of show hasn’t caused the kind of controversy prompted when Herring grew a Hitler-style toothbrush moustache. When one zealous Scottish believer wrote an email to warn Herring of the wrath of God, they were rewarded by being ridiculed on stage.

The former sparring partner of Stewart Lee lives and breaths funny as a radio presenter, podcaster, blogger, script writer and as he will surely succeed in developing as an actor. On the back of that, Christ on a Bike is the kind of warming and clever work we have come to expect from Richard Herring.

● Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until January 22. Tickets: 0844 847 2475.

Latest entertainment

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The Golden Tree- Paul Horton

His work will be displayed in Castle Galleries.

Monday, November 30, 2015

It will be on stage in February.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The singer’s hits include So Lucky and When I Leave The World Behind.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Young girl reading magazine

It will be performed in Bromley.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Maureen Nolan

The musical will be coming to Dartford.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

John Partridge will be taking on the role of Billy Flynn in the production, which will be in Dartford next year. EastEnders star John Partridge will be taking on the role of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Churchill Theatre

Hits including Yesterday and Hey Jude will be performed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Amelia Lily, American Idiot, The Arts Theatre, London

Songs including Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Holiday will be included.

Most read news


Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Digital Edition

Read the Bexley Times e-edition today E-edition

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder