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Thread: Richard Herring On Co-Creating Alan Partridge, His Rasputin TV Show And Dave's New Comedy Competition

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    Default Richard Herring On Co-Creating Alan Partridge, His Rasputin TV Show And Dave's New Comedy Competition



    The TV channel Dave will be sponsoringa comedy festival in Leicester next month, and on the programme will be some new comedy from new comedians. So new, in fact, it might not even exist yet.

    There's going to be a competition for 30-60 second comedy videos, judged by a panel withRichard Herring at the head.

    I spoke to Herring in order to get his explanation of the contest, but also to find out what he's up to - and if he and Stewart Lee will be expecting co-creator credits on the upcoming Alan Partridge movie.

    Here's some of what he told me.

    I think [this competition] is a very exciting opportunity for newer comedians to get their work out there and to win some money, which isn't too bad, and also to get some comedy advice from the creators of The Inbetweeners.

    What it involves is creating a 30 to 60 second comedy video, uploading it to YouTube, going to the Leicester Comedy Festival website and entering it, and if Dave are happy with it, it will be submitted and be judged.

    You've got a 30 to 60 second opportunity to impress some actual comedians and industry people, and in that it's about creating something original and surprising. People judging this will have seen all the comedians, all of the jokes.

    Beyond the time limit there's no restraints on it. You've got to think carefully, you've got to be concise and brief, but I think that if you're starting out in comedy you've got to be able to make someone laugh, certainly if you're a standup, you've got to make them laugh in the first 30 to 60 seconds or you're sunk.What's your best possible joke and what's your best possible way of expressing it?

    What I like about the internet is that, competitions or not, you're able to go and load stuff up and, if it's good, there's a good chance that it will get retweeted and replayed and seen around the world.

    I tend to be on Twitter and if somebody tweets something I'll look at it but I don't tend to go to YouTube and look for stuff. I upload a lot of stuff, mainly audio podcasts, and it's great to have the ability to put stuff up without having to go through committees. You can do something that would never get past radio people or TV people.

    When I was a student, and it's probably the funniest thing I ever did, was an act introduced as Harold Puxton, the man who can only live in a vacuum and then I'd run on, really excited and half way through just realise I was no longer in a vacuum and die, fall to the floor in a very slapstick way. That probably got the biggest laugh I ever got in my life from the combination of the idea and the ridiculous slapstick and gusto that I threw myself to the floor with.

    It's hard to get a good point across in 30 seconds but that isn't necessarily what this is about. I don't think this is a competition I would do particularly well in because I like to have longer to do something.

    The things I won't like are things that are hackneyed or that I've seen a hundred times before. I can't tell you now what will work I'll just see something and it will be funny.

    I'm still cracking away [at writing dramas and sitcoms]. I've written about four or five scripts since the last thing that was on TV [You Can Choose Your Friends].

    The two I'm writing at the moment seem to have a reasonable shot at getting somewhere. I'm writing a sitcom about Rasputin for TV and a thing about Cheddar Cave cave guides for the radio. Both of those are quite old ideas, in fact. Things come around again, you get another shot at stuff.

    It got too expensive to write plays for Edinburgh but I'd really like to have another go at a theatre play again. I thought [You Can Choose Your Friends] was pretty good and I then wrote a sitcom version of it that I thought was better but ITV then stopped doing comedy, really. I was at the mercy of committees and people changing jobs and tastes changing. It would be nice to get something scripted off the ground, though, so I don't have to tour all the time.

    The basic start for the Rasputin show is Ra-Ra-Rasputin the jukebox musical I did back before there were jukebox musicals, in '92 or '93. Basically, it's a sitcom about Rasputin with a fair degree of accuracy but lots of made up stuff as well. It's about him being a pop star, and having created Europop. It will have Boney M music but other disco music too for TV as well as there just aren't that many Boney M songs.

    Increasingly I'm thinking, most things I could do via the internet. Cheap sketch shows and cheap sitcoms maybe, and you own the whole thing. If you make it to a high enough standard it could possibly go on TV or onto DVD at some point. For me, it's all about creating the work and not worrying too much about the money coming in as long as some is coming in.

    I don't think [Stewart Lee and I] deserve a credit for [co-creating Alan Partridge] to be honest. We joke around about it. We were heavily involved in On the Hour, we were one third of the writing team, we came up with a lot of the feeling of On the Hour and we wrote the first lines that Alan Partridge said but it was very much Steve [Coogan]'s creation and Armando [Iannucci]'s creation so, in reality, I wouldn't expect anything back from that.

    That's part of the reason we didn't do the TV version of On the Hour[The Day Today] - we were just being seen as writers and we weren't given any creative control of the characters that we were creating, some of which did end up, in some version, on the TV. At the time I was very disappointed to not be involved in the TV, and our careers would probably have been very different had we gone along with it. I don't feel we have any right to the Alan Partridge character but we certainly informed that show. I learned that it's important to retain control to the characters you create.

    Still, I feel like I've got enough ideas that somebody could steal one of my ideas and make a lot of money off of it and I'll still have enough to do alright.

    I think Dave, as a comedian, is an amazing channel. With comedy, some of it is going to work and some of it isn't. They're rewarding comedians properly for that where a lot of TV panel shows don't really pay the correct amount of money. I think Dave take shows and repeat them for a long time so, probably, we earn that money. They give comedians an opportunity to try things out and that's good. With digital TV you'd think there'd be more outlets for comedians, but there aren't, really. It's being taken up by the internet.

    Aaaaaand we're back where we started. If you do enter a video into Dave's competition, please let us see it too. You have until January 27th. Thanks again to Herring for taking the time to speak with me.

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    Nice little interview, one of my heroes, that's the most I've heard him say about On The Hour, I could never quite work out what the "creative differences" were. If I'm remembering right they even cut a lot of the Lee & Herring dialog from the first CD release of the radio show. Would be interesting if you could get some more on that now they are all friends again (if indeed they ever fell out in the first place).

    Thanks Brendon.

    Edit: And you've got to hear Me1 vs Me2 snooker. The man's a genius I tell ya.

    http://www.comedy.co.uk/podcasts/ric...rring_snooker/
    Last edited by boo909; 01-04-2013 at 08:17 AM.

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    "The TV channel Dave will be holding a comedy festival in Leicester next month"

    Not true, the Leicester comedy festival has been running for longer than I have been alive and definitely longer than Dave has been broadcasting, they have merely been the title sponsors for the last few years. As a full blown Leicestershirian I just thought I'd clear that up as it reads like this is something Dave came up with and organised...

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwningXylophone View Post
    "The TV channel Dave will be holding a comedy festival in Leicester next month"

    Not true, the Leicester comedy festival has been running for longer than I have been alive and definitely longer than Dave has been broadcasting, they have merely been the title sponsors for the last few years. As a full blown Leicestershirian I just thought I'd clear that up as it reads like this is something Dave came up with and organised...
    They lied to me! Well, they sinned by omission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boo909 View Post
    Would be interesting if you could get some more on that now they are all friends again (if indeed they ever fell out in the first place).
    I'm sure I've read quite a bit about it out there in various interviews over the years, even think there's a bit in Chris Morris' biography about Iannucci and Lee on a plane suffering turbulence and making up . . .
    Iannucci did produce the first 2 series of Stew's Comedy Vehicle and he was also in 2 series of Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World which was right after On the Hour . . .
    so basically professionals . . .
    Can't remember, but maybes something in this PodCast interview Rich did last year with Iannucci and Graham Linehan . . .http://www.comedy.co.uk/podcasts/ric...nucci_linehan/
    Last edited by ScotiaNova; 01-04-2013 at 01:16 PM.

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    Plus Stew was in Time Trumpet, and Ianucci was Lee's acerbic interviewer in Comedy Vehicle.

    No mention of Patrick Marber, however...
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    This competition sounds like fun. My son's school should enter an edited version of the version of Cinderella they're doing. Richard would love it - my son's playing Shrek.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_silver_shade View Post
    This competition sounds like fun. My son's school should enter an edited version of the version of Cinderella they're doing. Richard would love it - my son's playing Shrek.
    It has to be A Shrek . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScotiaNova View Post
    I'm sure I've read quite a bit about it out there in various interviews over the years, even think there's a bit in Chris Morris' biography about Iannucci and Lee on a plane suffering turbulence and making up . . .
    Iannucci did produce the first 2 series of Stew's Comedy Vehicle and he was also in 2 series of Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World which was right after On the Hour . . .
    so basically professionals . . .
    Can't remember, but maybes something in this PodCast interview Rich did last year with Iannucci and Graham Linehan . . .Episode 9 - Armando Iannucci & Graham Linehan - Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast - Podcasts - British Comedy Guide
    Yes I know all those quotes, but they always just dance around the issue of what happened. They did mention it in the podcast, but just a mention really, more about the plane incident than anything iirc.

    "That’s part of the reason we didn’t do the TV version of On the Hour [The Day Today] – we were just being seen as writers and we weren’t given any creative control of the characters that we were creating, some of which did end up, in some version, on the TV."

    That's actually the most specific thing I've heard anyone say on the subject.
    Last edited by boo909; 01-06-2013 at 03:15 AM.

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