Richard Herring is the king of the podcast.

The stand-up comedian, who made his name with his former comic partner Stewart Lee in radio show Lee and Herring and then on TV in the surreal Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy, is still busy being funny – and has found his natural home online.

His ‘Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast’ – shortened to RHLSTP, but pronounced in classic Herring style as ‘Rehelestepeh’ – has won Chortle and Sony Best Comedy awards and attracts a large audience of fans.

It sees him in conversation with high profile guests – most, though not all, comedians. Tim Minchin, Adam Buxton, David Mitchell, Armando Iannucci, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, The Simpsons’ Harry Shearer and former partner Stewart Lee have all been put through their paces – some, like Fry, who talked about attempting suicide, opening up in heartbreaking candour.

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On Sunday, it leaves its natural home in the West End for a night at the Oxford Playhouse. His guests include the environmentalist and journalist George Monbiot, who lives in Rose Hill, and comedian, broadcaster and quiz champ Paul Sinha.

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For Richard, who is also responsible for co-creating the character Alan Partridge, it is a homecoming of sorts. He read history at St Catherine’s College and began his comedy career with the Oxford Review.

“It’s been a long time, 30 years, since I was at Oxford and wanted to come back,” he says. “It’s a beautiful place to be.”


He describes the podcasts as his “crowning achievement”, saying: “I tend to have people that I respect and like. There are people I wouldn’t have – people I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as – but the best guests have a passion for explaining their ideas.”

And who have been his favourites? “Most of the 300 or so have been good and some have been incredibly enjoyable – like Bob Mortimer and  Greg Davies ... and Les Dennis telling anecdotes was incredible.

“I’m proud of a lot of it.”

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He adds: “You do have a script in your head, but mostly you get the feeling you are using different parts of your brain, and none of this is planned.

“If it’s no good people won’t listen but if you do something well, people will still be there – and it’s a really good audience because they listen are intelligent and engaged. And all the bits that work do so because of a synthesis between the audience and guests.”

While being free of the constraints of a commission from a broadcaster like the BBC does give Richard artistic freedom, it also means he – or rather his listeners – have to fund the endeavour himself.


“It’s not about making money but getting ideas out there,” he says. “But if just half a per cent of listeners are prepared to give money I can make it work – and it is working, so the idea is viable.”

He adds: “I want to make sure it doesn’t end... or that, when it does end, it’s my choice.

“I’ve been working for 30 years and am still here.

“It’s quite a remarkable achievement to write nearly all my own work –and that’s a nice place to be and gives me hope that if I keep on working I should be able to carry on making good stuff. And I have never lost the desire to keep doing interesting stuff.”

What are the chances of him teaming up once again with his erstwhile comedy partner, Stewart, a patron, incidentally, of the Playhouse?

“I don’t think so,” he says. “We’ve done that and are now both onto different things – though we always thought it would be fun to do something in our 80s.

“We were always pulling in different directions though... and he was reluctant to do a double act in the first place!

“But there are more exciting things coming through – like the podcasts, which have lots of interesting ideas.”

And will he be popping into his alma mater when he arrives in town?

“No. I don’t feel at home at St Cats. I do love going round the city seeing old haunts, though, but it’s so weird it was 30 years ago, as it could have been yesterday.”

So will he pop into any of his favourite pubs? “I used to go to The Turf and Kings Head, but I won’t be drinking,” he says. “I never drink before a podcast.”

See it

Richard Herring with George Monbiot and Paul Sinha appear at the Oxford Playhouse on Sunday. Tickets from