Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Collings & Herrin Podcast: Better Off As Two

When double acts go their separate ways, there is a consistent pattern that emerges. Whilst one goes on to achieve multiple levels of fame and fortune, the other is left to watch his former running mate running as far away as he can. At least, that’s the theory anyway. What we learn from The Collings & Herrin Podcast (the G changing hands in the title for reasons unknown) is that fame is a fickle Mistress.

Richard Herring spent many years working alongside stand up star Stewart Lee, creating TV highlights Lee and Herring’s Fist Of Fun and This Morning With Richard Not Judy. In another place and time, Andrew Collins was working along with Stuart Maconie earling plaudits for his various TV and Radio projects (most notable, The Collins and Maconie’s Hit Parade on BBC Radio 1) Both teams parted ways roughly at the same time, with Maconie achieving success in the literary world and Stewart Lee carving himself a niche in stand-up comedy. Whilst Andrew Collins and Richard Herring worked hard on their own projects, nobody knew what to expect when this very eclectic pair entered the great Podcast race last year...what they got was an absolute treat!

Andrew and Richard are cut from extremely different cloth and have become the standard bearers for Odd Couple comedy. Andrew, a woolly liberal with a penchant for rambling stories about the London Underground and the Mitford Sisters; and Richard a brash, loud, proud swearbox who takes great pleasure in pushing the envelope at every chance he’s got. The result is an hour and six minutes of Andrew attempting to discuss current affairs all the while keeping Richard Herring’s bad tasting editorials at bay.

With Richard's edgy outbursts, Andrew approaches each show with the same level of cautiousness as a polite Pitbull owner would walking through a park full of children…however more often than not the pitbull does get off the lead! Andrew is brilliant foil for Richard’s childish comedy, and seems genuinely uncomfortable every time Richard Herring asks to “bum” him, which is exactly why Herring keeps saying it. The fact that Richard has turned “Will Andrew finally give in and let Richard bum him?” into a question on par with "Will Mulder and Scully get together on The X-Files" in terms of audience anticipation shows just how funny this aspect has become. If anybody else had delivered it, it would have got boring by now.

Collins and Herring earn no points for production on the show, but in a strange way this is the programme’s charm. There’s no flashy opening and closing, no recurring segments, just two guys who press the red “REC” button on Garage Band and discuss what’s going on in this world of ours. Admittedly, I’ve picked shows apart for bad production in the past, but Andrew and Richard aren’t trying to make this an imaging masterpiece and I’ve decided I genuinely prefer NO jingles as opposed to BAD jingles.

Collins and Herring have used their online time to offer something very funny and enjoyable to listen to. Andrew and Richard joke about how they desperately want to get back with the two Stewarts and return to the dynamic doubles of yore, but I flat out refuse to believe that. Working together, Richard Herring and Andrew Collins are greater than they’ve ever been.

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