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TMWRNJ Reunion Gig, 16 November 2008, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

Many of NTS’s contributors have been influenced by the former double act Lee and Herring, who managed two radio and TV series of Fist of Fun, and two TV series of This Morning With Richard Not Judy, before being shunned by the BBC. Although there’s never been an official split, both comedians have concentrated on their solo careers, with Richard Herring making a name for himself through his stage shows and his sitcom Time Gentlemen Please, and Stewart Lee through directing the controversial Jerry Springer the Opera.

Imagine the excitement, then, when several NTSers gathered at the Lyric Theatre to watch a reunion of some of the main cast; Lee and Herring, naturally, with Trevor Lock doing a stand-up set, Emma Kennedy playing a set with a band formed for that very show (with celebrity gimp), and Paul Putner reprising his role as The Curious Orange (who seemed to be doing a natty impression of Davros). So, was it any good?

We started with a cheeky Herring busking his way through his introduction of the evening, drawing attention to the set actually being more suited to a Time Gentlemen Please, rather than TMWRNJ, but as the intention was for the cast to do their own things anyway, it didn’t really matter. Trevor Lock then did a stand up act which I imagine would work rather better in a smaller venue, as the quick-fire, conversational style didn’t quite come across in the Lyric. Stew came on and did some of the same stand-up I saw in Edinburgh; it’s just as brilliant the second time round. Emma Kennedy and her band Vaginal Tap did a really-rather-good rendition of TV themes, with Mel Giedroyc as the mystery celebrity dancing gimp, and a doll as the group’s manager. The manager’s crowd surfing was brought to an abrupt end when a audience member, with impecciable comic timing, threw her back onto the stage in the middle of a song, minus her leg. The group’s excellent rendition of the TMWRNJ was the perfect link to the main attraction.

As a long-standing fan of Lee and Herring (12 years), it was fun to see them bouncing the old favourites off each other, but they didn’t really hit their stride until The Curious Orange made an appearance, and then they proved why I was obsessed with them as a 19 year old. But the enjoyment was bitter-sweet; as they pointed out themselves, some of the double acts who were breaking through at the same time as them, such as Armstrong and Miller, have gone on to much greater success, despite the latter being far less reliable in terms of laughs, and far less inventive. It’s been a good while since either Lee or Herring have done comedy on that there telly, so it’s exciting that Stew is now working on his own TV series, based on his always sharp stand-up.

Although after watching the show, it’s hard to fantasise about anything other than a new Lee and Herring series. Which is never going to happen. The fact that, despite four excellent series of comedy, they never managed to properly break television is a loss to us all. And this evening reminded me of that in spades.

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Did Lee and Herring address the smallness of Trever Lock’s face?

By J Clark
November 21, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

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He didn’t really appear on stage with them, so I don’t think they did, no. They did address their getting older, though; as Rich is currently suffering from a form of vertigo, and Stew has some infection that normally only happens to homeless people, Rich suggested that they change their name to ‘Dizzy and Scabby’. Stew showed us his wound. Even from row P, it looked nasty.

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By Tanya Jones
November 21, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

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Oh, wow! Sounds brilliant! Stew and Rich were due to appear kind-of together at Battersea Arts Centre on 7th November, but unfortunately Stew was ill. Stew was to compere the event (“Sausage Night 2008”), and Rich took this role on; Rich was to do a small stand up set along with several other “guests”, and David Gorman (an unadvertised guest) took HIS place. Other “guests” were Phil Nichol, Josie Long, Will Adamsdale, Pappy’s Fun Club and Bridget Christie. Rather a good night but I do wish Stew had been there.

Rich has been talking about his vertigo on the Collings and Herrin podcasts lately, but I can’t remember what he calls it - benign something vertigo.

By J Clark
November 21, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

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