Never Mind the Bollocks: Richard Herring is Talking Cock at the Purcell Room

Saturday 20th October 2012

Richard Herring is the University Lecturer everyone would love to have.  He wouldn’t be wiping the obscene graffiti off the board – he would be giving it a critique for accuracy, and no doubt would be complaining about lack of imagination and flair in the world of student obscenity.  This is the man who would like to start a campaign to teach children in playgrounds across the country how to make their sexually insulting gestures more anatomically precise.  Having seen him in action twice already in Christ on a Bike and What is Love Anyway, we didn’t need much persuading to take in his latest mission to push the boundaries of decency ever further, ‘Talking Cock’.

Herring explains in his introduction that this show was in part inspired by the ‘Vagina Monologues’ phenomenon.  ‘I saw a gap, and thought I should fill it’, he says.  A gap in the market, that is, of course.  And here he picks up the baton from the ladies with a probing exploration of the male organ and our attitudes to it.  If size doesn’t matter, he asks, why are there no pencil thin dildos?  Could there be a connection between some of the statistics which he gathered on his online survey – for example that 29% of men felt ashamed of their penis, and exactly 29% of women had laughed openly at a man’s genitals.  And how strange that the average penis length of the respondents was one inch longer than the average of the population at large.  Could it be that large-cocked men have a particular enjoyment of filling in online surveys?  Or perhaps they just pressed the ruler in really hard when they measured.  Do men think with their penises? he asks.  No, but it’s a convenient excuse for bad behaviour.  Never was there a better exponent of the power of humour to prick the engorged pomposity of the male ego, and the laughter of recognition in the room from both sexes says it all.

The show is ever evolving, and Herring supplements the visual headlines of his survey results with new material gleaned from the answers.  The growing list of penis pet-names is impressive, as was the heart-felt email from a woman who literally couldn’t have sex with her well-endowed boyfriend.  The survey is still open – give it a go, and you too could end up on the show.

We would like to see ‘Talking Cock’ become a compulsory part of the National Curriculum for children – there is more truth and humanity in this show than in the most earnest documentaries.  And after all Herring is a headmaster’s son, and now a respectable married man – what could possibly go wrong?

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One Response to Never Mind the Bollocks: Richard Herring is Talking Cock at the Purcell Room

  1. Pingback: We’re all going to die……laughing: Richard Herring at the Leicester Square Theatre | rageoffstage

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