COMEDIAN Richard Herring has become the man to go to for all things mad monk.

His expertise on Rasputin spread to Netflix who asked him to contribute to a documentary series on the notorious Russian. Richard scored highly on Celebrity Mastermind with Rasputin as his specialist subject.

“I was beaten by one point by Hilary Kay, the antiques expert, came in and pipped me. It is now part of my comedy charm that I am incapable of winning,’’ said Richard. “But I love TV quizzes and have been on Pointless a few times.’’

The comedian’s knowledge of Grigori Rasputin, the healer to Alexei Nikolaevich Tsarevich of Russia, came about through his research for a play he was writing.

“I went to St Petersburg to research the play which was about the guy who killed him. It was a risky undertaking as it was a six person play but it was a good thing to do.’’

Richard studied history at St Catherine’s College Oxford but admits that he spent more time studying comedy with fellow comic Stuart Lee, than he did delving into historical tomes. That friendship was the start of Lee and Herring the successful double act that lasted for about 13 years. “I read more history books now than I did then,but it was where I met Stuart,’’ said Richard.

The duo became known for their TV work on Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy.

Having gone solo, Richard quickly saw that podcasts would win him a whole new generation of fans. “I started in 2008 just for fun. It was simple just having a chat, but then We made it more structured, had special guests, filmed them and took it to a higher production standard. That’s when we started to use the crowd fundingand now the new Drip subscription crowdfunding where fans pay a little each month and it’s going OK..”

His Leicester Square Theatre podcast had guests such as Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg and Russell Brand.

This spring Richard is taking his latest show, Oh F**g, I’m 50 on tour and he will be stopping off in Swindon. He says the show is a follow-up to the one he created when he turned 40, which was all about midlife crisis.

“It seemed a nice thing to do a catch up every 10 years of my life and a lot has changed in the last 10 years, I am married with two children and at this moment peeling potatoes! It’s a funny show with a bit of philosophy, but it may be a bit racy for some people,’’ he said.

The comedian is also known for his writing, he was the main writer for almost all the Time Gentleman Please series for Al Murray.

“Al wrote a bit but I wrote most of it on my own. It was a great thing to do and set me up,’’ said Richard.

He has just completed two sitcoms. Relativity was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, with Alison Steadman and Emily Barrington starring alongside Richard. The other, Everything Happens For No Reason, has been filmed as a pilot for Channel 4 TV and stars Noel Fielding and Jessica Knappett.

Richard has honed his writing over the years by writing a blog, Warming Up, every day for the past 15 years.

“It’s value is attracting younger fans, a book came out of the blog and one of my stand-up routines came from it and it is a great way of becoming a better writer and generating material bedsides I am an obsessive personality and it would be upsetting to stop.’’

Richard Herring is at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon on Friday, March 9 from 8pm. Tickets are £21 from 01793 524481 or visit

- Flicky Harrison