Podcast Review: Richard Herring Interviews Charlie Brooker

News: Charlie Brooker Returns With Isolation Comedy

Well, they do say timing is everything in comedy. At the end of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast interview with Charlie Brooker Herring asked the Black Mirror writer what he was up to next and Brooker revealed that he was working on a New Year Philomena Cunk special. I got all excited and thought I had a scoop and ran a story announcing this, only to be told that the interview took place in November 2019 and the New Year special referred to had already aired...

Still, there's lots in this interview that feels as topical as ever, which is maybe why I thought it had been recorded more recently. It also felt topical because I was listening to it as I went on my Orwellian daily permitted exercise walk through the deserted, silent streets of south London. It's maybe not a good idea to listen to the writer of Black Mirror while you feel as if you are living in your own personal episode of Black Mirror.

But do listen/watch this episode, it's a very illuminating, enjoyable interview. After Herring has informed us that he recently did a wee that lasted three minutes he settles down to chat with Brooker about his career and philosophy. Brooker is particularly funny when he describes winning two Emmys and when onstage locking eyes with Oprah Winfrey in the audience. He admits to having the ultimate first world problem when he wanted to grab a glass of fizzy wine after the awards but couldn't because he was holding an Emmy in each hand.

Elsewhere Brooker and Herring reflect on how the world has changed or has not changed since they were growing up. Was the nuclear shadow of the eighties worse than the climate change shadow of today? And how did comedy help us get over our fears back then and now? Remember again that this was recorded when Coronavirus was not even a pimple on the UK's arse. 

Brooker is totally self-effacing but utterly good company. He seems both happy and bleak in his outlook, which is probably about right for someone who is one of our most acclaimed writers but who also thinks that "cunts have been rolling a six for the last five years". I didn't know that Brooker was born with his umbilical cord around his neck. Maybe that has had an effect on his worldview, maybe not. Needless to say he sounds like a pretty decent dad, encouraging his kids to watch The Young Ones when they'd rather be watching YouTube clips of some twatty online sensation opening boxes.

It helps that Herring and Brooker seem to get on well and being similar ages share so many references. Herring points out that this is their second interview in the series - early on he says that the first was in 2012, seven years earlier. So mea culpa again, I should've twigged then he was speaking in 2019, but I was distracted by the dappled sunlight falling poetically on the empty streets. And thinking about Herring doing a wee that lasted three minutes.

Listen/download here or watch below.



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