Rounding off an eventful discussion day, we took a trip to Leicester Square Theatre for this month’s Cog Night. Laura and Spencer share their thoughts.
Richard Herring and his podcast format (lovingly termed RHLSTP by ‘those in the know’) had split opinions in the studio as we discussed the upcoming Cog Night. Some were big fans of his long-running podcast, others needed to be convinced.
The day had already been pretty unusual, after our annual discussion to celebrate a year of wonderful work, our afternoon was a scavenger hunt. We split into teams to take selfies in key settings and search for some obscure objects, all for points and the prospect of cash prizes.
Filled with the adrenaline of that experience (and pizza and beer), we took a journey we know well from Greenwich to Leicester Square.
In fact Spencer knew it better than most. He and his team had visited the venue earlier in the day to get a picture with the box office team (one of the big point-scorers as part of the scavenger hunt) so it felt appropriate to be returning.
After picking up our tickets, we rehydrated and took our seats in the (very comfy) cinema-style seating at Leicester Square’s subterranean theatre. RHLSTP old-timers talked about their favourite guests, as those less familiar soaked up the atmosphere and readied themselves.
Richard Herring’s podcast has been running for 11 years with 27 series and 445+ episodes under its belt. Now a well-worn format, it can still manage to surprise, mainly thanks to Herring’s seemingly endless supply of ‘emergency questions’ designed to throw his guests off-guard, illicit surprising answers, and create wildly amusing tangents.
Would the evening’s guests cope with this whimsical interrogation or flounder under the unpredictability? Laura and Spencer interview each other and reveal all.
Spencer, tell us about what goes on at a podcast recording.
Spencer: Well the recording was split into two, with one comedian each side of an interval. A little intro (and some jokes out of the notebook) from Richard was followed by conversations with each comedian with some ‘emergency questions’ if required – some were more AI-inspired than others.
Tell us more about the guests, Laura.
Laura: We booked the tickets before knowing who the guests were – so I was secretly hoping for some big names. The only other time I have been to a live recording of the podcast I did the same and was treated to Michael Palin and Aisling Bea – so it was always going to be hard to top that.
I needn’t have been too worried though because I had seen Thanyia Moore on the telly (phew). I hadn’t heard of Adam Rowe though (and maybe that’s OK).
Ouch! What rubbed you up the wrong way?
Laura: He made it very clear I wasn’t his target audience, which means I don’t even need to pretend that I enjoyed it. Let’s say I’m a tad bored of male comedians capitalising on their breakups, claiming it as some sort of cathartic therapeutic exercise (cough cough James Acaster…)
On the other hand, Thanyia Moore was a delight so all was not lost. I’m intrigued to see her TV show about being a bully rather than being a victim of bullying. She was wrong about Wensleydale with cranberries in being the best cheese mind. It’s not cheese, it’s a dessert.
How was the live experience for you Spencer? Was it worth it when you can just listen to the podcast online?
Spencer: Well, Richard’s hair took a starring role, that’s for sure. We’d kill for those healthy, well-nourished locks and loved the bits where his face was almost entirely covered with it.
Joking aside, the podcast and live experiences were pretty similar, it felt like besides a few audio differences the footage recorded on the night was the same as what was going up online.
What a vibe, how can we book tickets for RHLSTP?
Leicester Square Theatre’s website is where you need to head to book tickets to RHLSTP, guests change for every recording so be sure to check who’s being interviewed in advance. Here are the next people on the list:
- 10 July: Peter Baynham & Alistair Green
- 17 July: Sarah Millican
As Richard Herring would do, let’s finish off with a couple of emergency questions:
Would you prefer to have a hand made out of sun cream or an armpit that dispensed ham?
Laura: I used to think this was a no-brainer. A self-replenishing hand made of ham would be useful for attracting neighbourhood cats as well as snacking. Win-win. Now I have my own cat and no longer need to embarrass myself running after other people’s, I’d go for the sunscreen option – assuming I can get the fanciest one I like.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Spencer: I think I did during some work experience at one of London’s well-known walkthrough scare mazes. It was either that or another dressed-up actor but the latter makes for a much less interesting story, doesn’t it?