“ Edinburgh Fringe 2008,31st July - 25th August 2008, Underbelly, Cowgate „
The Collings and Herrin Podcasts are a popular series of weekly discussions between broadcaster Andrew Collins and comedian Richard Herring, which have been entertaining a growing cult fan base in varying degrees of quality since January 2008.
Last summer saw their first live podcast experiment at the Edinburgh Fringe, when the podcast had reached the then-unimaginable count of 25. A year later, with several more live appearances under their collective belt, Collins and Herring booked a sweaty room in the cavernous Underbelly at the ungodly breakfast hour of 12.20pm for five consecutive days, charging a meagre ticket price for dedicated fans eager to see the magic unfold in the flesh.
Rather than just downloading the shows for no money at all, which would all be uploaded within hours of recording as usual.
A core tenet of this podcast embraced by its creators has always been its unscripted, unedited nature, which has traditionally seen a lousy podcast one week followed by dynamite the next, or most commonly an average show with peaks and troughs. It was interesting to catch up with the podcast on the final day of its residence, when the dedicated pair were thankfully still on top form and showing few signs of tiredness outside of general Fringe exhaustion - particularly Herring, whose stand-up show Hitler Moustache has been running concurrently every evening.
But the relaxed nature of these one hour six minutes and thirty-six second chats (based on the arbitrary cut-off point decided by Collins' sound recording software) means that the podcast can't feel too much like work, especially when Collins and Herring are staging the event for very little in the way of personal gain.
But there was still no laziness with the content or opportunities to recycle successful routines from the previous days, as each recording has been released into the public domain for the thousands of listeners who couldn't be in attendance. This means that anyone who fancied coming along to more than one recording, including the few ridiculously loyal buffoons who confessed to having attended all five shows, will find it a slightly different experience each time.
There was a great atmosphere at the recording. Despite the off-putting early hour, the low ticket price and suitable publicity meant that at least a few people had come along without really knowing what to expect, but the feeling was still one of community, if a particularly nerdy and internet-loving community. The audience was treated as a collection of regular listeners, but it's not as if there's a great deal of backstory that needs exposition, and tales of the week's events were nostalgically recounted to ensure everyone was filled in.
The professional comedian of the pair, Richard Herring is naturally the more entertaining, and has great confidence with audience interaction. As a freeform example of his style, the live podcast makes a great companion to his tightly structured solo show, but he and Collins now seem completely at ease presenting their ramblings in front of a live crowd, with none of the tentative feeling of last year's "experiment."
If you weren't in the audience, you missed out on five minutes of fairly uneventful afterglow after the recording reached its end point, and the opportunity to receive a free Stinger chew bar courtesy of the well-meaning fans who continue to present the double-act with misguided gifts. All five live podcasts are available to download from the British Comedy Guide, in addition to the whole archive, and more live podcasts are on the cards in the future. For fans, it's a great opportunity to see behind the scenes and be reminded that these men have actual faces and stuff.
The Collings and Herrin podcast LIVE! - Andrew Collins and Richard Herring record their infamous, shambolic, rambling and hilarious podcast live in front of an audience! An hour of spontanious rubbish right in front of your stupid face, and it's FREE! But you have to book! So do it now, to experience that one-off, ridiculous, excellent value for money event!