Try and imagine being dead. It's cold and dark and silent. There's nothing. Nothing at all. You can't see anything, smell anything, taste anything. Also, you're not there. Can you contemplate the total absence of you? Go on, try. no. you're still there aren't you? This should be easy: it's something you experienced for the first 13 billion years of the Universe and yet the prospect of returning to that state of nothingness is unimaginable and fills us with fear.
And with all these thought swirling around in your mortal and decayable brain, it's time for some comedy!
We're All Going To Die! Is Richard Herring's tenth distinctive stand-up show in ten consecutive Fringes (surely a unique accolade?). Having sorted out politics (Hitler Moustache), religion (Christ on a Bike), love (What is Love, Anyway?) and penises (Talking Cock), he turns his taboo-busting eye to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns (apart from Jesus and that bloke with the canoe) - Death.
What happens to us when we die?
Why do humans feel the need to make up fantastical after-lives?
Why does the devil willingly act as custodian of Hell, punishing the wicked and playing into God's hands?
Wouldn't the prospect of existing for eternity actually be much more horrific than being snuffed out, especially if you lost all physical pleasures? An infinity of pure thought with no pizza, booze or wanking?
Why do we treat death with such mawkish seriousness and confer new found sanctity on people we thought were idiots whilst they were walking around and still breathing?
Herring says, 'I am fascinated by any subject which people are reluctant to discuss openly or think we shouldn't joke about. Death is one of the few universal experiences for every human being and yet it's one that is shrouded in euphemism, mystery and terrified awe. Why shouldn't we discuss and laugh about this inevitability while we still can, if only to prepare ourselves for its devastating effects. I hope to show the humorous side of this subject whilst making people think about their attitudes towards it.'
'We're All Going To Die!' can be a panic-inducing and terrifying scream, a blank statement of fact or a calming reassurance. Death is going to happen to all of us, let's accept it, try to stave it off for as long as possible and enjoy this precious and brief flash of light before the blessed relief of failing to exist and not having to worry about anything anymore.
Richard Herring first came to the Edinburgh Fringe in 1987 with the student revue 'The Seven Raymonds' (also featuring Stewart Lee). This year will be the 22nd Fringe he's performed at and his 35th and 36th shows (he is also hosting a daily podcast at The Stand). This has led many journalists to refer to him as 'The King of Edinburgh', a title which he is reluctant to embrace.
'We're All Going to Die!':
Venue: Pleasance Beyond
Date: 31st July - 25th August