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Review: Richard Herring’s Can I Have My Ball Back?

Richard Herring brought his Can I Have My Ball Back? tour, which looks at his testicular cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment in a mainly light-hearted way, to a packed Cambridge Junction (J2) on Thursday, 13 June. The tour is his first in six years.

The popular comic, the winner of series 10 of Taskmaster and last year’s Taskmaster champion of champions - who self-deprecatingly referred to himself as “some bloke who used to be on TV in the 90s” (or words to that effect) - came out to a huge reception, following the playing of songs with the words ‘ball’ or ‘balls’ in the title ringing out from the stereo system as we took our seats.

Richard Herring. Picture: Steve Bright
Richard Herring. Picture: Steve Bright

I’m not usually a fan of this type of comedy show, the type that focuses on one particular thing - I prefer to hear jokes on a wide range of topics - and I tend to be even less receptive if it’s something related to a medical condition.

I’ve also tended to much prefer the comedy of Richard’s ex-comedy partner Stewart Lee, although I did admire the way Richard stood up for fellow comic Jerry Sadowitz when the latter was famously cancelled at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022.

Anyway, the show began and Richard proved himself to be an engaging storyteller. There were some clever jokes and humorous observations on what was obviously a harrowing and life-changing experience.

It explored the lead-up to his initial scan, how it left him feeling, his surgery and the aftermath, among many other things, and one couldn’t help but sit up and take note.

Although I didn’t laugh out loud much during the first half, I didn’t get bored either, as Richard succeeded in keeping the energy level up as he recounted the sobering events of the past four years, often in graphic detail.

The first half ended on a cliff-hanger as Richard said: “Come back in the second half to find out if I survived” (spoiler, he did).

The show was interspersed with videos and images - some of which were amusing pictures his young daughter had drawn of him - and I found myself laughing more in the second half, particularly at a hilarious ventriloquism act which for me was the highlight of the piece.

[Read more: Richard Herring asks Can I Have My Ball Back? in new comedy show]

On a serious note, Richard revealed that six men who had seen Can I Have My Ball Back? told him that they had discovered and been treated for testicular cancer as a result, which highlights how this type of show can be beneficial.

It was certainly thought-provoking, interesting, emotional and funny - despite not including any material that left me hyperventilating (though that’s okay, comedy shows don’t always have to do that to be considered a success) - and overall I’m glad I attended.

Richard Herring. Picture: Steve Bright
Richard Herring. Picture: Steve Bright

For more on Richard, and to check on tour dates, visit richardherring.com.

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