Tag Archives: Richard Coughlan

Comic Richard Coughlan on the drugs, Doug Stanhope and the death threat

Richard Coughlan: an anti-white PC mangina

Richard Coughlan: really an anti-white PC mangina?

In yesterday’s blog, I was talking to comic performer Richard Coughlan.

That conversation took place in the Soho Theatre Bar.

This can be a bad place to have chats, because other comics have a tendency to come across and sit down to chat with you in the middle of the blog chat. Thus it was with my Richard Coughlan chat.

Malcolm Hardee Award winners Ellis and Rose wandered over and sat down.

Another problem is that now, in this blog, you have to pay more attention when you read it, because it includes Richard (Coughlan) and Rich (Rose).

“We were talking about A Man Called Horse,” I told the two interlopers.

“Eh?” asked Rich (Rose).

“Are you so young you haven’t even heard of A Man Called Horse?” I asked.

“I did a hook-suspension thing,” explained Richard (Coughlan), “where they put the hooks through your back.”

Ichi The Killer?” asked Rich.

“You see,” Richard told me. “That’s the reference you want for the young people: Ichi The Killer.”

“A man is suspended and tortured in it,” explained Rich.

“How much pain is there?” Ellis asked Richard (Coughlan).

“It’s impossible to describe how it feels,” explained Richard. “It’s so intense. It’s like this combined feeling of intensity with the fact you know you can’t go anywhere because your feet are off the ground. So you just hang there and take it and all your endorphins kick in and the adrenaline. There is no sort of pain you can relate it to.”

“Is it like hitting yourself repeatedly in the face with a blender?” I asked, referring to the Malcolm Hardee Award winning stunt in which Rose punched Ellis repeatedly in the face to pretend he had been beaten-up by an irate audience member and thus get publicity for their Edinburgh Fringe show.

There is footage of the stunt on YouTube.

“It was a milk whisk,” said Rich, correcting me. Then he mentioned to Richard: “I saw your Eat a Queer Foetus For Jesus show at the Edinburgh Fringe two years ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

“I always put as much effort into the title of my show as writing the show,” said Richard. “The first show I did ever was Honky-Hating Heterophobic Man Whore. The whole show was about prejudice. My new show is similar: it’s Anti-White PC Mangina ACTIVATE! That was something I got called once online. I got called an anti-white PC mangina.”

Eat a Queer Foetus For Jesus,” said Rich, was weirdly moving.”

“Well,” said Richard, “The whole point of the end monologue, which is about my girlfriend having an abortion in 2006, is it’s supposed to peak in the middle and get the audience to a point where they hate my guts and I come across as a horrible, nasty shit and then I become so pathetic and worthless by the end of it that they actually feel sympathetic for me when I am shitting myself during a religious experience having been awake for seven days on the trot, off my head on drugs.”

“Am I right,” asked Rich, “that you were on heroin?”

“No,” said Richard, “I was never on heroin. I quit drinking when I was 22 but the only reason I did that was it was the most boring of all the things I was addicted to. There was the crack, the cocaine, the MDMA and the meth…”

“Methadone or methylated spirits?” I asked.

Richard Coughlan (left) with Rich Rose at the Soho Theatre Bar

Richard Coughlan (left) & Rich Rose at the Soho Theatre Bar

“Methamphetamine,” said Richard. “Speed is what it’s called over here, but this is like a stronger version of it. Everyone knows what it is now, because they’ve watched Breaking Bad.”

“Except me,” I said.

“At one point,” Richard continued, “there was an eighteen month period where I was addicted to all four. But, from what I don’t remember of it, I was still quite high functioning. I was working 50 hours a week. You have to: I had something like a £600-a-week cocaine habit. I have no idea how I managed that, because I was only making £300 a week. You get to the point where you think: What else can I sell? I’ve got the carpet and my kidneys left.

“But you stopped being addicted?” I asked.

“Yeah. I knocked them on the head when I was about 25/26. (Richard is now 35.) People still think I’m on them because they see me on stage and I’m manic and all over the place and they see how thin I am and think I’m still on stuff but, no, that’s how much I took: it’s still wearing off.”

“It’s quite interesting,” said Rich, “the way quite a lot of comedians have a history of drug abuse.”

“I don’t really care,” said Richard. “I don’t really care what other people are talking about. When I wrote the abortion routine… I started writing it in about 2008 and it was only in about 2012 that I was finally confident enough with it to get it done. Originally, it was a bit longer, because I had written all this other stuff about interaction I had had with pro-life groups and, six months after I had written but not yet performed it, I watched Doug Stanhope’s No Refunds and he does lots of abortion material and he did this joke that was almost identical to what I’d written.

Doug Stanhope

Doug Stanhope replied the very next day

“I was so unsure about my stuff – even though it was true – that I actually wrote to Doug Stanhope saying: Here’s a transcript of a joke I’ve written. It’s almost identical to yours. I’m worried about doing it because I don’t want people to think I’ve nicked it off you. What should I do?

“I thought: He’ll never get back to me, but he got back to me the next day saying: Oh, when I started, everyone thought I was ripping-off Bill Hicks because I did stuff about drugs. He said: If you want to do it, just do it. If anyone accuses you of ripping me off, you can just send them a copy of this e-mail.”

“What is quite interesting,” said Rich, “is that, when Doug Stanhope talks about that kind of thing, he does it very much to make a point whereas, when you do it, I must say, it is moving – Doug Stanhope is rarely moving.”

“Well,” said Richard, “I wanted to write from the experience that This is not really funny. This was not fun. This was horrific and it was a traumatic, horrible experience. But it’s funny

“I really like Stanhope’s stuff,” said Rich, “but when Stanhope talks about that kind of thing, there’s never a sense of regret. What made yours interesting was there was a sense of regret.”

“But I think, though,” said Richard, “that he takes it to such an extreme. He does that great joke where he goes: We only had an abortion. It wasn’t a frivolous reason. It wasn’t cos we weren’t financially secure. It was just cos we wanted to know what it felt like to kill a baby. I don’t think Doug Stanhope is the sort of act who can risk coming across as emotionally fragile. Whereas that’s me.”

“Sometimes though,” I suggested, “it’s best not to annoy the audience too much.”

“There was one guy,” said Richard. “who had never even been to one of my shows. He was an English Defence League member who sent me a message: When you’re in Scotland doing a gig, I’m going to come and fucking find you and kill you, So I sent him my gig list saying: This is where I’m going to be. Then someone sent me a PM saying You might want to be careful – with a link to an article in The Scotsman and this guy had been sent to prison for stabbing his girlfriend.

“So I told him: If you come. let me know in advance, because I can bring a camera so I can get filmed being killed on camera.”

“You could get £250 from You’ve Been Framed!” I said. “Well, your heirs would.”

“At the risk,” said Richard, “of sounding like a bitter and twisted old bastard about not being famous, if I can get someone to kill me, then people will think: Oh, he must have been brilliant. Let’s look at all his old shit on the internet. And suddenly people will find it much more poignant and they will think it was really important and I can become famous without having to do any more work. And the other thing is people will say: Oh, he would have been massive if only he’d lived. He had so much potential. 

“But, of course, I wouldn’t have. I would – I will – fuck it up like I always do.”

On YouTube, Richard talks some more about getting hate mail.

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Comedian Richard Coughlan has been hung up on hooks stuck into in his back

Richard ate a queer foetus for Jesus at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013

Richard ate a queer foetus for Jesus at the Edinburgh Fringe

“Where did we first meet?” I asked performer Richard Coughlan. “Was it at the Edinburgh Fringe two years ago?”

“You were hanging around outside The Counting House,” he replied.

I have a terrible memory.

“And I wanted to see your show but couldn’t fit it in?” I asked. “I remember I liked the title.”

Eat a Queer Foetus For Jesus,” said Richard.

“That’s my sort of show,” I said. “Your surname is Irish.”

“That’s not my real name,” he replied. “My real name is Richard Harris but, for obvious reasons, I could not use that name to perform. The guy I got it from – Richard Coughlan – was the drummer in a prog rock band called Caravan. He ended up running a pub in Faversham in Kent, where I live, and I ended up working for him.

“Me and him just did not get on and I had started doing comedy. We had a blazing row and I thought: I’m going to take his name and try and make it more popular than he ever made it. Or more disreputable. I think I’ve done both.”

“You could,” I suggested, “have tried to be more famous and more disreputable than the other Richard Harris.”

The infamous scene in the movie A Man Called Horse

The hook scene in A Man Called Horse

“Well,” said Richard, “I have done that famous thing he did in A Man Called Horse with the hooks. I’ve done that.”

“Whaaat??” I asked.

“I did it a couple of months ago,” he continued. “I’ve been wanting to do it for about ten years. I’ve got a lot of tattoos and I used to have lots of piercings but I’m crap with piercings: I don’t look after them well enough, so they always go manky. But I saw a guy at a convention doing this thing with the hanging on hooks and I thought: That looks bizarre and horrific – I would like to have a go at that.”

“The hooks go through the flesh of the chest, don’t they?” I asked.

“What I did,” said Richard, “was hanging on hooks through the back. You’re not allowed to do the chest thing until you’ve had a good go. I found a French guy who could do it for me and I uploaded a video of it happening onto YouTube, but it was flagged and taken down for ‘pornography and sexual content’. I have no idea why, apart from the fact I was in my underwear and was moaning a bit.”

Could this be more Hellraiser than Horse?

Is this a bit more Hellraiser than Horse? YouTube thought so.

“It might be a bit too Hellraiser,” I suggested, “which was a bit sexual.”

“There was nothing sexual about it,” said Richard Harris who calls himself Richard Coughlan. “I’ve always had this thing about doing things which everyone else thinks are a bit weird.”

“You’re not really a straight stand-up comedian,” I said. “What are you?”

“I’ve been lots of things. I originally trained to be a chef. But I’ve been into stand-up comedy since I was nine and I always wanted to do it. My dad had a Billy Connolly vinyl record. To me, Billy Connolly had a funny voice, big banana boots and he swore and said the word ‘jobbie’ – and, really, that’s all you needed at the age of nine.

“All my friends were into Nirvana and grunge music and Oasis or films and I was always into comedy. I had no-one to talk to. I obsessively watched comedy. One of the first jokes I remember hearing was a Roy Chubby Brown joke – You are what you eat and I am a cunt.

Jerry Sadowitz on a holiday with Richard Wagner

Jerry Sadowitz provided the perfect night as a birthday treat

“I went to see Jerry Sadowitz with my dad for my birthday in 2003. He did 90 minutes straight; I’ve never laughed so much. I had always liked him, but it was so hard to get hold of his stuff – the only thing was that Total Abuse Show VHS which had been heavily edited. When I saw him with my dad, he opened with a joke about Stephen Lawrence. Two rows of Indian people walked out during his impression of a Pakistani shopkeeper with Tourette’s Syndrome. A woman got up and threw a pint glass at him and he just ducked and kept going.

“I also saw him in 2007 with my girlfriend. It was at the Underbelly in Edinburgh and I said: We gotta sit at the front and he immediately started abusing me and spat all over me. I thought: This is brilliant! I’ve been waiting for this for years! I’ve finally been gobbed-on by Jerry Sadowitz! He was making a rape joke about my girlfriend who was sat next to me.

Richard Coughlan on a night out in Soho

Richard has now been standing up on his own for 14 years

“I started doing stand-up when I was 21. I’m 35 now. But, when I was starting out, I had the attitude a lot of people have. If you’re a musician and you see David Bowie, you think I could not do that. The only other thing I was interested in was cooking. That, combined with the fact I used to watch Chef! with Lenny Henry.

“So I trained to be a chef. But I decided to quit being a chef when I was working for a guy who literally grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, slammed me up against a wall and threatened to beat the crap out of me because I didn’t put enough salt in the peas. I decided at that moment that I was never going to care enough about someone else’s pea to be a great chef. I respected the fact you have to care that much but, to me, it’s just someone’s dinner. If it’s not perfect, they’re not going to starve to death.

“At the moment, I work about 25-30 hours as a general hand at a fine dining kitchen, but I supplement that with my online stuff.

“I’m on my fourth channel now, cos I’ve been suspended and banned. I don’t know anyone who has had more videos removed. I had one channel with 30,000 subscribers and about 10 million views and that got taken down because there were something like 50 fake copyright claims filed by someone who took a dislike to me.”

“Justified copyright claims?” I asked.

“No. Not one of them. That’s not to say most of my videos don’t contain some genuine copyright violation, but most people don’t really care. I don’t think Michael Bay is going to care if there is a one-second clip of Transformers in a video.

“I set up two other channels and they only went down about six months ago – they probably had about 5 or 6 million hits between them.

The latest Dick Dynasty YouTube channel

The latest Dick Dynasty YouTube channel

“My new channel, that I started about seven or eight months ago is Dick Dynasty 666. And I’m teaching myself to do animation – it is a long slog – because I came up with this idea for a funny mini-series. There was no feasible way you could make it with people and animators either need paying or, if they’re a friend of yours and prepared to do it free, they’re notoriously unreliable. It’s amazing how cheap you can get stuff. I got one animation program for £40 and another for £20.”

“What’s the mini-series about?” I asked.

“It’s based on the English Defence League and the Scottish Defence League and the Moslem paranoia thing taken to a ridiculous extreme. “

“Have you got an aim?” I asked. “An ambition? In general?”

“If I can just do something and I’m happy with it and it’s fun… Working in the kitchen is stressful and it’s not my ideal job, but it keeps a roof over my head and I’m a bit of a minimalist. I don’t look at what I could have. I look at the fact that, globally, I’m probably in the top 5% of people in the world. I could have been a lot worse off.

“I respect ambitious people, but I’m just not that motivated a guy. I just do things. I don’t have a plan. I figure you should just get on with life…

“I got invited to do guest lecturing at Southampton University where they do a comedy degree and, in the fourth year, they do stand-up. I told the students: The problem you will have is not doing your material on stage: it will be doing it as you. I told them: Find five minutes of your favourite stand-up and perform that material. Then perform that same routine as yourself. And then perform your own routine as yourself. That’s the hardest part for new acts. It’s not doing your jokes; it’s doing them as yourself. Like life.”

Richard’s full Eat A Queer Foetus For Jesus show, as performed at the Brighton Fringe, is on YouTube.

… CONTINUED HERE

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