‘I haven’t paid an energy bill for five years’

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But that’s the only job I’ve done that I’ve had repeat fees for apart from radio work, which is tiny amounts. It kind of bailed me out. Because of that money I was able to buy a nice house in Shepherd’s Bush in 2002 and a new VW Golf, which I kept for 12 years.

Five years ago we were thinking of moving to north London but realised we couldn’t even get something equivalent, even with an extra mortgage, so we moved to Hertfordshire, where houses are much cheaper.

Does money make you happy?

Having had years of baked potatoes and cheap bottles of wine for every meal, knowing that you can take anything off the shelf in the supermarket and not have to think about whether can you afford it is very nice.

What has been your best financial decision?

I made an unexpected windfall from the podcast. Electricity company Bulb was a sponsor and if you signed up new ­members you’d get £50 and they’d get £50.

Because my podcast has always been free I said to my listeners: “This is renewable energy. It seems like a cool company.” It has since gone out of business, but not because of this! I accrued enough money that I haven’t paid an electricity bill for five years.

Have you gambled?

Yes, I like gambling. I’ve played a lot of poker and was thinking of becoming semi-professional. I’ve played in tournaments and won £800 or £1,000. The most I’ve paid to enter one is £150. 

One night in a casino in Australia I kept winning everything and went home with A$3,000 (£1,720), which I put in my hotel safe. It covered all my expenses at the Melbourne Festival.

I had to stop going to casinos because you can start losing. I tried it online and you’d have a run of success where you’d make £1,500 but then lose 10 times in a row and you’re back down to nothing.

You can’t beat the casino. I started thinking I could win online by ducking out as soon as I was ahead: win £100 and go, I’ll bank that and stop. But suddenly you’d have two goes and lose £300.

I realised I could make more money doing my job.

What is the most you’ve lost on a production?

I lost £45,000 on a play in Edinburgh, I Killed Rasputin, which people didn’t come to. It cost a lot of money. I’ve done the Edinburgh Fringe for 26 of the past 30-odd years.

The past few years I’ve made money there so I’ve broken even overall. Again, a lot of tours just broke even.

Before the podcast took off it was my main way of earning money, but given the amount of work you might end up with £1,000 a gig. And we’d make a little extra selling DVDs when they were a thing.

With books I’ve always had reasonable advances, £20,000 to £30,000, but it’s a lot of work writing a book.

Have you been ripped off?

I had a fake estate agent when renting a flat in the mid-1990s. He showed me round this amazing flat in Tooting Bec and I had to put down a £1,000 deposit. I had suspicions as it had to be in cash.

And I wasn’t the only one. When I turned up on the day there were eight other people trying to get in.


Richard Herring will be doing ‘RHLSTP’ at the Edinburgh Fringe, Aug 3-14, and the Leicester Square Theatre from Sept 5 to Nov 28. Tickets are at richardherring.com. His new book, ‘Can I Have My Ball Back?’, will be published on Oct 20

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