Published on September 26th, 2012 | by Callum Moorin0
Interview with Matt Richardson
Matt Richardson is one of the uprising talents in the comedy industry and personally one of my favourite comedians on the circuit at the moment. We recently caught up with him, talking about how he got into comedy and what his plans are for the near-future, this is what happened:
CM: Hello Matt, how are you?
MR: I’m very well thanks! I hope you’re well, too?
CM: Yes i’m great thanks how was your Ed Fringe this year?
MR: It was fun/hard/brilliant/awful/pointless/worthwhile. I love the Fringe. I really, really do. But I forget that it’s a long month with a lot of shows (I was doing around 4 a day this year) with some of my best friends (which is good) and people who I can’t stand (which is bad). It’s like taking four months of gigs and a years worth of office politics and shoving it all into one big holiday (except it rains loads). I had a great free show with my friend Angela Barnes and did some great extra gigs (I survived Late n Live!) and did a show late at night that was hard work and struggled for audiences – which was fairly demoralising. Especially when you looked out into a crowd of seven and knew that three were important people who book TV shows you would quite like to be on. I see the Fringe as being in a relationship with a violent partner – no matter how bad it is, and how much you promise yourself you’ll never go back – it always looks appealing when you haven’t been for a while. I laughed hard, I cried hard and saw some excellent shows – and a couple of not great ones. (‘Pappy’s: Last Show Ever’ is about the best thing I’ve ever seen on a stage – GO)
CM: Are you going to be at the festival next year?
MR: Absolutely. I have decided that next year I am going to take the plunge and take a solo show to Edinburgh. A whole hour. Just me. Shit. I’ve actually had the show written for about 8 months already and have been previewing it and tweaking it – so hopefully by next August it’ll be ready and raring to go! The show is called Hometown Hero and is about me being called a cunt in the pub by a stranger where I live (Didcot in Oxfordshire, fact fans)
CM: How do you write your material?
MR: Writing is probably my weakest point. I think I’m amazing at the admin side of comedy (I’d probably make a great agent), decent at the performing side and I really just scrape past with the writing. I would see myself as a performer who writes rather than a writer who performs. Most of my ideas start as notes in my phone and I’ll start to drop them into gigs every so often, and if they work they get used more and more – I’m a pretty loose performer and like improvising and mucking around so they slowly grow until they are a proper ‘bit’ rather than just a line or two. Writing my solo show is the first time I’ve really sat down and tried to write – and even then its more trying to string everything together and fill gaps rather than write jokes. I am trying it tomorrow before a preview as I’ve got a couple of things that are funny ideas with no punchlines or point.
CM: What inspired you to get into comedy?
MR: I’ve always been a show off and I am one of those comics that was the annoying not-really-cool-but-too-cocky-for-his-own-good guy at school. So I was always cracking jokes. I remember my friend got Jimmy Carr’s first DVD when we were about 14 and we watched it on a sleepover and both decided that it was what we wanted to do. What an amazing feeling that must be! Standing in front of 2,000 people making them laugh and look at you – a dream! So from then I was obsessed with stand-up. Annoyingly I was always too young to actually go and watch any in a comedy club – but I saw Jimmy Carr when I was 16 and a few others (Russell Howard, Ross Noble, Lee Evans, Russell Brand) on tour and loved it. I recently gigged with Jimmy Carr at the same theatre I saw him at when I was sixteen – my first ever live comedy gig – and I thought it was a lovely moment to reflect on what I’ve been doing with myself as everything had gone full circle – which really reminded me of the reasons to do comedy and why I loved it so much and still love it with all my heart.
CM: What was your first gig and what was it like?
MR: Thursday 5th November 2009 at Oxford Brookes University SU. I was at uni and hated it. HATED it. I decided I was going to do things to enrich my experience there and make sure it wasn’t a living hell. There was a comedy night in freshers week – I didn’t go but I was on the facebook event and a message was sent around afterwards asking anyone who wanted to give it a go to email. I emailed and two weeks later I was stood at the back of the room shaking from all the pro plus I’d taken. It was a blur – an amazing, stupid blur. I think I did well, I’d probably cringe watching it back but it felt amazing. All my material was about Oxford Brookes and it being the first time I’d ever done comedy (how post-modern is that?!). I came off stage and called my mum to tell her I’d found out what I wanted to do with my life and didn’t sleep I was buzzing so much. I imagine it’s what taking heroin is like. Pure bliss. My second gig was ropey a few weeks later. My first death was my 5th gig – 10th February 2010. A whole table refused to clap as I left the stage.
CM: What are the plans for the upcoming months?
MR: I feel like things are going fairly well at the moment – I’m obviously writing my Edinburgh show for next year and tweaking it, doing loads of gigs and various bits and bobs like TV warm-up and tour support (a few odd dates with Andi Osho) and I’ve started doing little bits of TV and Radio here and there which will hopefully increase in the next few months to help sell tickets for Edinburgh and I am going on a national tour in Autumn 2013 – so some TV and Radio will help sell that, too! I know going on tour so early on is something lots of comics resent, but I think the comedy circuit is slightly falling in on itself at the moment and I want to be in a position where I dont have to rely on a handful of promoters for my living – I’d rather rely on a few thousand people who all come and see me do my own show every year, so the tour is to start trying to build up that grass roots base! (Please come, it could be a disaster!)
CM: As most comedians do you spend lots of time travailing gig-to-gig, what do you do to pass the time?
MR: I’ve gotten excellent at just switching off and staring out of train windows for 5 hours – sometimes I dont even remember a drive home because I’ve switched off and then all of a sudden I’m back on my drive. Dangerous stuff! It’s actually the only negative side of being a comic – I am awful in my own company and hate being left alone for my head to play awful tricks on me and I really struggle to just chill in a car or on a train so I try and read and listen to podcasts to keep me stimulated. I sometimes pretend to write – but in reality my notebooks are just laid out in front of me.
CM: Where can people find out more info about you and when you are gigging?
MR: I gig loads and love people coming to say hello so please find my gig list on my website – www.mattrichardsoncomedy.co.uk and say hey. Or follow me on twitter (@mattrichardson3) as my self-esteem is linked to how many followers I have. OH! And facebook! www.facebook.com/comedianmattrichardson – Self promo OVER.