In The Middle with Matt Forde

Before he takes the stage at Leeds‘ City Varieties, In The Middle sits down with comic Matt Forde

What can we expect from the new tour?

It’s a jam-packed show of jokes and impressions, trying to make sense of the absolute mayhem engulfing politics.

There are few comedians so closely associated with politics as you. Why do you use comedy to tackle some of the biggest political issues of today?

Because when all hell breaks loose, you have to find the funny side. Politics has gone crackers lately, comedy is the only way to deal with it. I mean, of course it’s not, but you know what I mean.

You‘ve interviewed the likes of Tony Blair and Nigel Farage. What‘s it like having one foot in the politics‘ camp and the other in the ‚comedy‘ camp? Does it get bewildering?

Oh it’s never bewildering. I’m obsessed with politics and love talking to people at the centre of it. I think it’s a real treat to sit opposite someone who’s taken big decisions or been involved in major events and understand what they went through and laugh about it.

Do you ever wish you could escape the political comedian tag‚?

Not at all. If I’m doing material about politics, I’m a political comic.

Why is comedy important right now in a period of such uncertainty?

Laughter helps you cope! Whether it’s with friends or family or at the Leeds City Varieties howling with laughter at some guy called Matt Forde.

You‘re current show has been described as a ‘‘slick, entertaining hour” Given your status now, who would you point to as the best emerging talent in British comedy?

Let me just say that on the first part, I completely agree. It’s slick, entertaining and I would even add “funny”. Jess Robinson is a phenomenal impressionist. Her shows are ram-packed with brilliant voices and songs. I’m amazed that she’s not got her own TV show yet. She’s the only comic I’ve seen get standing ovations in Edinburgh.

Could you comment on what Brexit will mean for comedy and for the arts in general?

It’ll provoke a lot of people to create comedy, music, theatre and art about it. As all big events and moments do. On both sides you’ll have people inspired by it or angry about it and that fuels creativity. In that regard it will be very positive for the arts.

I just hope that it doesn’t make it harder for talented people to come and perform here or indeed for talented British people to perform abroad.

Matt Forde: It‘s My Political Party (and I‘ll Cry if I Want To) is at Leeds City Varities on Sunday 13th November

William Rees-Arnold

(Image courtesy of Matt Forde)

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