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Clowns and Jokers Coming to the Southbank

People will know comedian Matt Forde from his turns on TV documentaries, panel and comedy shows, Sky News, and as host of Absolute Radio’s Rock ’n’ Roll Football. Those with their fingers pressed more firmly on the pulse will know he has written for Jon Richardson and Russell Howard, plus will have seen his live stand-up act, which he will be taking on tour very soon, writes Michael Holland.

His career has pretty much stayed close to his two loves: politics and football. He says it was his mum, a former nun, who sparked off his interest in politics and remembers his Labour-supporting home during important events like Thatcher leaving No. 10 and the ’92 election: ‘It all seemed very unfair, but also like an amazing world where you could change things for the better.’ Matt Forde was 9.

At 15 Matt became a member of the Labour Party but left when Corbyn was made leader. He explains: ‘My values didn’t change; I believe that if Labour was still moderate it could win elections and instigate huge social change, but Corbyn was a stretch too far for me.’

His early comedy influences were Steve Coogan and Rory Bremner (‘Probably the greatest impressionist that’s ever lived – who also did biting political comedy’). But it was during school talent shows that the young Forde first realised that being funny was good: ‘I used to imitate the teachers and some football commentators, which led to me going to watch stand-up… I then thought “If I’m doing it on stage in school I might as well do it on stage in comedy clubs.”… I then did my first gig when I was 16 and never looked back.’ He laughs as he remembers making that debut: ‘I basically survived it but I think I was sh*t!’

Matt had no fear of getting up on stage so worked the clubs from a young age, filling in with jobs in pubs, call centres and in politics while making a name for himself as he learnt his craft. All the hard graft led to him writing for other comedians and for TV and radio. Now, even though Matt’s love affair with the Labour Party has cooled somewhat, his comedy is entirely political. He says, ‘My show is an hour and a half of satire.’

It was at this point in the interview that the astute comedian uncannily identified that I came from SE London: ‘I’m guessing with your accent that you’re Millwall.’ I was a little discombobulated but was able to talk about football for a while until I regained my equilibrium and carry on with the interview proper.

The new tour – Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right – begins on February 8th. ‘There are wallies everywhere and half of them are running the country. The other half are trying to, so I will satirise the right, left and centre,’ claims this amiable and very agreeable man.

Matt will play 43 dates nationwide, including several London shows at the Southbank Centre, Bloomsbury Theatre, and Soho Theatre. Admission: Under £20

Check website for venue and booking details, where you can also find details of his Political Party show that sees Matt interviewing political figures.

www.mattforde.com/live

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