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Comedian Matt Forde on why he'll never return to working in politics

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Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Monday, 23rd March 2020, 09:00

Matt Forde Matt Forde

When Matt Forde last spoke to The Local Answer in January 2019, he was looking forward to his new tour, ‘Brexit Through The Gift Shop’.

Since that interview, the world has seen Theresa May resign as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson become leader of the Conservatives, a crushing general election loss for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, and the UK leave the EU, amongst dozens of other political scandals and controversies.

So it’s no surprise that Forde, one of the country’s leading political satirists and comedians has been working just as hard – or in some cases harder – as those in Parliament.

“Every year is the busiest year yet, but I suppose that’s a good thing, I love it,” he said.

“It’s such an enjoyable job being able to write jokes about the idiots we’ve got in charge.”

Matt has come to prominence in recent years as one of the go-to names in political comedy.

He’s a regular on panel shows like ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘Mock the Week’, as well as current affair programmes including ‘Question Time’ and ‘Newsnight’.

On top of that he also presents topical comedy chat show ‘Unspun’, regularly interviews some of the main names in politics for his ‘Political Party’ podcast and is now set to head out on his biggest nationwide tour yet.

His critically acclaimed tour ‘Brexit, Pursued by a Bear’, will see Forde play 39 dates across the country, including the Gloucester Guildhall.

And with something new going on in the world of politics virtually every day, Matt says he is never short on material.

He continued: “It’s a nightmare keeping up with it all! You never have a day off; every day I’ve got to watch a new clip of someone saying something stupid just to keep the show up to date.

“The show’s about everything going on at the moment and there’s no bias – I take the p*** out of every side.

“It’s equally the best of times and the worst of times. It’s such a volatile time and whatever side you’re on it’s exhausting.

“But I can’t complain because it’s such a great job and there’s plenty to go on.”

Forde returned to comedy – he did his first gig aged 16 – after previously working as a political advisor to the Labour Party.

He says that experience working behind the scenes in Westminster has proved invaluable when it comes to writing a stand-up show – “it gives you an insight and allows you to write better material,” he added.

So in a world where reality TV stars can become President of the United States of America, and the lines between celebrity and politician have become more and more blurred, might we ever see Forde return to politics?

“Never!” he laughed. “Absolutely not! I worked in politics during a relatively stable period under Blair and Brown before the economic crash and it was stressful enough then.

“I’ve got huge respect for anyone who gets into it even on a local level because it takes a lot of personal and emotional strength.”

Despite covering politics at a time when tensions and divisions are high, Matt says he rarely experiences any heckling.

“I’ve always said I’ve got the most sophisticated audiences. I did a gig in Oxford once when people kept putting their hands up to give their view, it turned into an episode of Question Time!

“I’ve definitely noticed a real difference in the amount of people taking an interest in politics, with Corbyn, Boris, Trump, Brexit and everything, there’s a desire to get involved and have a say.”

Forde will be at Gloucester Guildhall on Friday 4th September, and he adds that he enjoys performing in the city.

He added: “I love performing at the Guildhall, it’s a beautiful venue and the staff are great.

“I always like going back to Gloucester, the audiences are always so friendly. It’s probably the place where I get the most people staying behind for a chat afterwards, it’s lovely.”

For tickets and more information on ‘Brexit, Pursued by a Bear’, visit www.mattforde.com

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