Matt Forde is a comedian from Nottingham, having started out on the comedy circuit when he was 16. He has gone on to win a host of awards and has presented many radio shows including his current slot on radio station of the year talkSPORT.
The midlands comedian has a passion for politics and sports (he is a huge Nottingham Forest fan) and covers both topics on his radio show, as well as being a writer on 8 Out of 10 Cats working with team captain Jon Richardson.
Sportsvibe.co.uk caught up with Forde before he jetted of to Edinburgh for a month performing his Dishonorable Member show at the fringe to talk about, comedy, sport and Noel Gallagher
Q. How did you first get into stand up comedy?
When I was at school I would impersonate the teachers and at the end of term talent shows I would do a few impressions. I remember wanting to become a comic after seeing Alistair McGowan when I was about 15 or 16.
I had a few beers during the show, and after I went to approach him and we ended up swapping John Motson impressions. Then he said I should try out some material at this local comedy club in Nottingham. I popped down to the club and did my first gig which was fairly unremarkable and have just kept on doing it ever since.
Q. What was your first gig like?
It was dreadful, I think I had too many beers before I got on stage, I was 16 and more than one beer was going to be enough. I had a couple more than that to try and ease my nerves and all I remember from that night is people sort of smiled but didn’t laugh. I didn’t get booed off and it wasn’t the great start that every comedian wants, in fact it was pretty shabby.
Q. Do you get to do many impressions of sports stars on your talkSPORT radio show?
The radio show I do is quite long so I usually tend to drop in a few impressions and silly voices, things like that just to give the show a bit of a different flavour. If you ever hear John Motson being interviewed on talkSPORT it’s most likely to be me doing one of my impressions.
In the Edinburgh show I don’t do any impressions of Brian Clough but I have some great stories from the times I was fortunate to meet him.
Q. Working at talkSPORT, are you into any sports yourself?
Football is my first love and that’s just in life, once you get into football at a young age it is very hard for anything else to match it, not just any other sport but any other experience. I’m a mad Nottingham Forest fan
I also love boxing, and I was going to take it up but I think I’m just too much of a ponce. When I see people like Steve Bunce talk about boxing and the way he rolls his shoulders, I want to talk about it like that.
Q. As a Forest fan are you looking forward to the new season?
I’m very excited, people keep asking us about Steve McClaren, I think it has captivated part of the country that McClaren came to Forest. Lots of people are saying they wouldn’t want him at there club, but apart from England which was obviously a disaster, domestically I think he’s got a good record and for Forest I think it is quite an ambitious appointment.
We also have Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at the club now as a coach and I always enjoyed watching him as a player. He is untested as a coach and sometimes having big names at a club can be a curse as we found out with David Plat, so I’m always wary of welcoming people into management just because they were a big name as a player.
Q. I understand Noel Gallagher was once quoted as saying ‘who the f**k is Matt Forde?’ Does he know who you are yet?
(Laughs) I don’t think so no, but I got hold of his mobile number once and I was doing a show in London called Fordey’s Lock In, which I used to host. I thought I would just invite Noel Gallagher along; he likes his comedy and has been to see Russell Brand and Steve Coogan. I’m also a big Oasis fan so thought maybe me and Noel could become friends, just silly pie in the sky stuff.
So I decided to text him and asked if he would like to come along to the gig and finished the text saying cheers Matt Forde. A couple of minutes later I got this text back just saying ‘who the f**k is Matt Forde?’ It was brilliant, I was delighted with that and replied telling him who I was but he didn’t reply to that one, so for the moment Noel and me aren’t talking.
Q. You have mentioned seeing Alistair McGowan, who were some of the comedians that inspired you when you were growing up?
Steve Coogan more than anyone, I think Alan Partridge was the first comedian I really got into. I liked Only Fools and Horses and things like that but in terms of a comedian that really inspired me it was definitely Coogan. I loved Rory Bremner as well.
Q. This is going to be your first solo performance at the Edinburgh Fringe – what are you expecting from Edinburgh that you don’t get at other gigs?
I’ve done shows up in Edinburgh before, but have only hosted shows and never done stand up before. I know Edinburgh quite well and kind of know what to expect. I used to treat it has a holiday because I had an office job so I would go to Edinburgh for a month and pretty much get wasted and enjoy myself, but now it is a bit serious so I’ve got to treat it like work.
It will be different because I don’t usually do an hour set; I usually end up doing sets which last for about 30 minutes. Doing an hour is a bit of an extra leap and is a bit more personal and is a show I want to do, so it is nice when people come to see this idea that I’ve had. Equally when it goes badly it ends up being a total rejection of every idea you’ve ever had.
Q. Are there any other shows that you are looking forward to seeing whilst you are up in Edinburgh?
I think Paul Mccaffrey is the best new comedian in the country and his show Saying Something Stupid will be brilliant. If you want to see just an hour of great laugh out loud stand up comedy then he is the best person to go and see.
I once saw him when he was part of a package show and was only on for 20 minutes a night and I went and saw him every single night. I think he is magnificent and will probably be at his gig every single day.
Q. How important is it to have shows such as Live at the Apollo and Show me the Funny for young comedians?
There is a definite stand up comedy boom that I don’t think anyone would have predicted 10 years ago. You have comedians selling out arena tours now and there is this hyperinflation in comedy, which is great because people’s ambitions can be limitless now, and I just hope it lasts. Show me the Funny is a new take on that because it is part apprentice, part stand up. I know some of the people on it and you’re willing them on but you see so much more of their personality than you would on a normal stand up television show.
Q. Finally, in your opinion who is currently the best comedian performing today and who is the best of all time?
I think the best live stand up comedian today is Sean Lock, as for all time I want to say Coogan but I was a huge fan of Ronnie Barker.
Catch Matt Forde’s Dishonorable Member at the Edinburgh Fringe, Venue: Wee Coo, Date: 3rd – 28th August, Time: 14.55, Box Office: 0844 545 8252
Also listen to Matt Forde on talkSPORT radio 1089/1053am and Digital Radio