"I've been on the periphery of showbiz for so long that I never feel like I should be anywhere."
Former Xtra Factor presenter Matt Richardson took a year out from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018 as he was still touring his 2017 hour Slash but now the popular Virgin Radio host is returning with a brand new show, Imposter which promises to tell the story of Matt’s adventures in showbiz and television.
During our chat, Matt talks about returning to Edinburgh, tackling previews differently and reveals his equal love for TV and stand-up,
You were last in Edinburgh in 2017 with Slash which you then took on tour. What was that like?
It's been really good. I've spent two years performing it really. I've only just finished the tour because we did it in two chunks and I get really attached to routines and material so I'm finding it quite hard to let go of it. But you've got to move on I suppose.
When did you decide to move on and do Edinburgh this year?
At the beginning of this year I wanted to see if I could write another show. Lots of people do a new show every year but I've never been that great at putting a show together that quickly. Every other year seems like a good idea for me.
What can people expect from this year's show?
It's about the fact that none of us really feel like we're proper grown ups. We're all just blagging our way through life and I've been on the periphery of showbiz for so long that I never feel like I should be anywhere.
Imposter Syndrome is definitely a thing that I and many other people have and I constantly feel like some idiot off the street who's been let in to this stupid world that he shouldn't really be in.
I've got no big message or anything I want people to think about, I just want people to come and enjoy themselves for an hour and forget how horrific the world is.
How have you found writing the show?
A real ball ache. I'm so easily distracted and quite allergic to sitting down and doing work where you sit and write for hours a day. I find it really hard.
So I work on the show by myself and then what I tend to do is get another comedian I know or someone I know is funny to come and see a preview so that they can give me some notes. Which is really useful because I get several different people's opinions on stuff and it's then my job to gauge where the middle ground is.
How have the previews been going?
It's going alright but it's still early days for me because I always start previewing quite late and the show starts coming together very late. People seem to like the show and the stuff I'm talking about.
Sometimes you perform material during a preview that you think is really funny and other people don't find funny at all. But that's the way it goes! So what I do, is I put those jokes on the back burner and come back to them later on and see if I can make them work.
There's one routine I'm trying at the moment that I originally put into my last show but I think I've got it sussed this time. Also, I think having sat on it for about a year or so I've been able to come up with a few ideas of how to make it funny.
How important is it for you to still have a presence in Edinburgh?
Weirdly, I've never had a massive Edinburgh presence because I went straight into telly before having done the festival, but I enjoy doing. With this show, it's late night so it'll be quite loose and it's at The Tron which is a bit of a grungy venue. So rather than going up with a perfect show and showing everyone that I'm a perfect comedian, I can go up and play around with it a bit more and there'll hopefully be a lot more audience interaction.
For me, I'm going up there to enjoy it rather than stressing about awards, reviews and things like that.
What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?
Seeing other shows, I love seeing as much as I can. This year I'll probably go and see Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth, I think they're really good. And my best friend who I normally go and see, Angela Barnes, isn't up there this year so there's a big slot to fill.
And also, hanging out with people who I don't normally see because we don't live anywhere near each other or we're all over the place gigging. Basically, I get to hang out with Phil Ellis for a month and that's always really nice!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes. Go to the loo. Wretch. Don't throw up but nearly throw up. And then go out on stage.
Alongside stand-up you're on TV a fair bit, is there one discipline you enjoy more than the other?
I fall in and out of love with both of them all the time. When you're getting up at 4am to go and film a TV show you think "This is awful" but actually it's brilliant. And with comedy, when you're driving to Carlisle you go "Why am I doing this?" but then it's brilliant so they both have their positives and negatives.
I like the collaboration of TV and lots of people to work with. In comedy it's less like that, it's far more individual. But then, the freedom of comedy and doing exactly what you want all the time is really refreshing.
And your Virgin Radio show continues which you'll still do from Edinburgh is that right?
Yes, I'll still be doing that every day from the Fringe and fitting it in around everything else that goes on up there. I think it's going to be quite nice though because the Fringe is a real bubble where comedians only care about the Fringe and what other comedians are doing, so Virgin will give me an oasis of normality away from it.
Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?
My ideal is that I do The Hangover Games for the rest of my life and it would be a really steady job but that's not how telly works. I've just done the Red Bull Soapbox Race for Dave and I've just got a few other bits and pieces going on that I can't talk about.
You know me mate, I'm not fussy. I will do whatever they ask me to do.
Finally, how would you sum up this year's show in just five words?
It'll be rude and fun.
Matt Richardson: Imposter runs from 1st - 25th August (not 12th) at 9pm at Just the Tonic at The Tron. Book tickets here.