An Interview With Matt Duwell

With the excitement of this year’s festival ramping up, we had the pleasure of speaking with four-time Fringe veteran Matt Duwell, first seen to grace the mike in 2015. Matt’s show this year, Snowflake It ‘Til You Make It, mingles astute political observation with his trademark sardonic sense of humour.

At the end of the day, as long as people come and laugh and enjoy themselves then I’m happy.

What inspired you to get into comedy in the first place?

I always loved watching it on TV from an early age. I grew up in a time when you couldn’t get every available channel and stand-up was a beacon amongst a world of trash on TV. As I got a bit older I got to see live acts in Brighton – Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey and Jack D to name a few – and I started to identify with the world view a comedian would have. I believe all comedians are similar in that if they were at a party they’d get involved but also be suspicious of one another and why it’s all happening, all the while formulating jokes in the back of their heads; an all comedian party isn’t a good idea.

Which comedians have influenced you the most?

My biggest influence would have to be Dylan Moran. I love how he tackles mundane issues with originality and personality. After that I’d say Stewart Lee. I first saw his show, 44th Best Comedian, on YouTube when I was at university and it just blew my mind. Following on from that, Daniel Kitson and Tony Law are definitely worth mentioning. They don’t vie for celebrity status but are superb at what they do. I have always been inspired by people in any walk of life who are good at what they do, but not because they desire fame but for their passion for what they do.

How was last year’s Fringe for you?

Last year’s Fringe on the whole was very positive: good turnouts, great shows and a great reception. My show – A Pessimist’s Guide to Being Happy – went down well with audiences, such that I was gifted a bottle of Buckfast at the end of one slot. It ruined my Friday, but in a good way. Thankfully there were no major flashpoints (hecklers or complainers alike), but the downside to that is it doesn’t give you a lot of material to be used for the next Fringe!

What is your show going to involve this year?

Basically, it’s about politics. The main theme I’ve attached onto it is the idea of offence and the way in which language is used to pigeon-hole people based on their political views. For instance, ‘snowflake’ is a word that really prevents empathy with people who have different views from you. Language like that oppresses everyone, both those who use it and those who are labelled. It prevents people from expanding their views from fear of looking weak. But I wouldn’t get too hung up on that side of the act. At the end of the day, as long as people come and laugh and enjoy themselves then I’m happy. There are political jokes in there as well as jokes about how bad I am in bed, so there’s something for everyone.

Do you recommend any other shows or comedians this year?

Many. Too many, in fact. Do I recommend people I know or people that aren’t good? I’d strongly suggest you see The Best of Scottish Comedy, which includes acts such as Chris Boyd, Jamie Dagleish and Liam Withnail, all of whom are phenomenal locals and guaranteed future successes. From London, I’d recommend comics such as Victor Patrascan, LJ Da Funk and Ashley Haden if you like political humour. My friend Jonny Gillam is doing a great show called Ahab; or What if Moby Dick Were Stand-up. And failing that, I’d recommend the legend Tony Law or Craig Campbell.

Matt’s show runs at Harry’s Southside every night from the 2nd to the 26th of August (except the 14th) at 22:00.