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.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this article has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now