Matt Forde on the General Election

Words: Jared Wilson
Monday 08 May 2017
reading time: min, words

Notts-born comedian, impressionist and radio and TV presenter, Matt Forde is doing pretty well for himself. He’s got regular shows on Dave and Talksport, as well as a podcast that’s got politicians queueing up to talk about chocolate and breakfast cereal. And he’s coming home to perform for you lot, this month...


Before we get lost in politics, tell us about the show you’re bringing to The Glee Club...
It’s full of jokes and impressions, including my new one of Donald Trump which I can’t stop doing. In short, come and laugh about the impending apocalypse. I’m basically trying to make crushing doom funny.

Where did you grow up?
In Sneinton on a Coronation Street-style road with yards round the back with short walls so you could look over and see your neighbours. My mum painted a wonderful mural on the back wall to brighten it up a bit, but there’s only so much you can do to make a backyard in Sneinton look good. Until about sixteen, I thought Bilborough was posh, which tells you how deluded I was as a kid.

The Becket School was my secondary, which I think has since been demolished. It was brilliant because it took kids from all over the city, not just one neighbourhood. I had the sort of profound realisations people usually have at university about mixing with other social classes. There were kids who’d been privately educated and were on their way to Oxbridge, and there were others so unruly they were taken out of classes to do repairs on the building instead. I was never convinced giving the naughty kids power tools to play with was a great idea.

How often do you come back to Notts?
I come up a few times a year to see family and friends and to watch Forest. I mainly hang out in The Royal Children, The Salutation and The Trip. I love it up by the Castle at this time of year. Usually I’ll meet Jonny Owen in a pub at lunchtime and then the day is a wonderful write-off from there.

We love your podcasts. Can you give us a few favourite memories from them?
I enjoyed Paul Nuttall saying that if he could change one thing, he’d make sure that the Cadbury’s Crème Egg Easter Eggs were massive Crème Eggs. That’s the sort of populism I’d like to see more of. Nick Clegg’s confession that he would binge on Cheerios when he was Deputy Prime Minister is a revelation which frequently comes back to me. It just seems like an odd choice. Not olives or chorizo, but Cheerios. It’s like finding out that Michael Heseltine likes spaghetti hoops. But the most incredible night was when Tony Blair turned up. I couldn’t announce he was the guest for security reasons and people couldn’t believe he’d done it.

What are your thoughts on Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister so far?
Her decision to deliver a hard Brexit has frustrated, if not surprised me. For someone who campaigned to remain in the EU, she has remarkably few qualms about delivering the total opposite of what she said was best for the country.

How did you feel about us leaving the EU?
I was completely and utterly gutted. Then I got completely and utterly drunk. Leaving the EU makes recession more likely, it’s makes Scottish independence more likely and it makes a fractured Europe more likely and that never ends well. But hey, blue passports. Whoop-di-do.

What do you expect to see happen at the election on 8 June?
Barring a seismic event of unprecedented proportions, I think the Conservatives will win with an increased majority. As much as the Prime Minister has made this about Brexit, for a lot of people the story of the election will be the collapse of the Labour party. Even if the defeat isn't as bad as some fear – and it could be huge – watching Labour limp through this campaign is pathetic.

You’ve been fairly outspoken about not backing Jeremy Corbyn. What don’t you like about him?
It wasn’t public; I emailed the party privately and resigned. I didn’t make any show of it at all, and it was done with a heavy heart. Then when I went on Question Time I was asked a straight question and confirmed that I’d left. I’ve got nothing against Jeremy Corbyn personally, I’ve met him and he was lovely. He’s an Arsenal fan, so we had a good chat about Nicklas Bendtner.

Have you been to watch Forest much recently? What are your thoughts on Warburton and Fawaz?
I’m livid about what’s happened at Forest. We’re a great club and the fans deserve Premier League football. Warburton had a hard time at Rangers. I was impressed with what he achieved at Brentford, so I’m optimistic about what he can do at Forest. Fawaz is a totally different matter. I think he came with good intentions but, like many, i’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that he has to move on for us to progress.

What are your best memories of being a Forest fan?
Oh, so many. The promotions in 1994 and 1998 were special. Then there was Collymore’s goal against Manchester United at the City Ground in 1994; Pearce’s free kick against Stoke in 1993; being a mascot in 1993 and meeting Cloughie; watching the team train and getting their autographs. I’m lucky that I supported Forest during our last magical time. Finishing third in the Premier League in 94/95 was great.

Once you start reminiscing about it all, so many memories come back. You might as well ask me what I watch on YouTube when I need cheering up. I often disappear down a Forest wormhole of an evening and have to explain why I’m watching old Ian Woan interviews at 3am.

You’ve had a long-term professional partnership with Jon Richardson. Where did you two first meet?
We first met when he did a gig at Trent Uni. I was there watching a mate of mine, Al Pitcher. Jon didn’t have a great gig, but it was obvious he was special and we hit it off straight away. Something you might not know is that he’s an absolute rotter to live with. He made it his life’s work to unsettle me. He’d jump out on me in the dark, hide things in my bed, ambush me when I was on the phone. He’s a terror, a complete terror, and one the government should do something about.

As a regular host on Talksport, how much do you feel you need to ham it up presenting on there?
Oh, I never ham it up. I’m genuinely very opinionated; I don’t think you can do radio like that unless you are. Arguing isn’t enjoyable for me, I prefer a good discussion. Actually, the thing I love most is disagreeing with someone but still really liking them; something that’s lost on social media a lot of the time.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
LeftLion is one of the funniest magazines I’ve ever read. I love Overheard in Notts. Nottingham is a special place, nowhere in Britain has quite the same sense of humour and LeftLion is a huge part of its identity.

Matt Forde plays at The Glee Club on Thursday 11 May. He can also be seen hosting Unspun on Dave every Wednesday at 10pm.

Matt Forde website

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