POLITICS has always provided a fertile field of material for comedians.
And stand-up comic Matt Forde has been closer than most to the machinations of those who represent us in parliament.
In a previous career incarnation Forde, 31, was a political adviser to the Labour party, but since he gave it up to pursue his comedy hobby as a full-time job, he’s had no problem in poking fun at politicians of all persuasions.
“It’s not opinion or a political rant,” he explains. “You don’t even need to know anything about politics to enjoy it.
“I never feel bad about it, or that I’m favouring one side or another. It’s not nasty, just observational.
Besides, I want everyone to like it. I don’t want someone who votes Tory to go along and feel like they’ll never watch me again – I want them to come back!”
At the moment one of his best sources of material is UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
“And I actually quite like him,”
he admits. “He’s a guilty pleasure.
He’s very funny and very aware of himself and what he’s doing.”
Other good pickings for his routine come from the other sides of the political tracks.
“Nick Clegg is an endless source of material!” he says. As is Labour leader Ed Miliband.
“The great thing about comedy is that you can take influence from anywhere,” he says. “I love sitting down and going through the newspapers or my laptop and looking at what’s happening, but equally you can be walking along the street and something just pops into your mind. It has been a very liberating experience for me.”
Forde, who comes from Nottingham, regularly broadcasts with comedians Russell Howard and Jon Richardson on BBC Radio 6, and writes for shows including 8 Out of 10 Cats, Stand Up for the Week and Russell Howard’s Good News.
But he only went into comedy full-time a few years ago.
“I started doing comedy gigs when I was 16,” he says, “and I did it as a hobby for a while, but then a few years ago I started to get into it properly.”
And he’s never looked back.
“I’ve made some of the best friends and met some of the best people; people who are so interesting and funny. And when you are up there doing a gig and it’s going well you feel invincible, which is a wonderful feeling.”
Forde is heading off to the Edinburgh Festival this summer and is coming to Salisbury tomorrow to try out his new show, along with friend and fellow comic Paul McCaffrey.
“We sit in the audience of each other’s shows and take notes on what works and what doesn’t,” he explains.
But he’s quick to point out that it’s only tweaking the material and making minor changes to make it as good as it possibly could be.
“We don’t go through it going ‘yeah, it’s all awful’!” he says.
“How bad would that be?!”
* Matt Forde and Paul McCaffrey will present their Edinburgh Comedy Previews at Salisbury Arts Centre tomorrow from 8pm.
Tickets and information on 01722 321744 or salisburyartscentre.co.uk.