Matt Price

Matt Price

Cornish-born, Cardiff-based Matt Price is officially the UK's first New Deal comedian. Having been on the dole for two years, he applied for the financial support of the Government’s New Deal scheme to help him launch his stand-up career - and was accepted. Before comedy, he also had a short career in boxing, and wrote a book on the subject.

He was resident MC of Cardiff's Yellow Kangaroo Comedy Club for 18 months, and then took over at the city’s Wharf comedy club. He was also a finalist in the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year competition in 2004.

Price planned to take his debut solo show, The Nimble Mammoth to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006, but arrived in the Scottish capital to find that his venue didn't exist, so spent the month compering gigs.

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Matt Price: Last Night a Weegie Saved My Life

Edinburgh Fringe review by Jay Richardson

Gentle Cornish giant Matt Price is renowned for his affability. And he puts it to good use at the top of this show to settle with grace and humour a potentially disruptive element in the front row, in order that he can more straightforwardly tell his tale.

From the moment he welcomes us individually into the room, he seems uncomfortable though, truly vulnerable for such a big man, with the show defined by stories he'd rather not be telling, but feels he has to, the urgency conveyed by his habit of directly addressing individuals in the crowd.

There are six things he's going to disclose he says, beginning with the sleepwalking that's put considerable strain on his marriage. As much a portrait of his long-suffering, feisty but bedrock Glaswegian wife Martha, his account of the terrors she faces on a nightly basis as he's gripped by the delusion that he's fighting in a war are vividly presented and very funny, even as they introduce the spectre of his changeable mental health, which has dogged him since before he started comedy.

In his 40s and 21 stone, he's got body issues and gets embarrassed talking about sex, even though he's willing to share the less than impressive power of his ejaculation. He claims to admire the over-confident but then offers a damning assessment and recreation of his friend's pretentious performance poetry.

Any schadenfreude he might derive from this is more than offset by the lengthy account he gives of a cruise ship engagement he took. Outright indifference to his material from the pensioner crowd turned to patronising assistance on the following night, the lengths these people went to in order to accommodate the misfit in their midst both touching and a little frightening in their commitment to a specific type of humour. All the while, being addressed as 'Matthew' seems to trigger something in him.

There's a throwaway anecdote about the time he accidentally electrocuted a lifeguard before things taken a darker turn with his memories of an abusive relationship, the cruelty subtly and incrementally established but still really quite shocking when exposed in its full psychological manipulation.

It is as nothing though compared to the revelations that follow, the seeding of clues beforehand and the subsequent relatively upbeat ending, not affecting the gear change and bleakness of tone that emerges here, with the notion of stand-up as therapy never more apt.

Told with raw honesty and bravery, the power of Price's testimony can't be underestimated, even if eliciting laughs is not something he really tries for with it. Clearly, getting it off his chest so he can move forward is the key consideration. And he's an accomplished communicator, having related the cruise tale in particular with colourful detail and winning self-deprecation. 

Still, you leave this show feeling somewhat dazed and disturbed.

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Published: 24 Aug 2018

Matt Price: Poltroon

Not so much a show as an entertaining, anecdotal, get-it-off-your…
28/08/2016

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