'A very special show from a very special comic mind' | Amy Matthews picks her comedy favourites © Felicity Crawshaw

'A very special show from a very special comic mind'

Amy Matthews picks her comedy favourites

Today’s comedian sharing her Perfect Playlist of comedy favourites is Amy Matthews. She s at the Edinburgh Fringe with her stand-up show I Feel Like I’m Made of Spiders, at 3pm at Monkey Barrel at The Tron.

Grand Budapest Hotel

Dir. Wes Anderson

To say The Grand Budapest Hotel had been overlooked would obviously be insane. It was (and is) a rip-roaring success commercially and critically, played no small part in the emergence of Millennial Pink as a signifier of the zeitgeist, and brought jangly Soviet instrumental music to the rented flats of insufferable arts students around the globe.

BUT, I do think it has been overlooked as one of the best comedy scripts and performances in Western film. M. Gustave’s character is never more than one line away from wry, camp, wit, and almost every character is afforded an opportunity to show off their comic timing.

Gustave’s impersonation of Boy With Apple, the complimenting of the prisoner’s escape-route map showing ‘great artistic promise’, Adrien Brody’s Basil Fawlty-esque flailing chaotic fury. It’s a comedy script as immaculate and vibrant as the uniform of a Lobby Boy.


Parks & Recreation 

Now, my American comedy knowledge is inexcusably bad - a real pop-cultural blind spot. (In 2020 I was shown a picture of Seinfeld and confidently proclaimed that I was looking at a photo of Rev Richard Coles)

But Parks and Rec - despite my being very late to the party - is one of my favourite comedy series ever made. It’s just perfect. I have an illustration of the ice rink scene in my kitchen and sing 5000 Candles In The Wind in the shower (RIP Lil Sebastian). I have also never seen myself in a sitcom character as much as I do Leslie Knope. 

Double Take and Fade Away: John ​Kearns on vinyl

I saw John’s show in work-in-progress form at the Glasgow Comedy Festival and then again during Fringe that year. It is a perfect show. So accessibly surreal and deftly emotive. It’s a show with lines in it that have made it into my subconscious, with *cue Kearns voice* ‘LET IT BE FUNNY’ and ‘Fuck meee, Nigella’ cropping up in my everyday like refrains from a catchy pop song.

Monkey Barrel then made a comedy vinyl record of it, which was played more than once during the lockdown weeks in my flat. At the time; it was a ghostly but comforting beacon of the live comedy world that we were mourning at the time. A very special show, a very special comic mind.


Being funny isn’t a sought-after, congratulated or prioritised trait in serious music, but the lyrical and conceptual brilliance of Sparks are a pretty perfect thing to point to when arguing that it should be.

We all know that making someone sad or pensive has a more generous artistic exchange rate than the currency of making someone laugh - that’s why comedians have always been seen as the strange, daft cousin of the arts: not to be trusted with money and patronisingly indulged at family parties.

Sparks – as well as being musical geniuses with an enduringly dense output -– are FUNNY. To name just one out of many examples, the track from their new album, Nothing Is As Good as They Say it Is, is a song written from the perspective of a 22-hour-old baby who feels like they’ve seen enough of the world and wants to go back to the womb: ‘Mama, mama, please sympathise / This has been such a bad surprise / I won’t ask any more from you /  I can live with a lousy view’.  Daft. funny.

I recently saw their tour show at the Royal Albert Hall with comedian, Josh Weller, and he summarised their appeal so perfectly. We looked out at 5,000 people and Josh said, ‘Everyone here feels like they’re in on a secret’. And that’s it. That’s the magic of Sparks.

And that’s what all of my favourite comedians share too - an audience that feel like they got it first.

Louis Cole

Another musician?! Yes. My show this year,  I Feel Like I’m Made of Spiders, actually opens with a Louis Cole song. Some of Cole’s best titles in my opinion: Park Your Car on My Face, Dead ​Inside Shuffle and Failing In A Cool Way.

And the music video to I’m Tight is one of my favourite things in the land; it features a dance move that Cole has catchily titled ‘what will it take for me to get you into the driver’s seat of a Honda today?’

Just a lot of physical silliness, a lot of economically funny lyrics and a celebration of awkward vulnerability. What more do you want from your comedy, people?!

The Precise Moment in an Episode of Travel Man Where Chris O’Dowd Drops a Snow Globe and Richard Ayoade responds With: ‘I’m just so pleased it’s not me; I can’t lie, I want to feel bad for you but the relief that that wasn’t me is so great.’

What a clip. What a moment. Artful. Perfect.  The funniest thing anyone has ever said.

Published: 9 Aug 2023

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