There is a section on superb comedian Matt Price’s website which says, in his trademark self-effacing way:
“I’ve performed in 30 countries, received an award nomination for a solo show in Australia, performed 5 solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and have received many 4 and 5 stars reviews. I’ve also received a few bad reviews over the years too.”
Yesterday, he told me:
“For the first time in my life, I’m fashionable. I first started telling stories on stage in 2004 and people said: Oh! You’re mad telling stories! Why are you doing that? And now, if you look, nearly everybody describes themselves as a storyteller. So I’m quite lucky, because now I can offer some experience on how to do it. I’ve made all the mistakes over the years.
“A few weeks ago, I did my first ever Storytelling Workshop for Comedians and I’m doing another one this coming Sunday in Putney. There might be another one in January.”
“How long is the workshop?” I asked.
“One session of about five hours.”
“Storytelling clubs could take over from comedy clubs,” I said, “if someone can think up a sexier name for storytelling – like ‘alternative comedy’ was an attractive new name in the 1980s.”
“At the moment,” said Matt, “there’s the comedy circuit, where people tell stories and the storytelling circuit who don’t really like stand-ups – that’s still very much, for the most part, earnest men with big beards.”
“There’s no storytelling circuit as such, is there?” I asked. “It’s just about three places in London?”
“I think you get the odd storytelling thing in Bristol,” said Matt, “and Jo Caulfield does some storytelling stuff in Scotland – and she’s a great comic.”
“Your workshop,” I asked, “is aimed at actual comedians? Not just random punters who think they could become comedians?”
“Yes,” said Matt. “Some of them are quite new but I’ve had some who’ve been around a bit come and do it as well. I had someone who came along who has written a book and is going to be doing book readings and he came along to improve his stagecraft. It’s a lot of fun and sort of stimulates that part of my brain that doesn’t get activated very often. It’s nice to step out of yourself and do something creative and productive but not just comedy. You get caught up in your own thing.”
“Like the Edinburgh Fringe…” I prompted.
“Yes, I’m getting ready for my show next year,” said Matt, “and I know what it’s about.”
“Which is…?” I asked.
“Well, you know what it’s like when there is what something’s about and then what it’s REALLY about?”
“So I haven’t found out what it’s really about yet. On the surface, it appears to be about arguments that I wish I had won. But it’s set in Cornwall and the central thing is about being in the remedial class at school and getting knocked off my bike on a dual carriageway when I was 13 and I nearly died.”
And that, I guess, is another story.
And, knowing Matt, it will be a great story and very funny too.
But… If only someone could come up with a generic name to describe that type of comedic storytelling show…