The Cambridge Geek

Matt Berry Interviews...

I will confess to putting this one off, as I find Matt Berry best when diluted through someone else's writing and as a side character rather than a main. His arrogant persona works best (for me) when used as a negative factor to be overcome. This, then, being put together entirely by him, had me wary. In the end, instead of doing my usual review after one or two episodes, I thought it was fair to listen to the lot, as it only adds up to about an hour.

The premise of the show is a series of interviews that Berry supposedly had with various famous figures in the 80s. Really, Berry has taken old archive recordings of those people and sliced and spliced them to act as if they're answering questions that he poses now. The series encompasses interviews with Uri Geller, Brian Eno, Simon Callow and Kenneth Williams.

Each episode follows the same sort of routine, with a general introductory chat and questioning, a "what's in your pockets?" round, and a final set of quick fire questions. Throughout these various segments, there's also a few bits of music, presumably made by Berry, who is a musician as well.

The trouble is, the hints of real interview we get always seem more interesting than the interview assembled by Berry. The bits of text copied in from the "guest" of each episode tends to be on the brief or vague side, with a lot of "yes", "uh huh", "maybe, but" and the occasional longer bits. I assume the idea is that Berry is providing questions, or too frequently, quite a lot of monologue, that are intended to be funny when paired with an unexpected or underwhelming answer. Unfortunately, they are not.

I don't think I laughed once while listening to this, which really isn't what I expect from a comedy. The "pockets" section is slightly better, mostly being that usual trick with sound effects where something disparate is assigned to a silly item, but the quick fire round is terrible. The questions are all ones that with the answers given would utterly change our opinion of the people being interviewed, but since it's just a bit of silly nonsense, it has no power. Also, annoyingly, the rapid questioning prevents any chance of the jokes possibly landing.

If they were real interviews, Berry would have been thrown out for being an irritating person, constantly interrupting, both with foolish comments and bodily functions that for some reason he's decided to pepper them with (presumably as a handy censor), but good god does the sneezing and farting joke run old quickly.

I suspect I'm meant to like it, but I do not. Won't be listening to a second series if it gets one.

Score 2

Tagged: Radio Comedy Monologue Stand-up Arts/Culture