“I remember vividly saying: ‘If only there was a way we could do comedy without an audience.' Which I really regret now,” Amy Matthews admits. The comedian is bittersweetly recalling the week before lockdown, after “a run of four gigs where the
audiences were the worst people alive. I had a fight break out in one and had to chuck out a whole front row.”
Happier times. Gigging six nights a week with a day job, Matthews was “at burnout” so initially welcomed a hiatus. But doing virtual gigs online, being “in something that resembled a green room with other comics and my friends,” is rekindling her appetite. “It made me realise that I really, really cannot wait to do it again.”
Her boyfriend, fellow stand-up Stuart McPherson, also has cause for lament. Approaching this year's Edinburgh Fringe, his trustiest routine was about how much he hated Joe Wicks.
“Which was fine when no-one really knew him,” he sighs. “But now he's like a national treasure. I can't see that bit working anymore.”
The Scot Squad star lives in Glasgow, while Matthews was in Edinburgh prior to the pandemic, two useful bases for comedians gigging around Scotland. Coronavirus prompted Matthews to move in with McPherson and his two friends though, “so it's like being married and part of a youth club... all our eggs are now in the Glasgow basket.”
“The cheaper Glasgow basket,” Matthews affirms.
Time away from the stage has been reasonably productive, as they've written solo and collaboratively on several projects. Yet at this point in the pandemic, stand-up wasn't their instinctive response to a request for them to do a Scotsman Session. Instead, they've delivered a parodic sketch of Vogue's “73 Questions” celebrity-at-home interviews.
“We were just feeling a bit sillier” Matthews explains. “We were never going to do a political rant to camera. And it's a nice format for an insight into our lockdown.”
“If it had been week one of this, we might have done stand-up in the room. But I'm incapable of doing a John Oliver-style monologue about the ills of the world right now,” McPherson agrees. “Also, I didn't read your email properly.”
Follow Amy and Stuart on Twitter, @StuartMcP and @AmyFMatthews
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