JOE talks exclusively to Matt Berry, our new Agony Uncle... 6 years ago

JOE talks exclusively to Matt Berry, our new Agony Uncle...

Introducing MATT BERRY! Were you a fan of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, loved The IT Crowd and never miss an episode of Toast Of London?

Maybe Berry's parody anthropological shorts for BBC iPlayer brighten up your day or you love surreal sitcom House Of Fools, starring Berry, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Morgana.

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However you know Matt Berry, you are going to be hearing a lot more of him on JOE.

This is part one of our exclusive interview with the award-winning writer and comic, who we are thrilled to announce is JOE's new Agony Uncle.

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Let's get one thing clear early on, Matt Berry doesn't sound much like Matt Berry at all. Neither is he like Matt Berry you see on the telly or online.

And of course he is nothing the ridiculous, arrogant f**k-up Steven Toast of Channel 4 series Toast of London.

But what about on a night out? Has Berry never slipped into character after a few? "No way!” he tells JOE. “No way because I’m really happy and lucky and Toast is the exact opposite. He thinks he should have it all and be further up chain. Whereas I am the luckiest man in London!”

Berry may luckily fail to share similarities with Toast, but Toast is based on a real person, in fact he is based on about three people, all of whom haven't a clue.  

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“The main one is someone quite well-known who I work with," says Berry with a smile. “Because you know, you do voiceovers with other people quite a lot, like a young voice and one from a different generation...

"I won’t say who it is but one person I was working with properly lost his s**t in the studio, and I was watching it - and it was f**king brilliant. Of course it was so unnecessary, I didn’t say a word and nicked everything he did and stuck it in Toast, pretty much word for word.”

You’d think given the profile of the Bafta-winning show, seeing as it was recently commissioned for its third series, someone would have worked it out by now?

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"No, because they are so arrogant they never think it is them,” says Berry laughing. "The other ones I’ve based things on, they actually say to me 'it's so-and-so', they go ‘I know you have based him on this or that person’, and in my head I’m going ‘I haven’t. It's you, d*ckhead’.” 

Berry writes Toast Of London with co-writer Arthur Matthews, corresponding on ideas via email because Matthews lives in Dublin. It's clearly a method and union that works. They know Toast so well, he needs little practice any more.  

"The way I get into him is just to be irritated," admits Matt. "He thinks he has been s**t on by everyone and he is kind of being s**t on by everyone. That’s his outlook and if you think that everyone is annoying and you are better than everyone and you haven’t got what you deserve, it's easy. That’s all I have to do."

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Berry's Bafta, awarded for series two, is pride of place on his mantelpiece at home. He kept things simple in his televised acceptance speech, thanking his fans and his mum and generally being lost for words. 

Remembering the evening, he says: "I was convinced one of the others would win, they were fairly big names and I thought they would get it. My attitude was why f**king bother coming up with anything? I’ll just go along. 

"I wore a 70s suit because I didn’t think I’d have to go up on stage, so I wore this flared suit that I thought looked great." 

Laughing, he continues: "I wore boots with it, I didn’t wear shoes. They were like a 1970s folk singer style, I didn’t think anyone would see them so I thought, 'screw it, I’ll just wear what I want.' And then I only ended up on the p*ssing stage! That’ll teach me."

"A lot of people did say to me ‘where did you get that from?’ I was like ‘what do you mean, where did get it from, it cost like £9 quid'."

Look out for Part Two of our exclusive chat with Matt Berry next week.