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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties May 10th!

Thanks again to everyone who came to last months show and helped make it such a ridiculous success - you people rule. We got a lovely review here, and the good news is that we're only half way through the 2012 season of shows - so here comes the next one...


Jenny Eclair

The first ever solo female winner of the Perrier comedy award, bestselling novelist, regular grumpy old, and loose, woman, and sublimely foul-mouthed stand-up - we are thrilled that the ever-delightful Jenny Eclair will be joining us on stage to talk about her life, career and what it really feels like to be Specsavers glasses wearer of the year 2008.

Eastend Cabaret

The sell-out smash hit of last years Edinburgh festival, and just back in town after an all-conquering run at the Adelaide fringe, the award-winning Eastend Cabaret will, in their own words, enrich your lives with tales of love, sex and communism. They are funny, filthy and fantastic.

Up and Over It

An astonishing drug and drink-fuelled, angry, spectacular cacophony of percussion, dance, domestic violence and craziness. Internet sensations Up & Over It take the concept of Irish Dance to the limit. They're going to bring the house down, and maybe go through the floor, too.

Circularity Thinking

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties is proud to announce our corporate sponsors for this months show, Circularity Thinking. Two of the company's top executives will be giving a short presentation about the company's key strategies for today's harsh business environment, and how to maximise effective upskilling while thinking inside the circle. Trust me.


A very special guest, more new stuff from me, archive footage and the usual surprises.

"Guaranteed entertainment", according to

Read a review of the last show here

As always, tickets are limited, so book yours by clicking here.

See you there!

oh, and here's a little sneak look at one of the surprises we sprung last month..

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

William Regal


It's 3pm on a cloudy Monday afternoon and I'm sitting in a Wagamamas in the shadow of the O2 arena. Sitting outside, and standing, and generally larking about over-excitedly, there are wrestling fans. They range in age from kids (most), teenagers & students (many) and adults (more than you might think), and they are easily identifiable by their hoodies, wrestling T-Shirts ("Hello", says one bespectacled girls shirt, "I'm AWESOME!") and occasionally by their replica world heavyweight championship belts (I watch a boyfriend take a photograph of his girl holding hers aloft in an aggressively triumphant manner with the O2 in the background), but mostly I can identify them easily because I am one of them.

I am here to hang out with and interview professional wrestler William Regal, and I'm excited for two reasons - mainly because he's William Fucking Regal and I've been a fan of his since the 90's, but also because, as I have discovered over the last few months as we have found ourselves talking more and more on the internet, he's a massive comedy and variety geek. We're almost exactly the same age and I think, in many ways, very similar in terms of personal journeys. I guess today I'll find out if I'm right about that.

I finish my food and spend a happy couple of hours wandering around the O2 people watching. The plan is for Regal to call me when he's available, so until then I get to hang out, eat snacks and make use of the tickets he got me for the show tonight. As we get closer to showtime the hardcore fans start to arrive - they wear vintage wrestling shirts, or Japanese ones, to prove the depth and longevity of their fandom. Whole families pass me - every member wearing the exact same green John Cena shirt - he's the current family favourite - big with kids and mums, but hated by the hardcore. A group of CM Punk fans sit outside the Harvester restaurant - whenever an adult in a Cena shirt goes past, they taunt them mercilessly. It's hilarious.

Gangs of happy dudes pass other happy dudes wearing the same shirt, and happily yell their guys catchphrase at each other, like a code that says "This is fun, huh?", "Yes, this is fun!" - and they're right, fun it is.

If you're not a wrestling fan, all of this might be a little confusing and annoying. Calm down. I'm not going to spend too much time explaining it to you, but I'll answer that one question you'll have. Yes, it's fake. Just like Macbeth, or Spiderman, or Eastenders. And just like any of those things, to focus on the level of its reality, is to miss the point completely. It's fake and not fake at the same time. But more importantly, it's like street performing, or cabaret, or most niche forms of live entertainment - it's deserving of a closer look. Because the more you look at it, the more you understand it, the more you realise that there's some really clever, nuanced, high-level theatre going on here. And some amazingly gifted, skilled, talented and charismatic performers.

Which brings us back to Regal. I'm sitting in the stands watching the opening matches when my phone buzzes and I get invited backstage. Out through door G, then back in through door H, and I'm waiting in the media room, and all the WWE staff are being lovely. Do I want a drink? Something to eat?

And then with a warm handshake and a big grin from us both, he's here, and we're off backstage to go and sit - literally - in a broom cupboard, on folding chairs. The interview lasts about an hour, and covers everything - from his start at the age of 15 wrestling on Blackpool pleasure beach, to what it feels like to work in front of twenty thousand fans who love you, and of course we talk a lot about what he learned from the comedy world and applied to wrestling, and what I learned from wrestling and applied to comedy.

And then we go back out to the media room and I shoot the portrait at the top of the page, and then we sit for another couple of hours and just talk about comedy - he tells me his favourite jokes and some stories from the road and I tell him mine. And we talk about our comedy heroes - Les Dawson, Morecambe and Wise, etc - he recommends a couple to me, and asks me which new comics he should be watching. And it's great. And then he gets a call saying that all the other wrestlers are on the bus back to the hotel and they're just waiting for him, and he has to go.

And then the next night, my wife and I are in the crowd for the second live show - a TV show taping - and he appears on screen and does an Eric Morecambe impression. Live on an American wrestling show. "Do you think that was for you?", asks my wife, "Might have been", and I grin like a child.

You can listen to, and download, the interview here, or - better still - go to the iTunes page and click subscribe to be sure of getting the next episode as soon as it's released.

Oh, and if you like it, please do rate the podcast and leave a review on iTunes - it really helps.

And don't forget, if you live in or around London, you're going to want to come to the monthly live show recording - it's the best variety night in London, and the next one is May 10th - details here.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties April 12th PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!

Evidence indeed, of the fun that was had at episode three of Mat Ricardo's London Varieties. I couldn't be happier with how the show is going - we're pulling in packed houses of wonderful people, delivering the best variety bills in London, and stuffing every show with surprises, films, and as much crazy stuff as we can get. My rule is that every show should have at least one completely unique moment, and so far so good.

If you didn't make it last month, we had Morgan & West, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Lenny Beige and Paul Dabek - plus I debuted yet another brand new routine, and I tap danced. With a stage full of showgirls. It took me a couple of days to stop grinning like a loon. And yes, there will be video of this, soon...

The podcast will be up in a few days - keep an eye on my twitter to find out when, or just go to the iTunes page and subscribe - that way as soon as it's released, you'll have it. This month's audio version of the show has the Lenny beige interview from the live show, and also a bunch of extras - a recording of my recent ToMax talk, and a captivating interview with legendary professional wrestler William Regal.

Tickets for next months show - featuring Eastend Cabaret, Up & Over It, Circularity Thinking and Jenny Eclair are now on sale here. It's going to be brilliant.

But until then, enjoy these images of last months show, courtesy of the excellent Claire Haigh..