Matt Okine

An Email With… Matt Okine

Categories Lifestyle

Matt Okine

The rising comedy star partakes in some electronic transference with Men’s Style.

Can you describe the room or environment you’re emailing us from?
Yo. I’m on the couch in my loungeroom drinking soda water and watching a classic World Cup match from 1994. I remember watching these games live when I was a kid, but now they look so vintage. I’m freaking out that maybe I’m getting old now…

Don’t we all. You’ve travelled a lot in your career – do people laugh at the same stuff all over the world?
Yeah. Although sometimes you get caught out. I was in India, doing jokes about vacuum cleaners (because I like to change the world with my comedy) and it wasn’t getting a great response and I couldn’t really figure out why. It wasn’t until after the gig that someone came up to me and said “all these people you’re talking to… they’re all rich. They have workers who do everything for them. They haven’t seen a vacuum cleaner in years.” But usually, whenever I write, I ask myself “Is this joke going to make sense to someone half-way across the world?”

You also make films, appear in them sometimes, MC, rap, host radio shows and do stand-up. You don’t think you’re spreading yourself a little thin?
Nah, man. It keeps me fresh. If I stuck to doing one thing I’d get bored by it. And at the end of the day, what I really like doing is “making stuff”. So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a song, or a joke, or a script, or radio. There are producers, and consumers, and I spend all of my time producing.

In performance, lots of comedians seem to rely on profanity, shouting, physical tics and affectations to generate laughs. You don’t, so much. Discuss.
Don’t I? I swear, I shout, and I use physicality. Those are all extremely useful communication devices. I guess you have to question the motives behind using them. I think anything done out of honesty will always be received well. Anything done for shock becomes old real quick.

On The Voice, lots of people describe themselves getting “goosebumps” listening to certain performances. What sorts of things give you goosebumps?
Anything that makes me want to drop everything, and start working on my own stuff. I know it’s a good piece of work if I watch a performance or hear a song, and immediately I think, “Arrrghhh, I need to be as good as that, if not better!”

If possible, please describe the conditions most conducive to coming up with “funny” material…
I think John Mayer once said, “Trying to write a good song is like trying to find a girlfriend. The moment you stop trying, one will come along…” I think comedy’s the same. My last few shows have been written while I’ve been in bed, ridiculously hungover, having spent many-a-night partying hard at various comedy festivals around the world. I would wake up, feel like rubbish, go for a walk, get something to eat, go back to bed, and then just vomit my thoughts onto a Word document.

An Irishman, and Arab and an American walk into a bar…
Sounds like a fine establishment, and a great example of multiculturalism. Hopefully they all buy me a shot and we get wasted together.

Can you remember the first joke you’d regularly tell friends, even if we’re talking about a time when you were seven years old?
I would, but it’s racist.

A slightly redundant question but Letterman, Conan, Leno, Fallon or Colbert?
Conan. I just really like his style.

If you get angry about something outside of your control, what might that thing be?
Intolerance. I am intolerant to intolerance.

Do you have any idea what will follow the hipster revolution?
It all goes in cycles, so… whatever happened in the ’90s. Probably lots of people with perms, wearing sneakers and jeans. Oh god, I just looked in the mirror… I’m already one of them!