Interview: Matt Hoss | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Matt Hoss is an award-winning 25 year-old stand-up comedian & writer from North Yorkshire. Edinburgh Festival Fringe stand-up debut, Here Comes Your Man is an engaging show about love, sex and the need for men to be more open about their feelings. Matt is performing two previews of his show at the Shoe Tree Cafe in Heaton on 11th July and at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle 27th July (2.30pm). We had a chat to find out about more about men, his love life and his brand new show.

What got you into comedy?
I always wanted to be a performer of some kind. I tried to be a Rock star (seriously!) and an actor, but I got frustrated that I had to rely on others, especially when they weren’t pulling their weight. I am very driven and Stand-Up seemed ideal for me because I could do all the work by myself, independently. I could go in whatever direction I wanted. It’s a higher risk of failing, but a higher reward. Plus people always thought that I was funny and weird – and I thought I could channel this into stand-up (eventually I did, but it took a lot of trial and error to get the balance right).

I decided to give comedy a go and booked in my first gig in. Funnily enough, my first ever gig was at a Vegetarian Café in Canterbury (which is weird, because I went on to create a chain of vegan comedy nights. Life is weird). The first gig wasn’t terrible, but I would hate to think about it now!  I got a few laughs, but my big closer got absolutely NOTHING. I panicked. So instead I swore profusely at 12 year old boy, saying every bad word. That is how I ended my first gig.

After this, I gigged for a while and I ended up doing my Master’s Degree in Stand-up Comedy at the University of Kent. This helped me shape and hone my persona and become a really engaging comedian.

Tell us more about your show, Here Comes Your Man.
Here Comes Your Man is my debut hour and it’s all about paramours, romance and the events of the last year of my love-life. I talk about my relationship with relationships and my failings in love. It’s a narrative show where I talk about how weird and romantically intense I am, and how that impacts me.  As well as this, I also open up to talk about the need for men to discuss their feelings more.

The show delivers raw anecdotes, emotionally-honest routines and personable tales of finding and losing my first true love. However it’s not a sad show, it’s celebratory and upbeat. I take my audiences through a confessional yet sentimental journey about learning to turn break-ups into a positive and non-toxic experience.  The heart of this show is self-acceptance, my earnest love of love and loving yourself, regardless of the situation.

It’s the most romantic show about a break-up you’ll ever hear. 

What’s the worse piece of relationship advice someone has ever given you?
“JUST BE YOURSELF”.  Eurgh. I hate it when people say that. Like, have you spent more than 5 minutes with me?????!  I’m an awkward tornado. So many people say it to me, and I am convinced they are only saying it because they love seeing me being single. Historically speaking, the “Be yourself” method has yielded very little results.

On one date, I was just trying to “be myself” and I ended up talking about Brian May’s Guitar solos for  20 minutes and then I read out excerpts of my 3,500 word blog about every Queen album. 

We’re not seeing each other currently. 

Your show is a discussion about men’s mental health and how men rarely communicate their feelings or their vulnerabilities. Why do you think men are so rubbish at opening up and expressing themselves?
Well, I think it’s a lot of things wrapped up, It’s a societal tendency to not discuss taboos; but it is also a British thing too, (stiff upper lip and what not). I also think it’s a learned patriarchal behaviour, that because you are a man, you must behave in a certain way. It’s thinking “I must exhibit strength” even when you need support, meaning you don’t reach out. It also means even if you do reach out, that your mate is able to talk to you about it (which not of guys know how to do, from my experience). This leads us to bottling up and having awful repercussions.  

My experience is that my guy friends just don’t really know how to engage with other people’s emotions. I’ve often told a friend I’ve been having issues, and they essentially just tend to ignore it, and ask you about the weather or if you have been watching the cricket. A reason why I have written this show is a way for me to get it off my chest; it’s a cathartic release.                                                                                                                       

This show has been a very personal show for me to write and I wanted to be as open as possible to help people feel more comfortable to express themselves more. So I’ve had to be very honest and I’ve had to be incredibly vulnerable onstage  in order to demonstrate this. I had to revisit a lot of past mistakes and emotionally expose all aspects of my personality. 

However I feel that is what makes the show relatable: to see someone go through the hidden things which we don’t talk about.  The best thing about the show so far is that I’ve had people come up to me after previews to say that the show has touched them. This means the world to me. Hopefully Here Comes Your Man inspires more people to be more openhearted and emotionally available for anyone going through a hard time.  

Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?
It is absolutely and unequivocally better to have loved and lost. Because that is life.  And it is an experience. We are all so quick to judge whether something is good or bad, positive or negative, where in reality it’s just experience. Life can be really horrid, but there is ALWAYS something that can be taken from that. Without giving away the ending to my show, the main point of the show is to embrace every part of the relationship, especially the ending of it, because it spurs you on to do better and be better.

On an entirely personal note, in the last 6 months, because of break-ups I wanted to be better and to grow as a human. So I started running, I applied to start my own Radio shows and started learning Keyboard. Now I’m healthiest I’ve ever been, I’ve got two radio shows and I’m still shit at keyboard.

When you have never loved at all, you have never lived at all. And though love is worry and romance is a minefield, it’s still better to go out and give it a try, because being lost is half of the joy when you find it again. Never give up on it.

My favourite quote in the entire world is by John Burnside in his memoir on love called “I Put A Spell On You”, which perfectly sums up your question and my entire show:

“To master the art of losing, we must be willing to consider ourselves when whatever god we address answers our prayers by refusing them, so something more interesting can happen”.

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