I was ripped off by a comedy promoter last year. On the night, he paid me less than we agreed. He took advantage of my good nature and months later, I am still upset about being robbed. Nothing to do with the quality of my work I was told. He’d taken a hit on the door (in a sold out room) and said I’d be helping him out if I took less money. I agreed because it’s what nice people do. Sometimes, I am an idiot.

Since then, everything has been going very well for me. I have worked harder than ever, travelled to Europe for lots of gig and I’ve raised my game again. I’ve even passed another milestone and been slated on the Chortle forums for the first time by someone who calls themself George Cottier, so in many ways I am getting there.

There is a problem here because there is a George Cottier who is a comic from Liverpool and my hope is that isn’t him. If it is, although I am a bit riled, I can understand his need to be so unpleasant and where it stems from. Comedy is a hard old game and fair play to him if he has used his real name.

Whenever newer acts ask me for advice, I tend to tell them that it’s what you do offstage that’s make you a better comic. This could sound dismissive but it’s not meant to. For me, success means coping with travel, being away from home and perhaps most of all dealing with other people’s behaviour, be it post gig, punters, other comics and the tricks that your body and mind plays on you week in week out. It also means getting on well with people.

It took me a long time to get over the disappointment of realising how nasty people are. That a simple question, such as “how are you?” actually means what gigs are you doing? Why are YOU in with that promoter when I’m not? The list goes on.

Life isn’t fair, so why should comedy be any different?

I started out years ago in the toilet division with a friend of mine and when I moved up a level, he was bitter to the point that we are no longer friends. The only time he phoned me after not speaking for 2 years was when he heard that I’d had some bad news and that my career in comedy was seemingly over. The delight in his voice was difficult to cope with. He texted me asking me questions, hoping that I would give him some gossip. I didn’t because I am a nice guy and this instance, not an idiot. I have too much to lose by being anything other than decent in my conduct.

What I do on stage is an act, as much I like to keep it real. I am authentic, but it’s Matt Price comedian. Off stage I am genuine and take a pride in being so. I am only human and sometimes I get upset, usually when someone has taken advantage of me, stolen money, slated me or been generally unpleasant. I don’t feel the need to apologise for this. Most people are okay and if I had the time to understand the small minority who aren’t then I would find it easier to deal with I’m sure.

What I also tell newer acts is that after a while, you feel as though you have seen it all. Heard nearly type of heckle, met every type of promoter, comic, punter and felt every emotion. It makes it easier to deal with when things are against you and it makes you a better comedian.

If you are unhappy with your progress within comedy, then work harder. It isn’t always a fair business and there are periods when you will wonder why you bother and if you will ever have any luck or recognition. Slating me and others on a internet forum is a high risk strategy in terms of advancing your career. Unless of course, you have simply given up, in which case perhaps your criticism should be directed towards yourself. Long term, I can only begin to imagine the pain of failing as a comic. Well done if you can cope with that and thankyou for making me realise just how strong I am.

Oh and anyone who doesn’t like this short clip, I understand. Really I do…


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9 Responses to Vent

  1. Sarah

    Good points, well made and a dignified response to a throuroughly unpleasant experience. I love reading your blog and listening to the podcasts, I haven’t caught you onstage yet, but keep being told I must as you are good, so I’m looking forward to watching you, before it gets too expensive!

  2. The whole thing was unnecessary, and you and I both know, Matt, that the internet trolls don’t deserve the time of day. I did, however, write the following to the George Cottier of the Chortle forums:

    I don’t know if you’ve ever performed as a stand-up. People say it takes a lot of guts and I don’t know whether I believe them or not. For me, taking to the stage is something I want to do and enjoy. I put out of my mind the “what if it goes wrong” stuff.

    But it’s actually really hard on the ego to put yourself out there, look for gigs, take on audiences, take the hard rooms, do all the soul searching on the way home from another night in some weird corner of the world. So, maybe it does take a certain mettle to be a comedian.

    I reckon that it’s an artform that deserves a bit of respect, especially on a website dedicated to comedy. If you [GC] want to make a nuisance of yourself and make silly jokes in some crazy dada fashion, then why not…

    …but perhaps you can give some respect to the people who do it for real.

  3. Roger Angove

    I followed this silly spat with George Cottier on Chortle.
    I still find it hard to believe that a working comic would be quite so gratuitously offensive when he must know that it would bounce back at him. Was this really George or someone impersonating him and trying to make him look like a prat?

  4. Nik Hill

    Hi Matt,
    what the hell is this Mr C going on about? Just seems a total tosser and doesn’t deserve the space he seems to command on chortle; anyone who knows you will realize he’s talking out of his ass.
    Nice to see you doing well, come a long way from some of those gigs we did together!!
    All the best

  5. Jason Williams

    Its a massive shame that you felt the need to pick out this George C:ottier character and discredit him. Surely as a comedian you are used to being heckled and people who do so surely dont need mentioning. I know as a comedian you need an ego and is clear you have pointed out specific people as a way to boost your own. Maybe when you mature in your actions it will show through into your comedy. I honestly felt ventrilofish was fucking shit.

  6. Of course I can deal with heckling. It’s part of being a comic. I wrote this blog because I was attacked by a fellow comedian, who I have never met on a comedy forum. This is very different to be heckled on stage.

    I’m not trying to discredit anyone. I’m simply voicing an opinion. I was responding to a guy who has attacked and annoyed a lot of people for no reason. I was trying to be mature, rather than get caught up in an argument.

  7. Roger Angove

    @ Jason Williams

    Have you read the exchanges on Chortle?

    Someone posting under the name George Cottier has been gratuitously offensive to and about half the comedians on there. Just one tiny example: he has accused Larry Dean of kicking someone’s dog. Every one else on that thread speaks well of Larry, one of them is Matt Price. For no reason other than sheer malice, George calls Matt ‘Stupid’ and a ‘Liar’ merely because he spoke well of Larry’s act.

    Elsewhere, Matt posted the ventrilofish clip that you and George dislike (as is your right, of course) but he demands that this be taken down IMMEDIATELY (his shouting, not mine). Matt replied to this and some other loutish behaviour by George in a calm, polite manner. See for yourself here:

    The only person who is ‘discrediting’ George Cottier is the person who is posting offensive nonsense under his name and, unless I see evidence to the contrary I can only conclude that this is George Cottier himself. The author of the comments that attack Matt and others – whoever he may be – is clearly an embittered failure who is desperately envious of others’ success.

    Matt Price, on the other hand is known throughout the industry as a professional who is always and everywhere a gentleman; off stage as much as on.

  8. Rev. Angus Detroit

    I find it really hard to believe that so many comedians fail to get a joke. Have you never seen Chris Morris? There’s far too much bottom licking going on in the comedy world.

    Rev. Angus Detroit
    of the Detroit Paleontologicaltry Church of Eternal Truth and Dalmation

  9. Phil Slab

    I realise now that the joke is a big bollock’s joke. I will NEVER perform it again.

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