While not part of the mainstream, if you are a fan of British comedy, then you no doubt have seen Matt Berry’s work. His sonorous voice and ability to play characters full of blustering bravado so devilishly has made him somewhat famous as a character on television shows like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh, and The IT Crowd, and recently in the film Moon.
Berry tends to play men full of fumbling hubris to great comedic effect, while at the same time managing to abscond with some of their swagger. There is always a trace of sexuality bubbling just under the surface. This duality, the contradiction between the comedian as a usually self-effacing figure and the smirking flirtation of an inwardly confident man, is perhaps what makes him so intriguing… at least to his female fans. The rest of his fans are probably more likely to cite deftness of the crude humor and his ability to play the straight man without ever flinching, no matter how ridiculous the premise of an enterprise.
But Berry is more than just a deliciously offbeat actor. He wrote his own show, Snuff Box, which appeared on the BBC, and contains some really brilliant material alongside American cohort Rich Fulcher. Check out the series and see if the sketches “Boyfriends” or “Rude Song” don’t make you laugh out loud. Snuff Box was full of musical sketches, something that is always wound up with Berry’s work.
Berry has also released two albums, Opium, and most recently, Witchazel. He’s also the voice of Absolute Radio where he periodically produces some of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes.
When I caught up with Mr. Berry, it was just before his birthday and he was preparing for the release of Witchazel. (For those of you wondering, he’s 13,151 days old, and his Native American totem is the Beaver.)
It seems he’s certainly been busy.
1. Your podcasts are quite popular. Your voice is one of the things you’re most known for. How old were you when you realized your voice was special? Did you have to develop it, or was it something that you always had with you?
I never thought about it until it was noticed from the early TV stuff. Old friends really don't understand the fuss as they have had to listen to me shitting on for years.
2. Do you consider yourself more an actor, writer, or musician? What did you aspire to be when you started?
I try not to consider myself, and the only thing I've ever aspired to do is not work at a conventional job. My only aim from being very young was not to have a 9-5 job. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with an office job; I'm just saying that I recognized early that it would be an environment that would unleash dreadful demons from within myself. I am all too aware that I am at the moment bloody lucky to be able to spend my time doing the things I love, and get paid for it.