Do you listen to Russell Brand’s radio show? Not the super-serious political podcast, Under The Skin, I mean his hilariously silly Sunday show on Radio X. I’m a fan. Confession time: I’m what can only be described as a next-level crazy fan. Not so much of Russell, you understand, though I appreciate that he brings much of the comedy, and it’s his name in show-biz that gets the calibre of guests on the show that they have. It’s Matt Morgan I adore, the sidekick, the co-host, and to all those in the know – the one who actually makes it all laugh out loud funny. I’ve been listening to the show since it first appeared on XFM in late 2005, all through its BBC heyday in 2008, right up to that embarrassing cancellation because of Sachsgate, and all the subsequent incarnations on Talksport and now Radio X. The same team – Russell and Matt, with super-lovely poet Mr Gee and producer Gareth (plus honorary member Noel Gallagher) have been making a show that’s hilarious, sometimes bizarre, and often offensive, and has featured guests as random as Zippy from Rainbow and Grotbags the witch (RIP). If you think of Russell as a hyperactive ego-maniac surrealist, Matt is the dry, quick wit that complements this. They make a fantastic comedy pair, have a long-running close friendship, and Russell recently said that Matt tunes him in to an energy that he likes.
Next confession – I run a fan account for Matt Morgan on Twitter (@TheMattyCakes), and there’s another fan group on Facebook called The Matt Morgan Appreciation Society (that I don’t run), both have over 5000 members. There had been talk on the radio of Matt meeting his fans face to face for some time, and Russell finally pushed him in to it. Three members of the Facebook MMAS organised it, and only 100 lucky people, including myself, got an invite. We piled in to The Cavendish Pub in Stockwell and had an amazing night of quoting the show, looking back at comedy moments, and getting to ask the team questions we as fans needed to know about the inner workings of the show. It was incredibly generous of them to give their time and do this, especially as it wasn’t even recorded for the radio, they were all just literally there to engage with us.
When we arrived the organisers were stuck somewhere, so there was a ‘pre-show’ moment where no one knew how to set up the room or what to do. Russell had arrived really early, and although he bossed us about, threw away my sister’s drink, and refused to even make eye contact with me, we somehow appreciated our celebrity overlord helping to make the place look nice, ready for Matt to make his grand entrance. (Russell helping, below).
It was also Matt’s 40th birthday that week, so he got lots of presents from his adoring fans, and stayed long in to the night to make sure he talked to each and every one of us. Matt’s niceness made Russell’s brusqueness a distant memory, and it’s truly touching to see how much they mean to one another. I can’t fully explain how magical moments like this are, when you’ve been a fan for so long, and interacted with other fans online for years, and then suddenly there you all are, in a room together and doing what you do online (mostly quoting the show and having a good laugh), but you’re experiencing it in real time and making incredible memories. It was a night I won’t forget.
If you’re curious about the radio show, I’d say tune in on Sundays (11am, Radio X), but also check out ‘the golden years’ of the BBC show on YouTube. Matt is also a comedy writer, and has written, amongst other things, sitcoms and sketch shows for Channel 4 and the BBC, see his IMDB. Huge thanks to all the brands who sponsored the night with snacks and goody bags, including Hippeas, Dum Dum Donuts, Rituals, My VQ Radio, Turtle Beach, Jude’s ice cream, La La Land, and Penguin Books.