Interview with Matt Winning

Matt Winning, stand up comedian and environmental economist, shares his thoughts ahead of our Really Wild Show event in Southampton

Matt combines the worlds of comedy and environmentalism, receiving wide critical acclaim in 2018 for his sold-out Edinburgh Fringe show Climate Strange.

See Matt at our Really Wild Show event, in Southampton on Monday 29 Apr

Buy tickets here


How did a doctor in environmental economics end up doing stand up comedy? 

Matt: I started performing stand-up in Glasgow near the beginning of my PhD in 2009 - so I’ve just realised I’ve been doing comedy for 10 years and am having a panic attack that I’m old and have wasted my life.

It began as a way to stop thinking about climate change and to get out the house most night but soon became an all-consuming hobby.

Plus I’d always loved comedy and saw it as a final chance to actually try it myself. I only started doing comedy about climate quite recently, as before that I talked about literally anything else.

Matt Winning

Matt Winning combines climate change and environmental economics with comedy

What's so funny about climate change? 

Matt: Trying to work that out is why I put off writing comedy about it for so long. I wasn’t sure there was anything. It’s not the most inherently funny topic you’ll come across so it took me a long time to work out how to approach it.

It was only at the start of 2017 that I decided I’d try to write a show about it and see what was possible. It was hard at first and involved a very different approach to writing comedy than I was used to but after a few months I realised that there was something in it and that audiences seemed to be receptive as long as it was good enough.

Once you get into it there are lots of aspects that you can make fun of or approach in a silly way. I still get a lot of people quite sceptical before shows that I’ll even be able to make it funny so seeing them laugh or come up afterwards and say they loved it is particularly rewarding.

Wildflower meadow in an urban park

© Lianne de Mello

What one thing would you tell people to do if they're worried about the state of the environment?

Matt: Obviously, there is no one solution. We have to change our entire systems and our lives. So vote for good policies and take action.

But I guess if I was forced to tell people to do one thing in their own personal lives it would be to take the first big lifestyle change that you feel comfortable making – cut down flying, ditch or change your car, cut down on meat.

Make that first change and do it with others too, make it social! and tell other people about it. Inspire others. If you don’t take a flight then great but if you manage to get lots of other to stop it too then that’s a big difference.

See Matt and others speaking at The Really Wild Show, in Southampton this Monday:

Buy your tickets now

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