“Officially, I'm very funny,” says Matt who has a Master’s degree in stand up comedy. He runs and comperes vegan comedy nights across the UK, something you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a Yorkshire lad with grandparents who are beef farmers.
“I was a vegetarian for about three years and I made the transition to veganism a slow one. I wanted it to stick.”
“I swapped out milks for non-dairy milks. I stopped eating cheese. I started cooking in different ways. In May 2016, I became vegan and never looked back.”
“I remember my dad’s reaction. He was like: ‘Oh you're one of those, eh? One of those tree-huggers. Oh, bloody heck’.”
“I really care about animal rights”
“I watched a documentary called Earthlings. It really just blew me away. I'd had 20 years of cognitive difference. It was mind-blowing to see animals being treated that way.”
“But I watched Earthlings and afterwards I was like: 'Nah, I can't keep on doing this. I couldn't stand by it anymore.”
“I got ripped to shreds for turning vegetarian.”
“I lived in a very lads household. They'd say (you know, it's not okay) stuff like I was gay or a lady.”
“And I remember my boss saying to me: ‘Did you know, if you're a vegetarian you grow a vagina?’"
“I was like: Come on mate! That's not okay.”
“I wrote a comedy show about the ridiculousness of it.”
“It was called vegetarian man and it was about people thinking you can't be a man and be vegetarian at the same time.”
“The moral of the show is to say - I don't judge things in terms of masculine and feminine - it's a braver, more manly thing to stick up for your principles and say F-you to everyone else.”
Launching vegan comedy gigs
Matt launched Viva Las Vegans two years ago, a comedy night with a vegan lineup.
"Our idea was to create a positive space where you can relax. Like, when you go to a vegan restaurant, you can drop all your anxiety about being a vegan.”
“You won't be the butt of the joke, you won't be picked on.”
“Just regular funny people.”
“Sometimes people think Viva Las Vegans will be vegan comedy. It’s not. It's just comedy. There are comedians who do talk about veganism in their routines. But they're not required to do it.”
“We don't want to have 20 minutes of broccoli jokes.”
“It’s not like you've got be vegan to come in. You'll laugh regardless.”
“We've done shows in Edinburgh at the Fringe and about 60% of the audience were probably meat eaters. And everyone had a great time.”
“People expect to be preached at or vindicated. But I think you couldn't get further from the truth.”
Matt reads us an extract from a Viva Las Vegans review (you can read the full review on Broadway Baby):
“'Is it a good idea to link together a group of comedians for a Fringe show based purely on the common thread of dietary choice?' I asked my husband as we took a stroll along George Street to our Fringe venue. 'I’m not sure,' replied my husband. 'Ask me after the show.' …”
“Sadly, just as I’m really waking up, the hour is over. 'So,' I turn to my husband, 'Back to my previous question – what’s your view?' 'Well,' he replies. 'It wasn’t preachy – in fact it was funny and the vegan food was delicious.' I have to say I agree with him – the material was really funny, the delivery great and I wasn’t made to feel guilty at all about the occasional cheeky Nandos.”
“I'm very much a quiet kind of vegan.”
“There’s that kind of joke: ‘How'd you know if someone's a vegan? Oh they'll tell you.’”
“What I notice, though, is that other people mention it. I never start a conversation about veganism. But if someone asks me, I’ll always answer their questions.”
"I do have some vegan one-liners which I can dig out for you, if you want?" (We do).
“They're not good,” Matt warns us. “I'll be honest here.”
“What do you call a vegan rock band? …
… Tofu Fighters”
“This is very much scraping the bottom of the barrel,” Matt laughs. “This isn't indicative of the rest of set.”
“What do you call a vegan Mark Twain novel? ...
... Tom Soya.”
Again, Matt is laughing: "Soya! Get it?"
“I don't have an agent. But I do have a burger named after me.”
“One of my favourite places in the whole world is a vegan restaurant in Kent, called Potato Tomato. Becky and Niki who run it are two of the nicest people and the greatest chefs.”
“They’re incredible. In fact, last time I was there, they named a burger after me. I’m that level of famous.”
“Also Cool Beans Kitchen. She does catering around the UK. Amazing vegan food. She's gluten free, as well. She's made food I've almost cried at, if you know what I mean?”
Looking more vegan recommendations? Matt’s got you covered...
Earthlings - “The catalyst.”
Chicken Run - “A big changer.”
Peter Singer, Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter - “The vegan section is really interesting.”
Simon Amstell's Carnage - “One of the greatest comedy shows. It provides such a non-pretentious, generally hilarious account of veganism. It’s there to make you laugh, but it makes you think as well.”
Catch Matt live
He'll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 1 - 25 August. The show’s called Matt Hoss, here comes your man. Find out more on Matt’s website.