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5 minutes with Matt Lucas – on being silly, getting back to Bake Off, and the game to play on a date

5 minutes with Matt Lucas – on being silly, getting back to Bake Off, and the game to play on a date
The author, telly host and comedy star has a new book out, and it’s very silly indeed.

There’s a lot to be said about being silly, or having a good laugh just for the joy of it.

Matt Lucas has made a career of it (sort of), through his TV comedy shows, books and bringing wit and playfulness to his presenting roles on Great British Bake Off, for example.

The Little Britain star’s latest book is another in his Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly series – this time Very Silly Games, complete with laugh-out-loud illustrations by Sarah Horne, games for big and little kids alike and all sorts of scenarios, woven with anecdotes from Lucas.

We caught up with London-born Lucas, 47, to find out more…

Where did the idea for the book come from?

“The publisher approached me last year about doing a joke book, and I had the idea of doing My Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book Of Jokes, which – aside from being almost too silly – contained lots of silly added comments from me throughout.

“The book seemed to go down really well with kids (of all ages) and so I thought it would be nice to follow it up with a book of Pranks Now we are building a whole series, with the third book dedicated to Games. I like the interactive nature of the books – you don’t just read them, you get involved.”

Some people are a bigger fan of games than others. Why do you think they are so great?

“They’re a great way of bringing people together and, in this book, they generally don’t involve gawping at a phone or computer screen – something even kids do for too long each day.”

Silliness is often underrated as adults, but the pandemic has really shown how much we need a bit of fun and laughter. How has it all been for you?

“I spent a fair amount of the last year-and-a-half in a tent, chatting to lovely people while they were trying to bake, which was fun, and I was very grateful to be out the house too. That’s been a lot of fun.

“And in terms of games, I took part in lots of silly Zoom quizzes. It’s amazing how inventive people have been during the pandemic, and this book and the others in the series hopefully tap into that.”

For grown-ups, is there a game you’d recommend as a great ice-breaker at a dinner party?

“‘Two Truths And A Lie’ is great, and always produces some surprises. See if you can spot which of these is false…

“One: I ate an entire box of 48 Cadbury Creme Eggs at a school charity event and spent that night and most of the following day on the loo. Two: I once sang lead vocals for The Police at the Hollywood Bowl. Three: I once overslept and did a live Zoom interview on the Lorraine Kelly TV show naked from the waste down.

“Two and three are true. One happened to a friend of mine.”

What about a great silly game for a date?

“I like being in a restaurant or somewhere busy and pointing out people who look like certain celebrities. There’s usually a nice old lady with short hair and glasses that looks like Elton John. The more you play it, the more ridiculous it gets.”

And one of your favourite silly games as a child?

“Well, naturally I always loved ‘The Chocolate Game’ – which involved everyone sitting in a circle and taking turns to throw some dice. Whoever got matching numbers on their two dice would run into the middle of the circle, put on a jacket, hat, gloves, scarf, and then proceed to eat as much chocolate as they could using a knife and fork, before someone else threw a double and replaced them.”

My Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book of Games by Matt Lucas,  illustrated by Sarah Horne, is published by Farshore, priced £6.99. Available now.