Dancing On Ice’s Matt Richardson remembers pal Caroline Flack and ‘how she loved making people laugh'
COMEDIAN Matt Richardson has revealed how Caroline Flack had an undiscovered comedic talent and that she never minded being the “butt of the joke.”
Matt, 28, worked with the 40-year-old Love Island presenter when they hosted The Xtra Factor in 2013 for one series.
The duo's on-screen chemistry was so strong that bosses came up with another TV format in the shape of ITV2’s Viral Tap, which aired the following year.
With her infectious charm and brilliant comic timing, Matt admits how he got to witness how just how funny she really was.
He said: I don’t think people realised what a great comic talent Caroline was. When I started working with her she had no ego when it came to being the butt of the joke sometimes.
"Before I worked with her, I didn't know her and you don’t know what someone is like. Initially I sort of tip toed around her and she was like: "No, no, no make as many jokes about me as possible."
"One of my favourite memories of Caroline is that she came to see me on tour once a couple of years ago and I had a joke about her in my show.
"I told her before the show and I said: "Look I am going to do this in a theatre in London and it is quite busy and I am going to make a joke about you and of course people are going to know you are in the audience because you have the most distinctive laugh in the world."
“But I said to her: “If you don’t want me to do, I won’t do it." But she said: "No, not only do I want you to make the joke. I want you to tell everyone that I am here and point at me, so everyone can laugh even harder.
“She was so happy to be that. She loved making people laugh, so for me that was a big thing and that is what I remember about her.
"She was very funny and she used to think I was funny and I used to think that it was a real privilege to make her laugh."
Matt, who appeared on this year's Dancing on Ice for one week to replace fellow comedian Rufus Hound, recalled the pair hadn't spoken for a while prior to Caroline's death.
"Unfortunately we hadn’t been in touch the last few months. But you know what it’s like, life gets in the way. I can’t really comment on what happened but I found that she was really very funny and that is what I will always remember.”
Matt recalls how the pair had a real giggle when they hosted The Xtra Factor (Matt replaced Olly Murs) particularly when they had to film the judges' houses segment of the show and him and Caroline flew around the world taking in St Tropez, Antigua, New York and LA.
"I loved working on The Xtra Factor with Caroline the year that we did it," he recalls.
"It was the most fun of my life. I was 22, I was living at home with my parents still, I was doing the comedy clubs.
"I was a full time comedian and then, all of a sudden, I was thrust into this ridiculous world, where we messed about and we did whatever we wanted and we made all the jokes that we wanted.
"We went to St Tropez, Antigua, New York and LA Simon wasn’t on the show that year but instead of him it was Gary Barlow.
"He was looking after the acts and we flew to New York, Louis was in St Tropez with the 'Boys', Nicole was with Mary J Blige in Antigua with the 'Girls’ and Sharon Osbourne welcomed the 'Over 25’s' to her home in Los Angeles.
'We had a real laugh at Sharon and Ozzy’s house. They had set up loos for around 100 crew members but Sharon insisted that we use the loo in her house.
"You'd be sitting on the loo surrounded by Grammy awards and Ozzy's Hollywood Walk of Fame star and be like: 'Oh my God, this is the most rock and roll thing that I have ever done having a dump in Ozzy Osbourne’s office'."
Matt went on: "Caroline became a really good friend of mine and working with her was an absolute joy on that show. We laughed non-stop.
"It was so much fun and we got to do what we want and people didn’t realise just how funny Caroline was and we laughed for six months.”
At the end of that series, however, bosses decided to replace Caroline Flack with TV presenter Sarah Jane Crawford and Matt was let go, too.
He said: "I only signed up for one year but they decided to change it and Sarah Jane Crawford took over as host of Xtra Factor.
"It would have been nice to have done more and I would have said yes but in my head I thought: “If it’s only going to be one series just enjoy it as much as possible and do a good a job as possible rather than get disappointed.”
Realising just how strong their on screen chemistry was, bosses came up with another format for him and Caroline and they went on to present ITV2’s Viral Tap but Matt recalls how the show never really took off.
He said: “They basically wanted us to do another show together and it was called Viral Tap. But it was pretty awful and it’s good that no-one remembers it and that is how I would like to keep that TV show.
"Caroline was the host and I was the comedian on it every week along with three comics and we had to search through a collection of viewers videos looking for the funniest and most outrageous ones and then we had to decide how much money they would got for them, which was anything between £250 and £1000.
"People did send in really funny videos but the problem is that when you open up the opportunity to the public to send in videos then a lot of people send you their own p**n and that happened quite frequently!”
Although the show was never recommissioned, Matt recalls how he and Caroline stayed in touch and she came to see him perform in his comedy shows.
Speaking at the launch of Two Point Hospital, the critically acclaimed simulation console game, Matt is currently touring the UK with his comedy tour Imposter, and admits that he is fascinated with the goings on within hospital walls both in fiction and real life.
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“If I hadn’t become a comedian then I would have loved to have been a doctor," he said.
"Hospitals are fascinating places and it seems we can’t get enough of them on our screens! With Two Point Hospital, you can now have your own, more unusual, hospital in your pocket – perfect for when 24 Hours In A&E isn’t on our screens!”
“But If I ever had the chance I would love to be a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and if Simon Cowell ever wants to hire me then please do.
“The other day I saw one of the producers that Caroline and I worked with on The Xtra Factor and he summed it up perfectly when he said: 'I have never laughed as much before or since that year on the show' and he was absolutely right."
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