Matt Roper is a British comedian, writer and musician who made his stand-up debut in the mid-1990s.
He is an alumnus of the Young People's Theatre Company Oldham Theatre Workshop, where his contemporaries included the actors Anna Friel and Suranne Jones.
He is noted for his work as a writer-performer in sketch comedy and revue on the London fringe; the satirical sketch show Newsrevue at the Canal Cafe Theatre, Nice Mischief and A Touch of Roberts and Roper at Jermyn Street Theatre. Performing stand-up comedy, he became one of the first comics to play the Manchester Comedy Store, appearing regularly at the Buzz Club and in the East Dulwich Cabaret's All New Stand-up Show.
He is currently gaining prominence with his creation of the stage character Wilfredo, a grotesque satire of a Mediterranean romantic singer. The character is notoriously ill-mannered; frequently salivating onstage, drinking and smoking his way throughout songs, while berating his musicians and audience members with insults and expletives. The character has divided critics, leading them to proclaim him as "strangely endearing", "utterly charming and uplifting", "unlikeable", "quite inappropriate" and "a genius creation".
With Wilfredo and his band, Roper has toured the British summer festival circuit, counting the Glastonbury Festival among his successes on several occasions. In July 2010 Wilfredo became the surprise hit of the Port Eliot Literary Festival, appearing onstage with Jarvis Cocker. Roper has presented the character at the Café de Paris, the Tobacco Factory in Bristol, Brighton Komedia and at London's Leicester Square Theatre. He has also performed the character onstage in Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, South Africa and Argentina.
At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Roper has presented three feature length solo shows, Wilfredo: Erecto! (2011), The Wonderful World of Wilfredo (2012) and Wilfredo: Deconstructed (2014). Drawing positive comment and reviews in the press, Wilfredo is described by the Guardian newspaper as "weird, intimate and wonderful" and by Time Out as "an extraordinary creation who cuts a hacking, spluttering, beer dribbling figure upon the stage". The comedy industry website Chortle observes the character as "cantankerous, often lecherous and almost certainly consumptive, coughing and burping his way through the set, at one point hacking up phlegm like a horse chewing a toffee."
In June 2011 Roper appeared as Wilfredo in the first series of Rufus Hound's What's So Funny? for BBC Radio 7 (now BBC Radio 4 Extra) in addition to an appearance on Arthur Smith's Pissed Up Chat Show at the E4 Udderbelly at the Southbank Centre. In December 2011 Wilfredo recorded the Christmas Day edition of The Comedy Club Interviews for BBC Radio 4 Extra.
In May 2011 Roper played the Devil in Terry Newman's political satire Lucifer: My Part in the New Labour Project (And How I Invented Coalition Government) – a multi-character solo performance – in London and for the Brighton Festival.
At the 2012 Edinburgh Festival, Roper appeared opposite Phil Nichol in a one-off performance at the Traverse Theatre for Theatre Uncut's season of radical playlets, playing an advertising executive representing a global corporation, in Indulge by the Icelandic playwright Andri Snaer Magnuson.
With comedian Pippa Evans under the guise of Loretta Maine, he co-wrote and recorded the song 'Happy Goddamn Christmas', released on 1 December 2012, peaking at No. 6 on the iTunes UK Comedy Charts. An accompanying video was released on 13 December, featuring cameos by Arthur Smith, Imran Yusuf, Ruth Bratt and Thom Tuck, via BBC Three. Also with Evans, he co-wrote and recorded the single 'Peace All Over The World (At Christmas Time)', released 8 December 2014 and reportedly banned by BBC Radio 2 who were "worried that sensitive daytime listeners would be offended".
In September 2014, Roper joined the line-up of the surreal sketch comedy group The Greatest Show on Legs, debuting in Leipzig, Germany.
Matt Roper is the son of the late British comedian George Roper. He is a supporter of the Burma Campaign UK. Roper blogs for the Huffington Post's UK edition and is currently a writer for PictureBox Films; an SVOD division of NBC Universal Pictures.