Undoubtedly, one of the stars of the 12th season of “The Great British Baking Show” (or, if you’re anywhere in the world besides the U.S., “The Great British Bake Off”) is Jürgen, the impressive baker who has a Jewish family and made headlines with his Passover pavlova. But, he’s not the only one on the show bringing some Jewish representation.
Did you know “The Great British Baking Show” co-presenter Matt Lucas is also Jewish? It’s true! And there’s so much more to him than what we see inside the famous tent.
Let’s explore 18 things to know about British comedian Matt Lucas.
1. Matt was born in London to a Jewish family.
2. Some of his family relocated to Great Britain because of the Holocaust.
“My grandmother was a refugee from Berlin who came to England during the Second World War,” Matt wrote. “She was a real intellectual, a very intelligent woman. Eventually, she was given British citizenship. Under Hitler, she had been banned from studying to become a doctor, so she became a nurse and married one of her patients — my grandfather, who had had polio and was in a wheelchair.”
3. Growing up, he and his family were members of Edgware and District Reform Synagogue.
“It was something I really connected with,” he told the Jewish Chronicle. “A lot of my friendships came through that and are still going strong.”
4. At the age of 6, Matt began to lose his hair due to alopecia after being hit by a car.
“It was 1985, a full five years after my hair had fallen out. Five years. I had already done my best to somehow assimilate my baldness into my personality,” Matt wrote. “I had figured out jokey responses to the same old questions if I was in a good mood, and withering retorts if I wasn’t. I had mastered the art of staring back fearlessly at people when I caught them sneaking a look at me. I had figured out, in my own way, how to live with being bald.”
5. Matt had a bar mitzvah and not one but two bar mitzvah parties — at this point his parents had divorced, so one was held by his mum and the other by his dad.
Here’s a video of him practicing his Hebrew chanting:
6. He attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, alongside other Jewish British comedians like David Baddiel, Ashley Blaker and fellow Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
7. In the U.K., Matt is best known for the sketch comedy series “Little Britain.”
You can check out a countdown of the best sketches from the show here:
8. He had a minor cameo in the 2004 British cult-classic “Shaun of the Dead.”
Check out the trailer:
9. Matt is openly gay!
This is literally how I turned gay pic.twitter.com/FwyZuewgdw
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) November 9, 2018
In 2006, Lucas married “the love of his life,” Kevin McGee. The pair divorced in 2008 and sadly McGee died by suicide in 2009.
“The thing to remember when you’re going through the worst of it is to look around and realise at some point everyone has been through something similar and the world is still turning,” Matt said. “One day you will feel better than you do now.”
10. Though Matt has described himself as a “fairly secular Jew” and an atheist, he still considers himself to be culturally Jewish. Exhibit A:
I'm in Manhattan, it's hot and humid and I'm inside having matzo ball soup. That's how Jewish I am.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) June 10, 2015
11. Besides “The Great British Baking Show,” Matt is probably most recognizable to American audiences from his role in “Bridesmaids.”
The comedic power of Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson together is almost too much, tbh.
12. Speaking of that duo: Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson actually were roommates for a time!
Listen to Wilson read a letter they once got in their mailbox:
Matt and Rebel, we would love to sing “Annie” tunes with you in a hot tub.
13. He also played Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
Here’s a clip from the sequel, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” featuring Matt:
14. Starting in 2015, Matt portrayed the character of Nardole on “Dr. Who.”
15. He’s written multiple books — for adults and children!
16. Matt has posted on social media about observing Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day:
17. Matt has served as a guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.”
Scroll through the post below to hear what Matt loves about the show!
18. Starting in 2020, Matt became a co-presenter on “The Great British Baking Show.”
He’s added a new element of silliness to the show with bits like this incredible impression of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: