LA-based comedian Matt Braunger was born and raised in Portland, and every year he comes home to do a holiday show. We wrote about his "First Annual Coldest and Darkest Time of the Year Comedy Spectacular", Dec 17 at the Mission—featuring Ian Karmel and Ron Funches—in the paper; here's the full text of our interview with Braunger.
MERCURY: You've been coming back over the holidays to visit your family and doing shows for a few years now, is that right?
BRAUNGER: Yeah, I've been coming home for Christmas for a while and I always either just drop in or do my own show. Last year was the first time I did a serious "road"-y show, meaning where I promote it and have it somewhere big. It was at the Hollywood Theater (Ian Karmel and Ron Funches did it too), and it went off great. I just thought, why not do it every year? I'm coming back for the Holiday anyway.
WWhat've you got in mind this year? Ian and Ron said they want to do more than just stand-up sets.
We might have some little things here and there, but as far as I know it'll mainly be stand-up we're doing. Hey, but you never know. By the time it rolls around we might have a couple musical numbers, get some of the performers over from Sassy's, and put Reggie Deluxes from Pine State and Wings from Pok Pok under everybody's seats. No promises. I do, however, promise a fun show that'll make you forget putting up with your older relative's racist dinner comments.
What other sorts of things have you been working on lately? I remember awhile back you were working on an idea for TV with Kyle Kinane.
Right now I've got a new hour I'm shopping around for a special and album, as well as a couple things in the works I can't really talk about. Shitty thing to even say, I know. Sorry. I've got a couple guest spots coming up on the "Michael J. Fox" show, though, as a dope who sells suits. That was a lot of fun. As for the me and Kyle show, it's dead as of a year ago. I'd get into the details but I'll get mad and it's the Holidays. Put it this way, neither of us had anything to do with its demise. Kyle sold a show to FX though, so hopefully that gets off the ground. I'd do whatever he'd want me to on that. He and I started out together, so it's always fun when we get to do anything.
Compared to Ron and Ian, you're the relative elder statesman. I wonder what you've seen in their rapid rises since relocating to LA?
Oh man, Ron and Ian broke the land speed record for getting a job in LA as soon as they moved there. It seriously just made me laugh. I was there for three years before anything even began to happen. Not that I'm jealous or resentful whatsoever, I was really just amazed and proud. Last Friday I was at the Chelsea wrap party talking to Ian about it and he said a really nice thing. Basically that they never would have had those opportunities if I hadn't opened doors first. Which, okay, maybe, but they would have been fine without me. The thing about the business is to remember your friends and just be a fan, always. I love great comedy, and both those guys are amazing. They're also great friends of mine. Seeing two guys from where I grew up make it is just awesome to me.
Also, when I market my Ian and Ron plush dolls I'm gonna make a fucking fortune.