Nash Co. Photography

On the eve of 2017, Matt Braunger is considering his New Year’s resolution. “Be a good husband,” he decides, riffing with the cadence of a seasoned stand-up. “I’m getting married in Portland in November. I can save that ’til the end of the year. I can be a shitty fiancé through October.”

New Year’s resolutions aren’t a new thing for the Portland-raised, LA-based comedian. “I made [a resolution at] the beginning of this year that I’ve kept,” he explains. “To never be the last guy at a party ever again. I cannot be that guy who’s standing there in a robe that’s not mine, and I look over and there’s one guy I’ve never met and I say, ‘When’s everybody else coming back?’”

Fittingly, Braunger, who co-founded Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival, is headed to the Aladdin Theater this week with a tour called Made of Mistakes. “I’m looking at life like, ‘Oh, my fuck-ups led me to this,’” he explains. “Expect a lot of stories about things going horribly wrong.”

That “funniest bro at the party” tone shows up frequently in Braunger’s material. But stop there and you’ll miss an acute narrative sensibility and a self-deprecating point of view. “I generally start things as a riff,” he says. “It becomes much more concrete the more I do it. I find where the funny parts are.”

In addition to Braunger’s impending nuptials, 2017 promises all-new episodes of his podcast Ding-Donger. Braunger’s also shopping around a collection of short stories and has plans for a new comedy special. “What I’m doing at the Aladdin [will] be the meat of the special,” he says. Expect stories about an ill-advised tattoo at age 19 and a DUI for driving too slowly while visiting his parents. “They’re either true stories or they’re stories inspired by true events in my life,” he says. “They’re all kind of horrifying.”

What Braunger likes to do most of all when he returns to his hometown is eat and drink. “When I say to people that Portland is America’s Paris, people are like ‘Oh, whatever.’ And then they go, and they’re like: ‘Fuck—you’re right.’ This is a place where, probably not as much now, people can set up a restaurant or a food cart relatively inexpensively and make stuff they want to cook—let’s take chances and try things. I think Portland is really killing it in that regard.”