Matthew "Matt" Braunger is an American actor, writer, and stand-up comedian. Outside of performing stand-up, Braunger is noted for being a cast member on MADtv during its final season in 2008–2009 and most recently as a recurring guest star on NBC's Up All Night as "Gene Martin".
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Hi, I'm Matt Braunger. You might know me from @midnight, Chelsea Lately, MadTV, NBC's Up All Night, my last comedy special "Shovel Fighter" on Comedy Central... and my latest comedy special "Big Dumb Animal," premiering on Comedy Central tonight at 12 midnight / 11 central.
Victoria's helping me get started. AMA!
It all looks like such ridiculous fun, but just how competitive do things get on @midnight? And do you get any prep beforehand?
Some of us really get into it, shit-talking each other and stuff, but it's all crazy fun. Yes, we prep most of the jokes, but the funniest stuff is off the cuff.
That Letterman set is the best one I've ever seen, presuming this is the set you're referring to.
Why the hell isn't this ama blowing up?!?
Matt - you're freaking hilarious. Been following you since the $5 comedy night at the Bagdad. Thank you for some great laughs.
My question - with Bridgetown comedy fest, is there a feel in L.A. that more comedians should venture up here to perform, or is it considered kind of a dead end since there's really no exposure?
Also, could you stop stealing all the comedians here?!? We lost you, Funches and Karmel!!
Thanks! Literally the first Q I got was "Who gives a shit?" and it made me howl laughing. I agree with you AND that person. No, not a dead end. Everybody wants to come here (I'm here right now). Haha, they go of their own volition! Look at it this way, LA will fall into the ocean someday. Portland (beloved of God) will not.
Love you so much - Eggly Bagelface is my permanent bowling/trivia/anytime-a-name-is-needed name! Can I take a page from Lipton and ask what your favorite curse is? Mine is goddamn, ICYW.
Yes! And thanks. My favorite curse is probably cocksucker, because it just sounds so violent, yet it's a description of a wonderful person.
If I go halfsies with you, will you invest in and start up Hangover Airlines with me? Seriously, you're gonna wanna get in on the ground floor, it's gonna be huge. Elon Musk wants in, but I have him on hold waiting for your answer.
Also, which comedians do you like to do shows with, and why won't you bring those people to the midwest and make me laugh in person?
Man, if I had the dough, I would. I DO retain the rights to the name, though. I'll go in for 30%.
Jeez, there are SO many. Good question. Most clubs won't pay for them to fly, BUT I'm trying to start more combo-tours with my pals. Stay tuned, and thanks!
What has been the highlight/lowlight of your career so far?
Highlight: probably doing Letterman and getting called over to the couch. Lowlight: Being brought in for a commercial in the early days for the role of "Unattractive Man."
What was the best part about working on Mad TV?
You know how you grow up joking with friends and making each other laugh? Getting to put that stuff on TV. Hands down, that was the best thing.
Hi Matt, you were always my favourite on Clesea Lately! :-) Fun question, are you ticklish anywhere? If yes, where?
Thanks! Not really. My ribs, maybe? I probably wouldn't laugh, though. Just yell "Stop!" like a sissy.
What is your writing process like when you're working on a new hour?
Just go up as often as possible and hammer away at the jokes, make them as good as possible. That's about it. Oh, and live life, experience things. God, I wish I had a cooler answer like "take acid and walk into the desert."
Braunger! I can't wait to watch the special. You came to Flat 12 and did stand up in the what you so aptly-titled "party barn." I hope you come around again, because not only were you hilarious, you were very nice.
That was the best! Thanks for having me!
1. Ha! Portland, but Chicago is a close 2nd.
2. Yes, absolutely.
3. SO much. Yes.
Hey Matt! I am big fan of Ding Donger and am very excited for the show tonight. Do you have any "behind the scenes" facts about your new special? Also I love the beard. It is inspiring.
Thanks! Yeah, we only used one of the tapings, rather than cherry-pick from the two. That's because someone shut off the AC so the duck hanging from the ceiling (you'll see) wouldn't blow around. As a result, everybody was hot and tired and I got all sweaty. So the second night we made sure to turn it on and it was a way better show.
What do you think of the stereotype of comedians being "sad clowns" for lack of a better term? I consume a lot of comedy and have seen it pop up in several places.
We're analytical, and that often leads to sadness. I mean, you break anything down enough you'll get depressed. Also, we're neurotic. Meaning "everything is bad because I've of something I did," which is pretty stupidly egotistical, when you think about it. Also, sheesh, look at us. What a bunch of losers.
I found out about you on your many guest appearances on YMH podcast and really love your sense of humor.
If I remember correctly, in your most recent appearance you and Tom touched a bit on how this special you focused more on personal-based story-telling which I think is both cool and interesting.
When you were developing this material, did you find yourself in a bit of a weaker position since it's not particularly your preference?
Did you find yourself in a sort of nebulous anxiety, kind of like: "Fuck, how do I approach this?" more often than you normally would? or did you feel a bit more comfortable because of your experience in stand up?
Looking forward to the special, best of luck with everything!
Hi! Thanks! I didn't find myself in a weaker position, really, just adjusted my focus a little. If anything, I think I got a little less fake onstage. We all play something of a character doing comedy, I just got a little more real-er. Yes, that's a word. Thanks!
I've really started to love your work over the last year!
It was such a delight when you quoted Danny Brown lyrics about stank pussy and upset Janeane Garofalo.
Makes me wonder, what rap you been listening to lately?
HA! Yes, I loved pissing off my lovely pal Janeane too. Thanks. Good question. I love a lot of the new Joey Bada$$. Mike Eagle is great. Also, what I've heard of the new Action Bronson is spectacular. OH! And I love Vince Staples' "Hell Can Wait" EP.
TIL that "ate my dick" is industry lingo for "did poorly"
You've mentioned your (diverted) DUII in some of your bits. Why did the judge make you live with your parents? That's not really a typical requirement of Oregon DUII diversion. (I work for lawyers and am just curious.)
Hahaha oh, he didn't. I just didn't have anywhere else to live. I'd left Chicago en route to LA and had only stopped off in PDX to visit my parents for two weeks. Just goes to show everybody, no matter where you are, it's always dumb to drink and drive!
Have you ever been pranked by Brendon Walsh?
He recently took a picture of me looking at my phone while we were at an audition together and posted it on twitter with the caption "Look at this dumb gorilla trying to understand how a phone works." He has a gift.
I'm just gonna throw out a few questions.
Where would you still like to travel (for fun or just to perform)?
Are there any crazy stories from your early days?
What would you like to ask your idol(s)?
I've been reading recently that some comedians/writers are concerned that we might be approaching a comedy bubble. I wasn't around for the last one but I do like comedy currently and wouldn't like seeing it deteriorate. Do you think comedy is heading down a similar path? What can be done differently? Any other thoughts on the matter?
Hi Matt, how tall are you, what's your shoe size, and what's your best feature, physical and otherwise?
Hello. I'm 6'4", it's 12 1/2, and my best feature is my magnificently tattooed butt. It's got the cover of Def Leppard's album "Pyromania" on it and it's perfect. My ass, that is.
Do you listen to any podcasts, and if so what are your favorites?
For sure. WTF, NoSleep, Bill Burr's Monday Morning, Nerdist, Your Mom's House, This American Life, The Crab Feast, offhand.
Hey Matt, just heard you on Comedy Bang Bang. I want to hear what your answer would have been: what did the dinosaur say when the cave repairman said, "ah it's gonna be another 3 weeks?"
New one: "How long if I eat your legs? GET TO WORK AND FINISH BY THE END OF TODAY!!"
You always favorite or retweet me and that's awesome! I'm here in Chicago wondering, where should I go drinking tonight?
Also, if there was a Braunger special, what would be in the drink?
You got it. I'd pick a neighborhood to booze in, Lakeview, Logan Square, and Pilsen are good ones. My favorite all-around bar is probably Jake's on Clark. Hmm, maybe good whiskey with a can of beer on the side?
what was the name of that TV show you were on where you were the annoying whitebread neighbor? I oppose google.
Up All Night. I played Gene, who was basically an asshole Ned Flanders.
I saw Daniel Tosh tweeted about your special. What is your relationship with him like?
Also, how was your experience recording this special? How did you prepare for it and where did you record it?
I've opened for him a couple times in years past, and he's always been supportive. He's a fun dude, and just as weird as he comes off. The special recording was a blast. We did it at the Bell House in Brooklyn.
What makes you laugh and do you have any guilty pleasures? What are they?
Anything ridiculous but true, and not sad. Christ, that sounds vague. Guilty pleasures I don't really believe in. If you love it, you love it. Maybe heroin is the only guilty pleasure?
When do you sleep?
Who are you're biggest influences stand-up wise? Also who are you're favorite currently working stand ups? Really looking forward to seeing you're special btw
Pryor, Carlin, Brian Regan, Maria Bamford, Bill Burr, the list goes on and on. Um, wow, Kyle Kinane, Ted Alexandro, Beth Stelling, Kate Berlant, Maria, Burr, Chris Rock. God, so many. It's an embarrassment of riches. Thanks!
You wake up tomorrow and you're 18 again. You have to build your comedy career from the ground up knowing what you know now. What would you do?
Go up as often as possible and give so much less of a crap about worrying about doing what the "industry" says I should do. Also, go see a lot more of the arts rather than watch TV. Also, drink less.
Is BDA going to be available on CC Direct at some point in the hopefully near future? Alas, I lack cable.
I believe so, yes.
Hi Matt. How would you have felt about a different camera set-up on Up All Night?
It would have been different, but I would have done it, sure. I loved played that dickhead Gene.
So do you film all of these shows during the day? Because if so I feel so deceived...
LATE at night, I mean. Like Miles Davis or someone else that's cool.
What is the worst experience you have ever had doing stand-up? Where was it?
I had the misfortune of killing the first time I did stand up. That's the worst thing that can happen, because it makes you think it's easy. About the fifth time, I ate. My. Dick. It was so horrible. I introduced the next guy and jumped sideways onto the couch backstage. I felt like I'd been kicked in the balls.
Hi Matt, what's something we don't know about you?
When I was 16 I used to be a security escort outside of a woman's clinic to keep women safe from anti-abortion protestors. Basically, I was a bouncer. My mom and I would do that on Saturday mornings. Thing is, most of them were going in for health screenings and/or free birth control. Such a weird thing. I've tried to write jokes about it, but it's hard to wrap your head around.
What is your favorite website, and why is it Reddit?
Mine, mattbraunger.com, because it's very focused on this idiot I somehow keep alive. But mainly Reddit, because that dummy's on here now.
What should I eat for dinner tonight? I'm having a hard time deciding.
It's Friday, so you should treat yourself. You've had a big week. Go with a ribeye, some grilled asparagus, and a couple glasses of a good Malbec. Or if you're a vegetarian, a big pan of homemade mac n' cheese with a frisee salad on the side.
So did they make you wear the same outfit the next night or did they know they were gonna cut it immediately after?
I'd already bought two, so I was okay. You gotta have two of the same outfits for tapings. Don't know how Katt Williams does it.
Are you doing a show this weekend???
I'm not. My man Ian Karmel is taping his first album at Mississippi, though. You should hit that!
Cool ha. Maria's my favorite. Thanks for the reply man.
She's a genius!
I can relate to over analyzing for sure. I definitely do it. And thanks for answering! Keep up the good work.
Love the Pixies intro music
Thanks! You get to choose what song you'd like to come out to. Before the show I rode down with Paul in the elevator and he said, "Hey. Pixies. Good pick, man."
Whoa, I didn't know you're into rap. What are some of your all time favorite albums? RIP YAMS!
Was always huge into it, since I was a kid. Low End Theory, 36 Chambers, Bizarre Ride Into the Pharcyde, Long Live the Kane, Amerikkka's Most Wanted, D.O.C's No One Can Do it Better, so many more. I went kinda old school, just off the top of my head. Right now I like the new Joey Bada$$ and Vince Staple's EP.
why animal? why now?
I just liked the title because it made people laugh when I told them about it. Now because I had a new hour.