by Al Bahmani
You might remember the brief moment in time Matthew Broussard was entrenched in the Houston comedy scene. During that first year he won not one, but 3 contests. Houston’s Funniest Person 2012 was probably the most prestigious among them. Recently Matthew’s has been spotted on television, “The Mindy Project” and “Adam Devine’s House Party” are the first that come to mind. We catch up with Matthew and talk about life on the road, following your dreams, the entertainment business and other ways to stay busy.
So where are you at right now?
I’m in a rental car driving from a Des Moines airport to Coe College to perform tonight. I was booked through NACA National, I’m doing a good number of them this fall, 30 shows total. That’s my fall and I’m shooting with MTV. I rarely sleep in my own bed. That’s my life. I’m more than appreciative, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I do a lot of colleges, I don’t do a lot of club stuff right now. On the road I do a feature week here and there.
How do your colledge shows go?
I do maybe 30 to 40 minutes of material and generally end with a lot of Monday Punday. It’s a lot of fun. The Monday Punday does well even if I bomb.
So lets go back in time you arrived Austin and then you ended up in LA, what happened?
July 2013, I had my bags packed and moved to LA. I worked out a deal with my boss to work remotely.The day I left town I found out I had booked a role in a movie that was shooting all summer in Austin. So I moved to Austin instead. I spent 2 months there working remotely at my job and shooting the film “Intramural” with some very talented SNL cast members. From there I had my bags packed and moved to Los Angeles. And the week before I left I was accepted into the San Francisco Comedy Competition, so I went straight to San Francisco where I stayed with a friend for 3 weeks. I was still working and doing that contest.
And during that time, my car was broken into, my work computer was stolen and I lost my job. My computer was stolen on the 2nd (of October) and I lost my job on the 4th and I moved to LA on the 10th. It was a very tough low point for me. I was scared. I cried like a bitch.
Over the course of the year things really picked up. I got NACA National, I started getting little tv spots here and there. I started touring with the colleges. Last couple of months MTV put me on every show they have which is great. I’m involved with a show called Guy Code.
I filmed a pilot for a show on a show on MTV2 called Number 2 News. If they pick up the series, I’ll be shooting in 2015. I shot a special called ..Tips for girls, I’m on of 3 hosts. That airs in November, fingers crossed that will become a series. MTV is pretty great. That’s my life now.
Wow you kept your old job when you moved to California?
Something I see comics doing which I am against is this eagerness to quit their day job and call themselves a full time comedian. There’s no shame, to me there is a great honor in having a 9 to 5 and working in comedy. Just because your Facebook profile says “comedian” doesn’t make you legit. Financial stability from comedy is not an indicator of success or lack thereof. Once of the best comedians I know, Jay Weingarten works at hospital, with a legit job and he’s hilarious. So what he is not making a living doing comedy. Don’t quit your job so you can feel more legit. I felt more legit as a comedian while I was still working 9 to 5. Don’t quit your day job, wait till you’re so entrenched in comedy that you get fired.
Hows the dad?
I see my dad as often as possible. He’s in assisted living right now. He broke his hip, it’s still hard with Parkinson’s. He’s still as sharp as ever. That’s a blessing and something to be real appreciative of. He’s very supportive of my comedy. He’s very excited for me.
My mom still wants me to quit. I actually get my college agent to send my checks to her and she cashes them for me. So she knows I’m making a living. But she still doesn’t believe it.
My brother’s wedding was in may and he has a little girl coming in November. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be an uncle. I have no choice. Maybe he’ll consult me and say, “Hey Matthew are you ready to be an uncle?”. Okay put me on speaker phone.
How about you?
Just co-wrote a pilot script with Theodore ME Taylor & John Nguyen based off my Supervillain Attorney Web-series. Attack of the Comedy Show is in it’s 2nd year at Last Concert Cafe. And I’m interviewing Matthew Broussard!
That’s half the battle, just putting something out there. I’m so lazy. I have Monday Punday, that’s the only thing I work on. Even that’s done stuff for me and it’s just cartoons. People may like you, but when it comes time they’re going to ask, “Do you have anything?”. I can’t recommend that quite enough. Have something. That’s my advice to young comics, have videos, sketches spec scripts, it can make all the difference in comedy. Have something.
While you were in ATX you did a Daily Show-esque correspondent showcase bit at Cap City with Barrett Goldsmith. What became of that?
That was a project of my own accord I had. I really love “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”. To become a correspondent is one of my dreams. It may or not be something I’ll end up with. I rerecorded it and submitted that exact bit. Funny thing about that, I ended up using it to submit for other things. It was a cool thing to help make finance kinda funny.
How has your finance degree helped you with your comedy?
I looked back fondly when I was working a 9 to 5 and doing mics every night and using my vacations to do feature weekends. I felt I grew a lot as a person. I worked harder. Just the discipline required to do both and the real world experience helped me a lot to learn to write. Maybe my knowledge of Mutual Funds Vs. Exchange Rated funds will not lend itself to material. It’s something a lot of comics don’t have and anything that will set you apart is paramount.
I still feel fondly for the Houston scene, Mark Hurtado, Chase DuRousseau and John Gard are out there working hard in the writing world. Chase’s stand up is really starting to get noticed. We all support each other a lot. Barrett (Goldsmith) is moving up here really soon. He’s one of my best friends in the world we talk about 3 to 4 times a week. My show got picked up the first thing that I did was ask to Barrett if he could write. He’s moving out to LA and I’m looking forward to him being here.
Houston comedy touches a place in my heart, I have such a pride to develop and I feel so fondly about my fellow Houston comics. Dallas is really killing it. Dallas and Austin are doing very well. I really want us to beat them. So we can prove to the world that Houston really has culture. People don’t believe me. Prove to the world that Houston is just Austin with more parking.
Advice to Comics moving to LA?
Don’t do it, it’s brutal. Don’t do it unless you have a network of friends who are already established. Or have some kind of niche because open mics there are brutal in a very demoralizing way.
How demoralizing is it compared to doing St. Danes 1:45 in the morning or being bumped so much you’re in front of a group of people who couldn’t care less?
At least those people that hate you don’t also do comedy. You have a lot to learn from those rooms. What you learn at open mics (here in Los Angeles) is how to make a bunch of grumpy open mic comedians laugh. Which is not a lucrative skill. It’s a skill but it’s not going to make you as a comedian. You’re going to get some weird habits, it’s going to make you dark and sadistic and very meta.
Do as much as you can in your town. I got industry notice in Austin. I didn’t have to move out of the state to get my first television appearance. I could have waited around longer and had more things go my way. The people who do really well in LA are ones that come cities like Portland or Seattle or DC or Chicago and make a name for themselves there. By the time they get out here (in Los Angeles) they see headliners who they’ve featured for or people they’ve done festivals with and they’re already one of the guys . They don’t have to climb the ranks of the open mics and start getting on decent showcases. Take it all with a grain of salt.
Develop that feature set where you are at. That’s something you can’t do in Los Angeles. I have to drive more than sixty minutes to get more than 10 minutes of stage time.
Outside of Monday Punday what other content are you’re producing for yourself right now?
I’m pretty lazy right now and I have are my dreams and my goals. I’ve been pitching some stuff around and I might wait for the dust to settle on project right now and see if I have a little more leverage to go after that big thing. My science finance and educational thing I’d like to do. That’s my biggest thing.
My dream gig would be a correspondent for the Daily Show. Is still a big dream. I would love to do for Science what Jon Stewart did for News & Politics. I’ve fallen out of love with finance and fallen more love with science because I’ve been out of the financial world. I really loved Cosmos. It was good. I’ve been studying subjects that intrigued me.
I come from a science background. My father has a PHD in chemistry and worked in the industry for many decades. My mom has a Masters in Microbiology and Immunology and worked many different job with the CDC and Johnson and Johnson. My brother is Aeronautical engineer in Florida. And I’m a disappointment.
Comedy is harder, you can’t get a BS in stand up?
Have you every done real analysis? It’s a little harder than telling a joke.