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Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE
Do you like comedy? Well, then you’re in luck because in case you didn’t know this already, Fort Collins has constructed an entire FORT filled with comedy on College Ave at a little place they’re calling The Comedy Fort. From time to time they’ll even host comedians inside the fort, true-life speakers of comedy will actually come to the stage and speak hilarious nothings into the microphone for your listening pleasure.
And speaking of pleasure, I had plenty of that while recently getting a chance to speak with famed comedian Matt Braunger. I guess maybe that sounded a little weird, I’m just trying to say I enjoyed talking to the guy, okay? He’s coming to The Comedy Fort at the end of this month for not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 4 performances! That’s right, so if you catch one show and you hear the funniest joke ever in your life, hang out for a couple of hours and catch the next show cuz he’ll them all again! Friday, February 25 at 7 pm and 9:30 pm AND THEN you can catch him the following day on Saturday, February 26 at 7 pm and 9:30 pm, as well.
A lot of people “think” they know Matt Braunger, but like I actually know him, okay? Like I spoke to him on the phone AND I read through his entire Wikipedia page, so I feel as though I can confidently say at this point, I know him better than his own mother, Ms. Braunger. Matt was raised in Portland, Oregon by wolves, (I’m still checking on the part about the wolves, but I’m definitely certain about the Portland part).
He eventually moved to New York and Chicago to begin his transformation as the funniest person on the planet and he’s been running strong ever since. Matt’s been featured on literally every television show ever made, to the point that it would be easier to just list off the shows he hasn’t been on, like Cheers or Matlock. Most notably he’s been featured on late-night shows with Conan O’Brien and David Letterman, along with an endless list of other credits.
His debut album Soak Up The Night was released by Comedy Central and was one of the iTunes Top 20 Comedy Albums for 2009; he has since released two other specials: Big, Dumb Animal and most recently Finally Live in Portland. Matt was nice enough to give me a little of his time to talk about comedy specials, life on the road, his new family, and all the drugs he at least “potentially” could have done with Artie Lang at MADtv. Join us, won’t you?
JONSON: So, is this your first time in Colorado and/or Fort Collins?
MATT: No, Fort Collins I’ve played…if I’m not mistaken you have a University of Colorado there?
JONSON: Yikes, that’s blasphemy! (sort of) The University of Colorado is in Boulder and then Fort Collins has Colorado State University; their two football teams are pretty friendly with each other, they hang out a lot.
MATT: Okay, so I’m pretty sure I’ve played CSU, like a student center, like a college gig. But never for like the general public in an actual venue, so I’m psyched; opening the Comedy Fort gave us all a route to sort of do so.
JONSON: For sure, I mean, you would obviously know better than me but the thing I always hear from comics is that college gigs are a little more challenging these days what with woke culture being more prevalent on campuses, so having an actual venue to perform in I would imagine has got to be more comforting to comedians.
MATT: Yeah, it’s just a different ballgame, it’s a different gig than clubs which are generally a bar culture; it’s almost like comparing a college cafeteria to a bar that’s open until 2 am, and what do you think is going to be more rowdy? So yeah, there have been bigger names I’ve heard say, “oh, I don’t play colleges anymore, they’re way too woke,” But I’m kind of like, yeah, but weren’t they always different? Was there ever a college that was like, “oh man, we just love your borderline racist material”? Not that these comics are racists; I don’t know, my thing is it’s just a different scene.
JONSON: This most recent special of yours, Finally Live from Portland, I’m assuming that had something to do with the pandemic postponing the show, or am I way off on that?
MATT: No, so, I actually recorded that a couple of years before the pandemic; it was kind of just a play on words because I’m from there, I’ve played Portland more times than I can count, so it’s sort of just a dumb double entendre that maybe only I would understand. It wasn’t as interesting as saying, “oh, we can finally do live events again…” that would have been better, for sure. I feel like nowadays with maybe just a few exceptions you don’t really have to focus as much on special names.
JONSON: That’s actually a really fair point, I see a lot of comedy specials pop up on like Youtube of all places and they’ll get millions of views and I won’t even necessarily know what the name of it is, I just know to find it on Youtube; so yeah, the title doesn’t seem to be as important as days in the past.
MATT: Yeah, it’s funny, I actually just shot another special in Nashville in October and I had this big closer that sort of centered around one of the worst dudes I’ve ever met while I was on vacation, and the closer just sort of talks about how I think we as men need good examples in our lives but we also need bad examples so we can be like, “I could never be you, dude. You suck so bad.” And this guy, his name just happened to be Doug, so I was like, “what if I just call the special Doug? And my producers were like, “love it, great!” I just kind of like that it’s a random name, it’s could have worked just as well if it was Mike or Dennis, it doesn’t matter.
JONSON: Well, and I’m sure that Doug himself might even enjoy it to some extent.
MATT: He might, man, you never know. He was a hard-drinking man in his 50’s who hated his kids, so…
JONSON: So, average American it sounds like maybe.
MATT: Ha! Sure, it’s definitely a demographic for sure, absolutely.
JONSON: So, I understand you and your wife here somewhat recently had a baby and so I’m just curious with a family, how do you manage the road with the family now? Is that just like a constant balancing act?
MATT: Yeah, I mean I think Journey said it best when they said, “The road ain’t no place to start a family.” Sorry, that was stupid, I’d understand if you just hung up on me right now.
JONSON: No way, man, Journey rules!
MATT: No, honestly, it’s tough, and like a lot of other comics, I loaded up the end of last year once things calmed down and people got vaccinated and stuff, it was like “we’re back, baby!” But then like a couple months in my wife was like, “you gotta scale back this schedule because it’s just me and this kid and I’m working full time.” And my reply to her at the time was like, “well, yeah, but I only go away for the weekends” and she was like, “yeah, but I want my f**king weekends!” So, I can’t go on the road these days like I used to but in a lot of ways that’s probably good because, you know, really what’s the point of being alive in a lot of ways if all you’re doing is just being the traveling clown.
JONSON: I saw that you were on MADtv for the last season, so I have to ask, are you at liberty to divulge how many drugs you’ve done with Artie Lang?
MATT: You know, he was actually gone by the time I joined the cast…
JONSON: I kind of figured as much, but once I thought of that question, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
MATT: Oh, dude, I have unrepeatable tales from other comics I’ve known; I’ve known people from other seasons and yeah, they’re crazy. God bless, Artie.
My many thanks to Matt for taking the time to speak with me and answer my fan-fueled questions; I’ve never had a chance to speak to a real working comedian before, so this was truly nothing short of a thrill for me personally. Check out Matt at mattbraunger.com or find him at bandsintown.com. Lastly, tickets for his shows at The Comedy Fort are selling fast, so don’t be a fool and swiftly go to comedyfortollins.com for all ticket information.