Matt Braunger Used to Type Subtitles For Softcore Porn, Now He Makes Us Laugh Out Loud
Sure, Portland native former "MADtv" funnyman Matt Braunger's got some acting chops, but our favorite place to see him is on stage with a mic in his face. As a stand-up comic, Braunger's stockpile of real life scenarios (did you know he used to do the TV closed captioning for "Girls Gone Wild"?) delivers a mix of ridiculous tales and relatable humor that lures you in and gets you laughing. He's like the dorky, hilarious neighbor you always wish you had.
Aside from his gig on one of Fox's hit comedy variety show, Braunger's made the rounds on shows like "Up All Night," and "Chelsea Lately," toured the country and become a regular on the festival scene, has some amazing comedy CD's under his belt, and now he's hitting up the Brea Improv January 31st through February 2nd so you can see what some label as "awkward" but we would label as "awesome" for yourself. Before his big Brea weekend, we hit him up for the run down on how he lived his life "pre- comedy" and what he's offering up for us next.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I heard you did the 50 First Jokes show. What was your first joke of the New Year?
Matt Braunger: I did the absolute shortest joke that anyone did. I've been just as guilty as anyone of going long even though you're only supposed to do two minutes because for god sake, there are fifty of us so you add it up and the audience is getting sore butt. I got on stage and said, "Sailing by Christopher Cross was originally titled Chardonnay and Cocaine." Then I walked away. People older than thirty got it and then everyone else was like, what is sailing?
I'm aging myself by saying this but, I loved that song. What was the last job that you had when you quit to do stand-up fulltime?
I was a closed-captioner for the hearing impaired. Kyle Kinane, who I started out with in Chicago, and I both had that job at the same company in Burbank. We didn't do the live ones like basketball or the news, we would do ones like Law and Order or soft core porn. I actually wrote and produced a pilot for Comedy Central about having that job but it didn't get picked up. Kyle and I always got handed the jobs that no one wanted to do. Most everyone on the staff was female and a lot of them were like, no, I don't like doing Girls Gone Wild or the hunting shows so give them to those guys. We'd be like, we hate these shows! You'd think guys would want to do Girls Gone Wild but no, it's grosser than porn because you're just watching this guy ask this girl to take her clothes off who's never done it, she's kind of drunk, and it's like you're seeing the corruption of youth and writing down everything they say! And with hunting show it'd just be like, what a lovely elk...and then a gun shot. And then you'd type, gun shot on the screen and then the elk would fall over.
That is crazy. That is literally a job I have never even thought of.
Exactly. There has never been a time I've answered that question and people have not gone, wait, what? That's not real!
Unbelievable. You need to pitch that show again. How's it going with your role on the show Up All Night?
Good! I'm a recurring character and I play Gene and Jean Villepique plays my wife Terry. We were only supposed to do one episode because we were the dorky neighbors but the writers just liked writing for us so they kept putting us in more episodes. It's a blast! I also think it's more realistic because sometimes you have cool neighbors but everyone has neighbors that you can't stand. And not because they're necessarily terrible people, but these guys are like, you have a kid? I have a kid! We're best friends now! It's like, umm...no we are not!
Ha! You have no idea how true that is to my life. So you think you want to do big time leading roles in your future?
Yeah. I mean, the thing is in Hollywood it's kind of about relationships. You kind of have to build those first or at least have a lot of heat behind you. I'll go out for a lot of things but I just want to do good stuff. As for the huge rolls, generally speaking, now that movie stars are doing TV, they kind of push me and my ilk down out of the roles we might have gotten for TV. So movies are even more of a shoot for the moon thing. The thing that's interesting is, movies aren't really making the money that they used to. They're not going away, I mean, I hope to god not because I love movies, but I just think they're much more of a gamble. Right now I'm working on a script and who knows what'll happen but the drive behind it is to make the funniest movie that I can. It's not like I'm writing it to make a million dollars or to look cool or whatever. I feel like there's a lot of comedy's but there aren't a lot that from beginning to end murdered me like Blazing Saddles, Something About Mary, or Airplane.