Matt Braunger is a busy guy. He travels the nation as a headlining comedian that’s traveled the world in addition to various stints on television. Bur perhaps the best thing about Matt, is that he’s a devastatingly funny stand-up comedian. A skill he’s about to show off once again with the release of his third stand-up special, Big Dumb Animal. Braunger taped the hour this past summer and on February 6th at midnight it will premiere on Comedy Central, being released on CD just a few days later on the 10th. Matt is a pal of The Laugh Button, performing on a few shows of ours in the past, so he was gracious enough to catch up with us on the phone to talk about his new special as we get down to just who actually is the “Big Dumb Animal” in question.
You new comedy special Big Dumb Animal. We need it explained, is a big dumb animal describing you or somebody else or just a fascination with an old childhood poster you had in your room and you’re like, “Hey I’m just going to name it that, no one will know, but they’ll all ask?”
No this is one of the first times I’ve done a special or an album where the title actually meant something. It is me, I’m talking about me and how I’ve kind of had an interesting life and a good life so far but the amount of stuff I’ve done that’s been stupid… and also just making fun of my size, my persona, and where I’m at in my life. It comes down to having a sense of humor about yourself really. Soak Up The Night, to me was a funny, “Oh that would be a great shitty rock album title.” And then Shovel Fighter, was just named after one of the jokes on the album. But it wasn’t as cohesive. This one has a bit of a… not exactly an arc, but it’s a little bit more self-aware I guess. Short answer: I am the big dumb animal.
I’m glad you brought up, Soak Up The Night, because taking a glance at that album cover. Was that a perm? Was that natural?
That’s natural. Yeah that’s natural.
Times have changed a little bit right?
I kind of wish that was the actual answer. Yes I used to get perms. I wish I was that crazy guy who would actually get perms.
Do you remember any, “special haircuts,” that maybe your classmates had growing up? I remember distinctly when I was in Fifth grade there was an Eighth grader who made it pretty clear that he was a fan of Vanilla Ice and put it on display. He had the steps and the line, the fade, the whole nine. Were there some classic cuts back in the day?
I never had too crazy of a haircut. I remember going to see, Do The Right Thing, and being like, “I should just cut a little line in my head.” Cause Spike Lee’s character had one right at the crown of his head. Thankfully talked myself out of it. I had a friend who had curly hair on top and the sides and back were shaved and patterns were written into it. And on the bottom he had mullet hairs. So it was like hair, then nothing, then lines and shit, then words, then the bottom was just these mullet hairs coming down. It was really something else. I’m still friends with him. I saw him for the first time in a couple years over Christmas and I think we were still razzin’ him about that hair.
Much to your demise he started a wig factory and sells wigs based off that haircut and has made millions alone.
Oh yeah he’s a tycoon of that sort of wig, absolutely.
Back to Big Dumb Animal, it airs on February 6th on Comedy Central and will be released on CD on the 10th. Congratulations again.
How would you describe your size? Lets not use dimensions, but let’s put you in different places in the global compass. For instance, if I were standing behind you at a concert would I be enjoying the concert or would I be frustrated?
No you’d be frustrated. I learned a long time ago to play the back. Like if I go see a live show I always go stand near the wall or near the bar cause I can see fine, and I don’t need to get up close to the edge. Anytime I see someone my height or size at the front of a show I’m like, “C’mon man, just move your big Easter Island head back here where mine is. It’s not fair to anybody, it’s a little selfish. And at the same time I was never one of those people who wanted to go up front and touch the band or anything like that. To me that’s kind of groupie-ish.
That sounds like your next album title: “Touch The Band.”
“Touch The Band With My Easter Island Head,” and then we have a shot of me with my head on a guitarist’s foot as he’s soloing. I’m just resting like he’s a pillow.
So topics are you tackling with this latest special, and in addition to that how has your process changed about how you write for these things now that you have more than one here in the bag?
My ammo has not changed. I think of and write down things that I think are funny and develop them on stage. My only thing over the last year was that I got a really great note at the beginning of the year from a guy I’ve worked with several times who said, “You know you’re really funny, but sometimes I watch your act and I don’t get exactly who you are.” So I started just plumbing my past and my present state and just talking more personally if that makes any sense. At the same time, I don’t want to write a one man show, I don’t want to do anything that’s too, “pouring my heart out and it’s not funny,” it’s got to be funny is the thing. I just turned it a little bit more inward I think and told some more stories and things. It’s just like a snapshot of my life, where I am right now.