Matt Wright on manners, honesty & enjoying the growth
While Matt Wright might say he’s doing “a whole lot of nothing” at the moment, nothing could be further from the truth. As his dog barks at passersby and he (oh-so-kindly and mannerly) asks for silence, the always funny Wright recalls that he’s not long back from “a big show” in St. John’s and another in his hometown of Gander.
Bellyfull of Laughs
This writer got a bellyfull of laughs courtesy of Wright at a Board of Trade luncheon this past December, so he’s certainly not been resting on his laurels. And, anyone familiar with Wright’s brand of humour knows his gift to the world; finding the hilarity in the everyday, doesn’t just happen by accident. Or does it?
“Is my brain wired differently? Yeah, it is, for better or for worse,” he admits.
There was a time his thoughts caused him to, well, think. “Before I started doing stand up I was kind of annoyed by my brain but now I sort of see the value in it a lot more.” These days, there’s a sense of pride in his uniqueness.
“I do take a lot of pride in doing a deep dive into something that someone else would find boring. Comedy is very political right now and that’s so incredibly important and that’s not to say that I never say anything political at all but I also think there’s great value in taking a deeper look into something maybe you are not thinking of.
“I think it’s like being an investigative journalist into something no one gives a (bleep) about except you.”
Finding such treasures really comes down to looking at what makes him laugh at home. Like watching Don Cherry trying to pronounce hockey coach Mike Babcock’s name.
“That was something me and my girlfriend laughed about in bed for an hour. We just watched that seven second clip over and over and it was one of the highlights of my year. I love collecting little nuggets like that and asking, how do I express that to other people?”
The Hate Tour
Well, if you’ve ever seen Wright in action, there’s little doubt he’s got it down to a science, which is probably why he’s been asked to open for Shaun Majumder on his Hate tour.
The two have already hit home runs out west and at a few Ontario stops. They will continue spreading hate/joy throughout Newfoundland and Labrador throughout April. Wright says “working with a master like Majumder,” has been a pleasure.
“Shaun’s really polished this show. He’s been working on it pretty diligently; cutting things, adding things, and it’s been very interesting to watch how he has grown that show and changed it and I really respect how he has gone about it.”
Wright says he “marvels” at Majumder’s skill. “I’ll say this, while we were in Vancouver, besides this show, Shaun was also getting his boating licence so while he was doing this material he was also learning the navel alphabet; you know, Alpha, Bravo … and I went, wow! That guy has such a motor. I really respect that about him and I learn from that and as I’m trying to get better myself, I look to people like Shaun.”
So, performing away, or at home? Is there a preference? “I think mentally it’s different. I have friends (in Gander) which is nice and I don’t spend my day wandering around trying to figure out how to get places when I perform there, so it’s more relaxed in some ways and less in others because you know people there which heightens the pressure. But both are great. Performing in places you are familiar with keeps you honest and performing in places you’ve never been helps you grow.”
Opportunities to hone your craft, and the people who provide those opportunities, also help with growth when you are a comedian, Wright shares.
“The guys who owned Yuk Yuks here; Justin Daniels, Bill Jackman, and Brock Ballard, I owe so much to them. I would not have done stand-up had they not opened that club, and I think that’s true for a lot of people. Whether they know it or not, there’s a large amount of comedians from here who owe those guys a great deal for what they put into running that business while they did and I will always be grateful for the work they did.”
There’s still opportunities, he continues, and the proof is in the number – and the caliber – of comedians who keep showing up at open mics.
“When I first started doing stand-up there was like 10 to 12 people, now there’s between 40 and 60. Every time I go out to do an open mic to try new material there’s always three people who I don’t know on the list and I love that so much and I hope it keeps growing more and more.”
As his own celebrity grows, is there anyone he’s met who makes him go; wow! Cool!? Wright hosted a show at Just for Laughs and on the bill was Ken Jeong from the sitcom Community and the film The Hangover.
“I always thought he was so funny and when I met him I was awestruck how kind and professional he was.”
From just being kind and generous to offering rides without being asked, Wright says Jeong was a real “nice man.” “When I met Ken he was so nice and so sweet and that made me more awestruck because I admire anyone who can reach that level of success and still be a decent person.”
A Grand Display
Wright himself only needs to look in the mirror to see what decent looks like, as he continues with kindness and with a grand display of well-raised good manners; ‘‘I’d love to thank the people who came out to my shows in St. John’s and Gander and I won’t harasses them to come to any more of my shows; except the Shaun stuff. Come to that!”
Also, because, hey, he has to earn a living, keep an eye out for his next as yet untitled album which will be coming out “rackly.” In the meantime, fans who need a fix “Wright” now? What should they do?
“Go to my website or check me out on Instagram. Please.”
For more visit mattwrightcomedy.com or @mattwrightcomedy (Instagram)