Matt Lieb : A Comedian You Should Know
The ‘Comedian You Should Know’ series highlights funny people performing in San Francisco. SF based comic Matt Lieb is hosting Al Madrigal & Kevin Camia, at Cobb’s Comedy Club May 22 – 24th
Matt Lieb is a comic you should know, his glasses say ‘1970’s policeman’ and his mustache says ‘1970’s porno’, so naturally we wanted to interview him. Stuart said, “Matt Lieb is so funny it almost makes him sexy…almost.” I first saw Matt perform at the Kinda Late Show with Broke-Ass Stuart where he is the lead writer. He was making people laugh with self deprecating one-liners and handling a rowdy Late Night crowd, his bit involving Google auto-correct combined with suggestions from the audience had the crowd in hysterics.
Matt runs two weekly comedy shows in the city, and if you’re looking for the up and coming comics in the bay area, they’re found at these events: The Tabernacle at The at Dark Room Theater and Mission Position at Lost Weekend Video, both in the San Francisco Mission District.
I sat down with Matt at his apartment in the Haight, (where I think he might be living with 18 additional roommates) the place looked like it was run by a combination of comedians, Facebook employees and bike thieves. We talked comedy, the road, and living the life of brokeitude in SF.
Where are you from:
Born and raised on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Mean meaning average, not mean meaning malicious. If there were, say, a list of streets in Los Angeles, mine would be the most average.
When was your first set, and how did it go?
The first set was at a stand up comedy class in 2003 at UC Santa Cruz, where I did jokes about masturbation and being sexually inexperienced. I probably did 15 sets between 2003-05 before quitting to follow my dream of only doing drugs. Eventually, I stopped doing drugs (for a list of reason which I won’t go into) and decided to start doing comedy again. I started doing comedy for-realsies in May of 2011 and my first set was at the Brainwash Cafe in San Francisco, where I did jokes about masturbation and being sexually inexperienced. Both sets went ok enough for me to continue this charade of a career choice.
Where do you perform regularly?
I run two weekly shows in San Francisco. I run The Tabernacle with Stevie Post and Torio Van Grol at the Dark Room Theater every Wednesday. And every Thursday I run The Mission Position at Lost Weekend Video with Kate Willett, Torio Van Grol, Richard Toomer, and Jessica Sele. I also do a weekly podcast with Vince Mancini called The Filmdrunk Frotcast and I also write lists on Facebook. The lists are very well received.
Worst experience on the road?
I’ve had many horrible experience on the road, hard to rank them all. But number one on the list would be an Irish Pub in Bakersfield, California. I was talking about how all men have at some point in their lives attempted to give themselves oral pleasure. One man did not take kindly to having that bit of information released to the general public. He protested “I’ve never tried to do that, and I think it’s disrespectful that you would say that with ladies present.” I tried to assure him that he absolutely had, and that he was in a safe space. He continued to come closer and closer to the stage. He reached out and grabbed my collar and, as I braced myself for a beating, he was tackled by a security guard. I finished my set and the security guard walked me to my car.
What was your first job?
Taking orders at McDonalds when I was 16. It was certainly the number one worst job I’ve ever had. I was there for 9 months and shortly after I quit, 9/11 happened. That was a strange year.
What do you do for money now?
I work as a board operator at a talk radio station in San Francisco. A show called “Cory and Joel.” You can hear me interrupt the hosts Monday through Friday from 1pm to 3pm on Talk 910am. The rest of the money comes from 1) comedy writing gigs 2) web ad acting gigs, and 3) paid stand up gigs. I do the list writing for free out of the goodness of my heart.
Do you have a favorite 1 liner?
Here are my top two:
1) Steven Wright’s “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”
2) Mitch Hedberg’s “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.”
What’s your favorite joke in your set right now?
It’s hard to rank one as my favorite, as I do not want to offend any of the other jokes on my set list. Here is my favorite newer/newish joke: It’s about the concept of karma, and how it has to do with reincarnation. I say “if you actually believe in karma, you don’t give money to homeless people. You go right up to them and say ‘Nice try, Hitler.’”
Let’s play Mary, Bang Kill, the game where you have to choose from 3 names, who would you marry, who would you have a one night stand with, and who would you murder…here are your 3 names (feel free to explain why if you like:
Rodney Dangerfield, Louis CK, Dane Cook
Marry Rodney, bang Dane, kill Louis CK. Not based on their comedic performance. I think Rodney would be fun to hang out with every day (if he were alive). He looks super cuddly and we could talk about his glory days. Dane Cook seems like he would be dynamite in bed. And I would kill Louis so that he could become a comedy martyr. I live in constant dread of the day when the internet eventually turns on him, the way the internet turned on me on the day I started writing lists.
Who’s a performer you’re embarrassed to like?
I’d make a list of them, but I’d probably get in trouble.
I’m kind of embarrassed that Dane Cook is one of the first stand-up comedians I was in awe of. I was 15 when I discovered his Comedy Central special and I used to go the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and watch him absolutely crush. Every time. It was amazing. A few years later he was the biggest comedian in the world, and I had moved on to other comedians. And then a few months later he was the most hated comedian in the world. I always felt bad that people turned on him so quickly.
Your Top 5 Comedians of all time?
FUCK THAT!!! THIS IS A TRAP!!! EVERYONE WILL GET MAD AT ME!!!
1) Maria Bamford
2) Hayden Greif-Neill
3) Dave Chappelle
4) Everyone on the Bay Area Comedy Network, including fake accounts.
5) A tie between Bill Burr and everyone who has ever gone up at an open mic or even passively thought about trying comedy some day.
Hope that covers everyone.
Any advice for people who are starting out in comedy?
Never make a list of comedians. Ever.