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An Interview with “Kickass” Comedian Matteo Lane

August 9, 2017 by Anne Berkowitz
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It’s Comedy Month at TodayTix and we couldn’t be more excited to share with you our interview with the hilarious and charming Matteo Lane.

Matteo Lane is a fresh and fun young comedian, writer, and painter who can do a better Mariah and Liza than you. He recently performed on Late Night With Seth Myers and Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party. Matteo also co-created and stars in IFC’s Janice and Jeffrey, which you can watch online. He’s got a slew of shows coming up in the city, as well as a few podcasts and even a comic book(!) in the works. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest updates on all the exciting things he is up to as he conquers the comedy world and beyond. In the meantime, check out our interview with Matteo Lane to learn all about this “kickass” comic who may not like Harry Potter but could absolutely slay you in karaoke, no questions asked.

Anne: How did you end up in New York?

Matteo: I’m from Chicago originally. I was freelancing as a storyboard artist for television commercials and fashion ads there. Then my friend who went to SAIC, he was an art director for this company and they needed artists. He was like, “You’re great, move to New York.” So, that was 5 years ago. It will be my 5th year anniversary in a couple of weeks!

A: Congratulations! That’s when you can officially say you’re a New Yorker.

Matteo: Thanks! So yeah, in 30 days I picked up and moved all my stuff to New York.

A: Amazing. And how did you find comedy?

Matteo: I started doing comedy in Chicago, for 8 months maybe. I got this gig where nighttime, on weekends, we would go to different gay strip clubs around the Chicago area. There were drag queens and burlesque dancers and I would sing in between the acts. It was a good experience but also like, “Why am I at a strip club at 4 o’clock in the morning on the West Side of Chicago singing Streisand with people throwing peanuts at me?” It was a wild ride. When people do comedy, they’re like, “Oh man comedy is so tough, you have to put in the work and it’s disgusting, and you have horrible gigs.” But like this is all pretty glamorous compared to those drag queen singing shows.

A: Do you think it’s more glamorous here in New York than in Chicago?

Matteo: Well, Chicago is a really good city. Chicago is New York without the industry, if that makes sense. You can really explore comedy. Once you come to New York, you can still experiment, but you can’t just go up and do shows. It’s a whole process of moving up and none of it’s glamorous. You’re in bars, people are yelling, no one’s listening. It’s very hard to get people to pay attention to you. So I would say it’s equal, but New York is more business, more pressure from the industry. Chicago keeps you more free. I don’t know.

A: It’s like apples and oranges. 

Matteo: Yeah, yeah. New York makes you a better writer, you have to be stronger. Your turnover of new material has to be more, there’s just more pressure to be better.

A: Where are some of your favorite places to perform?

Matteo: I love performing at Gotham Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club. I love performing at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, “Night Train” at Little Field on Mondays. Which is by Union Hall, I love Union Hall. I run a monthly show at Union Hall, it’s called “Battle of the Divas.”

A: Can you tell me more about that?

Matteo: You get two comics to debate which diva is better. So like Mariah vs. Whitney. It’s a great show. It’s really competitive. I run it with my friend Christi Chiello, who’s a great comedian, and we sit on stage and we watch these people go at it. It’s ridiculous. It’s meant to be funny. [Christi and I] have microphones, so we can interrupt anyone we want, we fall on the floor laughing. It’s my favorite thing to do.

A: Anything else you want to plug?

Matteo: I’m starting a podcast with Emma Willman and also another one with Bob the Drag Queen. Bob the Drag Queen and I also just started our own comic book that I illustrated called “Kickass Drag Queen.” RuPaul’s Drag Race is tweeting about it. Go to Kickass Drag Queen on Instagram and then you will see my comic book that Bob and I are doing together.

Kickass Drag Queen

A: Who are some comedians that inspire you?

Matteo: Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Ellen Degeneres. Women more than men. There’s no famous gay-male comedians, they don’t exist. Mario Cantone is like the closest thing we have, and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s so talented. I’m really inspired by other young, gay comedians coming up like John Early and Joel Kim Booster, Julio Torres, Solomon Georgio, James Adomian. We’re all like a little pack. But like with gay men, I’m influenced by women and even though I know these people like, Richard Pryor and George Carlin and all these people are like really good comedians, Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin were able to speak the same language I spoke, as a gay man. I felt like someone was speaking directly to me, like, “Oh, this must be what straight people feel like watching all comedy.” They were the first to open the door of comedy for me. Joan Rivers is number one.

Joan Rivers

A: Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?

Matteo: Evan Williams is a really good comedian. I mean, he’s also my best friend. He’s doing really great things. Also, Ryan Beck is really good and Christi Chiello.

A: Which Harry Potter house would you be in?

Matteo: I don’t like Harry Potter.

A: You haven’t read it or anything?

Matteo: No, I never read it but I watched the movies when I had the flu. The movies were fine. Probably Slytherin, because I’m kinda bitchy. I think probably the bitchy gays go to Slytherin. What are the other ones?

A: Gryffindor’s for bravery, Hufflepuff is for hard workers–

Matteo: Even the wizards are putting people into different groups?

A: Yeah. I think you might be Slytherin, because like Slytherin’s for ambition and they’re tight-knit and they can be creative.

Matteo: Yeah, yeah.

A: And the last one is Ravenclaw, for intelligence.

Matteo: Well, I definitely would not be.

A: What is the first thing that comes to your mind, just like off the top of your head, when you think of your favorite TV show?

Matteo: Probably The Golden Girls.

A: Movie?

Matteo: Sleeping Beauty.

A: Play or Musical?

Matteo: Funny Girl.

A: YouTube video?

Matteo: Liza Minnelli on Home Shopping Network

A: Twitter account?

Matteo: Probably Kyle Griffin because he’s an MSNBC producer and we look like twins in every single way.

Matteo Lane vs Kyle Griffin

A: Do you have any hidden talents?

Matteo: I can sing in my whistle register. I always sing “Emotions” at karaoke.

A: What’s your favorite meme that’s circulating?

Matteo: I just saw one, it’s Reba McEntire, something along the lines of: “How the hell does she have a lip empire?”

A: Do you have any advice for up and coming comedians or aspiring comedians, or just young people in the arts?

Matteo: Be nice, focus on your material, and value friendships over credits.

A: That sounds great.