This week I got to chat with disgraced financial analyst turned working comedian Matthew Broussard. You can catch him doing a four show stand at Sandman Comedy Club this weekend — including New Year’s Eve, which is being planned as a wild night of comedy, prizes and champagne. We talked his occupational transition into comedy, horrible NYE gigs, and his experience on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Without any more delay, here’s our conversation.
Gabe: Let’s get down to it. I’ve got to say, you have a very entertaining bio.
Matthew: Thank you.
Gabe: Failed financial analyst turned comedian.
Gabe: That’s right. Disgraced financial analyst.
Matthew: Yeah, I got fired. I was just very bad at my job. I had no focus. I don’t know if I could have ever survived in a real workplace. I’m terrible. I have no organization or nothing.
Gabe: How’d the journey into comedy start after that?
Matthew: It started before that. I was working, and it precipitated the fall.
Gabe: [laughs] Oh, I got you.
Matthew: I think I started doing standup comedy one month after I started my job in finance. I was 23, and I wasn’t immediately good at standup, but I certainly loved it right away. And, you know, the grind of it is you just gotta go to open mics and bars every night and do it until you don’t suck anymore. I’d be out every night and every weekend. And when I showed up to work tired and unfocused, and I was trying to write jokes when my boss wasn’t looking… and eventually that gravy train ran out.
Gabe: Well, I think it worked out for you really good.
Matthew: Yeah, I guess I get to do it now, which is just a real blessing.
Gabe: You’re going to be here [in Richmond] for New Year’s Eve.
Matthew: That’s right.
Gabe: I gotta ask: Have you ever had a bad NYE experience in the past?
Matthew: Oh, buddy. Worst show that I ever did was a New Year’s Eve show at a Hilton in Little Rock Arkansas. They brought me on and were doing this expensive party and it ran from nine till midnight. They’re going to bring me up at 9:00 for 20 minutes and they’re going to bring me up again at 11:00 for 20 minutes. And there’s a band and an auction and a DJ. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a bar mitzvah, or maybe, like, a wedding after-party —
Gabe: I have.
Matthew: There was a big dance floor, and then a buffet all around the dance floor. No seats. And this band goes up and they just killed. A local country band. And everyone’s so excited for me. The guy who picked me up from the airport is like, “I can’t wait to see your comedy.” I go up. The dance floor is empty and there’s just people swarming the buffets on the edges. I think four polite souls walk up to the stage and I have to somehow calm down this lovely party with my okay jokes to get their attention. I don’t. I bomb and I walk offstage and no one wants to look at me. All these people who were so excited just don’t want to make eye contact. The guy running the show comes up to me. After all that, I have to go up again at 11 when they’re drunker and rowdier. And he goes, “You know what? I think you’re good for the night. We don’t need you again. Great job. Here’s your check.” I couldn’t stay at the party because I pushed everyone away like a skunk. The stink of failure on me. So I just went up to my hotel room and just held that check in my hand. I resented the check, and was like, “I don’t deserve this.” And I think I just went out and walked along the river and caught Pokemon on Pokemon Go. There was a Bulbasaur hotspot. I got a lot of Bulbasaur back when that was a hard Pokemon to get.
Gabe: Well, congrats.
Matthew: Thank you.
Gabe: That’s crazy. I played a wedding on NYE one year. It was kind of a nightmare.
Matthew: Why was it so bad?
Gabe: Well… we just weren’t really that good of a band. And it went bad for a handful of reasons outside of us.
Matthew: So it was all your fault. It’s all because of you.
Gabe: [laughs] Basically. But I did meet one of my best friends that night. So that was alright.
Matthew: Oh, that’s nice.
Gabe: How long have you been doing comedy now?
Matthew: Ten years.
Gabe: Ten years? Okay, so you’ve kind of seen, like-
Matthew: A shift. Certainly.
Gabe: A shift! So how important is the internet presence for comedians now?
Matthew: It’s my day job. I went from thinking “Oh, I can’t wait to be a comedian. We don’t have a day job.” And now my day job is to post stuff. Jokes, videos, edit content, always have stories, promote my shows with funny content… It is our 9 to 5. It’s everything. I know some great comedians who are horrible online, and they can barely make a living, if at all. And I know some very mediocre comedians who just understand algorithms.
Gabe: Yeah. Exactly.
Matthew: That’s the craziest part. I was a computational math major. You’ll say, how does that help with comedy? And like, comedy is just understanding algorithms. That’s the job. If you write an okay joke, but know how to get a million people to see your TikTok, you’re going to be fine.
Gabe: I feel like that goes hand in hand with podcasting now. It’s kind of a requirement to be a comedian, in a way.
Matthew: I’m open about that on my podcast [She Does Stand-Up Too?]. I say, “I’m only here so I have a place to tell people my show dates.” Because I don’t know how to show people when I’m where. And I just say my dates at the top of every episode, and that’s nice. And then I try to be entertaining for an hour so that they come back and listen to my show dates on the next episode. I just need to add space. You know?
Gabe: The internet is big now. But you’re also going into some Hollywood stuff now. You’re on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
Matthew: Yeah! It’s coming out in February.
Gabe: You play a comedian in it?
Matthew: I play a comedian in it. I got three lines, but they are a very funny three lines. No disrespect to any other show I’ve been on but it was the first show I’ve been on where I was already a fan of it. So I don’t know if I’m allowed to say, but we did the scene in the diner. And I took a train up to 89th Street in Manhattan and I walk in and it’s the diner from the show. I see it. I know this place. It’s turquoise and red and I’ve seen it in the show. You walk in, and it’s a tiny little space. Like, this is a real place that I’ve walked past before. I feel like I walked into Narnia. I thought, this is a fictitious world, and here’s me.
Gabe: I think one of the coolest things, especially with something like this show where it’s a period ,is wardrobe. What was wardrobe like?
Matthew: Buddy! I showed up a week before and walked in the wardrobe room. And it was gorgeous. They had racks for just Rachel Brosnahan clothing and they had, like, pictures of inspiration. I had to ask wardrobe, “How does this feel? This is the most coveted job in your industry.” Wardrobe’s a hard industry to make it in, and I can’t imagine a cooler job. They said, ‘Yeah, it’s fun. People are gunning for it.’ But a lot of the clothes, they just read old magazines and they go to thrift shops. The suit I wore for the episode, I think they found in the thrift shop. One of the coolest parts of the episode was: you to go in the diner — the person playing a waiter is actually a waiter, and they come up and they say, ‘What would your character like for this meal?’ Because I have food sitting in front of me. The other guy orders pancakes. I order an omelet cause I kind of just wanted an omelet. ‘Yeah, my character would like an omelet.’ And then someone walks up to me with a sleeve of watches. All vintage watches.
Matthew: And goes, ‘Would you like to choose a watch?’ I’d love to. I’d love for my character to be holding a watch. I pick one that I think is cool, and they agreed that it would fit for my character. And all these little watches on the characters — someone went in by hand and set all the watches to the same time. So if you were to somehow zoom in on everyone’s watch in this scene, it would say 3:20 p.m. Even though we were shooting it at 7 a.m. So much detail. It’s just good, good film. So many people go into making good films who all love their jobs, and maybe three of them get any credit. Great to be a part of.
You can catch the very funny Matthew Broussard this weekend doing four shows at The Sandman Comedy Club, including New Year’s Eve — which will feature music, the ball drop on their 90” TV, door prizes, free champagne, and the bar and kitchen will stay open. You don’t want to miss this. Broussard was a great interview and I can’t wait to see him live. Be sure to show up an hour before shows to order food and beverages. Tickets are available at Sandman Comedy Club’s website.