Matt Evans faked me out. Co-creator of NickMom’s Other Mothered, Evans and his wife Christine Walters are UCB alums, talented New York City entertainment professionals, and known brains behind some of Matt’s most hilariously jarring characters, like news reporter Gary Vosot and Bachelor hopeful Glen Spidge. I know that now, and I knew it when a friend shared what he thought to be a news clip wherein a reporter (Vosot) tries to take an upskirt photo of a female passerby on a city street. I knew it, but Matt’s brand of hyper-real comedy is so convincing, so spot-on in its utter lack of flash, that I – for more than a split second – thought Vosot was real. Desensitized by a digital world pervaded by actors who are pretty great at faking it, I think Evans oeuvre is pretty damned impressive.
How did you get your start?
I moved down to NYC in 2004 after working in TV news for almost 6 years. When I came down here I started taking classes at UCB right away. I went through their whole system and that was awesome and I had a lot of great teachers there. I ended up doing a one-person show there right when I came down here that was a great experience. I ended up taking classes as Magnet and did sketch classes at UCB too. So I basically came down and got involved in both of those theaters pretty quickly and I was also doing monologues at different comedy clubs. Some of those monologues turned into some of the videos that you see now. Those two theaters have been huge for me; I met my wife at UCB.
Where were you working in TV news before you moved to NYC?
When I graduated college, I worked in Massachusetts for three years at a cable station and then I moved to Rhode Island and worked as a cameraman at the ABC affiliate there.
And that obviously inspired Gary Vosot.
Definitely. When I came down here one of the first videos I did with that character was one where it showed what it was like at a live shot and it was definitely insider-y. I wanted to do something real that people on the inside would get. That stuff all came from working in the industry.
What’s your most ridiculous news memory?
I think it was just the freakouts. It is local news so the stakes are pretty low. You do bigger stories every once and a while, but there is a fast paced nature to it. As a photographer you’re working all day one on one with another individual reporter and what happens is seeing how those people handle that pressure. What I got out of it was the people that would just melt down. They’re in a fast paced business and they really shouldn’t be, they’re just so freaked out about it when it comes down to the last 5 minutes of getting your shit together. Watching these people melt down and go crazy and sometimes take it out on me or another photographer or someone in the field or someone behind them. That kind of stuff killed me, I laughed at that so much. It’s like working in any field you don’t experience that kind of stuff until you’re in it.
Are there cons to making something that’s very “inside baseball”?
I don’t know why I gravitated towards that kind of stuff. Obviously I was inspired by a lot of that stuff and that reporter character, that kind of stuff is just very funny to me. I love playing it real and, because I know it so well, it’s more successful. Play it real and blow it out a little bit. I love that it’s kind of niche. First and foremost, I find all of this to be very funny to me.
Where’d Glen Spidge come from?
I love those sad characters. The more painful it is, the more I love it. If you can pull it off where people are like, “Is that real?” that’s the most funny to me. Interestingly enough I think I saw that on Twitter with the reporter character that a photographer was doing auditions like that for The Bachelor and I was like “I should do something like that.”
What’s your distribution strategy for something like this? Do you ever seed stuff as if it’s a real audition video for The Bachelor or a real news piece?
Absolutely. A lot of the ones in the beginning got out as real, like for example the upskirting one. I don’t know where people are with that. I try to hustle it as real, but you never know if that kind of stuff latches on. I’m not thinking about that stuff when I’m doing it. If it gets a bunch of hits that’s great, but the main thing is I enjoyed making the content so that’s really all that matters.
Do you have a key to pulling off hyper-real comedy?
I don’t know if I really have any kind of key or secret, I’m kind of just trying to do the best I can with them. I think it’s just knowing what your strengths are. At the very least, being on an improv team helped me understand that it was something that I could do and was something that I was good at and also something that I gravitate towards watching. You mentioned Christopher Guest and I can’t turn that stuff off, like This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, David Brent on The Office, all that stuff I’ve just been so in tuned with and love so much. I’ve just been inspired to do it.
What’s coming up for you in the web comedy world and otherwise?
The large goal is to act in TV and film, that’s the goal, to do that and get noticed. I’m trying to put up as much as much material as I can. I made a pilot that I took to NYTF and wrote a book as that [Gary Vosot] character and made a Twitter for it, that was like a 2 year thing for me and we’re still hustling that and it’s great, but I also want to branch out and do other things. I started a music group with my friend called The Bordeaux Twins a few years back, and we’re trying to bring that back.
Finally, do you have any advice for people looking to do what you do?
Man I don’t feel like I should be giving any advice. I would say collaborate with other people. If you can find a group of people that have the same sensibilities and can consistently crank out stuff with you, then that’s really awesome because that’s really what it’s all about. Also finding your comedic voice is really important. Do stand up and improv or writing and just find what your comedic voice is.
Here are your three reasons to watch Mr. Evans:
TV Reporter Slapped in the Face for Upskirting
Evans brings frighteningly accurate delivery to even the most absurd situations. Many have tried the idiotic news correspondent shtick and many have executed quite well. None have played it this close to real.
Intern Makes TV Reporter Cry
Pathetic dicks who don’t know they’re pathetic dicks are the best characters, both in comedy and in life.
“The Bachelor” ABC Audition Video 2014 – Glen Spidge
Evans isn’t afraid to make his audience cringe. He plays upon those same neurological functions that trigger our wanting to crawl into a hole after a terrible dad joke, and then— after the willies have subsided—makes us realize we’re watching some of the best stuff on the Internet.
Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.