Matt Braunger Review- A Funny Guy

Matt Braunger is a funny guy. He stood up and entertained as the headlining comedian Thursday night, September 17, 2015 at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, in Chicago’s Roscoe Village, after being burned out of Second City’s UpComedy Club, at 230 W. North Avenue. It should be noted that the Beat Kitchen is a snug little spot with an easily-viewable stage, good food and strong drinks; also, the repairs have been made to Second City, and it is open for business: all of Chicagoland wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the fire.

 

Comedian Marr Braunger

Preceding Matt Braunger were Amy Shanker, a Chicago comedienne with a knowing and hip delivery, who entertained the audience all too briefly with stories of her hapless experiences teaching in the Chicago Public School System, and Sean Flannery, another local, who got a lot of laughs with his stories of driving drunk in Chicago. Braunger’s routine was also somewhat sodden, as is his new Netflix show, “Big Dumb Animal”; he shares a lot of anecdotes about drinking, how he used to take drugs, and those who party longer and harder than he does…because they are younger.

 

Indeed, both the Beat Kitchen Show, the Netflix production, and much of his other work is a nostalgic paean to his lost youth, his idyllic early friends and experiences, and even his parents. He’s been described as having a “living-room” style with live shows that are reminiscent of a group of guys sitting around, shooting the breeze. While it’s true that on the surface Braunger seems laid-back and is certainly not politically acute, don’t mistake his “aw-shucks” manner for the boy next door: Braunger is one shrewd cookie who engages his audience with witty asides, self_-denigrating anecdotes and telling observations about people and places. In fact, in a number of ways, Braunger actually challenges the terminally politically correct, and he does so in long anecdotal stories as much as zingy punch lines; not everybody can get away with jokes about blacks and gays! If it seems like a lot of his jokes deal with avoiding DUI’s, they are really observations about how foolish men behave when intoxicated….and otherwise. Braunger seems fond of pointing out the inherent insecurity he (and other, if not all men) feel when faced with growing up, getting straight, finding women, sharing love. Indeed, he has a whole skit on being questioned about his homosexual experiences, (which he vigorously denies exist) while giving blood regularly. What is the point of this monologue? That he’s straight, or that he’s a hell of a decent guy for donating blood often? Probably both. He spends an awful lot of time saying good things about his parents, and the politically dispossessed, but you get the feeling he believes what he says, and he makes it funny, too.

 

Matt Braunger

Matt Braunger was born August 1, 1974. He is an actor, comedian writer. Raised in Portland, he was born in Chicago, and moved back here after attending Manhattanville College to pursue his comedic career. He seems to have an affinity not just for the practices of his youth, but the places of them as well. He is a co-founder of Portland’ s annual Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and although he resides in LA, he regularly returns to Chicago to perform. He’s produced three comedy albums and has a great many television appearances to his credit: catch him on the 14th season of MADtv, as well as Netflix.

Photos: Courtesy of Second City

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