INTERVIEW : MATT MCCARTHY // MARKING OUT
Comic Matt McCarthy hosts a monthly evening of comedy in Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel New York. He happens to be funny, which is a huge plus. He’s got a new live album and a lot of other projects in the wings — a rising comic comet. Marking Out, his new show at Ace, premieres this coming Monday, January 24. We talked to Matt about his medical history, DNA-level comic strengths, and Death Herself.
You were born in Providence, Rhode Island at Women and Infants Hospital, which gets great reviews on Google Maps. Now that you’re neither woman nor infant, how would you rate your experience there?
You’ve been described by the New York Times as “John Belushi-like madman.” What does it feel like to have such a venerable publication compare you to one of your major influences? What do you think it would take for them to call you a “Johnny Carson-like madman” (also among your influences)?
There’s no other dead albanian I’d rather be. Boy, someone went to town on my Wikipedia page!
Yes, we did. Matt, you have very expressive eyes — eyes that may have led to the moniker “madman” — and have developed a signature comedic appearance of a wild-eyed, bearded redhead. Do you think unremarkable-looking people can make people laugh for money, or does one need a special look or bum eye in order to make a career out of comedy?
I just use the tools I have — everyone’s are different.
How has attending Catholic schools affected both your lifestyle choices and your comedic work?
It gave me a fierce distaste for authority and Catholics.
Fair enough. You are credited with coining the term “You’ve got some brass, son” dressed as an Irish man in a commercial for Guinness. You’ve also humanized the rivalry between FiOs and cable companies in ads for Verizon. We all know commercial work pays the bills, but what other benefits do you get from making TV ads — is there a specific kind of art or humor that comes with that format that appeals to you?
There is not benefit or appeal in commercials outside of money. Standup comedy however is easily the purest form of art available. A man alone, using his mind as his instrument.
Tell us about some guest spots you’re most excited about for Marking Out.
Well, I can tell you this, the Grim Reaper herself will have a very exciting preview of all the celebrity deaths we can look forward to this year!