Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Festivus, Part III.

My featurette strikes again, this time as a semi-finalist in The Show Off Your Shorts Film Festival. It’ll screen the weekend of February 7th and 8th at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.

Yes, it’s smaller potatoes, fest-wise. But it’s not a ridiculously empty honor, like, say, a Grammy. And three festivals in the first six weeks after the movie was completed ain’t bad, right?

And I can’t figure out if the name of this festival is for me ironic, or just plain fate.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 8: Takin' Off.

On my way back to L.A. as you read this. Luckily, with my new girth, I’m not flying Southwest, with its shakedown two-seat charge for those of us with badonk-a-donk.

Speaking of whack airlines, last night I hit Broadway again and saw Boeing Boeing. It's an outstanding, hilarious show, starring Mark Ryland, above, who is one of those guys that can make me crack up at every word out of his mouth. The whole cast looked like it was having the time of its life.

Great trip overall. Final weigh-in: gained 8 lbs. But then I lost 275 when the Jets fired their fat head coach.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 7: Biff Wellington, At Your Service.

Me, on the left. My big brother, on the right.

I may have to consult a professional, but I have a terrible feeling that I’m suppressing a Young Republican past.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 6: Kickass Celebrity Sightings Thus Far.

Brian Baumgartner
LAX, pre-flight

Brian is in the new movie Four Christmases, but is mostly known for playing Kevin on “The Office”. As a fellow drummer, I gave him a Scrantonicity shoutout.

Carla Gallo
JFK Airport, post-flight

Carla, who starred in one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Undeclared” (plus several great movies like Superbad), was on my return flight last Christmas as well. I went up to her at baggage claim to ask her if two years in-a-row constituted a tradition, and we wound up talking while waiting for our very late bags. She was super cute and sweet and said she’d just finished shooting ten episodes of “Californiacation”. Very cool chick.

Fred Armisen
Barrymore Theater, pre-performance
Fred created a ruckus this month with his hilarious impersonation of blind New York Governor David Patterson on SNL. He and I now share the experience of seeing Norbert Leo Butz almost soil himself on his first night in Speed the Plow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 5: As In, Add Another 5 Lbs.

Hanukah, shmanukah – I’m about as Jewish as Melanie Griffith in A Stranger Among Us.

But I can’t pass up on my mom’s latkes. These deep-fried servings of tater heaven will no doubt be on the menu for my last meal on death row. Just after I mow down the next pedestrian who takes his damn time crossing the street when he knows I’m waiting to make a right. Consider yourself warned, Chico.

Latkes were followed with the exchanging of gifts, then a movie about a plot to kill Hitler, and we had ourselves the Jewish hat trick – a.k.a., “The Yarmulke.”

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 4: 24-Hour New Yorker.

Yes, I’ve completely converted to Californianism. I really loves me some El Ay.

But for one day, I’ll reassimilate into the old country and talk some trash at the folks back west: we had a white Christmas, and in a very high-pitched voice, I offer a resounding “ha-ha.”

Moving on, my fellow-fatty Santa and I both put in some OT on Christmas Eve, and you reap the benefits. Feel free to ease that post-partum holiday depression with a new, music-related Lycos column:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 3: The Holiday Triple Threat.

What do you get when you mix gay, Italian and New York?

This guy’s front yard, one town over from my home town.

An extremely merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 2: Culture, And All That Crap.

Why is Hollywood so messed up? Why are nickels bigger than dimes? They just are.

It’s a great line from a great Broadway play. Feel free to steal it. I just did.

Last night I saw David Mamet's Speed The Plow. It starred Jeremy Piven until last week, when he developed a bad case of mercury poisoning. Sushi, how can you be so yummy and yet so lethal?

Last night was the debut of Jeremy’s replacement, Norbert Leo Butz, and it was a truly mind-boggling experience. You see, Mamet likes to stuff ten pounds of script into an hour-and-a-half timeframe, so Norbert was overwhelmed. He’d only had four days to rehearse, so he spent the second and third acts with his script in his hand to help him with his lines. I heard many impatient sighs around me in the audience (including my mom next to me), but I found it to be a fascinating study as an actor.

Butz is actually only subbing for Piven until the full-time replacement, William H. Macy, begins in two weeks. I would have loved to see Macy on stage, but them’s the breaks.

Actually, it didn’t matter if the role featured Piven, Butz or Macy, because the man acting opposite them, Raúl Esparza (pictured above), just wiped the floor with the place. It was an incredibly charged-up performance that stole the show. If you happen to be in N.Y., and have a couple of c-notes in your pocket, I beg you to check it out.

Blubber update: was afraid to weigh myself today, after the crazy-delicious, three-cheese Maccharoni & Cheese at Scarlotta last night. Yes, they’ve invented a third cheese.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 1: Welcome To New York, Ya Tourist.

23° when we land at JFK, and I'm getting off the plane with Daisy Duke over here.

Hey Sven: that's 23° Fahrenheit.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I’m taking the blog on the road once again, back to New York for eight days. So feel free to avoid midnight mass, drunken relatives and Nick Lachey Christmas specials by logging on.

Since my mom's both a phenomenal cook and a veritable Oprah when it comes to bringing home desserts from the local patisserie, I gain a good 12-15 pounds each Christmas. But this year I launched a preemptive chub strike by starving myself for a week. The weight’s down and I’m ready to chow.

So tune in and I’ll be here. With extra typos as my fingers get fatter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Only Five Shopping Days.

If you’re an Angeleno stressing over last-minute holiday gift ideas, you are in luck, my friend. Thanks to L.A. Tigers.

Featuring the widest assortment of giant, stuffed tigers, and the slimmest assortment of cheap, acoustic guitars. And unwrapped doll strollers. So you can cross your brother, sister, parole officer and baby’s mama off your shopping list in one full swoop.

L.A. Tigers. Conveniently located at the corner of La Brea and Venice. Bring your cash. And your Kevlar.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Once Again, Mic Side.

I can’t get enough of wearing the cans. And now, it’s official: I hate myself for calling them “cans.”

Last night I did ADR (automatic dialog replacement) for a film I had a role in last year.

ADR is mostly used to improve the sound of a scene that didn’t quite sound loud enough, or had external noise block it out. It can also be used to change an actor’s performance and add to the interpretation of a scene. It’s been said Marlon Brando mumbled many of his lines during shooting because he preferred to make adjustments later using ADR.

Brando also weighed three bills and hated the Jews, so make of it what you will.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blog. Lycos Blog.

New assignment, in which I was asked to weigh the merits (and demerits) of each actor who played James Bond.

Enjoy: The Lycos 50

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Open Letter To My Dog’s Vet.

Dear Doctor,

I know, economic times are tough. Recently I was forced to downgrade to John Wayne toilet paper (rough, tough, doesn’t take no crap).

So the recent barrage of postcards from you trying to get me to bring my dog in for an unnecessary checkup is understandable. But forcing your tech assistants to start calling me seems a tad less professional. Don’t they have more important things to do? (Even they, off the record, agree.)

FYI: Pete once got hit by a BMW in front of my brother’s house. He bounced off the grill and walked away wagging his tail. So I don’t think he needs a checkup to let me know he’s in good shape.

Unless Michael Vick’s getting paroled soon, he’s going to be fine. Oh, wait...

Matthew T. Shevin

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Old-School Truthiness.

There is no scarier-talented person on the planet than Stephen Colbert. His commitment is 100%, and apparently always has been.

Check out a baby-faced Stephen in this scene called “How Not to Communicate”, shot back in 1990 at Second City Chicago. Same dedication. Same hilarity. The man is brilliant.

Monday, December 15, 2008

People Who Could Use A Good Shoe Thrown At Them: A New Ongoing Series.

Talk about bad luck. That Iraqi cat who hurled his Adidas at Bush yesterday – if only he’d been born in the U.S. With an arm like that he'd grab $161 million over seven years from the Yanks.

The guy’s got stones, and I give him credit for having them (I won’t credit him for originality, however – my mom was throwing shoes at my brothers and me long before him), which got me to thinking: there are a whole host of people I’d like to send a message to, via my kicks.

Today: Jeff Zucker, President of NBC, who gave Jay Leno a new five-day, 10 p.m. weeknight timeslot, thus lessening the number of scripted shows that will air on his network. And reducing that many acting opportunities for folks like me.

You kill me, sir. Do you really choose the bottom line over terrific shows like “Life?" Do we really need more wacky newspaper headline desk pieces? Or Paris Hilton musical numbers? Please.

Don’t make me get my steel-toed Timberlands, Zuck.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Get Independent On Your Ass.

Every good indy filmmaker can attest that even after giving his blood, sweat and half a dozen additional bodily fluids to produce his film, marketing it is just one more huge and insufferable pain in the dungarees.

My friend D.B. Sweeney co-wrote, directed and starred in a funny, new independent film called Two Tickets to Paradise. It airs on Showtime today at 10 a.m. and he would love for you to watch it.

If you're first reading this after 10 o’clock, disregard the above and I'll return you to your regularly-scheduled Saturday. Better get some of that Christmas shopping done. I'm already finished. Suckas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don’t Call It A Comeback; Call It Two Callbacks.

Being represented by a prestigious agent comes with its fair share of pressure. If I don’t get a callback at least once every ten commercial auditions, they’ll kindly show me the Heisman. But hey, if I wanted to pursue a business with no pressure to succeed, I would have become a politician. Or played for the Knicks.

Thanks to the flimsy economy, auditions have been scarce for actors these days, so when I got the call to audition for a TV spot for Nevada State Bank last week, I went in there on a mission. And I got a callback the next day.

Success begets success, and suddenly I had an audition for a public service announcement on the perils of drinking and driving. The result: my second callback in four days. I love me some me.

Then it got even better. I got put on avail for the drunk driving PSA, meaning I was one of the top two choices to get the role.

I’ve mentioned before that in the eyes of agents and casting directors, callbacks are nearly as good as booking roles, because they demonstrate that I not only have the goods, but clients like me. And of course, they're nice reminders/esteem boosts actors that we don’t suck. We're all broken.

Forgive me for waiting five paragraphs to explain this entry’s visual. It’s a prison jumpsuit that they had me put on for the drunk driving audition. I played a guy who was doing time for quaffing a few and killing two people. Extra props to me, a non-drinker, for being put on avail for this. And for the tension-breaking laugh I got when I was taking the jumpsuit off and asked the advertisers and casting director if it came in another color, since I’m more of an autumn.

As I post this, a couple days have passed since I was put on avail, so it looks likely that I wound up the understudy. Ever closer.

I will celebrate nonetheless. If you need me, I’ll be hoisting a few icewaters this weekend. Responsibly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawkin’ Beemers.

There’s no way in hell I could afford a BMW X5. For that matter, there’s no way in hell I could afford the ashtray in a BMW X5 (it is one fine, German-engineered ashtray).

I can, however, afford to extol the virtues of the sweetest SUV on the road, thanks to a recurring, monthly gig as the character “Salesman” for BMW radio commercials.

As fun as it is to record the commercials, it's as if God is my wingman when one of them plays while I’m getting a trim by Danielle the Hottie Haircutter. Cue the awkward mention that that’s me on the radio, ya big geek.

Keep your ears open too, if you happen to forget to flip during a commercial break and I come on. You may find yourself suddenly careening toward your local BMW dealer for super-low 0.9% APR financing. You can’t afford not to.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just Doin’ My Job, Ma’am.

Long before Whitney Houston traded in her vocal pipes for a crack pipe, the chick had it right: children truly are our future.

I received an email from a young actress named Rebecca, who had already become disillusioned with the biz thanks to a bitch of a co-star in a play she was doing.

Rebecca then came across my blog and felt impelled to email me. And if her timing as an actor is nearly as impeccable as the timing of her email, she’s going places. I received this just as I was about to head out the door to help out on my friend John’s film.

Here’s a streamlined version of her message:

Hey Matt,
I happened upon your blog today and read your post "Allow Me to Introduce My Friends." I just want to thank you for taking the time to make the post.

I'm a sixteen year-old actress. I love performing, but I recently had a rather disheartening experience. I'm currently participating in a progressive play of sorts at a living history museum.

It came to light, just last night, however, during the first time that one of my scenes was performed during the evening, the woman who enters the scene and makes her speech did not appreciate us performing our background "aside" action.

I have always heard about the "selfish" people in the industry, but I had never really witnessed it first hand until last night. I was not initially upset, but as I keep thinking about it, I find myself disappointed. She gave me the impression that acting is an industry in which selfishness and dog-eat-dog competition naturally result. She performs for a living, and when she blew up in our faces, she gave me the impression of an actress that has lost the joy of acting for the sake of acting and instead performs for the sake of recognition. I realized that I don't want to be part of that kind of environment/mindset and I don't want to end up that way. When I read your blog post this morning, however, my faith that there can be a sense of camaraderie, a sense of fun, and genuine showing of unselfishness in the acting industry, which I always knew existed, was restored. Thank you.

As silly as it sounds, your little compartmentalized piece of the Blogosphere has done some good for one lost, little, disenchanted sixteen year old. :)

Thanks again and best wishes,
Rebecca :)

When I spoke to the Rotary Club last week, a woman asked me if I were to ever have kids, would I encourage them to pursue acting. My answer: my kids would be free to do anything they wish. Except watch reality shows. Or root for the Red Sox. Or adopt a dog smaller than 75 lbs. Or text the word "lol". I could go on.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Using A Walkie Talkie At My Age: Still Awesome.

You'll never achieve full erectile function until you yell "quiet on the set" a few dozen times in a day.

Saturday I had a teamster-good time volunteering as crew for a film in which my friend John Kapelos starred and edited the script. It’s a comedy called The Commentary, and that’s John and his co-star, above, on location at a recording studio in Hollywood.

I met one of John’s friends on the set, a cool, older actor/writer who was offered a job by Lorne Michaels in 1974 to write for the first season of SNL. The guy is my new hero, not only for being offered such a kickass job, but because he turned Lorne down because the it required him to move to New York. He loved L.A. – the greatest city on earth – too much to leave. Stud.

Monday, December 8, 2008

51% Heaven. 49% Hell.

It sounds so bitchin’ on paper: hop on a plane with my friend Jeff early yesterday morning, fly up to see our Jets play the 49ers, jump right back on a plane back to L.A.

The plane was my favorite airline, Virgin America, and the tailgate we attended before the game was run by some top-notch grillers/Jet fans. The ticket to the game was free, thanks to a friend at And future hall-of-famer Brett Favre was under center. We were pimpin’.

Then the Jets lost, the bubble burst and those of us who are so shallow that we rely on the success of our sports teams to bring us happiness were just left cold, tired and trying to fend off 12,000 people for a cab.

Why, God?

By the way, the Niners stadium is a pit that could use a serious high-pressure wash. But you gotta love the mountain overlooking the joint. Nice touch.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Game-Worn Goodness.

I was out with the Degenerate Actors Friends this past week, including my friend J.W., who is Joe Torre’s nephew. J.W. was wearing one of his uncle’s game caps, which I thought was ultra cool.

Joe T., by the way, will be giving up the Dodger cap full-time when he goes into the Hall wearing the more proper Yankee gear.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Speaking Of Showbiz.

It should be obvious by now that I can talk a wicked streak about acting. Put a nickel in me and I ain’t gonna stop.

My friend Chase realized this yesterday, when he quickly needed a speaker for his weekly Hollywood Rotary Club luncheon. I graciously accepted, and wound up getting way more of out if than just a reason to take a shower before noon.

The Hollywood Rotary are upstanding business types who live and work among many aspiring actors, but aren’t familiar with what our daily grind is like. So I gave them the live, condensed Inside-the-Actor's-Studio-Apartment rigamarole. It killed.

In return, I got a yummy, warm meal served on china. Which totally beat my usual PB&J standing over the kitchen sink. And they presented me with a nifty, gold-plated letter opener.

So if you need someone to kill 20 minutes at your next function, literally dangle a pork chop in front of me and I'll be there. I’m already got a fancy letter opener, so don’t knock yourself out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Price Is Damn Right.

For all of the actors in all of the studio apartments in L.A., Christmas came early. Especially at the corner of La Brea and Centinela.

Thanks Santa, or Habib, or whoever’s in charge of the oil these days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Help Me Help Me.

When I hit it big, I’ll definitely use my celebrity to help a very needy cause. I’m thinking lactose intolerance. Or inverted nipples. I’m not sure.

In the meantime, I’d like to address a malady that has been running rampant among actors lately. This insidious disease is known as “Upstaging”.

The first signs of Upstaging occur when a good actor is paired with a crap actor in a casting workshop. Like, for example, me last night. Instead of cheating our faces out (angling them slightly toward the casting director, instead of facing each other straight-on) my scene partner stood further away from the CD than me, thus forcing me to turn my head toward her. The result was that the casting director got a good view of the back of my head.

Upstaging has been elevated to pandemic levels lately. But the good news is that the readership of this blog has grown tremendously, giving me a bigger pulpit on which to preach. This disease may not yet be curable, but it can be controlled.

We can beat this thing. My fame and fortune depend on it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kickass Celebrity-Promoting-A-Movie-He-Directed-16-Years-Ago Sighting Of The Month.

Danny Devito, sporting a Hoffa cap.
ArcLight Theater, Hollywood, Sunday night.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Festivus, Part Deaux.

From the state that unfortunately brought us Joe Lieberman, Red Sox fans and a heckuva lot of white people comes some serious atonement: my movie has been accepted into the Connecticut Film Festival.

Anyone back east that wants to catch it may do so this Sunday – it’s going to close out the opening weekend of the fest at the Bethel Cinema in Bethel, CT.

It’ll also screen next June 2nd through 7th in Danbury, CT at the main festival. I may have to make it back for both the screening and Rays/Yanks at the new Stadium.

Hmm... who haven't I thanked yet... how about the courageous staff at Brinks armored vehicles, who both protect our money and cut my friends off in traffic, spurring on a premise that is now two for two with festivals. Way to go, boys.