Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 11: Holiday Over.

I’ve been in New York for ten pounds. It’s time to go home… Speaking of which, my last supper in NY was at Tarry Lodge, where Mario Batali was kind enough to name a fusilli dish in my honor. (See above)… After spending 11 days in frigid temps with intermittent snow, I can faithfully say the Super Bowl, which will be played here next year, will suck ass. Football in the snow is an overrated myth. (With one exception, which was in college when your dorm floor challenged another, as pointed out by my sportswriter friend Rob)… Happy New Year’s Eve to the drunk drivers of the world. Time to separate the men from the boys.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 10: Let It Snow – For Twenty Seconds.


I’d thought Jay-Z had ruined snowflakes for me forever by using them as a euphemism for coke, but yesterday’s weather won me back over. Click above and enjoy.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 9: The Same Holds True Now As It Did When I Was Three...

Get me drunk, and I will wear a stupid birthday hat.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 8: Okay, Time To Unplug It And Leave It On The Side Of The Highway.

Actually, the tree at Rockefeller Center was so beautiful it made me grow a uterus and become pregnant… The Brooklyn Nets suck so bad that calling them a team is an insult to calling things things… A lot of white folks still drive Cadillacs here… Thank you, everyone, for the comments/likes/retweets/favorites/re-blogs of my post featuring Ricky and Santa. I promise to over-analyze each and every one of them.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 7: It Just Got Theatrical And Shit.

It began as a perfect New York evening, with snow falling as I had dinner at Trattoria Trecolori, and then the curtain rose on “Golden Boy,” a period revival starring Tony Shalhoub and Yvonne Stahovski, about a gifted violinist who is torn between pursuing a music career or becoming a boxer, and it was beautiful and tragic and left the entire audience emotional and what I’m trying to say is: way to c-block, Clifford Odets.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 6: Spoiler Alert To Those Who Ti-Vo’d The Weather Channel.

Leaving a theater on Christmas eve (Bill Murray is great as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson), it had just started snowing. I then took the above pic where I’m staying, which is the house I grew up in. A perfectly real moment hours before the fake anniversary of the lord… Had Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant, which is a Jewish tradition, and it made me realize: if Germans ever feel the itch to round us up again, it seems like a total cinch… I had just noticed my upcoming, annual “Deaths That Sucked” list was nice and short, when all of a sudden Jack Klugman died. Here in New York, “The Odd Couple” has been a staple on channel 11 our entire lives, so the death of Jack is really, really sad news. Then, Christmas morning, Charles Durning died. Before he became one of the best character actors of all time, he was one of the first guys to land at Normandy. He was on the show “Dinner for Five” when the topic came up, but because Charles didn’t like to talk about it, Burt Reynolds did it for him. I cued it up here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 5: Season’s Greetings.

Whatever holiday you celebrate – Christmas, Hanukkah, Black Hanukkah – here’s hoping it’s amazing.

Love,
Matt, Ricky and Santa

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 4: Can’t Blog. Eating.

What am I getting for Christmas? Fat.

Because my mom still lives in the house I grew up in, I have the incredible convenience of leaving clothes here, so I can essentially walk on a plane without having to pack.

And having some fat clothes comfy stuff here is perfect, because my mom and I made our traditional trek to Stew Leonard’s yesterday (here are past trips) and picked up all the yumminess displayed above.

Yeah, I spend all year busting my ass in the gym, only to reduce myself to figgy pudding in about a week. Worth it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 3: The Forecast Ain’t Pretty.

One of my favorite things about NY: they have some butt-ugly, Star Wars cantina bar looking newscasters here… Speaking of weather, there was a chance of pre-Christmas snow yesterday, but we only got flurries, making it a sad day in New York. Or as they call it in New York, “day”… Question: if I have to do a little shopping, what’s gonna be open on Christmas? Gas station? Drug store? Israel?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 2: Welcome Back, Fatso.

My favorite meal – chicken parm with linguini, and a chocolate gelato truffle dipped in dark chocolate crunch – at Patricia’s in the Bronx.

I’ll be back in LA on the 31st. My colon gets back the following Wednesday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 1: Detective Mackey’s Gotta Pee.

On my flight: Michael Chiklis (above, patiently waiting to use the head.) Kinda noteworthy, since he played the Commish, a character based on the chief of police of my hometown in NY, where I’m staying this week… Announcement while I was waiting for my flight: “Will the bag burner please report to gate 49?” I don’t know what that job entails, but I must play the title role of whatever it is in a film… The flight attendant was sitting next to me in a jump seat surreptitiously playing Words with Friends the entire takeoff. I’m just saying, Alec Baldwin… If the zombie apocalypse has happened, someone shoot me a text, because every day in New York is the zombie apocalypse.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Missed You Too, NY.

This morning, I’m flying to New York for an extended Christmas vacation. I haven’t been there since June – what gang should I join?

LA, by the way, was kind enough to prepare me for NY temps, thanks to a low of 38 yesterday. Thirty effin’ eight!

I’ll blog every day while I’m there, so pour yourself a smart eggnog and drop by.

Alright, I gotta make like a black magazine, and jet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 51: I Take You To Work With Me. Again.

Crazy can be a good thing. I often feel like I’m one lab accident away from becoming a super-villain.

As an actor, I embrace the crazy. On the heels of being put on avail for “The Newsroom” last week, I had an audition for the show “Raising Hope.” A very funny, but very heady audition, which required me to speak in a style not native to my tongue. (Quick side-lesson: I’m being vague about the scene for a reason. Never tweet, blog or post on Facebook the plot of anything you audition for until after it airs, or you’ll be shown the express lane right out of showbiz.)

So I’m standing in the hallway by the audition room, and the setting is frenetic. The show’s producers and director are crammed into a room, trying to cast several roles, each of which have a dozen actors auditioning. I’m in a suit, attempting to focus on my lines and the over-the-top style in which I have to deliver them, and now my turn is next and the adrenaline is pumping. And then Cloris Leachman, star of the show (and 250 other shows and movies), dressed in pajamas (her wardrobe) walked past me, grabbed the scene out of my hand.

“Okay, let’s run it,” she said. And suddenly, I’m running lines with Frau Bl├╝cher from Young Frankenstein and Grandma Ida from “Malcolm in the Middle.” My 1990s self almost shit his acid-wash jeans.

We ran it, and then she made me do it again. And again. (She’s a damn cool chick. And a pro – when we took the pic together, I originally stood on the other side of her, but she moved me so her good side could be photographed.) Then I was suddenly called into the audition room.

My body was now two-thirds adrenaline. In the room were about ten people, and I realized the director was Amy Madigan, wife of Ed Harris, star of Field of Dreams.

Okay, let’s recap: complex dialogue, hallway filled with my competition, Cloris Leachman challenging me, and now a room full of producers and Amy Madigan. And then Amy changed one of the lines it had taken me a day to memorize to see if I could handle it.

The job of an actor is to be confident, talented, flexible and a pro. And that’s exactly what I did. I made them laugh. Then Amy stretched me, having me try it a different way. Then she wanted it faster. And even faster than that. And I started to realize they were spending a lot more time with me than the actors who’d auditioned before me. And I walked out of there knowing I gave them what they wanted. I did my job.

But did I book the role? Nope. Now, I don’t want to get into the habit of blogging about jobs I don’t get, but I’m really proud of the work I did in this audition, and that’s all I can do. If they chose someone other than me, it was not for lack of effort.

But then again, what do I know? I’m crazy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ninth Great Film Of 2012.

Most of the time, I keep my cool. Other times, I feel as if I’m waiting at the DMV for four hours behind Paul Ryan, who failed the test and refuses to leave.

Pat Solitano pretty much feels that way all the time. He’s got issues.

Bradley Cooper plays Pat in Silver Linings Playbook and it’s a really difficult role, and Bradley completely pulls it off. There was never a false moment in the film. It’s disturbing and funny and romantic and it features a lot of Philly goombas, including Robert DeNiro as Pat’s dad. It’s DeNiro’s best role in twenty years.

It’s excellent. See it with a dysfunctional family member you love.

P.S.: That’s nine great films so far, with only two weeks left in the year – and I’ve never been short of a top-ten list. What I’m trying to say is: we’re all counting on you, Django Unchained.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Recap.

Once again, my friend Jeff asked me to be the PA announcer for his son’s football league, so I spent all day yesterday calling six playoff games. It’s not only fun, but the infamous In-N-Out semi truck was there, and what you are looking at, my friends, are my third and fourth double-doubles of the afternoon… Can Martin Short just host every SNL? Check out this sketch, and see if you like it much as Bill Hader… My new DVR, which can be programmed with my iPhone, is – if I may rehabilitate an old word – dynomite… A guy who went to high school with me has two daughters that attend the elementary school in Newtown. He emailed and said they’re okay. Thank God. Hang in there, Mike.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I’m Just Saying…

Positively fascinating reality premise from a real casting notice I saw this week:

We need someone to actually eat as many eggs as humanly possible. Please only submit if you are willing to possibly get sick from eating so many hard boiled eggs. We will have a paramedic on set, on standby. This is a competition in which the goal is our egg eater continuously eats eggs one after the other until he physically cannot eat any more.

Better set the DVR – a man is going to get full.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nate Corddry Is The Shit.

1) “I will nail this audition.” – actor. 2) Auditions. 3) Lights cigar. 4) Cigar blows up in face.

Yeah, it doesn’t always go our way, so we need to stay positive in between the highs, and keep showing up when the opportunities arise. Nate Corddry emphasized the hell out of this when came and spoke to a small group of us as at a workshop last week. He’s my new favorite actor.

Nate works constantly. He was a regular on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (one of my all-time favorite shows), “Harry’s Law” and now “Children’s Hospital.” And he’s Rob Corrdry’s little brother.

He loves the business and wanted to share everything he’d learned. He talked about his most intimidating audition, for the HBO mini-series “The Pacific,” in which he walked into the audition room and was surprised to be greeted by producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Spielberg sat right in front of Nate, recording the audition on a camera in his lap. Already not thinking he was physically right for the role, and now face to face with Tom and Steven, Nate tried to alleviate the tension by making a joke. It fell completely flat. But he realized the importance of the moment, dug in and did his thing. While he didn’t book the role, they liked him so much they cast him as a different character.

Nate came and spoke out of his love of acting and actors, and genuinely wanted us all to love the business as much as him and appreciate how lucky we are to get to do this for a living. I’m proud to be in the fraternity with him.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hero.

Nifty stat: two of the top ten highest-rated shows last week were episodes of “The Voice.”

Goodbye, essential humanity, it's been real.

Yes, reality shows. Completely cheap, completely staged, completely shit. The only “reality” is that they take thousands of jobs away from actors and crew.

But there’s hope. Dave Hester, one of the guys on “Storage Wars,” complained to network and production company execs that he wasn’t comfortable with the show regularly planting items in storage lockers. They fired him, and now he’s suing their asses.

I’ve never watched a minute of any reality show – as far as I’m concerned, having an affinity for them should count as a congenital birth defect – so I’ve never seen “Storage Wars” (they should be sued simply for besmirching the Star Wars brand.) But I have to ask: did anyone really think this show was legitimate?

A viewer posted this comment on latimes.com:

“What’s missing from the lawsuit (or the news report) is my belief that they are even doing product placement with the storage locker plants. That expensive electric bike Brandi and Jarrod found recently was a pretty new invention. Seems unlikely a person bought it, stuffed it in their locker and then didn't pay the locker rent for months. 

Then, at the end of the episode, you've got the expert singing its praises. Only $4,000! Ha. Wonder if the company paid to plant that electric bike. I assume reality shows are somewhat rigged, it’s all entertainment. But if it’s product placement, it seems like the producers are just rubbing it in.”

Scumbags. Scumbags. Go Dave.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Really?

Putting the menorah above the “injury or illness” poster?

And, it’s official: Jews are the Washington Generals of history.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 50: Take My Readers To Work Day.

Silver lining for the people of Syria: you get to be on “The Newsroom” in two years!

And enjoy it. It’s by far my favorite show, written by my favorite-by-far writer, Aaron Sorkin. So when my agent called a couple Fridays ago to let me know I had an audition for it, my wang almost skipped a beat.

And just after I hung up with her, she called again, this time with an audition for a sitcom pilot. Two big auditions, a half hour apart. Game on.

I spent the weekend preparing myself for Big Monday, running the scenes over and over with my friend Ariel. (We coach each other for all of our auditions, and video them so we get ourselves perfect on camera.) And I mapped out what was going to be a tricky bit of execution: a meeting in the Marina, followed by two closely-timed auditions.

When Monday came, I was locked in. The meeting lasted 90 minutes, and then I raced to “The Newsroom” audition, changed into a suit in the street, and headed in. The waiting area was a converted dressing room, with headshots of the entire cast pinned to the walls, along with blueprints of the set. Actors paced as they waited their turn. I was called in, and I relaxed and did my job, doing everything I’d prepared with the awesome but tricky and fast Sorkin dialogue.

As you leave an audition, you’ll always know definitively whether you did well or not. And I felt very good, but there was no time to assess – I had minutes to get to the pilot audition.

My 40-pound right foot came in handy, and I made it to the next casting office with blazing speed, found parking, changed my shirt and put on a tie, using the my car window as a mirror. I took the creaky old-timey elevator up to the office, had a minute to catch my breath, and then was called into the room. This being a sitcom, I charmed it up before I began, making a crack to the casting directors about peeing my pants (it went over well), and knew I was in the zone.

And the next day, my agent called. I had a callback for the pilot, and “The Newsroom” had put me on “avail,” meaning I was one of two choices for the role. I kissed Ricky on the mouth.

The day after that, I did my thing at the callback, felt great but didn’t book the pilot, and Aaron Sorkin wound up choosing the other actor over me. Sure, I was left stranded at third, but I’ll take hitting two triples any day.

And I’ll take a Monday like that any time. And there’ll be many more, and I’ll be on the winning side sometimes, and there’s no better feeling than that. The right thing will happen at the right time. And when it does, you know the drill: champagne for my real friends; real pain for my sham friends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Unsilent Night.

Every July 4th, I wonder if America is going to go get a free breakfast at Denny’s.

Here at the beach in LA, we don’t get nearly as festive on the 4th, opting instead to launch the fireworks at Christmas. And last night was our annual holiday festival, and it didn’t disappoint. Rick and I had a front-row seat for fireworks as big as a Pit Bull’s head.

The city really went typical balls-out, with a concert and what seemed to be about 100,000 tipsy people partying. In fact, our celebration has made to the finals in the Travel Channel’s “Christmas Showdown,” to compete to be named the best holiday festival in the nation. Our opponent: that’s right – Santa Claus, Indiana.

So suck it, Santa Claus, IN. May you choke in the big spot as bad as the Patriots. Oh, and Merry Christmas and peace on earth and all that.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chick Blowing A Trombone.

And my penis has never been so confused.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An All-New “Excerpts From My Text Messages.”

Now that Bin Laden is dead, is there anything worse than limited texting plans?

Didn’t think so. I love me some t-bombing. Here are a few new, real messages from my phone, with my outgoing texts in blue and green.

First up: no one’s more comfortable in his heterosexuality than my newly-married friend Bru, who will occasionally use a hairpin when we all go out. It prompted this from me:

Southerners make great sitting ducks. Plus a strong reply back:

Here’s another wrong-number text sent to me by a chick who must have taken the wrong Matt’s number out of her friend’s phone:

Again, these are absolutely legitimate. Received Tuesday night:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Watch Your Back, Lipton.

One of the chief reasons I began writing online was to convince aspiring actors, who for any number of reasons were hesitant to pursue their dreams, to go boldly and jump in, and I won’t stop until every one of them does just that. And once I’ve accomplished this feat, I’ll retire this blog and move on to my new one, in which I try to convince hipsters that suicide is ironic.

I’ve been getting some really nice emails recently, and one in particular really made my day:

Hi Matt, 

My name is Dasha. I just read your blog and find it extremely funny! I have been wanting to laugh for a continuous amount of time now and your blog did that for me-thank you! 

I attend the Actors Studio! Drama School, at Pace University. That's right; I am getting my MFA! We sit in on the tapings, although I have to admit that I shared your blog with my classmates and some of us will be following you now religiously. 

At any rate, thank you! I hope that LA is treating you well. I love it there (I am not from there but lived there for a bit and plan on pursuing a career there in the future). 

Kind Regards, 
Dasha 

Thanks so much, Dasha. You keep reading ‘em and I’ll keep writing ‘em.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Video Grand Slam.


My friend Ben sent me a link to a great new video: a roundtable discussion featuring Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere, Alan Arkin and John Hawkes, each sharing thoughts on their lives and the business. Click above. It’s like “Inside The Actors Studio” on bath salts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 49: My Job.

I’ve been a dad with a baby strapped to his chest, checking out a cute jogger in the park. I’ve been a bottle of hot sauce.

I’ve killed a man.

I’ve been gay. I’ve been a Nazi. I’ve been Moses.

I’ve been a cop, a fireman, an MMA fighter and a scientist. I was a doctor. Twice.

I’ve been slapped, punched, kicked, stabbed and shot. Last week I was on the most boring date ever, droning on about politics, and a half hour later I was a slick vice principal flirting with a mom.

One of the best things about being an actor is that every experience is unique. The auditions alone allow me to play constantly. And sometimes I even book the job and get to have even more fun. And get paid.

But the bookings are rare, and I accept that. I’m not an actor for the job security – I do it because it suits me. I’ve worked in an office. I’ve worked retail. I’ve watched the clock all day long in all kinds of jobs, and all of them had one thing in common: they were bland.

Acting is difficult, but it’s never dull. I’ve kissed a Playboy playmate. I’ve worked on a NASCAR pit crew. I’ve rappelled down a wall wearing a tuxedo. I’ve driven 110 miles per hour on the 210 Freeway during morning rush hour, with CHP officers chaperoning me the entire way.

I continue to hope casting directors choose me to audition over the 2400 submissions they receive for every role, so I can drive across town with a few changes of clothes in my car and concentrate on delivering the best audition I can in one take because I don’t want the routine of a regular job. Sure, it would be nice to have the certainty of a regular paycheck, but to get it I’d have to trade my unpredictable schedule for a tomorrow that’s exactly like today. And to me, that kind of certainty is frightening.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekend Recap.

This pre-Jets game perfect blueberry waffle was whipped up by my friend Jeff, and was not just yummy but apparently healthful, thanks to the blueberries’ belly-fat reducing catechins. (Which sounds like an outlawed wrestling hold, doesn't it?)… Speaking of the lbs., Ricky and I dropped by PetSmart, and I had him step up on the vet’s scale. When I brought him home in January, he weighed 4 ½ lbs. He now weighs 80, all of it muscle. That’s it – I’m subjecting him to random drug tests… “Boardwalk Empire” is unlike any TV show ever, not afraid to not only kill off a major character, but just about every character. Quit what you’re doing right now at work, log onto to HBO GO, and watch the finale. There will be blood.