Thursday, January 31, 2019

Good News: I Nailed A Gigantic Audition. Not As Good News: I Didn’t Get The Role.

Nope. I did not get the part. I now regret wishing for a Rage Against the Machine reunion on that cursed monkey’s paw.

It wasn’t for lack of effort, and in the end it was out of my hands.

The role was for a series regular on “The Young and The Restless”. A charming villain. I was excited as hell for a chance at this career-changer, and I wanted it, badly enough to really bust my ass.

I was working in the valley all week, but really wanted to run the scenes with my friend Ariel, so I drove to his house during standstill rush-hour traffic two nights in a row to work on them. It took me two hours to get there each night. It sucked shit.

Ariel was fighting a bad cold, but he’s the most outgoing friend. We ran it again and again. There was so much dialogue, it took me both days to memorize it. The picture above is a screen shot from Ariel’s house. We record everything and prepare for anything.

I walked into the audition room entirely ready. And I hit it out of the park. You always know when you do. I saw it in the eyes of the casting associate as she read the scene opposite me – this guy gets it. And the big casting director told me on the way out of the door, twice: “Matt that was really good. REALLY good.”

But the show decided it wanted this bad guy to have an accent – someone legitimately European. So they went a different way.

All I can do is my job. And I’m so thrilled with my performance in the audition. The casting directors will remember me, and I’ll be back in there again, and I’ll be just as prepared and confident as I was last week.

Here’s what I love most about acting: it’s one of the few professions that offers you a chance to be great. I would have killed to get that role, but even if I didn’t, I was great in that audition room. It’s the highest of highs. I was that villain. And that day, I was that actor.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

An Excerpt.

My favorite childhood memory is not having a job.

Sarah Silverman recounts plenty of her childhood in her book, The Bedwetter, including this gem about her grandmother:
When it became clear that Nana was dying, my sisters and I stayed by her bedside. Nana would wake up between long periods of sleep and ask if she was still alive. When we told her she was, she would slap her hand on her head as if a waiter had just screwed up her cocktail order for the ninth time. She was ready to go, but she wasn’t… going. It was torture to watch her waiting so impatiently to get out the hell out of this world. But still she was funny. At the end, as Laura and I sat on either side of her, each holding one of her hands, Nana came to, briefly. She looked up at us, smiled, and whispered, “So beautiful.”  
Laura jumped right in, saying, “She’s talking to me!”  
I said, “No, way, she’s talking to me!”  
To which Nana, with what was literally one of her last dying breaths, replied, “Laura.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My 3300th Blog Entry.

I’ve written 3300 blog entries, which means I’m like ten posts away from an eating disorder.

Until then, as is customary, every time I post a new 100, I choose my five of my favorites:

Tau Epsilon Phi, University Of Maryland, Reunion 2018. Las Vegas. They haven’t changed a bit – except now they have lots of cash and access to legal pot. Check out this dangerous combo here. 

The World’s Largest Deliverable Pizza. Using my big mouth the way God intended. Sup with me here. 

A Mid-Editing Plug Of My Sitcom. My aversion to orange chicken is still strong. Nonetheless defrost a batch with me here. 

I’m On A Boat. That ain’t nutmeg in the nog – it’s Dramamine. Join me for an overboard hurl. 

Breaking And Entering Into My Old Frat House. Why even have locks when everything’s been puked on? Aid and abet me here.

Monday, January 28, 2019


Be nice to your old friends. They have pictures of your hair from 1992.

Ted and Rob have been great friends of mine all my life. They’re my entourage. Like in that HBO show “John Adams”.

Both happened to separately be in LA this past week, so Ted and I had dinner Thursday, and Rob and I took Ricky down the strand yesterday. Rob snapped the pic of Ricky and me.

Rob is a prolific sportswriter, in town researching his next book – a true story which I think has the potential to become a hit movie.

Until Rob’s book/film are this massive hit, we honored our tradition of Mongolian barbecue lunch whenever he’s in LA. When he hits it big, we’ll step it up. I’m thinking Korean.

Friday, January 25, 2019

It’s The Little Things.

Proud of how well I held my friend Chris’ baby Ben, considering I dropped my phone like five times today.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

I Voted.

As an actor, I could kiss my costar for like 10 seasons and not fall in love. But if someone lets me cut ahead of them at the grocery checkout, I think about it for about five months.

Yeah, we’re a different breed, and I like it. It’s an honor for me this week, because I get to vote for the SAG Awards. What makes them unique is that their categories feature actors only.

Pictured above is one of my favorite categories. I voted for the cast of “Barry” because they are a perfect cast on a perfect show. Especially Bill Hader, who exhibits the ultimate range, from comedy to drama to action star, all in one role.

See? Voting can actually be incredibly satisfying. Who knew.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Second Leg: DC To NY.

It’s nice that my vacuum has a headlight, just in case I want to wake my dog up thinking he’s getting hit by a train.

Actually, trains deserve better PR, because my trip to New York on AMTRAK was an absolute delight. AMTRAK has come a long way since my freshman year of college, when it didn’t reserve seats, and I stood in a crowd of people for four hours on my way to College Park.

Nowadays, it’s a comfy WiFi-and-power-source filled cruise with no wait time – a better alternative to flying, what with the current longer lines at TSA. (Side-note: I thanked all TSA agents during this trip for working during the shutdown, to which a group of them at LAX half-jokingly exclaimed: “Help us! We’re being held prisoners!” I told them I was on my way to DC and would see what I could do.)

Rafele, a superb new Italian restaurant that moved into a former GAP located in my hometown, and co-owned by one of the owners of the New York Giants. Trust me when I say the yummy ice cream custard only looks like cat food.

Getting off the plane I was about to board to LA: Chris Pine. He seemed like the nicest guy, albeit the briefcase was an interesting choice. If given the chance, I would have told him I loved him in Bottle Shock. (Tip: when you bump into an A-lister, they really dig it if you reference an obscure, good movie they were in. My friend Daniel taught me this after he told Ben Stiller he loved Permanent Midnight, and Ben really lit up. I saw Chris Pine for the first time in Bottle Shock, and it was immediately obvious he had Robert Downey, Jr.-level charisma.) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Back To School.

Every now and then I’d like to walk into my alma mater carrying my communications degree and say, “I’d like a refund, please. This did not work as planned.”

But then I forgive quickly. I could never stay mad at you, University of Maryland. I LOVED attending you.

It had been too long since I’d visited the campus, so after my frat reunion, I went back with my brother Buzzy and explored the campus. Above, circled in red, is Denton Hall, my freshman and sophomore year dorm. Overlooking the football stadium gave me a constant nipple-hardon.

Buzzy holding court with Maryland football players Lawtez Rogers and Isaiah Davis. No matter how old we get, we will always be little boys idolizing our sports heroes. By the way, Isiah’s brother, former UM defensive back Sean Davis, now plays for the Steelers.

We talked our way inside the Maryland football house, where on display is the original Under Armour t-shirt, complete with a first-incarnation logo. Former Maryland football captain Kevin Plank created this lighter, moisture-wicking shirt as a player out of necessity, and now Under Armour is worth $9 billion.

And you’re gonna need that $9 billion to afford textbooks these days.

Maryland began as an agricultural school, and to this day, the on-campus cows provide milk for what is no exaggeration the best ice cream you will ever taste. I’m still trying to lose my freshman 15. 

Before catching a train to New York, I stood on the toilet of Board and Brew and left a message Shawshank-style.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Breaking And Entering Into My Old Frat House.

ME: I got into TEΦ!
COPS ARRESTING ME: Yeah, we know.

Because I was on campus in between semesters, the doors of my old fraternity house were locked. Well, except one, sorta. So my frat brother Buzzy and I snuck in. (I prefer the term “urban exploration”, a term normally reserved for sneaking into boarded-up buildings. My favorite of all time is this night spent in Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, former home of the Sabres. A group of guys used special cameras and lighting to take some fascinating pictures. Check them out.)

With Buzzy, my accomplice.

The new trim, paint, and recessed lights are a nice, new touch on what is still to this day a shithole.

I wasn’t smiling like this every Sunday morning as a pledge, when I had to clean pubes off the toilets.

Friday, January 18, 2019


It’s tougher to recognize my frat brothers these days, when they no longer reek of Axe body spray. 

But I still love hanging with them, and I did last night — a very snowy night in Bethesda. Getting together with them is the best – it’s like having 42 big brothers you want to follow around all night. 

Few things get me out of bed at 2:45 a.m., but catching a plane to see them did. An obscenely early wakeup time is henceforth the measure of happiness.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I’m Taking A Plane. Then A Train.

If you’d like to avoid getting invited to reunions, ask all your old friends for money.

Or attend the ones featuring successful dudes. I’m heading to DC today so I can attend a reunion dinner with my frat brothers. Then tomorrow, I’m going to visit my old campus at the University of Maryland, then hop on an Amtrak and go to New York for a couple days.

Seeing my frat brothers, the school I loved, and my mom are a few of my favorite things, but I’m really looking forward to the train ride. I always love reenacting the “Papers, Jew” scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Grumpy conductors forewarned.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


MY NEPHEW: Were scorpions around when there were dinosaurs?
ME: You mean like the band?

We’ve come a long way in ten years. In fact, ten years ago today, I found out the featurette I wrote, produced, and starred in, got into its fifth film festival. (You can read about it here.) Little did I know it would get into 40 more festivals, and the director, Ted Melfi, would go on to direct St. Vincent and Hidden Figures. It’s been a pretty nifty decade.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

His First Credit.

I wonder if those people who stand outside “The Today Show” waving at themselves in the camera wave at themselves in their mirrors at home.

Or I could ask my nephew, who became one of those people during a Los Angeles Kings’ post-game broadcast.

I kid because he can take it. And he’s a photogenic young man.

Monday, January 14, 2019

I’d Like To Thank The Union.

I deserve an Academy Award for the way I searched the fridge yesterday with my nephew for his leftover quesadilla that I definitely ate.

That kinda qualifies me to vote for my fellow actors for the SAG Awards. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, and the screeners are arriving like crazy – including a beautifully-packaged season two of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Even better are the movies. The year always ends in a flurry of films, and there are several very good ones. When I get through them, I’ll compile a good list of the ones everyone must see. I’m a giver that way. Ask my nephew.

Friday, January 11, 2019

We All Wish We’d Invented This.

I like shirts with fancy cuffs (a horrendous Sir Mix-A-Lot song), but spend too much of my days tending to said cuffs, which get unruly.

The cumulative years I’ve spent pushing my sleeves up is sickening. Then my friend TJ was kind enough to turn me on (I believe the phrase was “You’re not getting a Christmas gift from me, but if you were…”) to CuffUps, a simple yet revolutionary contraption that help keep your sleeves turned up.

They took an elastic strap, put a button on one end and a button hole on the other, offer in over 20 different colors and stripes, and charge 20 bucks per pair. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS FIRST.

And now I’m giving them a free plug. Eh, worth it. I love them.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Matt’s Book Club.

I’m only 30 pages into Sarah Silverman’s book, but with chapters like “Summer Camp: the Second Worst Kind of Camp for Jews”, it promises to be good.

I tend to choose books about show business, and I’ve read quite a few good ones lately. Here are some I highly recommend:

  • A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston’s autobiography 
  • Nevertheless, Alec Baldwin’s autobiography 
  • Tony and Me: A Story of Friends, by Jack Klugman 
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe 
  • The Third Door, by Alex Banayan – not a showbiz book per se, but super inspirational 
  • Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. – one of my favorite books of all time. 

So have at it. It’s time we all read something longer than a two-sentence text. Meet back here to discuss.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It’s Happening.

I am really liking my sitcom pilot so far, and I hope you do as well. Don’t make me put on makeup for nothing.

One of the trickier stages – editing – is nearing its finish and yesterday I got to look at the latest cut. I loved it.

It feels so good to kick off the year this way. We all should. Do your thing. Get after what you love. Especially if it means quitting your job to pursue your dream of quitting your job.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Culinary Corner.

People who genetically engineer food, why don’t you make celery that tastes like Reese’s peanut butter cups? I bet that would shut people up.

Fine, I’ll do it myself. With the help of my nephew. First, we scrutinized the cups by making them ourselves. Then we refrigerated them. Then we crunched the numbers on the whole celery hypothesis. We may have cracked the code.

Also, in what is now an official January 1st tradition, I made buttery soft pretzels. Fatty new year.

Monday, January 7, 2019

New York Leftovers.

When friends send me home with leftovers in plastic containers, they’re essentially saying, “Here, you throw this food away and then clean the containers.”

So I bring you low maintenance leftovers, from my Christmas trip to New York. Like the shot above. Come for the lasagna; sit next to a legend. Ted Koppel at Osteria al Doge.

I am so going to write a film that includes a high-speed chase through an airport in a currency exchange mobile.

Christmas explodes on the front lawn of this dude one town over from my hometown every year. I’ve posted nighttime shots of this lunacy. Here’s a daytime one for contrast.

Any pizza can be a personal pizza if you don’t have any friends. I have a very good friend since 7th grade, Doug Logan, so we split slices. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

31 Seconds Of December.

January. That month in which everybody puts their shitty Christmas gifts on Ebay so that poor people can buy them.

So let’s focus on December. Here’s mine, one second per day:

Thursday, January 3, 2019


The other night, my friends were measuring the alcohol while making drinks. I need new friends. 

Maybe I’ll follow the lead of the young South African girl who handed the above note to my mom the other day. I thought it was super sweet, and a little heartbreaking.

So I wrote a reply, and left it in her mailbox. Click on the photos to read larger versions.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I Can’t Throw A Punch Without Hitting My Friends.

I gave my stoner friends fruitcake for Christmas, just so I could imagine them hating me while they couldn’t help eating it.

But I celebrate my other friends, especially the ones with prolific careers. Like my friend John Kapelos, who while I was laying on my mom’s couch last week popped up in Nothing in Common. Above is Tom Hanks, Sela Ward, and John.

Or my friend Ariel, playing a doctor on “The Drew Carey Show”. (One scene after my friend Marci played a nurse!)

On the other hand, you know who aren’t friends? At last night’s Sugar Bowl, the Texas and Georgia mascots:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions so much as I just carry the ones over from the previous year and add “this time I’m serious.”

That didn’t prevent me from having a really great 2018. I taught myself how to cook and paint. I booked a nice role. I shot my pilot. I traveled.

It’ll only get better in 2019. Let’s all realize what makes us happy and get after it. I highly recommend it.

Thank you to my mom for the cookies. See? One day in and it’s already a kickass year.