Funny guy Matt Bellassai started out like the very best comedians: with a bottle of wine and a web show through Buzzfeed. Now, the say-anything comedian has his own podcast is touring the country with his witty, on-point banter (from wedding dates to pop stars) and we spoke with him while he was in Boston for a private event at Northeastern.
Ok, Matt, what is the first thing you think of when Boston pops into your mind? Matt Bellassai: I’ve been trained to respond with donuts before anything else, so Boston Cream is what immediately comes to mind, even though I’m morally opposed to any object that tries to hide the fact that it’s about to cream all over me.
Anything you want to do while you’re in town for a private speaking event at Northeastern. Is it empowering or frightening to return to college? MB: I love going back to colleges! It makes me feel like my alcoholism is only just beginning, rather than slowly consuming me for the past five years since I graduated.
You became an internet superstar because everything you say (from wedding guests to annoying friends to pop culture) just feels right. Did you start by talking about subjects that were organic to you or were you drawing from the people around you? MB: I definitely draw inspiration from everybody around me, but I like to think I push every idea through my meat grinder brain, and it comes out a beautiful Matt patty, all my own. But I like to think complaining is a social effort.
Do you feel like social media has changed at all since you started? MB: Well, thanks to good ol’ Trumpy, things are a lot angrier now, and everybody hates everybody else no matter what you believe. Which means, on the one hand, people want stuff that they can laugh at to try to forget about everything. But on the other hand, there’s more of a need to speak out about what you believe in. Luckily, my personal mantra is “everything is awful,” so calling out the terribleness of the world fits right in.
How do you continue to find material for To Be Honest? MB: I live in New York City, which is basically a constant reminder of humanity’s failings. New York is like a shoebox diorama of terribleness, if someone wore the shoebox instead of the shoe. But really, if you’re committed to being a pessimist — and I am — then you can find the worst in everything. But only if you believe.
Tell us what it was like to win the first-ever People’s Choice Award for Favorite Social Media Star. MB: Not gonna lie, it was pretty exciting, even though they showed the wrong person on TV when they gave it to me. But still. I got to take it home and I still get to cuddle it every night. So I will cherish the memory nonetheless.
What are most peoples’ reactions when they recognize you in the street? MB: Most people are surprised that I’m not actually a complete failure of a person. Or, no matter what time of day it is, they’re surprised to see that I’m sober. I do take breaks, people! My liver is my number one enemy, but I need to give her time to rest.
We have to ask….what is your favorite wine? MB: I would be a terrible salesman if I didn’t say my own wine, “To Be Honest,” which you can order at Winc.com, HINT HINT. But I love any good red wine that I can chug. There’s a very low bar to impress me.
Any update on Harry Styles appearing on your podcast yet-to-be-named?! MB: Oh, it’s happening. If I have to die to make it happen, I’ll do it. Anything for Harold.