Proud Newfoundlander Matt Wright knows comedy. Whether he is performing his hilarious stand up act on stage somewhere in Canada, or writing material for CBC’s This Hour has 22 Minutes (which is filmed in Halifax), it is inevitable that he will have you laughing.
TM: What’s it like working on 22 Minutes?
Wright: I am in the writer’s room predominantly. I have done a bit of acting on the show, but almost exclusively writing. I have always kind of written; my brother does some writing. Everyone in my family does a little bit, or has at one point in their lives. My parents are teachers. I feel like teachers kind of need to be Swiss Army Knifes in the sense that they need to have a general understanding of a lot of things.
TM: Had you always been around comedy, growing up in Gander, Newfoundland?
Wright: I would say yes. I am from a family of five, plus in-laws. I always felt like I was the fifth funniest person in my family. A lot of moments sitting at the kitchen table when my siblings would come home and just laughing.
TM: Where do you draw a lot of your stand up comedy material?
Wright: I would say it’s a mix of personal stories and observations on life. It’s a mixture of stories that come from my life; kind of doing a deep dive into something and picking it apart. “Why is this funny?” and really getting into it. My goal is to write two new minutes a week, then when I get to this part of the year in November I usually have about 80 minutes that I have written. Then I cut about a third of that, because a lot of that evidently is terrible; that’s just the way writing is. Then I refine it over the course of a month and get ready to do a show.
I had started doing one show in my hometown, which I had been lucky enough to do. It started from a small thing, and now its kind of a bigger theatre thing. It’s good. It keeps me fresh! I think my favourite part about stand up is doing something new that works; it’s rewarding.
TM: How did you go from being behind the scenes writing comedy to being on stage doing stand up?
Wright: I am a little quieter off stage then I am on stage. I think a lot of comedy comes from listening. I think it’s important for me to soak up other people’s point of view, and how you transfer that into a show that’s fun for people and they can relate to. I used to act when I was younger. I got away from it for a while when I was in school. I ended up hosting a dinner when I graduated university and getting laughs. it is kind of an addictive feeling for sure. I just kept doing comedy. I caught the right opportunities at the right time. I have been lucky enough to write and do shows with great comedians.
Matt plays Halifax on November 20th @ The Carleton.