Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Tête-à-Tête Tuesdays with Molly

I'm starting a new weekly interview series, Tête-à-Tête Tuesdays with Molly. I'm interviewing people from all sorts of backgrounds who I feel have taken a unique career path, are finding success and who can offer advice and insight. So here it goes..
Introducing Matty Goldberg, comedian, writer, actor and recent L.A. transplant. You can find him on his own site and if you're looking for a little piece of his magic - you can email him
Hello Matty! So to give my readers some background - we first met summer of 2009. You were opening for a friend's improv group and I was there photographing their show. Aside from making fun of me for being alone (I was photographing my ex and just met his new gf!), you found out I was from New Jersey. So I basically handed to you on a silver platter half of your show. Your stand up routine was pretty funny, although like many comedians, you've gone through some serious $hit like beating a brain tumor at 18 that included two ten hour surgeries. Holy Cow. Your story of perseverance intrigues and inspires me. Tell me what you're doing now.
Right now I'm answering these questions. Sorry, bad joke. I'm doing lotsa standup and trying to develop a TV show around me in Hollywood. Everything is based on my life, my struggle, my pain. It's a beautiful, cathartic release.
What was the impetus to move to LA? Was there a last straw? A sign? A coincidence that made you realize it was time to get the hell out of NYC?
My sister moved out there 8 years ago. I'd visit and book some stand-up shows. Every time I was on stage I'd do awesome. Comics were like "move out here. No one is like you." So I always wanted to. Opportunity came, and things in NY were slow. I was happy as hell to move.
From what I've seen, it sounds like LA has been treating you well. Can you tell me what motivated you to keep going in the ridiculously trying world of stand up comedy?
MG: Stand-up comedy is such competitive, crazy business. People ask me if I'm nervous about the crowds. That's the easy part. The business is the hard part. It's this endless game of marketing yourself and self-promotion. It's something I don't like doing but must be done. What keeps me going is people saying I suck or I can't do it. Then I'm inspired to stick it in their face. My way of winning is succeeding on stage and with [other] projects.
What would you say is the number one skill to being a stand up comedian?
LIKABILITY. Right there. When I started, I wasn't likable. I came off awkward. So I kinda learned through psychological warfare to be lovable and creepy at the same time. Some comics succeed who aren't that funny. But no doubt they are LIKABLE.
Creepiness and likability. Who knew it was a recipe for success? How are you using social media to expand your career?
I'm on Facebook all the time promoting gigs, putting up videos. YouTube is big too. Can't tell you how many people from around the country stumbled upon one of my videos on YouTube and now loves me. Again, everything has changed, cause comedy is everywhere. So you have to keep up.
How has doing stand up helped you in other areas of your life?
Before I started, I was a complete mess. I really was depressed, worked at animal hospital sweeping cat shit. So doing it gave me purpose, gave me passion. I became confident and determined. It also made me love myself more and yes, got me laid. Confidence is sexy. And many girls dig a brave dude. Funny is sexy too. I still believe hot guys are more desirable than funny guys, but there certainly is a market for a guy like me.
I agree. Humor is major attraction for women and sometimes being "just hot" is boring. And cleaning up cat shit does kill a little part of your soul. I digress. When you were a kid, did you think, "I want to be a stand up comedian" or did you have another life-long dream?
When I was younger, I was into music and sports. I thought comedy was for dorks. A big misconception about nerds is we don't bask in our nerd glory. Truth is we want to be the bad ass or cool guy at the party, so I wanted to be an athlete.
What?! I totally bask in my nerd glory. Tell me a secret. What's the biggest misconception people have about you?
Two contradicting things. Because I'm very self deprecating, some people think it's all an act and that I'm smart and normal. And some think I'm a complete perverted, freak. I'm somewhere in between. My comedy is a real extension of me. I'm just not that all the time.
So you're only creepy some of the time. Good to know. In your observation, what are some of the biggest differences between LAers and New Yorkers?
LA gets a bad rap that it is superficial. I think NY is actually more. LA girls dress in tee shirts and flip flops. Everyday for a girl in NY is a fashion show. In NY, girls wear the best shoes. In comedy, NY is traditional and kinda sticks to its roots. In LA, you have lots of guys doing Dane Cook.
Well some of us need to upgrade our shoe collection. Or just move out of NYC.. How has your life changed since moving to LA? Are you healthier? Do you have a tan? A porche? A girlfriend?
I love the weather here. I went through lots of personal shit in NY so LA is fresh breath of air. If you wanna know what I have, come to a show. Oh, I love fast food in LA. In n Out is the real deal.
What are some projects you're working on now?
I wrote a pilot about an 80's metal band's manager. I am also developing a show based on me. Rest of it is a secret. It will be funny. I guarantee it. But I just love performing. If it's 2 people or 1000 people in the crowd, I'm ready to rock.
And finally, any advice you can pass on to my readers who want to make a drastic career change in their life?
EAT SHIT. If you want to do anything in this life you must pay your dues and eat a lot of shit from people. Nothing comes easy. I plan on writing a book about my journey. To get where I am today took so much failing, working for free, and doing awful gigs it was insane. But you just know it's for something bigger in the future. And truth is I'm succeeding now, cause for years I ate shit.