Today the Venice Paparazzi Spotlight shines on Venice Underground’s co-founder Matt Devlin.
How many years in Venice? 10 this summer.
Tell us about your art or company. What makes it awesome?
Stand-up comedy is my love. To think that we can temporarily exist as beings and then assemble strictly for the purpose of illuminating and amplifying the absurd, the minutia, the tragic etc. – strictly to laugh at it – kills me. I’m not unconvinced that other mammals don’t do the same thing. Cows mooing. Ducks quacking. Squirrels squirreling. There’s got to be a funny one in the bunch. This love is presently represented weekly [Wednesdays / 9:00 / Townhouse] as VENICE UNDERGROUND COMEDY. We’re 7 years strong and I co-produce that show with Bronston Jones [formerly of Pennsylvania, now a Venice stalwart of 500+ years or something]. What makes it awesome? The neighborhood support. Straight up. Townhouse management & staff toe the line every week. The comedy talent pool runs deep in this town too. But it’s Venice that makes it awesome. And there’s no ‘2 drink minimum’. View upcoming Venice Underground Comedy events on www.facebook.com/VeniceUground
How did you get into?
As a kid I would sneak up in the middle of the night to watch late night stand-up comedy showcases. I made up the lost sleep by ignoring a select few elementary school teachers and napping during their rants. The rest is history.
What projects are you currently working on?
There are a few irons in the comedy fire that hinge on ‘Variety’ type events that incorporate different artistic mediums and are more about being out at a venue and not impaled on your couch tapping away on your phone.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
It’s got to be the longevity and sustainability of Venice Underground Comedy. I’ve started a few other comedy events in the past that have also lasted a number of years but this one’s special.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
Spend 18 minutes learning joke structure [it’s a thing] and study the language you use. Invest in a BIC 4 color pen and a double-barreled Sharpie.
Who or what inspires you?
The fact that the game is over before you even really knew you were in it.
How would your friends or colleagues describe you?
Kindhearted degenerate in need of a shave.
Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote?
“Eat more ‘possum. God bless John Wayne.”
Favorite book, band or movie?
Hard Working Americans, Todd Snider, ‘Travels with Charley’’
What do you do on your days off? How do you treat yourself?
What is this “days off” you speak of?
List 2-3 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list?
It’s bad luck to reveal the contents of your bucket list on the internet [to wit: I don’t really have a bucket list prepared]. As for Venice – I want to jump off the pier and not get arrested or smashed to pieces and then to walk down the Boradwalk and not have that dude try to talk me in to being a member of a live studio audience. That’d be dope. Also, I’d like to see more preservation and restoration of the original architecture etc. and for the people currently carrying the heavy torch of real LIVE ENTERTAINMENT to be appreciated and encouraged more.
Finish off the statement “Life is…?
All about asking the right questions”.
What causes do you support?
There are a few things that hit close to home for me and Venice Underground Comedy tends to support the immediate causes in the aftermath of a tragedy. We were invited to help with the SPY Benefit Concert [Dec. 2017] and that was an eye opener as to how many good people in Venice are quietly chipping away at the many problems troubling our city.
What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place?
Exercise more patience in simple daily interactions. This is a personal work in progress.
Anything else you want to share about yourself to the world?
Just know that I’m happy to be here. Thank you.
Venice is like boxing. You can read all the books and anecdotes in the world about boxing but until you get in that ring…
Describe your perfect day in Venice? (start from morning to night)
A rainy Sunday not during football season that starts with a ride out to get a coffee and then becomes a steady succession of bumping in to friends and neighbors. The coffee probably turns in to beer at some point.
What are some interesting destinations/activities in Venice that even locals might not be aware of?
Early morning bike rides all around Venice. The alleys, the canals, Speedway, OFW/Bike Path… all of it. So much to see and changing constantly.
List any of your favorite Venice businesses, event(s) or activities?
Saturday/Sunday daytime at Townhouse with George and Fish is really something to behold. The free vegetarian buffet at Hinano Cafe. Small World Books. Rainy day bike rides.
Any shoutouts or thank you’s?
Too many… My cousin Rachael first and foremost. Bronston for sure. Everybody at Townhouse. All the gang at Hinano and the fine people of the Sidewalk Cafe. All my neighbors and the friendly faces I see nearly every day. Jackie Pucci for giving me a ticket on my birthday.
Anything else about Venice that you would like to say?
Venice is as tough as old boots yet it’s nearly impossible to come here and not leave a mark. Come check it out if you haven’t already. Have fun. Leave a good mark.
Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next?
The Clay family.
Where can one find you?
Upcoming Venice Underground Comedy events: www.facebook.com/VeniceUground