Matt Goldich on His Work-Life Balance and Debut Standup Album
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been for sure” is not something I hear a lot of comics say with confidence. But things are pretty peachy for New York-based comedian and Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Matt Goldich. At 37, Matt has settled into his place in the world as a nice, average, kind of awkward white dude. He’s a loyal husband and father, good at his job, but not quite cool enough to do drugs. “I’ve kind of been an old man for a long time,” he explains. Matt just dropped a noteworthy debut standup album, The Matt Goldich Guarantee, which he describes as the culmination of “eight years of standup stretched out over 15 or 16 years.” I talked to Matt about making the album, his work-life balance, and having something to prove.
I just listened to the album. It sounded like you got the whole set in one take.
Yeah, I actually did a second set that night where I did some pickups, but we ended up not really using any of it. I did an hour set the first show. That was my crowd. My friends and fans came out for that one. The plan was that on the second show they were going to give me a half hour to do anything I wanted to do over again. I felt like the first one went pretty well, so I basically spent the time between the first and second sets just saying hi to everybody that had come. I had a drink, sort of relaxed, and was like, “Well, I just do this ten minutes and that ten minutes.” The second show was with a bunch of other people, not necessarily people who were there to see me. I was like, “This will be interesting. Let’s see how it goes. Who knows? Maybe it will go better.” It was not great. It probably went better than it did in my mind, but I could tell immediately that they were just not as amped up as the first crowd. So we ended up using pretty much all of the first show.
In listening to the album, one of the things I really liked is that every once in awhile you can hear a glass clink, or a chair move. I feel like I’m in the room when I hear that kind of stuff on albums.
Good, good. I’m glad. I was nervous about that. It’s a small club so you can definitely hear that stuff. I had to move a stool and thought, “We’ll edit this out.” It got a big laugh and and I was like, “Now we have to leave it in.” I definitely wanted a little bit of that. It doesn’t sound too polished. You can tell it was a recording of a live show and not something that was more produced.
I don’t know how conscious you were about doing visual bits on your album recording, but there was one bit where you act out the awkward way you feel a woman’s boobs and then double back with a tag to say something like, “That’s how I normally do it, two squeezes.” Is that how you usually do the joke or were you just making it clear for the album?
That’s sort of how I always tell that joke. I’m glad it worked on the album because I don’t do a lot of physical act-out bits, so it’s always a concern when it’s an audio recording whether or not it will come across. It sort of works both ways. The person listening might be like, “I didn’t fully get that because I didn’t see it. Now I want to see it live,” or, “I want to watch a clip.”
Where did you record at?
I recorded at The Stand in New York. I don’t do a ton of clubs, but that’s the one where I get up pretty regularly. It has a great vibe, low ceilings, good acoustics. It’s small, so I packed it. It’s always a fun place to perform, but that night in particular was pretty special.
You had one of my favorite Cosby jokes I’ve heard since everything went down.
Thanks. I don’t remember when I wrote it, but it happened organically. It was almost an aside that turned into a real joke. There’s not much meat left on that bone. It’s hard to come up with a new take on it, but I guess I did.
What I liked about it is that you didn’t really get into it. I’ve seen a lot of people really work hard to make sure you know where they stand, whether it’s, “He’s a monster” or, “We can’t be sure” or making light of the allegations or whatever. It’s been hit from all angles. Your Cosby joke speaks more to your own neuroses. You touch on the surprise, disappointment, and sense of loss that a lot of people felt in a very short joke. It’s more about you than about the awful situation that is Bill Cosby.
It also helps that I’ve always been fearful of being too dirty or addressing super controversial topics onstage. It’s just not my personality. But I like toeing the line and talking about things in a roundabout way. Some of this political stuff is the same thing. It’s what’s on my mind. I want to talk about it. I don’t want to be too overly political and strident, but I also don’t want to come off as someone who is either on the wrong side or apathetic. I want to address it in a funny, interesting, different way.
You talk about where you’re at in life, but did you mention your actual age on the album?
Me too. That explains why I really related to some of your stuff.
I’ve kind of been an old man for a long time. Honestly, some of the jokes about feeling old are ways that I’ve felt for ten years. Some of those jokes might be ten years old and just the number in them has changed. This is my first album. The original title was going to be 15 Years 45 Minutes, which is basically the idea that it took me 15 years to write 45 minutes of material. I thought that might be too inside. Craig Baldo, my opener that night, suggested The Matt Goldich Guarantee.
Why did you decide to drop your first album at 15 years in?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Part of it is to prove that I exist and that I’ve been doing standup this long. I’ve probably done about eight years of standup stretched out over 15 or 16 years. Some people might not even consider me a full-time comic. I guess, to my credit, I’ve never stopped like a lot of people who get writing jobs or whatever. I felt like I had all these great jokes, enough material to do an hour. It was something I wanted to do just to have a record of it. Other than a couple of TV things there was no real proof. Anyone can put “comedian” in their Twitter bio. I needed to prove to people that I am a comedian.
How often are you getting up?
It sort of ebbs and flows. When I was preparing to do the album I was getting up four, five, six nights a week. I flew to LA to do the hour there to prepare. Once the album was recorded I took a little break. It averages out to a couple times a week. Having a full-time job that I actually like and find fulfilling and having a family…I think you can do two out of the three really well. It’s hard to do all three: be good at your job, do a lot of comedy, and be a good husband and father. You can probably pick two out of the three, but doing all three simultaneously is very hard. But I’m not complaining. I love all of it. I have a good life. This is the happiest I’ve ever been for sure.