If the question “Where can I go to just get my chill on, fill my belly and have some pure, unadulterated laughs on a weekday in Los Angeles?” has ever entered your noggin then I have just the place for you. Once a month, the quiet LA suburbs are brought to life at the home of roommates, Matt Lottman and Frank Chad Muniz, who moonlight as comedy show producers and hosts when they are relaxing from their full-time jobs. The aptly named Comedy Living Room (CLR if you’re cute) offers everything a comedy show junkie could want. First off, it’s totally FREE. Second, the guys have thrown a food truck into the mix. Third, it all takes place in a comfy living room complete with surround sound, video screens, DJ MarkKill and donation bar (with Mad Hatter bartender Loren). And last and most important, these guys know how to book the hottest comics in town! Last month’s show consisted of the following lineup (prepare yourself): Omar Nava, Brent Morin, Pete Holmes, Shelby Fero, Ron Babcock, Lynn Shawcroft, Rory Scovel and Ron Funches. Did I mention there is also a raffle for the slammin’ monthly show poster? Not to shabby!
I spoke to the guys before the show and got the deets on how CLR has come together and flourished amid the sea of alt comedy shows. Read what they had to say.
Serial Optimist: How did the whole Comedy Living Room get started?
Matt Lottman: Well, one day Frank was just standing in front of our curtains and he said …
Frank Chad Muniz: You know this would be a good spot to do a comedy show because it looks like it, a set. And we called our friends up and we had them do an open mic in the house, just our buddies.
Matt: Basically we wanted to give our friends an opportunity to have a place to play, you know, work on material. And also give us the opportunity to be accountable every month to generate new material, go up and perform. So that’s how it started and the first show we had about 25 people and we knew everyone in the audience.
Matt: And as you can see… the last show, our fourth show had over 90 people and now our fifth show has 120 people.
Frank: So basically the environment was cool. Comedians really seemed to like it, and so did our friends. In a way, it was kind of easy to sell to big names like Pete Holmes. This is easily the biggest line up we’ve ever had. Last month we had that group over there,
[points to show poster]
Jon Dore, DC Pierson, Dominick Dierkes, Jerrod Carmichael.
Matt: Yeah, and for us, as comedy fans, it’s so gratifying to be able to have a show like this where people we admire and people we look up to are performing.
Frank: It’s like if comedy fans put on their favorite show. We basically get to do that. It’s like “who do you want to see next month? Okay, let’s try to get them.”
Matt: And we’ve got some friends who know enough people that they are able to get us in contact with certain comedians or their managers or whatever. Like Frank was saying, a lot of buzz has been going around about the show so we’ve approached other comedians and they already knew about the show so they were happy to do it. So we are really excited about where the show has been and where it’s going.
Frank: It’s almost like, oh god, this is like a real show now.
Matt: Right. And we’re still figuring out what the show is in a lot of ways. We’re expanding on it every month. This month we have a food truck for the first time, which is really exciting for us. And we have, like he was saying, we have some of our friends helping out at the door, on the bar. And so it’s a community feeling. We want to set up a comfortable environment for our friends and for anyone else who wants to join.
SO: So how have your neighbors received the show?
Matt: I haven’t had one complaint.
Frank: We haven’t heard them say anything.
Matt: Knock on wood!
Frank: They may be upset about the amount of parking we take up. But it’s only once a month so I feel that that’s what they’re ok with.
Matt: We try to make it an event. Stack the lineup. Give people a show they are going to remember.
Frank: The neighbors don’t seem to mind. They don’t come to the show. We went around to knock and ask and tell them about the show and nobody answered.
SO: WOW! They are missing out!
Frank: Yeah, they’re missing out. If they are comedy fans, oh my gosh.
SO: I would be here every time.
Matt: We will always keep you posted, for sure.
SO: That’s pretty great. How did you guys both get involved with comedy? Was the show the start?
Frank: I feel like it was something I’ve always been interested in. I intern on the Colbert Report and I’ve always been a production/comedy-related and I’ve just been a comedy nerd. I lived in NYC. I went to UCB all the time. I saw Aziz start doing comedy out there. And it’s just been something I’ve followed and liked. But when I moved the idea just kind of snowballed and we started performing and doing the show.
Matt: And for me, like Frank, I’ve always just been a comedy nerd. I went to college out in Chicago and sort of started doing a little stand-up out there in college and entered a college competition and ended up going through and it sort of sparked the juices in me to keep going.
Frank: We both have jobs. I work at an animation company for Nickelodeon cartoons as a script coordinator and I see funny stuff all the time.
Matt: I work for a production company. I work for two writers/directors in comedy. So I’ve just been learning so much from them and just the process. We really try to immerse ourselves in comedy as much as possible. We go to UCB regularly, Largo, all those places. Any place where we can go see free comedy or comedy at a low price.
Frank: So we figured why not try it ourselves, really.
SO: So do you see expanding it outside of the living room?
Matt: You know, we had discussions about it but I think one of our main priorities is keeping the show as pure as it can be.
Frank: It wouldn’t be the same. We’re not going to get the same feeling. You’ll see, it’s different, it’s comfortable. You can’t get that in a theatre space. I don’t think you’d get the turnout either. I think people show here because it’s a house and it’s easier.
Matt: But if the right opportunity came up in the future…
SO: I was pretty blown away by that lineup.
Matt: We got a couple surprises, too, tonight.
SO: Sweet. Great, I’m looking forward to the show.
Matt & Frank: Thank you so much! Check out some of CLR#5 show photos and highlights:
Dionysus skit presented by Matt & Frank complete with bead necklaces and confetti thrown at the audience in true Mardi Gras style.
This month show will once again be brimming with comedy talent. Be sure to get there early or you’re getting a window seat and I’m not talking the airplane kind.
*All photos by Scott Sutton