Soon to be household name Matthew Bass was kind enough to do an interview with me about working in comedy, his previous work on Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and Superbad, Hilarity for Charity, upcoming new projects, and what it’s like to be a Canadian working in the Showbiz industry in Hollywood. But before I get to the interview, here’s a little background:
A few years ago, I went on an internet surfing ride that led me to discover Hilarity for Charity. Hilarity for Charity is a movement led by Seth Rogen (one of my comedic favourites) that inspires change and raises awareness for Alzheimer’s amongst us Millennials (I’m still not convinced I am a millennial, but that’s another story).
I was instantly intrigued by this organization due to the personal connection I have with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. For the last 15 years, I have watched my Grandma go from an intelligent, quick-witted, strong woman, to a 96 year-old who exists as a mindless body. My Grandma’s life is my biggest fear and it’s so sad.
Being the internet stalker that I am, I found Hilarity for Charity’s facebook page, and I asked if they had plans to bring the event to Canada, and if they did, could I help? They got back to me. It was incredible.
Matthew Bass, one of the co-founders and chairpersons of HFC is the person who responded to me. Shortly after, he happened to be in Toronto for a few weeks so we met for a coffee. Before we met, I discovered all I could find out about Matt via the internet. I discovered that he worked on some of my favourite movies: Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express. And, he was in Superbad. And, he was also a comedy writer. And, we had a mutual friend. What’s that all about? The world is in fact, truly small.
When I met him, I learned that he was a pretty cool dude and one that I wanted to keep in touch with. My rule of thumb is that if you meet someone for the first time and they make you laugh more than 3 times then you should keep in touch. I remember laughing a lot so I kept emailing him over the years. And, being the kind guy that he is, he’d get back to me.
So without further ado, here is our interview (if you don’t like the f-word, note it’s in here twice, I couldn’t take it out because it would ruin the answers):
JTTM: Ok, let’s start with an easy one: Matt or Matthew? This always stresses me out.
MB: I don’t have a preference. I introduce myself as Matthew, since it’s my given name, but what you do with it is up to you. I go by everything from Matthew to Matt to Matt Bass to Bass to Bassy to Hey Asshole!
JTTM: Alright Matt Bass, let’s get into the good stuff. First things first, while working on the set for Superbad, how did they ask you to be the Vagtastic Voyager and were you hard to convince or was it a no-brainer?
MB: I was working in the production office of Superbad one fine afternoon and the director just walked up to me and was like, “Hey, you want the best job, ever?” It was a no brainer! I still get residual checks in the mail, so it truly is the gift that keeps on giving!
JTTM: Can you talk to us about this character and will there ever be a spin-off for him?
MB: Sadly there will not be a spinoff. We actually wrote a bunch of jokes for the scene, but they all went out the window once we got driving. I think we were all shocked by what unfolded.
JTTM: You’ve had a very active role in Hilarity for Charity, can you let everyone know what an amazing cause this is?
MB: It is truly an amazing cause. Our mission is to rid this world of Alzheimer’s. Since it’s inception we’ve raised 2.3 million dollars. Every time I look at that number I’m sort of overwhelmed with pride. My teammates and I have worked really hard to raise that money and that number will only continue to grow. It’s a monster of a disease, but we’re slowly chipping away at it.
JTTM: Having been witness to family members suffer from this terrible disease this is such a great cause. Why did you get involved?
MB: One of my closet friends, Lauren Miller Rogen’s mom was diagnosed with earlier onset. I always had an idea for an awesome charity event, but didn’t really have a cause. Once Seth & Lauren began to publicly talk about her mom, it seemed like a no brainer. It’s grown far beyond my expectation and aside from the money and publicity we’ve raised, it’s particularly special because myself and our friends have provided Seth & Lauren with an emotion outlet. It must extremely hard and frustrating to deal with a disease that has NO cure or NO treatment to even slow it down, so I’m glad Lauren no longer feels completely powerless.
JTTM: You also mentioned that although you’re still actively involved you’ve had to step down from your role as Executive Director due to your writing career taking off. Can you let us know what you’ve been working on? Is it the Vagtastic Voyager: The Movie, filmed in a The Office type mocku-doc format?
MB: I, along with my writing partner Theo aka Easy T, sold a feature script called The Politician. We’re hoping to shoot it this summer (fingers crossed) and we also recently sold a pitch to Sony. It’s an insane buddy comedy. I can’t get into specifics, but I can tell you the working title is called Ghost Cop.
JTTM: Being a Canadian in the US, do you find it hard not to judge everyone?
MB: Oh, I judge them every day! It’s hard NOT to! For example, when you casually thank someone, like the waiter for bringing you water, their response isn’t “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure” or “no worries” rather it’s “uh huh”. To me that sums this country up. Also, what’s the deal with no health care! Can I have a little less war and a little more health services from all my tax dollars?!
JTTM: Was it hard to adjust to the nice weather? I feel like that would be tough. What is small talk like since the weather is always consistent? How do you make it through awkward social settings?
MB: Funny you mention that, because I’ve said before there is no weather small talk in LA, rather we all talk about the traffic. That SNL skit on the Californians really nailed it! I’ll be honest though, I miss the seasons, but just a little. I don’t need 5 months of winter or 3 months of fall. I just need like a weekend of rain.
JTTM: What made you make the move to LA?
MB: The Biz!
JTTM: Have you always written comedy? Do you stray?
MB: I once tried to write a dramatic romantic story kind of like the Before Sunrise trilogy, but with every pass of a new draft it just got funnier and funnier. I couldn’t resist, my mind just naturally flows towards the gutter.
JTTM: Comedic idols. Go:
MB: Mel Brooks, Pee Wee Herman, Andrew Dice Clay
JTTM: Here in Canada, we use the letter U in words like colour and humour. Do you continue this practice or have you conformed? If you have, do you miss it? Do you miss the letter U?
MB: I have sadly conformed. For some reason, my spell checker knows I’m Canadian so sometimes it slips the U in there and then I become the butt end of a joke. I also use “College” instead of “University” and “5th grade” instead of “grade 5”. Which sucks. It’s like a piece of me has died, but I’ll NEVER replace “you’re welcome” with “uh huh” – because I have fucking manners!
JTTM: Out of all the amazing movies you’ve worked on: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up, Superbad (and many others) which was your favourite?
MB: Pineapple Express. I just love that movie so much. Superbad was also a pretty incredible experience. It was special because it was everyone’s break through moment, so I got to experience it along with them. It’s like taking someone’s virginity. You always remember your first.
JTTM: What was the weirdest thing that you’ve had to do on one of these movies?
MB: I can’t really think of anything in particular. Sadly, nothing is coming to mind, so I’ll keep it broad by saying living in Albuquerque was the weirdest thing. We shot Observe and Report there. It’s a weird, scary, fucked up town! (And no, I did not try meth)
JTTM: What’s next?
MB: The gym. Seriously, now that I’ve finished this interview I’m going to the gym. And after that? Just writin’! It’s a grind to get something made, but I believe that moment is rapidly approaching. And in the meantime, I’ll keep myself occupied by helping plan the 4th Annual HFC LA Variety show. It’s gonna be INSANELY AWESOME this year!
JTTM: Can you supply your social media handles so people can stalk you on the internet?
- My twitter handle is @matthewseabass – follow me!! Jokes for days, yo!
- You can also follow Hilarity for Charity at @hilar4charity or visit our website hilarityforcharity.org
- My instagram account is private though, I don’t need strangers liking photos of me with my friend’s kids.
It appears that in the next few years, we’re going to be hearing a lot about Matt and his successes. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Matt’s career is headed and I think you all should be too.