We can all agree that going to see live comedy shows is pretty great, but there are various speed bumps along the way between you and a good time. Two drink minimums, valet parking, sitting in traffic, and accidentally missing the opener you really wanted to see – doesn’t it seem easier just to stay at home? Matt Lottman and Frank Chad Muniz have a creative solution to your comedy quandary: They brought a professional quality stand-up show to their living room.
Since it started back in October 2012, Comedy Living Room, which actually takes place in Muniz and Lottman’s living room, has become one of the hottest rooms in Los Angeles among comics and audiences alike. For the low, low price of absolutely free, comedy-hungry crowds are treated to intimate sets from the likes of Pete Holmes, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Kumail Nanjiani, and many more in the comfort of your new pal’s living room. Oh, and there’s free beer, which pretty much makes these guys eligible for sainthood – I’m a bit foggy on the specifics. To find out a bit more about their DIY dynamo, I caught up with Comedy Living Room’s co-founders in time for you to clear your schedule for their upcoming Tuesday, April 16th show.
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Nerdist: Tell us about the inception of the show. LA has a lot of weird stand-up venues, but we’ve never heard of a living room show.
Matt Lottman: Frank and I immediately bonded over comedy when I first moved into the house, and have immersed ourselves into the LA comedy scene ever since. What we noticed was, so many comedy shows were popping up in the most unconventional of places, be it sex shops, taco stands or comic book stores.
Frank Chad Muniz: Matt and I both did a little comedy in college, and once we started regularly going to these shows, it got us fired up to jump back into it.
ML: Then on one serendipitous Saturday in October, Frank was standing in front of the red curtains in our living room, looked around, and said…
FCM: “Hey, these curtains look like a comedy club. Let’s host an open mic here.” Matt immediately said yes, and over six months later, here we are.
N: Lately you’ve been attracting some increasingly big names. How has the show evolved and grown since its inception?
ML: It started as an outlet for our friends interested in comedy to get 5-7 minutes of stage time, and for Frank and I, it would hold us accountable for generating new content each month. It started off as 20 or so people in just our living room, and we knew everyone there.
FCM: A friend of ours, Todd Mole, who worked for Conan at the time, came to the first Comedy Living Room and really enjoyed himself. He said that a few writers from Conan would likely be interested in performing at such a unique and comfortable venue, and offered to mention it around the offices. Todd made good on his promise and over the next two shows we had several writers from Conan as well as young up and coming comedians like Brent Morin and Jerrod Carmichael.
ML: As the good word got around and our reputation started to grow, we soon realized how willing people were to help us book talent for the show. We started getting calls from agencies and management companies asking, “How can I help?” One of those calls was my good friend, Lisa Shapiro, who was adamant about helping us book bigger names and make the show as special as can be. She has since then delivered tenfold. Lisa and Todd are now co-producers on the show.
FCM: The show was growing to the point where we had to expand from the living room to the kitchen, setting up a screen and speakers to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy the show. In March we expanded to the back patio, where we set up a speaker for 20-30 people to listen to the show.
ML: It’s even gotten to the point where people are standing on the side of the house trying to watch the show from a window. Not going to lie, the window seat may be the most underrated seat in the house.
N: What has been the most memorable moment in the show’s existence so far?
ML: One moment I’ll always remember was at our January show. Jon Dore was holding a big mug of beer his whole set, and he goes to place it down on the stool and it almost fell off, but didn’t. It hung over the side just a little, but to the point where everyone in the audience gave a collective gasp. Jon started chugging that beer… as slowly as he could. It was hysterical! Slowest beer chug in history, and it ended with him asking the audience who thought he had it planned the whole time. Two members of the audience raised their hands and Jon gave them each twenty dollars for being right. You never know what might happen at Comedy Living Room.
FCM: Some of the most memorable moments come from just hanging backstage in my room with the comedians. I look around and there’s Rory Scovel or Pete Holmes or the Sklar Brothers. Things start to get a little surreal when the co-creator of Chappelle’s Show is sitting on your bed. I mean how many people can say they saw Maria Bamford, Kyle Kinane, and Hannibal Buress perform in a living room on the same night?
N: Who would be your dream guest to come perform in the living room?
FCM: We definitely like to dream big at Comedy Living Room. I think my dream guest would be Louis CK. He is the epitome of do-it-yourself comedy. Look at how he is pretty much revolutionizing the way comedians get content to their fans. He’s a big inspiration to us. So if you’re reading this Louis, first off, “Why?” and secondly, please do our show!
ML: For me, it’s without question Patton Oswalt. He is probably my favorite comedian on the planet right now, so having him do the show would be a dream come true. However, part of me closes my eyes and dreams of a world where Dave Chappelle comes over and does one of his legendary four hour sets in our living room. Who wouldn’t sit through that, right?
N: What’s your elevator pitch for why folks should come see it?
ML: Comedy Living Room is an underground comedy show that was created by comedy fans for comedy fans. Once a month we try to create an experience for people that they will never forget, with a lineup that could rival most clubs in town.
FCM: And the best part is, it’s all FREE!
N: Any advice you have for other people looking to do a creative DIY night like this?
ML: Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do it. Just go out and do it. And once you start doing it, don’t be afraid to ask the people around you for help.
FCM: You will be surprised at how quickly a community can rally together because they believe in a good idea.
ML: Oh, and don’t forget to buy renter’s insurance!
Here’s the lineup for Comedy Living Room 7. Pretty boss, huh?
You can keep up with Comedy Living Room on Facebook, Twitter and follow the more personal antics of Matt Lottman and Frank Chad Muniz too. Will you be making the pilgrimage to 737 N. Cherokee Ave? Want to start a similar show? Let us know in the comments below.