I had two performances on both Monday and Tuesday so I’m combining the four shows I saw on my own time into a single post! Efficiency!
As a writer, I’m frequently focused on the intent of the material and how the artist chooses to get that material across to the audience. That intent is extremely important.
If you are going to a show that is, at it’s core, nothing more than a trifling comedy, then all you really need ask yourself is whether or not you were amused for an hour. If it is aiming for something deeper, then it needs to be evaluated on that level.
The fringe is filled with shows representing a variety of intents. That’s what makes it so enjoyable. You are constantly shifting your perceptions based on the intent of the artist. Sometimes even within the same show.
Trump Count: 10
In the old days, we didn’t have amateur shows to try out new performers. I put them on stage at the festival and waited to see if they would succeed or fail. Most of the time, it took more than one show to figure out how well they would do.
That’s how Matt Allex joined the vilification tennis cast and unlike many of his fellow performers, he was impressive the first time he set foot on stage and he’s been impressive almost every time since.
What amazes me is knowing that Matt is terrified of stepping on stage and he does it anyway. The more an idea scares him, the more willing he seems to be. His ability to rise above his own fear and consistently be one of the best people on stage is an inspiration.
Matt has a remarkable intellect that, I fear, goes unrecognized behind all the dick and fat mom jokes. He is blunt with an opinion when the direct opinion is required. He is unflinching in his ability to laugh at himself.
He’s also one of the most emotional people you will meet. You want to find a guy who cries at the end of movies? Matt is your guy. Make fun of him all you want but how many people do you know who are that open with their emotions?
When I was in college, one of my professors talked to me about the “um” meter. Simply put, if you are speaking in public, pay attention to how many times you say “um.” Most people say it more than once a minute.
When Matt starts speaking, he hardly says “um” at all. He can engage in stream of consciousness talking for minutes at a time and he will remain interesting the whole time. It’s a skill that few people possess and because I always have the “um” meter running on myself, I always notice how frequently he beats me.
Matt will do whatever it takes to make something work. If he only gives 99% to something, he will view his participation as a failure.
I’m glad Matt walked on to the Vilification Tennis stage that day so many years ago. My life would be a great deal less interesting if he hadn’t.
We have a guest on our podcast this week! And, unlike last week’s podcast, everyone is sober! Matt Allex, of the Apropos of Nothing podcast, joined us to talk about atheism and how talking about his beliefs convinced one of his listeners to come out of the closet.
As a personal aside here, I always hope that talking about my atheism will help others be more out about theirs. Being an atheist doesn’t have to be about activism or convincing others that god doesn’t exist. I feel like we all need to take a moment to cry “we are here, we are here, we are here” in a Wholike fashion because – well – we are here.
I’m quite inspired by Matt’s story because he did exactly what I want to do. He talked about his atheism in a way that helped someone else start to cry out that he is here. Good for him.
Our conversation was great. Matt is very smart and very funny and he has a favorite sandwich that will kill you if you eat it. Have a listen!