Matteo Lane likes to start a standup set with a little bit of opera. A trained opera singer and oil painter, Lane likes to say singing a few lines is how he came out to his father. “It was a short conversation,” he said. Another Chicago transplant, Lane is a cast member on MTV’s GirlCode and MTV2’s GuyCode, and he’s also appeared as a correspondent on Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show. On that last program, he called the Boy Scouts “like a Lady Gaga video, but gayer” because it has men “go out into the woods to camp, swim, and cook together, all while wearing neckerchiefs unironically.”
Singing is basically never far from Lane’s mind. Just the other day, he tweeted, “Christina Aguilera teaching singing lessons is like Jackson Pollock teaching someone how to paint a still life.” We don’t know enough about singing or painting to get that, but please don’t tell him. God, We’d look like an idiot.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
I was in Preschool and at the end of the year we had a play that we put on for our parents. Each kid had a puppet and had to make the sound of that animal. Most kids just said, “oink!” or “nay!” but I was holding a rooster, and wanted to make it sound real. So I did my best impression of a rooster. Everyone laughed and clapped. It wasn’t my intention to make them laugh, but when they did I was so thrilled I never forgot it.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The hardest part is the grind. Just trying to get your voice out there, and work as hard as you can to have good/well written jokes. The comics in Brooklyn are so good, diverse and unique that you want to be able to stand out amongst them. I think the best part is that Brooklyn shows tend to open up a space for comedians who think outside the box. Not everyone is a punch line joke writer. People like Julio Torres or Jo Firestone are very inspirational to watch because they really don’t care what others think of them. Their comedy is very pure, and honest and that inspires me to be more honest in my material.
Who do you find funny?
Patrick Powers from a podcast, ‘PNSexplosion’. I think he’s the funniest person on the face of the planet. Also my cousin Brian McIntyre. These are the people in my life who are not comedians in a traditional way. But their timing and wit are so clever and quick that I am constantly in awe of their comedic abilities. I do think it takes a certain person to be funny on stage and be in front of lots of people, which sucks because I wish they were both stand up comics.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I was on the road with Liza Treyger, and we were watching, ‘Undercover Boss’. A show that takes the CEO of a company, and disguises them to look like their homely employees and find out how their businesses are being run. In this episode, there was a girl that worked at a Fitness Center named Jacqueline. She was such a witch that Liza and I were dumb founded that someone who KNEW they were being filmed for television would behave this way. We became instant fans of her, and while we were watching it we were red in the face of laughter. I normally laugh this hard whenever I’m with Liza, she’s become one of my closest friends.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
Be as funny and as honest as possible with my humor. Don’t go for easy jokes, don’t pander and don’t listen to comics opinions on why my set is “too gay”. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and care about your jokes more than anything. Keep things fresh, be excited about new jokes, and don’t get comfortable. Managers, agents and credits don’t mean anything if you dont have the material to back it up. Be proud of your jokes, and remember why you got into comedy: to make people laugh. My goals are to remember these things everyday.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
Why is 6 afraid of 7? Cuz 7 EIGHT 9!
So stupid but I remember loving that when I was a kid.
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Photo by Nicolas Maloof.