Tag Archives: Fried

It’s A Show Week

The Matt Fried Hour with Chris O’Neil returns this week with media personality Allison Hagendorf, the comedy of Matt McCarthy (the red-headed bearded guy from the Verizon FiOS commercials), and the music of Jessy Carolina Twing.

I’m pledging to do my best this week to keep everybody in the loop. By tomorrow, look for a new addition to my storytelling series. Until then, enjoy one of the new HD clips we just uploaded on YouTube. Like this one below. Happy Monday, everybody.

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This Is Just Filler

Happy Good Friday, everybody! I promise to be back on Monday with some great new stuff, however this week has kept me super-busy with job searching and getting ready for the next Matt Fried Hour with Chris O’Neil. In the meantime, here’s a clip of Ted Leo covering “Since U Been Gone”. If you don’t know the work of Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, dude – you’re missing out. Happy Holidays everybody! See you on Monday.

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Hank Fried Is Smiling

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For Hank, 1950-1987

Photo Credit

Last night, The Philadelphia Phillies received their 2008 World Series Champion rings – only the second time in franchise history that such an event has ever happened.

My dad, Hank Fried, was a die-hard Phillies fan. He was at the Vet in 1980 (with my mom and grandparents) when Tug McGraw struck out the Kansas City Royals and sealed the Phils first World Series title. After 60 years of waiting, The Phillies were finally World Champions. For my dad, 30 years of agony finally paid off. When the Phils did it again last October (this time in the hands of Brad Lidge and his perfect season), I was in New York City, at the apartment of a girl I was dating. I was from South Jersey, she was from Montgomery County – it was a very momentous for both of us. 28 years later, The City of Brotherly Love was about to enjoy another championship.

It’s very hard for me to take New York sports fans seriously. Actually, to be more specific, it’s hard for me to take New York Yankees fans seriously. Here they sit – whining and moaning about a stupid NINE season drought. The New York Yankees were founded in 1903 and are the owners of 26 World Championships – which roughly calculates to ONE championship every FOUR years over a ONE HUNDRED AND SIX year franchise history. The Phillies have been around since 1883 – that’s ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX years – and just now got their second trophy. My advice to Yankees fans: SUCK IT UP. Not every baseball franchise can have their destiny written in the stars. You guys are extremely lucky; 106 years and you’ve never had to wait.

When I first moved to New York City, I became a Mets fan; I didn’t know about the Mets-Phils rivalry. Let’s be honest: nobody did until Jimmy Rollins opened his big mouth back in 2007. I stuck by The Mets for two seasons because I wanted to have a New York team to root for; even though it betrayed my dad’s memory. Some people experiment with bisexuality to piss off their parents; I experimented with baseball teams. I went to the Mets because they weren’t glorified champions like the Yankees. The Mets were scrappy, raw, and they were lovable losers. Until last season, there wasn’t much of a difference between either franchise. Then, of course, The Miracle happened. Somewhere in Heaven, my dad was laughing. Not completely at my expense, but I know he whispered in my ear, after Lidge’s final pitch, “Hey Matthew, how ’bout them Mets?”

On Halloween day, I traveled to Philly to see the championship parade. When any Philadelphia team wins big, your ass better be there – it could be another 30-60 years before the next one. For the first time in my life, the city was jubilant. People cheered their sports heroes. The Phillie Phanatic could have been the mayor. Forget about the market crashing only a few weeks ago, the possible threat of a McCain/Palin America – The Phillies won, man! It was time to celebrate. Hank would’ve loved every single second of the party.

After the parade, I was supposed to meet my mom and Aunt Bea for lunch. Mom chose to ignore my claim to The Mets. I think she knew how much it would’ve hurt my dad. When I was born, he stocked my room with plush Phanatics. During their ’93 World Series run, my grandfather (a die-hard Eagles fan) begrudgingly took me to Phils games. He was still waiting for The Birds to win The Super Bowl, so he was indifferent to baseball. My mom, however, also sought to get me out to the Vet as much as possible. She knew that once, The Phillies meant something to me as they did to my father.

The parade crowd was massive. Center City was overflowing with at least four million people – three times the city’s population. This caused the citywide wireless network to crash, leaving me with no cell phone signal for two hours. I missed lunch with my mom and Bea. When I finally did get a signal, my train to New York was leaving in an hour.

“You can’t leave!” my mom shrieked over the phone “I have to give you something.”

We met up at the corner of 18th and Market. From her purse, my mom pulled a medium sized t-shirt – “The Philadelphia Phillies, 2008 World Champions”.

“Here, put it on.” she said. There was a tone in her voice and a look in her eyes. As if to say, “All sins are forgiven.”

I slipped the shirt on, put my Phils cap back on my head, and that was the end of the story – I was back. Matt Fried was a Phillies fan. My mom smiled at me.

A few minutes later, I was quickly scarfing down a bacon cheddar burger at the Marathon Grill. My mom sat with me and asked about the girl I was seeing. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins was down at Citizens Bank Park, bragging about how The Mets could buy all the Johan Santanas in the world and they still wouldn’t win. I’m not going to lie: I thought it was a douche move on J-Roll’s part. You never read about David slaying Goliath and then calling himself God (that is, unless you read the Woody Allen adaptation). But then again, J-Roll wasn’t The Phillies. The Phillies were The Phillies. And The Phillies were champions.

As I sat on the Acela ride home, I looked back down at my t-shirt. I thought about what it represented, about what I represented by wearing it, about what my dad would’ve said about all of this. In that moment, I looked back out at the Philadelphia skyline. The Frieds have been in Philadelphia almost as long as The Phillies. My father had been gone for 21 years. Like my grandfather, The Frieds leaned towards the Eagles first, the Phils second. Hank Fried was the only exception. With him, it always was and always will be The Phillies. After Hank, who else in the family would continue a tradition of anarchy? This story ended the way it was meant to: Matt Fried saw The Phillies win a World Series. Hank Fried saw The Phillies win a World Series. Matt and Hank are Philadelphia Phillies fan. In Heaven, Hank Fried is smiling.

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Come See My Talk Show!

Tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m. at Under St. Marks Theater, The Matt Fried Hour with Chris O’Neil returns!

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The Night I Met My Wife

I never expected to meet my wife on a downtown N Train. It just happened. I was sitting by myself, reading Jon Friedman’s Rejected when she decided to get onto the train, and into my heart, at 14th Street-Union Square. That my heart is big enough for both the present and subjunctive tense should tell you that I have a lot of love to give. I don’t know what about her got my attention – the long brown hair, the snow white complexion, the nerd glasses, the red lips – but I did know, in that moment, this was the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Here’re three things you need to consider when meeting your soulmate: personality, sense of style, and eye contact. First thing I ever noticed about her was that, after settling in, she pulled a copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke from her bag. This book (in case you don’t know) is about dueling magicians, set in England. So, clearly, she is very into magic. Or, British people. Or, she finished all of Harry Potter and was just trying to keep the buzz. Second, the sense of style – she wore jeans and Chuck Taylors, a rather distinct coat that says “I’m a grown-up, but only on Mondays.”, and one of those scarves that I see all New York women wearing when they turn 24 and decide “Enough is enough, time to get serious.” So, this meant she was either a librarian, or manager of a medium-staffed advertising firm. Either one works for me. Lastly, she never once made eye contact with me, save for quickly peering at the subway ad above me advertising Dr. Zizmor’s Fruit Peel. This meant she was most likely shy, and I don’t blame her: even with a two day old beard and hat hair, I still looked pretty damn desirable.

Then came the most exciting part: sitting in silence as our train crossed over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn. You live in Brooklyn, too! Crazy! We should get married at the first mixed faith lesbian vegan synagogue we can find! At that point, I was still trying to pretend as if my book was holding my interest, but it wasn’t (though on a side note, you should pick up Rejected, edited by Jon Friedman, as it is a very entertaining read and Jon, I happen to know, is a very nice, gracious person, and could use the money in these Recessive times). As she sat there thumbing through her book, concerning herself with the things that modern-day city women concern themselves with (which I imagine is paying the rent and Oprah), I thought “Our first child will be named Jack. What if it’s twins, like in Star Wars? Okay, Jack and Eve – one after my favorite painter, the other after my mother.” This thought brought me to my next question: “Hey, what is her name anyway?” There’s an unspoken rule that you’re not supposed to pick up women on the subway. Sure, when Robert Redford does it, it’s romantic. But when anybody else does it (save for my friend Neal, who used to appear on a soap opera as “John Handsomepants, Gorgeous Jackass”), it’s creepy. So, because of my crippling social anxieties and need to always be New York Cool, I am forced to guess my future wife’s name.

Margaret. She looks like a Margaret. No wait – Lisa. I haven’t met or talked to a Lisa in a long time. Lisa and Matt Fried. It’s got a nice ring to it.

Our train pulled into Atlantic-Pacific in Brooklyn, and lo and behold, Lisa is getting off of the train with me! More excitement: Lisa is walking across the platform to catch the R Local. She lives near me! It’s written in the stars! But, like all good love stories, there’s always a complication. That complication came in the form of “Cute Girl In A Hat”. She was already standing on the other side of the platform, reading some self-help book about bears in the woods and purpose. Lisa decided to put some distance between us (this was another sign that she was clearly intimidated by me, and was still too shy to want to engage in conversation) and walked a few feet down the platform. “Cute Girl In A Hat” stood between us. Lisa! Wait, no! I want to talk to you, but I can’t! I fear the gods of New York Cool – Lou Reed and Ryan Adams – will judge me harshly! But I love you! Dearly and deeply. I want to wake up next to you every morning, and I want to help you edit the graduate thesis you’re writing in my head! At that point, “Cute Girl In A Hat” looks up at me and smiles. I can’t lie; the thought of hurting Lisa actually crossed my mind. This new girl was, in fact, a very cute girl in a hat. I hadn’t been this torn since my AP English class, senior year of high school, where both Jessica and Andrea (my own Betty and Veronica, minus any actual romantic relationship) sat in the same class with me, and I tortured my soul daily with their existence. But things are different now, dammit! I had to make a choice, because that’s what a man does. As my new President said “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”

So, despite a gaze and a smile, I looked past “Cute Girl In A Hat” and still focused on Lisa, who by then was gazing down the tunnel behind me, waiting for the R train to show up. It finally did. We walked into the same car. I walked to the other side, near the door. Lisa sat across from me and waited patiently for her stop. “Wow,” I thought “so this what being in love is like. It feels great.” The R train pulled up to Union Street and I got off. Lisa decided to stay at her place that night. It was totally understandable – I mean we did just meet. But let me, tell you: I knew. I smiled that night as I watched the R train pull away. It carried on it the woman to whom  I would one day make the pledge “‘Til death do us part.”

You never expect to meet “The One”, but you don’t argue with fate when it happens. You just smile politely, say “Hi.”, and then, you wait until fate chooses for you two to meet again, so that you actually can get her phone number. Or, at least find out if her name actually is “Lisa.”

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25 Random Things About Me

I got tagged for one of these things on Facebook.

1. Here’s the story of how The Matt Fried Hour came into being: I was taking a shower in April 2008 and thought “I could host a talk show.” True story.

2. My childhood heroes were all men I could identify with: Luke Skywalker, Superman, Batman. Men who never knew their fathers and still went on to do extraordinary things. Yes, I know they were fictional.

3. My new hero? President Barack Obama. He makes me believe that a kid with abandonment issues can do anything.

4. I like fantasizing about girls. I guess that’s what drew me towards writing about dating. I like to think I know something about women. Plus, men will pay you money for advice.

5. Turning 25 was weird for me because I never thought about my life past 21. My hair thinned a little bit, my metabolism changed, I learned that playing fast and loose was only going to get me so far in life. All of this was tragic for about three months, then I realized it was only the beginning of something big.

6. How do you deal with somebody who asks to not receive multiple e-mails about your professional life? Easy – write the person back with an apology, take the person off your mailing list, and move on. I have 1,200+ friends on FB alone that I send show invites. Losing somebody always sucks, but you’ve got to keep perspective and be respectful of personal wishes.

7. I have no regrets about the amount of shamelessly plugging I do. There’s only one way to reach people.

8. Discovering improv saved my life. I was sick and tired of being an actor who didn’t get it.

9. My most profound moment in comedy didn’t come until I went to Chicago this past summer. I snuck into Second City and watched the mainstage revue. That theater has at least 200 seats in it and the comedy was very broad and mainstream. But everybody was laughing and having a good time. People were happy. That’s when I thought “Shit, this is what comedy is all about.”

10. My last relationship was two years long and ended over two years ago. I get lonely sometimes, but I like being single.

11. I thought having a girlfriend would fill a void in my life. It did, for a brief period. Then I discovered “Oh man, there’s more to this than sex and love notes.” That’s when it got hard for me.

12. I’ve been busted twice by the cops while I was fooling around in the backseat of my car. Once in high school, again in college. The windows were fogged up, so the cops thought my date and I were getting high.

13. Rejection is hard. I only began to learn this past year that it’s rarely personal.

14. New York City. I can’t see myself living anywhere else… even if everybody here is insane.

15. My grandfather lived and died in Philadelphia, as did my father. The fact that I even made it as far as Brooklyn is a big deal to me.

16. My dad, Hank Fried. He was sweet and cared about people. He also had a lot of problems in this world. But he did the best he could with what he was given. That’s how I want to remember him.

17. I was four years old when Hank died.

18. Dan Kalwaitis, my step-dad, is the closest thing I’ve had to a father. In fact, he is my father. He knows that. I know that. I’m lucky.

19. My mom, Eve T. Fried, gets my sense of humor. I think she wishes I could be less of a smart-ass sometimes. But she’s at almost every single comedy show I’ve ever done. I love you, mom.

20. Coincidentally, she also doesn’t understand why every single woman in New York isn’t throwing herself at me.

21. I also don’t understand why every single woman in New York isn’t throwing herself at me.

22. I haven’t been to a wedding since 1992.

23. I think about raising a family. I wonder if I’ve met the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with yet. I guess because it’s in my nature to be something of a loner. I think about that stuff, but then I also think “Not now, and not any time in the immediate future.”

24. I believe that simple is always better. In comedy. In art. In life. Anybody who tells you that everything has a hidden meaning is a moron.

25. There’s always a good story to everything. If I don’t know the story, then why should I care?

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Arrrghh, Fate!

I’m trying to think of something funny to write. You see, I am supposedly a writer. Meaning that among my variety of artistic talents, I excel at writing. Writing is the only real way I can express myself. The only way that the world can understand me. Plus, the old line “Oh me? I’m a writer.” always gets me laid at the Columbia undergrad mixers.*

I started this new blog in an attempt to forge a new identity on the internet, hence the YouTube video and a later post involving cotton candy. And, I have several really great ideas that I think will aid me… in the weeks ahead. You see, if I were to post these ideas NOW, one of two things would happen.

One, I would re-introduce myself to the internet, guns blazing; only to be followed by fear and artistic bankruptcy. Writing under deadline – you must know – is like baseball: if you don’t know how to strand your runners on first and second base, there’s no way you’re hitting an RBI. Second, I would re-introduce myself to the internet, serious and pontificating, mooning over things like sexual positions and whether or not I think it’s “awesome” that Hollywood is making a Voltron movie. Women would surely line up around the block to sleep with me, but soon recognize my indifference, and leave me; the critics would think I’m a pompous know-it-all who couldn’t conjugate his way out of a wet paper bag. I would eventually die alone and penniless, but not before I become resoundingly fat (like, Orson Welles-type proportions) from a diet of cheeseburgers and triple-sugared churros.

So I ask you – dear readers – who wants any of that to happen to me?

Therefore, I’m left alone to struggle. To be honest, it’s something I relish: the challenge of a good writing session. It’s too hard nowadays to find any time to be original. It’s way easier to pretend you’re someone else. That’s why everybody has loved everything I’ve ever written: because no one has realized that I’ve been publishing a different page out of Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls every day, for the last year. And, the fact that I’ve gotten away with such an obscene gesture blows my mind – especially with all the critics right now saying stuff like “Matt Fried has the makings of a mature Hemingway. Which is odd because he’s only 26.”** But, it’s not my place to judge myself in the eyes of other people: that’s a job for ex-girlfriends and the religious.

Anyway, what’s the real point I’m getting at in all of this? I guess perhaps that part (read: all) of this fear to produce something totally original is out of an overwhelming need to sound interesting. Because the only people we do pay attention to anymore are the interesting ones. But, actually, I am not interesting. I’m just a young man who grew up in New Jersey with a mother and a stepfather. I went to high school. I went to college. Nothing spectacular. I also possess a crippling set of abandonment issues – ones that have led to episode after episode of sexual and ethical faux pas, like something out of Shakespeare, except with much more emphasis on being 19 and horny.

But, you don’t want to hear about any of that.

And that’s kind of sad, because then, I don’t know what to write about. All I do know is that I’ve lived in New York City for almost three years. Though that seems like a long time (which most of my life has felt like), it barely scratches the surface of a life well-lived in The City That Doesn’t Sleep. There is still a bigger story to be told. So, anything that I could essentially invent for you right now – that would seem hilarious – is only the tip of the glacier of my talent.*** What is interesting, or at least sounds interesting, right now will be NOTHING compared to what I will one day write for you in, say, a decade.

So now, I hope you understand my dilemma. Here I sit, staring at my laptop, wondering if I should even bother with sharing my brilliance at all. Because sometimes: to just grin and bear it, to put complete faith in only yourself, and set aside that need to be something that other people want you to be, is the scariest thing you can do in any art.

Not to mention: no Columbia undergrad would ever fuck a normal guy.

(*This technique only works for me, not you. Don’t be the dick walking around Columbia University, claiming to be Matt Fried. My family is Jewish, meaning I know at least six lawyers.)

(**Frank Rich, The New York Times)

(***The span of my talent is medically proven to be the size of THE UNIVERSE’S largest glacier)

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