Interview: Matt Sadler on standup, comedy in TX, working on an Alaskan cruise

Matt Sadler thought he wanted to be a movie director. In film school, however, he had a revelation. "I realized quickly that it was way more fun to be in front of the camera than behind it," he recalls. "So that's when I just started doing open mics and practicing and doing comedy. That's when decided I wanted to do that instead, and if I could make money at it, that's the dream."

[jump] Having started with notion of being a director, he found that standup had a certain appeal. "There was certainly an aspect of that that I appreciated," he says. "Whatever glory you get when it works is all due to you, and whenever it fails it's completely your fault." The biggest appeal of standup for him remains the immediate reaction from the crowd. "You don't have that in film, because you have no idea how the audience is going to react. Standup is the art form with the most immediate criticism. People either like it or they don't like it, and you can tell immediately  when it's working and when it's not working. That's really electric for me."

Sadler started in Austin, Texas. He's still based there, mostly because the city has a vibrant comedy scene. His Army family traveled around the world before settling there. Comedy is probably not the first thing you think of when someone mentions the Texas capital, but in a town know largely for music, comedy has a large and dedicated following. "It's got a really hot comedy scene," insists Sadler. "The Funniest Person in Austin contest really makes a lot of careers these days. There are a lot of comedy shows popping up all over town with some amazing talent, stuff I'm really excited to watch people do."

Years ago, it was Houston that had the big comedy scene in Texas, producing comics like Greg Warren, Ralphie May, and the late, great Bill Hicks. "That's still going on in Austin," says Sadler. "I know people that grew up in L.A. that moved to Austin to get discovered." He adds: "It's a great place to take chances, that's what I'd say about Austin. Certainly there's an alternative scene, but no matter what kind of comedy you do, you can definitely take a chance on something that may or may not work and the consequences aren't as severe as in L.A. if it doesn't work. In L.A., it's better to have not gone up than go up and have a bad set for whatever reason."

These days, Sadler's act is drawn mostly from his day-to-day life. "It's a lot about my relationship with my wife. We just celebrated 12 years together, so there's a lot of humor that comes out of that." He elaborates: "I do very silly things within the constructs of my marriage, and people can identify with that. There's also stuff that makes people go, 'What is wrong with you? Why would you say that? Why would you do that?' I think the blend of those two things make it fun for the audience."

Before he arrives in Minneapolis, he'll have ample opportunity to gather more material, coming fresh off an Alaskan cruise. "I'm doing one week of work then I'm spending a week with my wife's family, which is a lot longer than it sounds, actually."


Matt Sadler

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy

Mall of America, 408 E. Broadway, Bloomington

7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Tickets are $13-$20.

Call 952-858-8558 for info, or visit

Shows are 18+; 21+ later sets