Nov. 16 2016 12:50 AM

Matt Braunger finds humor in his own mistakes


Matt Braunger’s latest tour is something like a comedy version of “God Bless the Broken Road,” looking at poor decisions that shaped who he is today, like getting a tattoo at 19 on a dare or getting a DUI for driving too slow.

“It’s fleshing out a lot of the dumb things I’ve done — but also wouldn’t take back — to get where I wanted to be,” he said. “I’m not King FuckUp or anything, but I didn’t go a traditional road.”

The comedian brings his “Made of Mistakes” tour to Mac’s Bar Thursday. Mistakes aside, he’s pretty happy where he’s ended up.

“I’m in a pretty decent point in my life,” he said. “I’m in a functional relationship, my career’s doing okay and I get along with my parents and all that jazz.”

A former cast member on Fox’s “MADtv” Braunger cut his teeth in the Chicago comedy scene.

“I love playing dive bars,” he said. “That’s where I started out, back in Chicago. There was only one comedy club near us, and they would never let us on stage. So we’d go wherever else we could.”

In addition to standup, Braunger is a busy actor who’s held recurring roles on ABC’s “Agent Carter” and NBC’s “Up All Night.” In 2008 and 2009, he was a cast member on the final season of Fox’s Saturday night sketch show, “MADtv,” which helped launch the careers of actors Andy Daly, Ike Barinholtz, Alex Borstein, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

“I was on ‘MADtv’ for seven months, and then the show got canceled,” Braunger recalled. “It was a moment, but it was a glorious moment.”

Braunger called the “MADtv” audition process a “surreal experience.” He auditioned with Eric Andre, who didn’t make the show but later found success as star of “The Eric Andre Show” on the Cartoon Network’s late night Adult Swim programming block.

“Eric Andre is like a cultural icon to the legions of the weird — which I mean in the most complimentary sense,” Braunger said. “I think he’s amazing.”

While his time on “MADtv” was short, Braunger appreciated the chance to work with so many creative comedic minds.

“Imagine how you riff with your friends over coffee, joking about something. Now imagine someone walking by and saying ‘Let’s turn that into a sketch.’ That would happen,” he said. “We could actually get this piece of B.S. I just made up on a TV screen.”

Braunger, who spoke with City Pulse before the presidential election, doesn’t expect politics to come up in his show Thursday.

“By the time I get there, the election will be over and we’ll be at peak national exhaustion,” he said. “I think we’ll want to talk about literally anything else.”

But that’s not the only reason he’s avoiding politics. This election season has proven difficult for him to deal with as a comedian.

“There’s nothing I can do with it,” he said. “You can make fun of it all you want, but it won’t be as funny — or as crushingly tragic — as it is right now. It’s beyond parody at this point.”

Braunger also hosts a podcast, “Ding- Donger with Matt Braunger,” hosted by the Nerdist Podcast Network.

“It’s literally the dumbest title I could come up with,” he said. “It sticks in people’s brains.”

The half-hour episodes feature Braunger, sometimes with a guest, talking about whatever topic has caught his interest that day.

“I listen to podcasts on the road to feel less lonely. I want to do that for anyone listening,” he said. “I hitchhike into your life, talk for half an hour, and then I jump out.”

While he loves podcasting as an outlet, he has a warning for people hoping to do it for a living.

“It’s not anything I do to make money. It’s not something I need to put food on the table,” he said. “If someone really wants to make money off of this, they’re probably screwed. But if they want to do it to get their voice out there, it’s not a bad idea.”

Matt Braunger
With Nolan Graff and Jason Carlen
8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
Mac’s Bar 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
(517) 484-6795,