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Meet Matthew Davis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Davis.

Matthew, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been in LA since 2003 pursuing acting, working in TV, commercials, voice-over, theatre, and making my Broadway debut, but it wasn’t until starting to write musicals at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre that I discovered a passion that I could fully control every aspect of and that wouldn’t be contingent upon others’ approval.

Now I’m in a weekly songwriting group where I write a song a week, I make music videos for my YouTube channel, and after years of writing 1/2 hour musicals, I’m finally developing a full length comedic musical.

Hats off to you for the consistency and good luck with the full-length comedic musical. Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges you’ve faced in your journey?
When it comes to writing, waiting to write until inspiration strikes usually means you won’t write. So it’s been a challenge fighting that, but helpful to learn to set deadlines for myself, like setting the show date before having even written the show.

What else should we know?
I’ve written a new musical called “PUN-OFF: A Musical Inside the High-Stakes World of Pun Competitions,” which is about, of all things, Pun Competitions (which, yes, are a real thing). And it’s also about grief and death! (Fun!) It’s enjoyed sold-out shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre over the summer, so we’re doing it again Friday, November 8th, 9pm, at UCB Sunset, and then we’re taking it to SF SketchFest in January.

I’ve written the music and lyrics, and the book is written by friends from high school that I moved up to LA with who are now successful television writers, Joe Chandler and Zach Paez. It’s directed and choreographed by my friend, two-time Emmy winner, Kathryn Burns.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My goal is to write songs that not only work story-wise but are also funny with hard jokes. My co-writers are indispensable in helping me achieve this goal, punching up songs I’ve written, or helping place a song in the show where it lands the best.

Sometimes musical comedy is clever or witty but not funny, and I really try and make sure there are hard laughs within a song. Sondheim, in his lyric-writing books, said that he thinks a joke is funnier if it’s a true rhyme, and I agree 100%. You might not notice true rhyme vs slant rhyme as an audience member, but hopefully, at least subconsciously, it helps add to the punch of a joke.


  • PUN-OFF: A Musical Inside the High-Stakes World of Pun Competitions, Friday, November 8th, 9pm, UCB Sunset, $12

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Image Credit:
Bruce Smith, Chris VanArtsdalen, Hana Nobel

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