Ah, the hilarious confusion of interviewing a comedy duo while they have you on speaker phone.
It’s sort of like watching an Olympic ping-pong game between Mutt and Jeff — with blinders on.
“I’m gonna break it down for you Spock-style,” says Matt Craig. “Frank and I have known each other for a really long time. We’ve always had really good chemistry together. And Frank is about four feet shorter than I am.”
“The biggest difference is our physical difference,” agrees Frank Caeti. “I think our show can be impressive, because both of us do outrageously physical stuff in the show and logical stuff. Both of us can sing. Both of us look really funny when we dance.”
It’s this back-and-forth balancing act that makes FrankenMatt work.
Second City Chicago alums Caeti (MADtv, Reno 911) and Craig (According to Jim, The Office) make up the two-man comedy team. Last year at Piccolo, their long-form improvisational show Pilgrimage received an A+ from City Paper. This year, FrankenMatt bring an all-new sketch show that combines absurdity, reality, and hilarity. So what’s different this time around?
They say they “wrote” all the material for this character-based show from sketches improvised in Pilgrimage. The new show has a similar format, and it takes on the road trip theme once again, but they say “written” like what they really mean is that they never really wrote anything down at all.
“What I love about this part of the show is that truly, from beginning to end, it’s improvised from night to night,” Caeti says. “The fun is that even though we know where we’ll end up, how we’ll get to those beats is what changes from night to night.”
Caeti and Craig were actually in the middle of rehearsing what they describe as a “fun, rock star kind of a show for the Piccolo festival” when they took a break for this phone interview.
And I swear to Jesus it sounds like one of them is doing jumping jacks in the background.
“What I love about this show is it’s really physical — singing, dancing, high-energy, fast-paced,” says Caeti.
“I feel like our show is a really high-paced show,” says Craig.
“What is high-paced?” asks Caeti.
“High-paced is a little bit faster than fast-paced,” says Craig.
“I disagree with everything Matt just told you,” says Caeti.
If this conversation is any indication of what FrankenMatt will be like live, the audience can definitely expect an energetic show.
“We didn’t intend on putting together the show and having this as a goal, but basically Frank and I do a 50-minute long, two-person sketch comedy show that has the feel of a 10-person show,” Craig says.
But don’t worry that you’ll be left behind. The duo says they’ve been doing this long enough now that they have a bit of perspective on what they have to work with.
“We love the luxury of having more material than needed,” Caeti says.
They’re currently trying out new stuff in warm-up shows in L.A. Every performance is different, because every audience is different.
And if it works in front of the audience, it’s moving fast enough for them.
“You heighten some of the things to a point you would never see it going, going, going beyond what the audience expects,” Craig says.
“We lower expectations and then exceed them.”