Matt & Dan Are Here to Help You Laugh Your Crippling Anxieties Away!
If you haven’t been catching Matt & Dan on YouTube over the last month, you’re doing the internet all wrong. The sketch comedy web series started by actors Matthew Wilkas and Daniel Vincent Gordh has hit the ground running with Season One and already has fans wanting more.
Matt and Daniel met as improv actors at the Groundlings LA in 2014 and they immediately began to admire one another. Their talents, and undeniable cute faces, brought them together as great friends who began working on Instagram videos and coming up with story ideas.
Their ability to work well together and, again—their undeniable cute faces, quickly turned into the dynamic duo YouTube fans now know as Matt & Dan.
A web series that is reminiscent of Portlandia, Matt & Dan takes us through the comedic moments that happen at the most awkward times for their characters. Matt and Daniel are chameleons that play a range of personalities from gay lovers, to doctors, to real estate agents, to film makers—each is packed with hilarious timing and inappropriate WTF sensations.
It’s hard to say which of Season One’s episodes is my favorite, but I’ll say that the inaugural Sex Notes is certainly a way to open up the series and sets the tone for the rest of the videos.
Another equally LMFAO video is It Hurts which takes place in the doctor’s office with Matt examining Daniel who, in turn, starts acting out a list of uncomfortable positions that are making his back hurt. This one definitely shows off Daniel’s incredible flexibility and acrobatic skills:
I got in touch with Matt and Daniel for Instinct and they shared a little about what makes Matt & Dan the web series you need to watch:
How do you come up with your video ideas?
Sometimes they come up in conversation. Daniel and I are always riffing on ideas and creating characters when we’re together. When I’m with Daniel the most creative part of my brain gets unleashed. I don’t know why... but he just inspires me and I don’t want to speak for him, but I think I inspire him too. Also maybe sometimes there is marijuana involved. Maybe. It’s legal in CA, so...
There’s really a variety of ways. Sometimes we come together to a writing meeting each with a bunch of ideas – some fully formed ideas, but often just a part of an idea, or just a concept, character, or relationship in mind – and then we workshop all of them and end up building the ideas together. Some are ideas we’ve had for years, some are ones we’ve generated together either through improvising, or just while hanging out and being idiots.
Both Matt and Daniel attribute much of the series’ strength to Daniel’s brother Will Gordh who has shot and directed every episode for the series and has worn many hats on set—including sound and gaffer. It is his eye that has helped form each episode.
What’s the greatest part of working together?
Not to sound too cliche but it’s just a lot of fucking FUN! Yes it’s hard work and we put all of ourselves into it, but the bottom line is: we are having a blast and laughing our way through it all.
I would say the best part of working with Matt is that I’m working with someone who I trust and who inherently gets me. There are times when I think an idea is too stupid or out there, but Matt is always encouraging of those and vice versa so there’s a really satisfying and rare feeling of artistic freedom. Also it’s fun – so I guess that’s actually the best part.
What’s the worst thing about working together?
I think money is sometimes an issue. We shot this first season totally on our own with basically no budget or funding... so
We had to bleed our own savings here and there to really make it work.
Matt’s constant uncontrollable sobbing.
What has been your favorite video so far? Favorite character to play?
I really love the “Donate Please” sketch. I think it’s so absurd and ridiculous and Daniel’s character “Lesli” is the most disgusting human on earth. I also LOVED playing “Kevin” the injured man-child with a wooden hand. We laughed so much shooting that sketch. It was also the very first sketch we wrote way way back when we first decided to do this together.
Oh I don’t know! I think maybe Open House is my favorite, only because this was an idea we both thought was maybe truly too absurd to make, but we both really wanted to make it so we just did it. I think maybe playing Lesli in Please Donate was my favorite, only because I really based him on a real filmmaker I met, and there was something really fun about playing someone so dead-eyed and soulless.
Open House serves up sidesplitting discomfort of a different kind with Matt playing a creepy man child whose wooden hand and wheeled assist make a home viewing take a turn for the worst:
Why is it important for LGBTQ artists, comedians, actors (etc.) to create spaces such as these that are for and by 'us'?
Daniel and I never outwardly intended to make our channel an LGBTQ one, we just both happen to be Gay and we consciously decided not to edit ourselves when in came to our gayness. There have been many times when, as a writer, I chose to make characters or situations “straight” in order to make them more marketable or sellable. But with “matt and Dan” we really don’t give a shit. And actually it’s so much more fun and freeing to just be ourselves in this.
As I go through this journey as an out gay actor and creative, I always try to remember myself as a young boy. I grew up feeling doomed by my sexuality, and was deeply in denial about it into my early 20's - and I even grew up with lesbian moms - so I can only image how hard it is to have a family would not be supportive. But even with lesbian moms, the only model I had for a gay adulthood was to go the route my mother went - to live life in the closet until she was 40 - a prospect which terrified me as a kid. Besides my moms I didn't really know other gay people, and I didn't see them on TV, and frankly I didn't relate to the few images and characters of LGBTQ people I would see. So I think it is incredibly important for LGBTQ people to fully own their artistic voices and to put them out there, because visibility can give people hope, make them feel seen. The LGBTQ community needs lots of voices out there that are as diverse as our beautiful community is.
Will we be seeing any special appearances on Matt & Dan?
Yes: Judi Dench and Meryl Streep have signed on for season two.
HAHAHAHAHA THAT WAS A JOKE. No but we have many funny comedian friends that we will FOR SURE hit up for future episodes. Drew Droege, please join us!? We lerrrrrve you.
Matt and I already have lots of ideas percolating for special appearances in season 2, and we both have so many delicious comedians we’ve known over the years we can’t wait to bring into our little world.
Deathbed, the final episode of Season One of Matt & Dan was released today. In this episode the two main characters say their last goodbyes to a dear friend, but it quickly escalates into a comical tug-of-war between them.
The entire first season of Matt & Dan is available now on YouTube and the guys have confirmed that they are working on the second season very soon.
What would be your ultimate web series/series goal?
I think ultimately we’d love to continue making these and actually make a living from it. We’d also love to have a budget to facilitate our more adventurous location and production ideas. Also if Comedy Central or Netflix came knocking on our door we’d be v v v v v v v v v v v happy.
Ultimately, I would love to see Matt & Dan find a home as a half-hour sketch show on a cable channel or partner with digital distributor who can help us grow the series in another innovative way to reach as many people as possible. But our immediate goal is to keep creating and so we are moving straight into working on Season 2! More on that coming soon...
Until then, you can watch Matt & Dan Season One over and over again on their YouTube channel.
Keep up with Matt Wilkas and Daniel Vincent Gordh on social media and stay tuned for more from these two funny cuties.
Daniel Vincent Gordh:
h/t: Matt & Dan YouTube