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The Deadpan Matt D. Gets An A

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Local comedian Matt D. (Photo by Bill Marshall)

Local comedian Matt D. (Photo by Bill Marshall)

BOSTON — Matt D.’s career is about to take off. Named one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch,” he’s got a voiceover gig on Jonathan Katz’s “Explosion Bus” and he performs at comedy festivals across the nation.

At a time when storytelling is all the rage and comics are often more depressing than hilarious, Matt D. (real name Matt Donaher) is a comedian who actually tells jokes, lots of them. His deadpan delivery and tightly-crafted one-liners recall Woody Allen or Steven Wright. In performance, mundane topics are imbued with the absurd. Pointing out the insanity of stuffed crusts and layers of toppings, he declares “Domino’s is becoming the M.C. Escher of pizza.” On his athleticism, he says, “When I was a kid I was so bad at sports my dad had a fantasy football team made up of all the other sons in the neighborhood.”

We asked Matt D. five questions about comedy and performing in Boston. He’ll be performing at the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square on Friday, Feb. 15.

Chris Duffy: When you did you start being funny?

Some would say I haven’t started yet. But if you mean when did I start performing, it will be four years ago this month. I first got up and did an open mic at Sally O’Brien’s. My best friend, Billy Marks, asked me if I wanted to try. We were living in New Hampshire at the time. We Googled places and that was the first one that came up. It went well enough that I wasn’t completely discouraged, but also left enough room for improvement so I really felt like “I want to get better at that.”

What’s the best show you’ve ever done?

Oh jeez, that’s really hard. There’s so many different qualifiers of what I think a best show would be. Some of my best shows were in Nebraska for The Great American Comedy Festival. The theater there holds a couple thousand people and they were all there to laugh. It was a great audience.

What’s the worst show you’ve ever had?

Well, those are much easier to remember. For whatever sick reason, the bad shows really stand out. Once I did a show at a high school for troubled kids. But when I got booked, no one told me anything about the gig. When I walked in, I found out that not only was it a school, but I was also performing for Parent’s Weekend. Within the same breath, the principal said, “Hi, I’m Susanne. Make sure your set is completely clean and not a single swear. All their parents are here.”

So that was a disaster.

What’s your favorite thing about Boston?

People are brutally honest here. They’ll tell you when you stink or if a joke is not good, but they’ll also tell when you’re great. People tell you how much they like you and ask when your next show is.

How can someone see you perform?

I perform a lot at the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square and at ImprovBoston in Cambridge. I post all my gigs on my website at SimplyMattD.com.

Here he is at a previous Comedy Studio engagement:

Chris Duffy is the editor of Paperweight Magazine, a new humor magazine for the iPad. He also produces and hosts “You’re the Expert,” a monthly show at Oberon that uses comedy to make academic research more accessible and exciting.