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Exclusive: Matt Braunger Joins Cast of MADtv

Bastion pal and Chicago comedy vet Matt Braunger confirms that he has joined the cast of MADtv. Braunger was recently featured on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and, as Robert Buscemi told us in a special report from the road, he won Best of Fest at the recent Rooftop Aspen Comedy Festival.

We touched base with Braunger earlier today.

Yes, I did get hired as a cast member. I just found out two days ago right before I was about to go onstage at the Great American Comedy Festival in Nebraska. Would have jumped for joy, but am on crutches from hurting my knee (nothing serious). I auditioned several times, first for the casting people, then for the producers, then finally for the people at the network. They had me bring in several characters, then read scenes with other actors in the later auditions. I start in August, but will go in a week or two early to hang out with the writers and give them any input they want.

I am utterly blown away to be on the show. My buddy Eric Price (of Wisconsin and sometimes Chicago) got hired as well, so I'm over the moon in general.

My developmental comedy period was in Chicago, so I feel hugely indebted to that city and the people in it.

Braunger will be recording a CD at the Fake Gallery in Los Angeles on July 11th.

Braunger's "Unattractive Man" Blerds video:

-Elizabeth McQuern


Friday Free-For-All

Chicago comic Hannibal Burress will be opening for Tracy Morgan tomorrow at the Vic, and was recently featured on Chicago Public Radio. He also informs us that "June 27-July 13 I'm touring as a part of the F Yeah tour. It's a tour with comedians bands and artists The Chicago date is July 3rd at Stan Mansion with Matt and Kim,Monotonix, Team Robespierre, Mannequin Men & Crystal Antlers."

PhotobucketA new Chicago comedy blogger is using her share of bandwidth to illuminate readers about the wonders of our comedy scene. Who is she? She's our very own (and iO's very own) Rachael Mason! Rachael was tapped to be the official comedy examiner for all of Chicago, a job we're confident she is ready for.

In other iO news, iO's Mike Balzer, longtime Bastion supporter and pal (known to his pals as "Baz") is liveblogging his latest adventures in heart surgery on his iO blog. Better than bugging the nurse for more morphine and getting lost in soap operas, right? Get better soon, Baz!

The cast of the new comedy “Factory,” on Spike TV, will be the special guests at a screening of their new show, and there will be an improv set afterward. Why should you be excited? Because the series stars iO alumni Jay Leggett, Mitch Rouse, David Pasquesi and Michael Coleman. All of this will be happening Thursday, June 26 at 09:30 in the Del Close Theater. Tickets are $5 or free for iO students. If we ever meet David Pasquesi, we would like to tell him that he is the reason that the Bastion exists (long story), but we would probably be too tongue-tied to talk to him.


New Video Wednesday

Matt Braunger on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham:

Ask Jason Piazza - Dating in the Age of STDs:

From CollarsUp (featuring Mackenzie Condon) "Ikea Protest":

Guy Friends opening credits:

"Romano Sings," starring former Chicago comic Pete Holmes:

Talkin' Funny - Season 5 - Episode 11, with special guest host Paul Luikart, special guest Timekeeper Willis, and identity theft victim Dan Telfer:

Andy Ross at Comix in New York:


Guy Friends at iO

PhotobucketHey all you twenty- and thirty-somethings, remember Full House, Perfect Strangers, Mr. Belvedere, and all that? Well, if the answer is yes, or no, then you should make it to see Guy Friends at iO.

You can't go wrong with an 80's sitcom themed show and solid characters to boot. I was sold as soon as I saw the pre-recorded theme song and video they play before the show starts. In addition, the performers were so talented I wondered if this really was an improv show at points.

The regular cast you'll see every week is Nick Ehart, Wes Haney, Jamie Hoggson, and John Langen, it's directed by Connor O'Malley. Every week they'll bring in two guests. The show I saw featured special guests Sam Wiener and Connor O'Malley. They played two characters named Giuseppe from Barcelona and the 80's hilarity began.

Guy Friends will be at iO. Fridays until July 19th at midnight for $5.

Photo by Angela Manginelli.


Chicago Lineup For DC Comedy Fest

PhotobucketThe DC Comedy Fest has announced the Chicago lineup (although there may be more announcements to come).

Go here and click on "Chicago Comedy" to see for yourself. So far, at least, the list includes headliner TJ Miller, Brady Novak, Debra Downing, Hannibal Buress, Hey You Millionaires (fresh from a well-received performance at NY Sketchfest), Misled, Pat O’Brien, Robert Buscemi, and Chicagoans who are now based in New York including Brooke Van Poppelen, Joselyn Hughes, Team Submarine, and Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz.

Non-Chicagoan (there's probably a funny one among them, right?) include the incomparable Reggie Watts, longtime Bastion favorite Todd Barry, and Daily Show co-creator and all-around awesome chick Lizz Winstead.