The honeymoon is over for Matt Braunger, but the laughs continue at Hilarities this weekend

November 9, 2017 GMT

The honeymoon is over for Matt Braunger, but the laughs continue at Hilarities this weekend

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the host of the laugh track column, a man who does not need room for crema ... Mike McIntyre.

Did you hear that Starbucks is beginning to introduce high-end Italian bakeries in its stores? I’m so excited to discover what my name looks like misspelled in Italian.

Matt Braunger: The honeymoon is over for Matt Braunger when he steps off the plane for his gig in Cleveland. Literally. The man just got married (to comedian/manager Kara Baker) after spending his entire stand-up life talking about being single, and he’s coming to Cleveland straight from a few post-wedding days in Oregon wine country.

At 42, it’s going to change his perspective. Immediately.

“The things my friends love, I’ve come to love, like pro wrestling -- I’ve come to understand why my friend Mike likes it. ... And my fiancee, she loves planning ahead and and thinking past a year, and I love that now, too,” he said in a pre-wedding phone call.

They planned a non-religious courthouse wedding with a small group of family and friends. Rest assured, if anything interesting happened, he pulled his notebook out of his tux to jot down a premise.

“I just keep a notepad in my back pocket, write down a sentence or two and just talk about it onstage, telling a story or getting a perspective on something, a political topic, or product or anything,” he said. The problem is, sometimes he’s partying, like, say, at a wedding reception, and the notes don’t make sense.

“It’s like I’m writing in code, and the next day I’m like, ‘Guys, what’s “monkey chicken”?’ and they’re like, ‘I don’t know, man, but we were crying,’ ” he said.

He developed his comedic style on open-mic stages in Chicago with friends Kyle Kinane and Hannibal Buress.

“The Lion’s Den on Monday nights. Open mic. We would all sign up and do five minutes, and we would always try to write new stuff and try to top each other,” he said. “There were no stakes. No one had any illusions of it leading to anything massive.”

Kinane and Buress are household comedy names. Braunger is a national headliner building an impressive resume for acting and writing. He has several projects in the works, some live-action, some animated. His stand-up special “Big Dumb Animal” was a Netflix hit. And his podcast, “Ding-Donger with Matt Braunger,” is a must-listen.

And how would the comedian, who has an extremely likable “I know that guy” persona onstage, characterize his stand-up?

“I would say probably unique storytelling, energetic and lively from a person whose life is often injected with deep shades of fear and shame,” he said. “With an overall optimism.”

Braunger headlines Hilarities,

inside Pickwick & Frolic restaurant, at 8 p.m. Thursday ($23), 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday ($25), and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday ($28). Pickwick & Frolic is at  2035 East Fourth St., Cleveland. Call 216-736-4242 or go to pickwickandfrolic.com.

At the Improv: The hilarious Jim Florentine headlines the Improv at 7:30 p.m. Thursday ($18), 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday (all $20). The Improv is at 1148 Main Ave., next to Shooters on the west bank of Cleveland’s Flats. Call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov.com.

Wednesday at the Winchester:

The hilarious James Adomian, who crushed his Bernie Sanders impersonation at election time last year but has so much more to offer, headlines an independent show put on by Accidental Comedy in Lakewood Wednesday. Come back to cleveland.com and check out the Arts & Life Section of The Plain Dealer Sunday for an interview. Adomian perfroms at the Winchester, 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood. To purchase tickets ($18, or two for $30), go to


. There are two shows, 7 and 9 p.m.