Although Vancouver-based comedian Gavin Matts may be just 23 years old, he is already raking in the cash. Granted, the cash is a $25,000 prize which Matts won as the newest SiriusXM Top Comic- money which he partly plans to spend on Gucci loafers. However, it’s cash nonetheless, and for any emerging entertainer, a bit of extra money can make all the difference. Yet despite his penchant for slip-ons from the luxury label, there’s nothing materialistic nor vain about the rising comedian. Instead, Matts is the quintessential boy next door who remains optimistic, and is proud to launch his up-and-coming standup career on Canadian soil. When Real Style meets him backstage in his dressing room following his win at Toronto’s recent JFL42 Comedy Festival, Matts is quieter than on stage. Then, we start talking about the trials and tribulations of comedy- and just like that, the flip switches. Suddenly, the boy next door returns to his animated and joyful self, with enthusiasm for the new friendships he has made in the comedy world. From being inspired by names like Dino Archie to finding a home on the stage, Matts spilled on getting the last laugh as the class clown.
Real Style: Where do you get creative energy for your comedy?
Gavin: In terms of comedy inspiration, I’m in a really good scene in Vancouver. There are a lot of strong comics, so it is a friendly competition. Everybody’s always writing and working hard, so there are great comics there, like Dino Archie, Kyle Bottom and Katherine McGee. I would give all credit to Vancouver’s comedy for that.
Real Style: Vancouver is getting a reputation as the Los Angeles of Canada, and there is definitely an entertainment scene out there. Have you had a chance to meet some big names in Vancouver?
Gavin: I’ve made friends, because I work at the Comedy Mix a lot. I’ve made a lot of friends who come in and headline. I don’t know any really big names, but I think everyone is really pushing for their own content and putting on their own shows. Everybody is hustling, so that really has created a creative scene.
Real Style: Do you have any plans to relocate to L.A.?
Gavin: I would love to move to the States, but I would love to be able to create in Canada. I read an article that Netflix is giving $500 million for Canadian content. I would love to be able to stay in Vancouver, or move to Toronto and stay in Canada, just because I think everyone there is working three times as hard.
Real Style: What inspired you to pursue comedy as a career?
Gavin: I was never really good at anything. I played sports, but I was never the best at anything. I would always goof around, and I probably goofed around too much. Comedy is the first thing that I’ve ever applied myself to. It just happened. I always wanted to do standup, and I didn’t know it was a thing you could do.
Real Style: Were you the classic class clown growing up?
Gavin: I think so- I think if you were to ask some teachers, who have added me on Facebook now! It’s probably just because I was a bad kid, but I found that I love doing standup. I’m very comfortable on stage.
Real Style: Are there are any comedians or comedic actors who have inspired you over the years?
Gavin: I really like Hannibal Buress and Chelsea Peretti (she was one of the first comics that I saw). Beth Stelling is one of my favourites now, and it’s crazy, she’s a good friend of mine. In Vancouver, it’s Dino Archie. I have a friend now in L.A., Andy Haynes. I love watching people that nobody knows, but I feel like they should because I see them so much. Those would be my influences.
Real Style: Since you’re so comfortable performing, what goes through your mind when you’re on stage?
Gavin: I feel very relaxed. I don’t ever want to go out and just tell my jokes, even though I really love comedians who are just telling their jokes. I want to connect and kind of feel a conversation, that’s the main goal. I felt my JFL42 was just a nice conversation, water cooler talk, with a thousand people.
Real Style: What’s next for you, after your big JFL42 win?
Gavin: I have no idea. I’m going to buy some Gucci slip-ons, though! *laughs* I had a GoFundMe to raise money, but nobody wanted to give me money. I’m going to buy Gucci slip-ons, and the rest is going to go to helping my comedy, whether that is paying the bills or maybe take time off to write something.
Real Style: It’s always a challenge to fund a creative career. What are some of the challenges of being a rising Canadian comedian?
Gavin: Right now, I’m just striving and working toward a peak. I think you’re always pushing to do something. I have a TV taping next year at JFL42, and I think it is a step in the right direction to start creating in Canada.