Matt Braunger was raised in Portland, Oregon and exposed to a lot of art there, both high and low. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a small NYC college called Manhattanville, he moved to Chicago and chose to do the low kind (comedy). He studied under Del Close (the father of modern improv), was kicked off his improv team for refusing to take further classes, and clumsily pivoted to stand-up comedy (the lowest of the low). That was 20 years ago. Since then he’s performed on every Late Night show on television, has had two comedy specials on Comedy Central, and one on Netflix. His three comedy albums (Soak Up the Night, Shovel Fighter, and Big Dumb Animal) are among the most listened to on internet and streaming radio. In 2007 Matt co-founded one of the most beloved comedy festivals in the country, Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival. On its tenth anniversary, he recorded his new comedy special, Finally Live in Portland, during the fest in a former porn theatre, The Paris. FLIP is out via Comedy Dynamics and on streaming services everywhere, including Amazon Prime, iTunes Store, and many more.
Braunger’s latest endeavor is a podcast called “Advice from a Dipshit with Matt Braunger,” available on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and everywhere else. In each episode, Braunger hears messages left for him by people wanting advice, then doles it out from a well-meaning dipshit’s perspective.
Matt lives in Los Angeles now but goes back to Portland every chance he gets.
Welcome back, Dragon Times friends! Let’s begin with the recap of last week’s episode by the Game Of Thrones folks, which I will briefly recap:
Queen of Dragons [Ed. note: Daenrys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons] and Sad Sexy Jon Snow [Jon Snow, but also Aegon Targaryen] should rule together, all things considered (but that’s just, so it won’t be). Sad Sexy Jon is not a bastard, and is the one true heir (which throws off his whole vibe, because that’s his brand, man). Dragon Queen knows Sansa is salty, but doesn’t care. We gotta stick together, as Cersei is brutality itself. Remember when Golden Hand [Ser Jaime Lannister] pushed young dude [Bran Stark] out the window? He’s still around, and still young, but old inside. [He’s the Three-Eyed Raven now.]
CUE THE CELLO!
Side note: I am watching this on HBO Go on my phone with the pods in my ears, typing away while my in-laws are watching Property Brothers in the living room with my wife. I snuck a beer in my office with me. This is living.
Ah, shit. I hate when any TV show or movie starts this way. “When I was a child, my brother told me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father….” Golden Hand: “Lemme guess, this is about me.” Sorry, not to be like, “No one ever does this…” (as this is a show with monsters and magic), but no one ever does this. You’re more like, “Hey man! You killed him! Prepare to die!” Who has patience like this?
Dragon Queen does. Golden Hand looks shook. He’s there with no army, and has to explain. He tries, but then… “I see one man… with one hand.” Brutal, Dragon Queen! Dinklage steps in to help, but gets shot down.
Whoa, Sansa is backing up Dragon Queen! They’ve joined forces. Then Boy Who Was Pushed Out a Window by Golden Hand and Now Has Visions tosses some kindling on the fire. Golden Hand is up against it. Big Guardian Gal [Brienne of Tarth] steps in to help.
“Look, I used to watch this dude, and Ser Jaime defended me and lost his hand. Without him, you’d be dead.”
Big Guardian Gal: “Word up.”
Dragon Queen: “Jon, say word?”
Jon: “I mean, we’re all gonna die unless we link up.”
Not a ringing endorsement, but it means Jaime won’t lose his other hand or his head. Worm pulls up and hands him a sword.
Golden Hand: PHEW!!!!
Everybody bows as the Queen cuts out to hit the john. On the way she berates Dinklage for not handling the situation, but I mean, come on. This is basically Michael Scott shredding Dwight because things aren’t going Michael’s way. I mean, I kind of get it: If nobody had dragons except you and things weren’t all falling in line right away in Dragon Times, you’d be salty and probably shit on your employees, too. Still, not his fault. He deserves some wine. Dinklage is like, “I’m getting fired.”
Blacksmith Joe [Gendry] is back, making weapons for the constant wars they love so much. Dude, they love old weapons. All the time they’ve been around, and they haven’t even made muskets. Medieval Times would make a killing in this world.
Also, I’m firmly convinced blacksmithing makes every man sexy. All sweat, heat, fire, and soot. Arya is here for it. Man, look at that steam. “You made my weapon yet?” She’s not just there for the kissin’, though. She wants him to fight. He’s not too down for it. Turns out he’s seen the zombies and he’s like, “Nah.” He tries to get it in her head. Jeez, imagine you’re in the world, then zombies come along? All they ever had was fighting, smelly-ness, and dragons eating your goats, and then zombies?
I honestly think people watch this show to go, “Well, at least I don’t live there.”
Arya starts throwing knives like it ain’t shit, pretty much all in the same spot. “I know death, whatevs.” Make my double-sided sword thing, bitch. (I love you.)
Ah, now we’re back in the snow clearing again. I think this is where they take family photos in whatever the Sears of Game of Thrones World is (sorry, Dragon Times). Moody Visions [That’d be Bran again] is there, waiting for Golden Hand. Weird, but I kind of think “If You Leave” by OMD should be playing. “Hey, sorry I pushed you out the window.” “Ah, it’s cool, I’m not Brandon Stark anymore, man — I’m the chillest man that ever was.” “OK, what’s next?” “What’s….. next?”
Now back to the village inside the castle, the place that was made to get ransacked, because that’s where all the stuff is! Dinklage and Golden Hand link up. The soldiers are like screw both you guys. Dinklage, “I made a mistake common to clever people, I underestimated my opponents.” Boy, that is a marvelously perfect humblebrag (RIP Harris). I think Winterfell is a good place for them to meet up and let bygones be bygones, because why not? Their family is all kinds of F-ed up, even compared to all other families, even in Dragon Times land. That’s some kind of record.
Jaime wanders off to watch dudes training, because it’s like their football. Big Guardian Gal is showing them the ropes, but isn’t impressed — not by them, not by Jaime. She wants an insult. Jaime admits that, well, he kind of sucks now, but he’ll fight if she needs him. It’s too much for her. “You should have lied about being a badass, dude.”
Khaleesi is brooding. If you’re a queen, you have to. Cersei does it too. Kings do it, but they’re bitches about it. Men are more sensitive. Old Gladiator [Jorah Mormont] comes in to help, and they reminisce about how he killed dozens of guys to make her like him again. Good times. “Hey, Tyrion’s cool,” he says. Dragon Queen is still pissed off, but Gladiator is like, “Be cool to that guy.” Khal goes to Sansa to kick it about things. The gals talk management. Take away: It’s hard to find good help, we’re all gonna make mistakes, but you gotta get someone smart and kind of a dick when need be (this is true). “Families are complicated.” “Ours certainly have been.” [It’s Miller Time] [Cheers] Second take away: Men are dumb, but hey, we like men (at least Jon Snow). [Double Miller Time] Also, Jon is adorably small [Cheers]. But what about the North?
Hey, Theon Greyjoy is back! I’m sorry for calling him Dickless last time. Not cool. His sister is giving them a navy, which is handy, also he’s not jumping off boats anymore. Seriously, he better not.
Crusty Wise Soldier [Davos Seaworth] is doling out soup and trying to tell nice peasants they’ll have to fight. Tough gig. A kid comes up for soup and gets a philosophy lesson. Only she doesn’t need one! She’s tough. Moms [Gilly] is badass too, and gets some soup. Crusty and Moms exchange a look of “Someday.” A horn is blown! Redhead Crazy Eyes [Tormund Giantsbane] and Jon Snow have a tackle hug. That’s how men DO! Redhead CE and One Eye Flaming Torch [Beric Dondarian] talk about the awful dead thing they saw. Basically, they deal in bad news now. All the time. So many dead people coming, and super soon.
War room. Jon Snow says they can’t fight the zombies straight on, and shit, what’s the plan? Vision Quest Chill Boy says the Night King is coming for him, so maybe there’s something there? “Check it out, I’ve got the mark — whatever.” Kind of screwed up, they have to use the guy in a wheelchair for bait? He seems okay with it. It never fails to baffle me how no one in Dragon Times ever goes, “This is fucked up, right? Jesus!” out loud.
They plan. They’re gonna bait the Night King. Redhead Crazy Eyes makes one last play for Guardian Gal with a crazy line and she kind of grimaces. Been there. Dinklage and Vision Boy have a talk by candlelight, most of it cut for time.
Aaaaaaand we’re making swords again. Missandei tries to talk to some kids, but because she’s not white they run off. Racism, seriously? Everybody is in constant danger of getting stabbed, starving, or worse and you’re freaked out by her slightly darker skin and kinky hair? Stupid dirty-faced village kids. Grey Worm walks up to talk future ideas. He’s going to marry her, and protect her. “I don’t fight.” “Lady, all I do is fight.” [Cue “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul.]
Everybody’s up on the wall, waiting for approaching death. Honestly, I relate to Dinklage on this show more than anyone because he’s always drinking wine. “Sam Wilde [Samwell Tarly] a badass? Now I’ve seen everything!” Well, yeah, haven’t you guys? Dead people coming to life and fighting? That dragon shot blue flame!
Cue Dink drinking. Fuck yeah. Whoa, Jaime just casually dropped that he was sleeping with his sister! I mean, it’s so weird — he talks about it like he got arrested for peeing outside a ball park or something. Guardian Gal is like, “You guys are drinking? Dummies.” They’re like, “You’re NOT? Dummy.” She takes a glass. Oh shit, Redhead is here with a last pitch for Guardian Gal, and some savage Wildling Booze (TM). He drags a seat over by the fire and tells a nice story of killing a giant and pretending to be a giant baby for months. Then he drinks half his booze and dumps the other half down his shirt. He’s now the Norm on Cheers of Dragon Times.
Arya and The Hound sitting on the wall, time for some father-daughter talk. She starts coming at him like the deadbeat dad he is. “Why are you even HERE?” One-Eye walks up to say hi, maybe full of wine (everybody is). OE starts talking about the Lord of Light, which is like being a born-again in Dragon Times (nice, but annoying). Arya says peace out. She goes to practice shooting arrows. Blacksmith Joe shows up with the weapon, and all cleaned up, too. She starts asking about old shit, turns out his last gal [Mellisandre, still absent from this season] put leeches on him, or at least that’s how she sees it. Damn! She asks how many girls he’s been with! She IS in college! That’s the last time that shit matters (and it never matters).
I feel weird watching this. She’s still a kid to me.
Back to the fireplace. Everybody’s just quiet. Probably because Redhead took his dick out and showed off the tattoos on it. Dinklage says they might live and it’s a big hit. He’s a funny dude. However, he goes through all the BS they got through and lived. Big Gal and Crazy Eyes have a moment of connection and equal rights. “Ladies can’t be knights.” “Why?” “Tradition.” “Fuck tradition.” They’re evolving! Next they’re gonna build planes and vote, you watch. Oh wait, it’s the last season, nevermind. Still, Jaime knights Brienne, and no shit, it’s pretty dope. Everybody claps, and not just because they’re drunk. But it helps.
Little Kid Queen [Lyanna Mormont] talks to Old Gladiator and is, as always, a badass. She’s gonna take some heads. Also, her armor is no joke. Sam still has his sword, but still doesn’t know how to hold it. Come on, Sam! He thanks OG and offers his sword. Sam, what are you going to use? Come on! Sam walks off with nothing but his fur coat and his charm to fight with. “I hope you win.” Sam, where are you going?
Jaime says let’s go to bed but Dinklage wants to party more, no surprise. Random Warrior [That’s Podrick Payne, former squire to Dinklage — whose life he once saved — and riding partner/mentee of Brienne. Matt, I’m surprised you don’t remember that in season three, a bunch of prostitutes refused payment from him after taking his virginity, because he was such an incredible lover.] starts singing out of nowhere, really well. Cue the montage of everybody who has hooked up or might hook up. At least it’s not Ed Sheeran. Look, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but all profits from that “In love with your body” song should go to Jamaicans living in poverty. On another note, I love how this place just puts up with people singing. In olden times someone would start singing and people would go, “Oh good, a song!” Now, you start singing, I will tell you to shut up. Right now.
Jon Snow is having a brooding moment and Dragon Queen butts in to try to cheer him up. She’s good that way. Jon decides to tell her the truth, the whole truth, of the Sexy Man Called Jon Snow. “My name… my real name…” OH DAMN. He’s too noble to even keep a secret that might fuck up everything. Love and royalty is complicated, like they always say.
WHAT DO WE DO? For now, Jon Snow will look away. The horns sound!!
All the Edgar Winters wait outside the walls. The dead are here.
And over the credits, a little song.
See you next time, guys. Remember, you gotta be a little Jon Snow and a little Queen of Dragons. All the time.