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.
A few background things about me in regards to Game of Thrones:
- I read voraciously, but I haven’t read the books.
- I call the show Dragon Times.
- It kind of blows my mind how no one calls it out on its lack of any growth in civilization. “We’ve guarded this wall for thousands of years.” You’ve been around thousands of years? Why haven’t you built planes?
- I still forget who everybody is and what their names are. It’s Season 8 and I’m still going, “Who’s that guy?” to many characters. So I make up names for the ones I forget. My editor will supply the real names if you can’t tell who I mean.
OK! Holy shit, I just watched the recap and I’d forgotten Skinny Skeletor the King of the Dead (Or general? Who’s higher on the rung, him or longhair dead guy on the horse?) had used his Halloween Dragon to burn down the whole wall with blue vape flame! [Ed. note: The Night King destroyed the wall while riding the dragon Viserion.]
Who’s this boy? Whose army is marching in? Oh good, it’s Deadly Assassin Girl! (I know it’s Arya. I’ll always remember her name because my buddy named his daughter after her. I said he should have gone with Hodor, but that’s just me.) I especially like her because her real name is Maisie and that’s a dope name. Oh, it’s Dragon Queen’s army and she’s with Ron Snow (I know it’s Jon, the name Ron is just funnier). Hey, it’s the Hound (Fuck yeah! I remembered right, this never happens). I wish they’d show the Hound and the Mountain’s whole family, like this enormous house full of monster people with The’s for first names. Mom is The Beast and Dad is The Hippo. Sister is The Griffin.
One thing that I always think about when I watch Dragon Times: Imagine the smell.
Man, Assassin Girl is big now. Remember when she was a baby with a knife stabbing people from a stroller? Time flies.
Oh man, Dinklage and Wise King Kong Bundy No Balls [Tyrion and Varys], these guys are great. Kind of shitty to bag on a eunuch for having no balls, but you can tell they love each other. Someone should make a t-shirt with both of them on it that says, “Life sucks, be funny.”
Worm and the very attractive army lady are steaming up the army parade with their sexual tension.
I love that it took one dragon’s squack and the villagers went from, “You think you’re so great in your all-white outfit and hair” looking at Daenerys to screaming “HOLY FUCKING SHIT DRAGONS! RUN!” A flying dragon is the ultimate in oh no — when you need the whole village to shit their pants, only a dragon will do.
They’re inside the village walls, and Baby Professor X of Dragon Times is there. [That’d be Bran Stark.] Snow says hi, introduces Sansa to Daenerys, boss bitch to boss bitch (beg your pardon). Big Badass Lady is there too, scowling as always, which isn’t surprising as everything smells bad. Dae finds out her Dragon is one of the flying dead — tough blow — and that the wall fell.
There’s a meeting in the castle and there’s another kid leader. You grow up fast in Dragon Times, no time for Legos. Oh shit, speaking of deadly kids, it’s The Most Serious Girl in the World [Lyanna Mormont]. She’s not cool with the new boss. Ron explains he had to bend the knee, but they’re still grumbly. Dinklage steps forward with the silver tongue to smooth it out, then fumbles the landing on the Lannisters coming on board. “Hey Hatfields, Snow risked his life to save us, and the McCoys are also on board…” [Audience riots.] Sansa says they got no food, Dae implies her dragons might come eat everybody. Good meeting.
How is everybody walking around in the cold outside with no hats?
Dinklage tells Sansa, “Hey, my sister’s scary, but it’s cool, she’s gonna help…” and Sansa’s like “Bro, all she does is lie,” and walks off.
Ron Snow is standing in a snow-covered field dramatically brooding because that is his jam. Arya and he exchange some snark, but then hug. He’s glad she still has The Thinnest Sword That’s Ever Been Forged [Needle]. Taking turns holding each others’ swords should happen more often, even in our world; it would bring us closer. Arya and Snow hurt more than anybody else on the show. You know why? Because they care.
I love Cersei. She’s just plain evil and looks good doing it. Hey, it’s Mountain Joe (you think we’ll see his face ever?). The Advisor [Qyburn] told her the dead have broken through the wall and she’s… into it? Advisor is like, “Um, didn’t see that coming.”
Now we’re at sea with Asshole Captain Morgan [Euron Greyjoy], who is also a super hot dude. He’s got the guy who got his wiener chopped off’s sister tied up. She’s hardcore. My money is on the two of them hooking up and killing people together later. Now back to the throne room. Who’s this guy with ACM in front of Cersei talking about no elephants? He looks like he came from a production of The Nutcracker at Radio City.
Damn, Asshole Captain Morgan is so DTF it’s crazy. Cersei’s kind of into it, and that’s the only reason Mountain Joe hasn’t torn off his dick. Whoa, he got the invite back to the bedchamber! The Gene Simmons technique of naked sexual aggression works sometimes.
Hey, it’s Bronn, casually hooking up with three girls like whatever. Of course. Advisor just came in, sat down, and interrupted the foursome. “Sorry, am I interrupting?” He also casually drops that one of them has the plague. Whatevs! Also also, “We need you to kill someone,” of course. His old pal Dinklage! With the crossbow Dinklage used to kill his dad on the shitter! Advisor says the Queen likes poetic justice. Does Bronn have to shoot him while he’s on the toilet?? That’s really asking a lot.
Annnnnnnnd back in forbidden fruit sex town, Cersei and ACM are done a-bonin’ and ACM wants to know if he was as good as her dead husband. I think he likes pushing buttons, but it seems like he also runs on self-doubt. She likes his arrogance and he promises to get her pregnant. Good talk.
Arrow in the eye! Arrow in the eye on another guy! More arrows in other guys, but not in their eyes! It’s Dickless [Theon Greyjoy], here to save his sister, and he threw an axe into a guy’s head. He must have visited the Wizard of Oz between seasons and got some courage. Good for him. He’s saving her, but it’s still awkward after he dove into water to leave her. Ah, a punch in the face and all is forgiven.
They’re on the ship bow now in the morning light. Dickless looks really great. He gets permission to fight for the Starks. Solid gig. “What is dead may never die” is a weird slogan.
Tents everywhere. More talk about how stubborn the North People are. Dinklage, Eunuch King Kong Bundy, and Crusty Army Advisor [Davos Seaworth] look down on the happy-ish couple Snow and Dae, but they worry. Like a trio of dads. The Dothraki roll up, an army of savage smirkers, and tell Dae and Ron that the dragons ate a bunch of goats and sheep. Evidently, they’re depressed. “Let’s ride dragons,” says Dae. He’s scared, and it looks super fake when he gets on its back. Maybe it’s my TV? Wrong dragon-ride-watching setting? Jeez, riding a dragon looks fun as hell, especially as a couple. I’m singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin out loud right now.
They’ve landed in a random snow field to have a heart-to-heart. Oh wait, no, this is Dragon Times, so they’re there for sex. Wait, holy shit, are they going to fuck in front of the dragons? Between Cersei taking Asshole Captain Morgan to bed in front of Mountain Joe and Daenerys hooking up with Ron Snow directly in front of her dragons, this is a big moment for powerful women who don’t care what the help know about their business.
Blacksmiths, blacksmiths, swarthy, sweaty, and strong! He made a dragon glass axe for The Hound, and he acts like it isn’t great. Probably wants a discount. He says something profoundly rude and then Arya, his wayward teenage daughter, tells him to cool it. He leaves her with a “Boy Named Sue” kind of message, like he made her tough. Dude, she made her tough. Anyway, she trades coded “we should maybe date each other” messages with the blacksmith [Gendry] and he walks off to look at weapons because he feels weird. She follows him, as nothing makes her feel weird. She gives him a drawing of something to make. I can’t tell what it is, but I’m guessing it’s some kind of tiny weapon that hurts really bad. She walks out and gives him a cute look. This dude seems nice, but he’s just a blacksmith. [He’s actually the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, and possibly very important.] The Hound probably wouldn’t approve. So, she’ll probably marry the blacksmith.
Sansa Stark is in her chambers reading rejection scrolls. Snow comes in, asks what’s up? Another army ain’t comin’. Evidently it’s because Snow gave up the crown and they want to follow a sexy, brooding king, not a sexy, brooding queen. Snow says he never wanted to rule, also he’s SUPER SICK OF EXPLAINING TO EVERYBODY THAT THEY NEED DAENERYS AND HIS DRAGONS WHAT THE SHIT! Get over it, I’m not the king, it’s a new day, you have to deal with her amazing smile and pretty braids.
Cut to Dae and Old Gladiator [Jorah Mormont] strolling through what looks like a library (?), and they come across Chubby Sensitive Dan [Samwell Tarly]. She wants to give him a treat for saving somebody. He wants a pardon for borrowing books (I knew it was a library) and a sword. “Hey, It’s from the House Tarly, which is my family, whatever…” “Oh shit, I set your dad on fire with my dragon…” “At least my brother…” “Nah. Roasted too.” Man, this is not Sensitive Dan’s day. Well, actually it never is. Christ! As I typed this he almost got run over by a horse! He goes across the street to see Stoic Kid Who Can’t Walk. They gotta tell Ron Snow a secret. Nice that Sensitive D got something to take his mind off just finding out his dad and brother were burned to death.
He goes to see Snow, and he has the worst poker face I’ve ever seen. He spills the beans on the roasting. Snow tries the, “Well, war sucks and you gotta suck too to win” and Sensitive calls bullshit. He point blank asks if he’d do that, and Snow tries to front. Again, Dan calls bullshit. Snow tries that “I’m not king!” thing and Sensitive drops the ultimate bomb: He’s Raygar’s son! He’s the true heir.
Actual quote: “I’m sorry, I know it’s a lot to take…” They should have put a laugh track over that part.
Man, Snow can’t get a break. You’re the true king! But he doesn’t want it, and wants to follow Dae, his love! He’s too nice to be king. Man, Black Panther was right, you can be a good man OR be a king, you can’t be both. Personally, I don’t think he’s cold-blooded enough to rule. You have to be a stone psycho to be the king in Dragon Times, no doubt. You don’t have to enjoy it, like Joffery did, but…
Scary Redhead [Tormund Giantsbane] is coming into some kind of village at night. I think he’s working on his scary grimace and wants to look into people’s windows and watch them lose their shit. He does a bulging eye thing that makes him look like he’s going to kill you while he takes a painful dump. It’s scary. Also, him and all the Wildlings like to wear clothes made of thousands of rabbit pelts, which is so weird it’s scary.
Speaking of scary, there’s dead people all over. However, maybe they don’t smell because they’re frozen. The cold of the north would suck, but on the plus side, it would smell less. There’s another army and they’re friends. One-eyed Beard Man’s [Beric Dondarrion] sword lights on fire by itself, so he can show everybody around. OH MAN, that is disturbing. A dead kid surrounded by limbs nailed to the wall. He screams like a banshee as he is undead now; they set him on fire, he keeps screaming, and Game of Thrones is still undefeated for surprising me with surprise nightmare fuel.
Hey, it’s One-Handed Sisterlover [Jaime Lannister]! Missed you, handsome. He gives a scared look to Tiny Professor X, X gives him a smirk, and that’s the game.