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This Too Shall Suck

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jennilyn Merten
July 30, 2012

What is your job on this show?
ACR, Producer.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
My first stint in theater was playing the trumpet in the "pit" for my high school's musicals, and I've had the theme from Oklahoma in my head for the last 20 years. Now, I am a documentary filmmaker. Last year, however, I was lured (bribed?) back into theater not by Oklahoma, but by Alabama--specifically, by a six foot four sweetheart named Jeff Key who joined the Marine Corps as a 34 year-old gay man nine months before 9-11. He was shipped to Iraq and kept a journal there that he eventually transformed into the one-man play "The Eyes of Babylon". He'd taken the play all over the country but never to NY. That's where I came in. We got him into the Americas Off Broadway Festival at 59E59 Theaters last summer with no money and no time to prep, but he walked away with a Drama Desk nomination. And I fell in love with the stage.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one in FringeNYC that...?
will make you laugh about suicide, that offers professional Scrabble lessons, and that can put "Grandma", "cock block", "pork jowls", and SkipBo in a coherent sentence.

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
Performer and writer Matt Graham has a wicked, dry and irreverent style that is professionally self-effacing. This is a big autobiography attached to a human whose ego is caught somewhere between a Messiah Complex and agoraphobia. And the tone just right. You're offended just enough to maintain your sympathy but there's still plenty to argue over after the show. Plus Matt has an extraordinary story--I mean who leaves comedy after writing for Conan and SNL to take up professional Scrabble and try out for a college basketball team at 39? What I like best though, and what makes This Too Shall Suck more than just another stand up routine, is the sheer cojones it took to be serious at the end--to stop and have a moment of transformation. It's still hilariously odd, but its poignancy and risk grab you by the scruff and shake you a bit. You get to sink your teeth into something. It's nice to get a little dirt, a little meaning, and a lot of story in an hour of comedy.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
The Boss!

Why should people come to FringeNYC this summer, rather than the beach, mountains, or the latest movie blockbuster?
Get your ass to some real art. Support the people who make you feel jealous and grumpy that you're still working 9-5. Maybe you'll be inspired and finally start that improv class you borrowed money from your mom for, but spent at happy hour, welcoming the weekend on Wednesday, (and admit it, Tuesday). Plus Fringe is full of sexy people doing crazy, funny, smart, sexy stuff that you'd get arrested for at the beach.