For Bearden, fest isn't 'work'

Photo Credit: Taylor Womack

The lights dimmed and everyone’s attention quickly averted toward the front of the venue. It was PUNCH! night at the Cap City Comedy Club, located off of Research Boulevard, and it was packed with eager viewers waiting for a night full of laughs.
Matt Bearden is the comedian and host of PUNCH!, which was created to expose comics and the comedic scene in Austin.

“There are a ton of comics who are in Austin who end up moving to New York or L.A.,” Bearden said. “Your zipcode doesn’t make you funny, so I was trying to turn Austin more into all of these acts.”

He quickly got the audience comfortable, making them feel as if they were a group of friends hanging out on a Tuesday night instead of a bunch of strangers who happened to watch stand-up together.

“How did I pick stand-up? Well, when you realize you are unemployable, it’s just something to try, and I think that’s where I was at that moment,” Bearden said.

But in addition to PUNCH!, Bearden also has a host of other jobs, including a radio show on 93.7 KLBJ FM, a daily writing job and production work. He also loves acting, and was an actor in L.A. before moving back to Austin where he focuses on stand-up, which earned him invitations to play at Fun Fun Fun Fest through the years.

“I don’t feel like I have to work at this festival; it doesn’t feel like work,” Bearden said. “At other festivals, I feel like it’s my job to be the best I can and to present myself well to the industry and fans. I feel like there are different rules to life at Fun Fun; everyone who shows up are in a good mood and they are a lot more giving. I enjoy it a lot more and the crowd enjoys it a lot more because they get I’m just being an idiot.”

Having performed at FFF Fest many times before, Bearden is excited about this year’s music and comedy.

“It gets bigger and better every year,” he said. “I’m going to go to Fun Fun no matter who they book because of the way they book.”

This will be the first time Bearden performs on day one during the daytime festival. He is also scheduled to do a night show at the Mohawk with Tenacious D.

“I think you might get, for the first time ever, a sober Matt Bearden at Fun Fun Fun Fest,” Bearden laughed. “I won’t make any promises though.”