Comedian Matt Evans isn’t afraid to get real.
“I’ve drawn the short straw quite a few times in my life and it’s given me a lot to work with,” Evans said. “I just got dumped a couple weeks ago and 40 minutes of my standup is about my ex-girlfriend. She’s not thrilled, but I’m going to tell those jokes.”
The Kalispell resident is excited to unveil an entirely new show, dubbed “Homegrown” Aug. 4 at the Eagles.
“It’s my homecoming,” Evans said. “I want to do this new show that I’m going to take on the road, but I want to do it for the first time here.”
And after spending the past year-and-a-half out of state, he’s glad to be back.
“I spent a lot of time in Oklahoma and just traveling throughout the South, so I’ve got a few jokes about how Montana is different and similar to the South in a lot of ways,” Evans said.
Evans said his comedy has matured, just like he has, since he started doing standup roughly a decade ago.
The funnyman was inspired to get serious about comedy after a very unfunny diagnosis: in late 2006, doctors told Evans he had multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune neurological disorder that causes the body to attack the protective layer surrounding nerve fibers, resulting in problems with vision, balance and muscle control.
“Basically, it’s a debilitating disease that, at some point, will probably put me in a wheelchair,” Evans said. “But that’s just great material.”
Evans’ father also lives with the disease, so the comedian knew exactly what he was getting into.
The sobering diagnosis prompted him to, quite literally, get his act together.
Evans sold his car and started walking everywhere he could, just for the sole joy of moving while he still could.
The self-proclaimed “really mean person” channeled his cutting way with words into standup comedy routines.
He began frequenting open mics at local coffee shops, eventually graduating to the bar scene and finally to headlining his own shows.
Local haunts like the VFW in Whitefish and Kalispell’s Cattlemen’s Bar & Casino took a chance on the young comic.
“Every band used to be a local band, every comedian used to be a local comedian — get out and support it,” he said.
His style of comedy is more conversational than rapid-fire joke telling, and Evans draws inspiration from comic greats like the late Robin Williams, Mitch Hedberg and Eddie Murphy.
“Instead of trying to write jokes that were funny for everybody, I just tried to write what I know,” Evans said. “I was the class clown, so I just started writing that and putting that on paper and my career took off from there.”
Evans has performed all around the Northwestern United States and is planning to hit the road for another tour following his performance in Kalispell.
“Nobody is good at comedy the very first time — nobody’s good at comedy the first 10 times, but if you get to the point where you get an audience that really gets behind you, it is the greatest thing ever,” Evans said. “You just feel that that’s where you’re supposed to be.”
Doors will open at 8 p.m. on Aug. 4 and fellow Kalispell comedian, Ryan Gordon, will open the show at 9 p.m. Evans will take the stage around 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Group discounts are available.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/MattsgotJokes.
Reporter Mackenzie Reiss can be reached at 758-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.