Second City alums Frank Caeti and Matt Craig on satire, cold medicine and Tebow
Second City Chicago is this country's Mecca of funny. Among its famous alumni are John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. It also happens to be the place where Frank Caeti, formerly of MadTV, and Matt Craig, a former Saturday Night Live writer, first met and performed together, creating the working relationship that would ultimately lead them to write and perform their own shows as a comedic duo under the moniker "FrankenMatt." On June 7 and 8 at 7 p.m., FrankenMatt will perform their new satire, American Imperil, at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. We caught up with the guys for the following Q&A, covering just about everything.
Westword: So, do you want to just start by telling me a little bit about the show?
Matt Craig: We created a fake politician, and we're going to go and meet this gentleman. I love the show because it allows the audience to formulate what it is that they think they're watching... it's not a bipartisan show at all. You decide how your political views will affect how you watch the show.
Frank Caeti: Isn't that--wouldn't that actually make it bipartisan?
M: Oh, yeah. So it is bipartisan.
I saw a clip of yours, of an interview with a "Peter Dong-Johnson." Is this the politician that you created?
F: [Laughs] Not the same one--Peter Dong-Johnson is a piece from almost a year ago, when the whole Anthony Weiner scandal was happening. In that sketch, we actually satirized other things that were happening politically at that time. Sarah Palin was talking about "gotcha journalism," and the thrust of the scene is the tweeting of the genitalia. Like, his inability to use Twitter properly is what literally ruined his political career. That's so funny to me.
Matt, can you talk a little bit about what writing for SNL was like?
M: It was an amazingly fun gig. A lot of people think--the theory is that you have a week to write stuff and the truth is that the way that show is produced, you basically have 36 hours to write and get ideas spun out and picked up by people and chosen for the show. It's a different beast; SNL was designed to be a parody of television, so it is hitting topical ideas on the head and directly doing performances that are recognizable based on TV shows. Like people playing Alex Trebek, people playing Sean Connery. It's amazing--on a weekly basis, I'd be sitting in a room one-on-one with Elton John. It was fantastic.