On Friday, August 26th, we’re returning with Matt Kemple, founder of Milwaukee Comedy and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival (in case you missed it at the beginning of August, they just celebrated their 11th year), and co-founder of the upcoming Milwaukee Fringe Festival, a multiday event celebrating theater, dance, music and visual art. When he’s not lining up creative and hilarious events, you can find him in The Underground Collaborative, a space complete with art galleries, recording booth, dance studios, and a theater, meant to be a resource for creatives in many disciplines. Below we caught up with Matt to get to know him better. 

1. What do you typically eat for breakfast? I absolutely love breakfast foods, but I am never hungry in the mornings, so it’s typically a strong cup of coffee at home to get out the door, and then a mocha from the local coffee shop to push me into lunch. If I could, I would eat french toast every morning (with coffee of course).

2. What do people know you for? I’m known for two main things: 1. Putting on live events like comedy and theatre productions.  I have worked on about 600 live shows and events since moving to Milwaukee over a decade ago, and am often recognized by name in the industry.  Second:  I am that guy with a theatre in the Grand Ave Mall!  It’s definitely a WEIRD place to be, but it’s a wonderful resource for many performing arts groups in town. 

3. How is Milwaukee special to you? I absolutely love Milwaukee.  I moved here about 12 years ago from Ohio with the intention of moving on to LA or New York a year later. But Milwaukee is the kind of city that has it’s own incredible identity and it’s own set of unique opportunities, so instead of moving away I stayed to absorb all that Brew City has to offer. 

4. What may people not know about you? I am a full-fledged beer snob.  I used to brew beer in college with my roommate back when the only “craft beer” on tap was Guinness and Heineken.  We experimented with dark lagers and hoppy ales to the point of kegging our own beer and helping a local brew pub to make barrels of beer every week. I don’t brew anymore but it really opened up my taste buds.  

5. What drives your creativity? I draw influence from the world around me. I work with a lot of creative people, and it helps to surround myself with people that are trying to do fun and weird things too. A lot of what I do is based in humor, which is different for everyone so often I have to see what’s fun or interesting through a different perspective so it can have the biggest impact on an audience. 

6. What are you going to talk to us about this month? This month I am talking about WEIRD!  Or more importantly, how being weird and making weird decisions helped me to create my own niche in the creative world. 

Ticket registration for “Weird” opens here Monday, August 22nd at 11AM CST. Grab a ticket as fast as you can they are free but limited! Hope to see you at Ward 4 on Friday, August 26th.