improv comedy with an audience member


Press, reviews, articles, interviews, and so forth:

Philadelphia Magazine

"Comedian Matt Holmes has been performing his funny, unpredictable Matt& shows for 10 years. It’s a premise that keeps on giving: Holmes pulls a stranger up out of the audience and creates an entire comedy show around their interactions.

Improvised music, lighting, and sound effects help elevate over your typical improv show."

Things to Do This Weekend | March 2018

GEEKADELPHIA: Matt& Improv Comedy Show Hopes to Give YOU Your Comedy Debut on July 1!

How often do you encounter a “once in a lifetime” opportunity? You know, a chance to do something so out of your comfort zone that is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

Matt& will pick his comedy partner for the evening at the show, on the spot, like when the show literally starts. Seriously, nothing is planned. Matt Holmes and you will truly put the word improv to the test.

Gather your courage and your friends. Whether you are picked or not, you will still have a hilarious time.

Geekadelphia Thing To Do | Jan. 2017

Comedy shows are always a lot of fun. Yet there is always that fear of being picked on by the performer if you laugh too hard or wear a bright shirt. It’s a very rare thing that happens at comedy shows.

This time, the chances are high, as improv comedian Matt Holmes will pick one audience member to perform with him.

In Matt&, Philly improv comedian Matt Holmes pulls an unwitting stranger from the audience as his partner for the whole show. It’s a comedy duo made up of two strangers, one of whom isn’t a comedian, giving the audience a sense of a suspense as they wonder who will be picked; sort of like waiting to have your named be called on The Price is Right.

The show will truly be new and fresh, as anything can happen with improv but also allowing one special audience member to be transformed into a performer for a night. If you’re looking for some laughs and a chance to be part of the act, drop by.

phindie - independent coverage of Philadelphia theater and arts

Matt discusses audience participation and audience expectations.

Interview with Phindie | Jan. 2017

Matt discusses his history, what improv is in many forms, talks about performing with an audience member, and finally does a few improvised scenes
two words: Glitter Mines.

The Shakedown Podcast | Jan. 2017

Matt discusses his experiences learning improv and how he teaches improv with the mantra of
"Do something, do it more, do it bigger."

There It Is Podcast | Jan. 2017

Listen on Soundcloud - There It Is Podcast Interview with Matt Holmes

"We had the best time and laughed our asses off."
Facebook Review | Dec. 22, 2016

Philadelphia Weekly Arts & Culture Calendar | Dec. 21-28, 2016
Philadelphia Weekly

Expect nothing and enjoy everything at this 100 percent improv comedy show. Funnyman Matt Holmes picks random audience members to perform his style of unpredictable comedy each night; no two shows are ever the same.

"Love comedy shows? Here's one with a twist."
PHILTH | Oct. 19, 2016

Matt discusses improvising with non-improvisers and his 3 simple steps, and also does a few improvised scenes.

Talking Shop Podcast | Dec. 2, 2015

Pittsburgh City Paper

Do you dream of being an improv comedian? Well, tonight could be your big break if you're at the Matt& show at Arcade Comedy Theater.

Matt Holmes is a Philadelphia-based performer and teacher whose daring routine involves pulling an audience member on stage and performing an entire improv show with him or her. He's toured the show nationally, and tonight is his Pittsburgh debut. In addition, Holmes will teach two workshops during the day at Arcade's education space.

Pittsburgh City Paper, Short List | July 2015

"If you've never had the chance to see Matt&, you're really missing out."

Interview with PHIT News | April 2, 2015

One-On-One with Matt Holmes and Neil Curran
Interview with PeopleAndChairs Blog
| April 2, 2015

Philadelphia Weekly Arts & Culture Calendar | March 4, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

Improv Comedy with an Audience Member
As he has done for six years, the Philly Improv Theater and Rare Bird Show's Matt Holmes will be paired with audience members to create a comedy show with no plans, no script, but lots of surprises.

"deserves some mad props"

Interview with Never Done Again Blog
March 2015

11 things to do in Philly this weekend
Metro | Feb. 26, 2015

Ideas from the audience are often the catalysts for a round of improv - some games even involve bringing an audience member onstage - but this show pushes that concept to the limit.

It's just the Philly Improv Theater's Matt Holmes, one-on-one with a single audience member. Other than that, it could go anywhere - most likely somewhere funny.

The heart of the Philly improv scene is PHIT's "Super Free Sunday" block. The early show, The Dean's List!, is a fun exercise in spontaneity, as veteran teachers perform with randomly selected students.

This week, it also features Matt&, in which one-man improv powerhouse Matt Holmes partners with an unsuspecting audience member for an entire set.

"Best worst nightmare come true"

Courier-Post, Super Free Sundays at PHIT Highlight | Jan. 2015

Matt discusses his comedy interests, the early days of longform improv in Philly, and improv theory.

Interview with Gettin' Close with Mike Marbach Podcast
Jan. 21, 2015

Listen on iTunes - Gettin' Close Podcast Interview with Matt Holmes

"more complex and bolder"

Feature about Rare New Formats in
STATUS, a Spanish-Language Online Magazine about Improv

Status (Reviste Virtual de Improvisacion Teatral) | Nov. 2014

"completely blew me away"

BrianMGray Blog | June 9, 2014
Duofest 2014 Review

"better in concept than in practice" | February 2, 2014
SteelStacks Improv Festival 2014 Review

"I love the loose creativity of improv," says the performer, whose name is Matt Holmes. "There are fewer limitations than other formats. You could have a 30-foot burrito attacking the Louvre, and you don't have to build any costumes or sets or puppets or models. You just get people to imagine it.

"Improv really brings the creative process down to its fundamental elements: people, play, trust, support and seeing what happens. It's great to see a local improv festival happening here, bringing artists together and spurring more people to see improv and maybe even try it themselves."

Go ahead and laugh: ArtsQuest's first improv comedy festival this weekend
The Morning Call | Jan. 29, 2014
SteelStacks Preview

"super quick on his feet ... almost had me in tears." | September 15, 2013
Fringe Festival Review

"Matt& = one guy improv-ing with an audience member = freakin brilliant."

"a whimsical experiment"
FringeArts Blog | July 11, 2013

A Micro-Managing Comedy Lover's Golden Opportunity:
Audience Improv with Matt Holmes

"Hailing from Philadelphia, Matt& is a unique show that is both bizarre and gutsy.

Matt Holmes (Rare Bird Show) asks for an audience volunteer, usually someone who has never done improv before, to come up on stage and do an improvised show with him.

Holmes is brilliant while working with someone he has had no experience performing with before. His ability to make things work in the scene, create fun dynamics, and avoid obstacles created by the newcomer is incredible. It shows you just how talented he is. Must see!"

springclops | June 27, 2012
Del Close Marathon 14
10 Must See Shows on Sunday

"Loved it!"

- Joe Bill,
Faculty at iO, Second City, and The Annoyance

"I'm both in control and allowing myself to be not in control"

Witout | June 5, 2012
Duofest Interview: Matt&

Matt Holmes and Aaron Hertzog talk about comedy, the rise of improv in Philadelphia over the past ten years, and Matt's approach to improv.

The WitOut Podcast | March 9, 2012

WitOut Podcast - Matt Holmes

Keith Becraft and Megan Wills from BIG, Baltimore Improv Group, discuss character in improv and give a big shout-out to Matt& on their podcast, The Improvocateur.

The Improvocateur Podcast | February 21, 2012
The Improvocateur Podcast: Character

"A master ballroom dancer can make an untrained partner look wonderful. With the same grace, Matt Holmes guides an audience member through an improv performance as his partner in the delightful 'Matt&'.

Holmes' good nature and skill make the show fun for the audience member and a joy to watch."

- Jill Bernard,
Director of Education at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis and author of "Jill Bernard's Small Cute Book of Improv"

Pick for Best of Comedy Month 2011
The Onion's AV Club Philadelphia | October 7, 2011
AV Club Philadelphia

The Interactive Apple | September 3, 2011

Interactive Apple
Interactive Apple - Podcast Interview about Interactive Theatre

"I expected to do a little segment, and then the show was over. I was like, 'I did the whole show!' It was a lot of fun.
Matt's show absolutely amazed me."

Matt& at Ohio University


Philadelphia Weekly | June 1, 2011
Philadelphia Weekly
Arts & Culture Pick: Duofest

"Philly's Matt Holmes has a playful and winning form."

TimeOut Chicago | April 27, 2011
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Improv Festival Guide

"Duofest features local Matt Holmes' double-death-defying Matt&, which pairs Holmes and an audience member picked at random."

Philadelphia CityPaper | September 30, 2010
City Paper
Agenda Pick: Duofest

"Holmes is skilled and funny enough to make his second, third, and fourth ideas work when his first is jerked from beneath him." | September 16, 2010
Fringe Festival Review

"Matt Holmes can do an excellent American tween girl."

2010 Fringe Festival Review of Matt& - PDC

"Matt is the only person I know with the balls and ability to do it alone." | Sept. 10, 2010
Sometimes Things Are Funnier in Twos

"Comedy has taken on a bigger role at Philly Fringe in the past two years. For the 2010 Fringe, Matt Holmes offers something unique in the genre: one-on-one improv with a random audience volunteer."

Philly Fringe Blog | Aug. 30, 2010
Philly Fringe Live Arts Blog
Improv 1-on-1

"Experimentation is never-ending in the improvisational world, and this year's festival has plenty of examples. One comes from Philadelphia-based Matt Holmes. This improv comedy relies on the willingness of strangers.

'It's pretty unique even in a unique art form,' Holmes says. 'It's just me and a member of the audience, just winging it. I start by asking if there is anyone new to improv, maybe someone dragged there by a friend. I ask the first person who raises his hand to join me.'

Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2010
Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Improv Festival Offers Shows, Workshops

"The show is a great example of fearless performing and making your fellow performer look like a genius."

CultureMob | June 18, 2010
Improv Comedy Starring You - M@& Performs at the Shubin

"If you're weird, creative, artsy, inventive, clever, funny, shy and/or outgoing, improv is for you." Comedian Profile | June 7, 2010
Comedian Profile: Matt Holmes

"one of the funniest guys in the improv biz"    "a don't‑miss show"

Philly2Philly | March 26, 2010
Comedy Improv from (Possibly) You

"I like that improv can be serious, touching, sweet, sad, scary in addition to being funny."
Matt Holmes defends his CAGEMATCH title.

Phillyist | June 4, 2009

Wanna Laugh?

5 Questions with Matt Holmes
Metro | May 7, 2009
Monica Weymouth

Philly Improv Theater has quite the busy weekend lined up. In addition to self-proclaimed psychotherapist Dr. Lisa Levy stopping by, there are cagematch competitions, shows inspired by cubicle life, and both long- and short-form antics. We caught up with Rare Bird Show's Matt Holmes, who is performing tonight with his fearless side project, m@& (pronounced "Matt and").

A random audience member stars with you in m@&. Anyone can do this?
Well, we'll see. Hopefully it'll be a challenge that provides a good product.

Anyone you're afraid to get in the cage with?
There are a lot of great groups in Philly now, but that's good - it keeps you wanting to be better and on top of the heap. Interview
January 22, 2009

From the Sidelines:
5 Questions with Matt Holmes