If there's one baseball card set that "true collectors" look forward to every year, it's Topps Allen & Ginter. From the eccentric design to the interesting subsets and celebrities, Allen & Ginter has something for everyone. I'm an unabashed fan of A&G and an equally big fan of comedy. Imagine my excitement when I learned that my favorite comedian, Matt Besser, was to be included in 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter!
If you aren't familiar with Matt Besser, then you should be. Besser grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas as a die-hard Razorback fan. In 1990 he helped form the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) improv and sketch comedy group in Chicago. Their revolutionary brand of comedy gained fans from Chicago to New York. The execs at Comedy Central took notice and the Upright Citizens Brigade TV show (1998-2000) was born starring Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh.
The growing popularity allowed Besser and company the opportunity to create the UCB Theatre in New York and eventually LA. Since that time, Besser has carried on the legacy of his mentor Del Close by training and providing opportunities for dozens of young comedians. Some of the recent notable UCB Alumni include Aziz Ansari, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Jack McBrayer, Rob Riggle and many many more.
Matt continues to entertain with his weekly show ASSSSCAT 3000 every Sunday night at UCB LA. His IMDb page is a trophy list of incredible roles on shows including Parks & Rec, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Bob's Burgers, Childrens Hospital, Modern Family, Reno 911, How I Met Your Mother and more.
In other words, you're familiar with Matt, you just may not have known how much so. It was an INCREDIBLE honor for me to interview him about his upcoming appearance in 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter.
VFTSB: How did you find out that Topps was interested in having you in the 2014 Allen & Ginter set?
Matt: I was contacted through my website www.mattbesser.com Since I was such of fan of baseball cards as a child, I assumed the email was a scam.
VFTSB: You're the "holder of more world comedy records than any other living comedian", where does getting your own baseball card rank in your accomplishments?
Matt: A baseball card is exactly what I need to list my accomplishments. World’s Loudest Punchline, World’s Longest Set Up, World’s Most Subtle Fart Joke, I could go on…
VFTSB: I know you're pumped to be in the same set as Lou Gehrig, but are there any other players you're excited about being matched up with?
Matt: I haven’t been told who else is in the set. Lou Brock was my favorite growing up with Oscar Gamble being a close second.
VFTSB: Snoop Lion also has autographs and cards in the 2014 Allen & Ginter set. Think you might grab one?
Matt: Of course, I’m up for Snoop Lion, Snoop Dog, or Snoop Whomever.
VFTSB: If you could pick one other comedian to be in the set with you, who would it be?
Matt: Aristophanes just to give a sense of history or perhaps Shucky Ducky.
|Shucky Ducky Quack Quack!|
VFTSB: You're more of a sports fan than most comedians (as evidenced by @MattBesser), what are some of your best sports-related memories?
Matt: In the stadium I saw McFadden’s Razorbacks upset #1 LSU. On TV I saw US Reed’s midcourt shot to beat Louisville. In Busch Stadium I saw George Hendrick score an inside the park home run.
VFTSB: 2014 A&G will introduce Matt Besser to a quite a few new fans. Do you think having a Matt Besser card will introduce a few comedy fans to card collecting?
Matt:I should hope so.
VFTSB: Your weekly show, Improv 4 Humans on the Earwolf Podcast Network is getting close to its 150th episode, how has the journey been so far and what does the future hold?
Matt: Right now we are making serious pitches to a few TV networks so cross your fingers.
VFTSB: Where else can collectors catch you?
Matt: If your readers are interested in learning improv, I wrote a book along with Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh called Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisational Manual. I have a few standup recordings at www.mattbesser.com and hopefully some improv based projects for TV coming soon.
VFTSB: Lastly, why should collectors chase down a ton of Matt Besser cards in 2014 Allen & Ginter?
Matt: When it is revealed one day that I’m a KGB spy these cards will really increase in value.
A big thanks goes out to Matt Besser for taking the time to do this interview. Make sure to check out Improv 4 Humans and his other projects! 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter is slated for release on July 9th, 2014.