A funny thing happened to Matt Larson while subsisting mostly on unemployment. And he couldn’t be happier.
With his job as tour guide at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on ice, Larson’s show business career serendipitously warmed up in 2020 when he snagged an editing job on a 10-episode YouTube sitcom, “Burb Patrol.”
“It’s a dream come true,” said Larson, a 36-year-old Vallejoan back in Solano County assisting his mother, Carol Larson, recovers from knee replacement surgery.
Living in Long Beach with his stand-up comic girlfriend Melissa Shoshahi, Larson himself was able to get a few stand-up comedy gigs, but was always searching for something slightly more secure. Not that a year of COVID-19 helped.
“I’m going to always think of my life as ‘before and after’ the pandemic,” Larson said. “So much has changed.”
Fortunately, that included his employment challenge. But first, the 36-year-old realized he had a better shot at earning a decent living training squirrels to juggle as he did doing stand-up.
Take those open mic nights at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. Just to get a few minutes on stage, “you have to sign up on a list to be put in a lottery and from the list they pick 15 people at ‘random,’ though it’s not random at all,” Larson said. “One time I was 93rd on the list with a long line behind me. I didn’t get picked.”
He was slapped by reality.
“Right now, I have no interest in doing stand-up anymore,” he thought. “I needed to pick something.”
The humor gods must have listened. Larson was offered a job editing a new YouTube comedy series, “Burb Patrol.”
Basically, the premise is two male security guards — one Black, one white — in an affluent neighborhood encountering “Karens” of all kinds while trying to enforce Home Owner Association policies.
Rewind a year. Larson was hired as an in-house editor working for a comedian who knew his girlfriend. Larson eventually met a producer, Brennan McNichol, who wanted to put a scripted 10-minute show on available social media platforms. He needed an editor. Larson raised his hand.
“Right place, right time,” he said happily. “I got a job editing scripted comedy, which is an incredibly rare job. And I get paid for it. It really is a dream come true.”
Larson also gets to showcase his acting chops, with he and his sweetheart in episodes 7 and 10. Not that he sees himself becoming a regular.
“It was nice being on the set, being part of it,” Larson said, describing the 10-minute episodes “a nice escape; well performed and really funny.”
One of Larson’s favorites: episode 4, “White & Woke,” focusing on two White residents who are over-the-top pro African American with heated exchanges with the two stars including the following lines: “I only play the black keys on the piano,” “Can we agree that Beethoven was black?” “I don’t sleep with the night light because I like it darker.” “My nanny growing up was Jamaican, and that’s like original Black.”
Other episodes include “Christmas in July,” “When Life Gives You Lemons,” “Masked ‘merica” and “Karen Kombat!”
“Burb Patrol” is “like something you’d see on television, it’s just lower budget. The quality is there,” said Larson, praising stars Juhahn Jones and Matt Rife.
“Great performances, great writing, great improv,” Larson said, describing the show as a cross between “Reno 911,” “Workaholics” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
All the episodes recently dropped at once on YouTube, with episode one quickly hitting 1,000 views, said Larson.
“I thought that was great,” he said. “Of course, we want a million to see it.”
Though the target audience is mostly Generation Z (under 25), “my 78-year-old aunt laughed out lout at one of the episodes,” Larson said.
It’s the producer’s first effort with his SchoolyardTV company, Larson said, hoping his talents continue to land him film editing work.
“You just hope someone sees it and asks me to work their next comedy movie or series,” Larson said. “This job is a big word-of-mouth sort of thing. With a film editor, you need to trust that person with all the footage. All of it is in his hands. What I’m hoping for is ‘Burb Patrol’ catches on. I think it has the capacity.”
To catch “Burb Patrol,” visit youtube.com/schoolyardtv