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San Francisco Fringe 2018

Justin Matson: Fatter Than You Think

Justin Matson

Genre: Comedy, Solo Show

Venue: EXIT Theatre


Low Down

Adorably awkward with a twist of gay, Los Angeles comedian Justin Matson has been kicked off three rollercoasters for being too fat, and hes finally ready to talk about it! Fresh from performing to sold out crowds at the Adelaide Fringe in Australia, Matson delivers a hilarious stand-up special about his lifelong struggle with body image. Its real, its raw, and gayer than a small side salad.


Justin Matson’s comedy revolves around his body image. Inspired by his own experiences sifting through the ever-present minefield of advice from professionals, weight loss advertisements and friends, Matson innocently explains his results. Smiling and with an air of vulnerability he gets into situations as he deals with weight issues.

Matson is an affable fellow and stuff happens to him constantly! For example, he gets stuck in a roller coaster and directions from the inexperienced corporate employees push the limits of logic and patience – and Matson seizes on the opportunity to embellish it with his timing as a recountable story. He’s prone to thinking that generally unhealthy things to eat are fine for wacky reasons, such as an example he told about donuts.

Matson’s delivery is calm, vital, endearing and he speaks directly to us in a friendly tone. His topics are relatable because we have all tried some of the things Matson describes, therefore there is complicity between him and the audience already built in to his show. One cannot help but react and empathise with Matson as he is given advice to take half a dozen almonds in a small plastic bag to work for a snack!

Matson is a good storyteller, he digresses slightly and always for a purpose, but he always comes back on track following through with the ups and downs of his experience. Another technique he uses is that he tells longer stories rather than short one-liners. He is very good at this and compelling to listen to as he weaves his points and mild sarcasm through an endless array of so called tricks and remedies. We also learn about his life – or that of his persona – whoever it is, and it is fascinating.

Matson is empathetic and the audience reacts with laughter right from the start. The theatre is small and Matson is not far from anyone, which confirms the value of an intimate setting for his show. He covers more ideas and thoughts about losing weight – and yes, we have also tried these tactics to no avail – so in essence, we are sharing and almost confiding in each other silently as Matson takes the lead.

In a story about affirmations he is wry and entertaining – always finding the positive in the negative. He is sincere and half way through his fifty-five minute solo show he talks about how he starts with straight guy jokes but wants to move on to gay jokes.

His characters and observations about someone eating a salad and other every day topics are fascinating. Matson gives oblique links to themes in several instances, which keep you on your toes. We also learn things about his travels in Japan and his adventures in NYC. Matson is entertaining and thought provoking in his comedy and is Highly Recommended!