Arts·Here & Queer

Matt Rogers is the new prince of Christmas (you better watch out, Mariah)

The comedian, actor and Las Culturistas podcast host sat down with Peter Knegt to talk about his merry new special, Have You Heard of Christmas?

The comedian sat down with Peter Knegt to talk about his merry new special, Have You Heard of Christmas?

Comedian and actor Matt Rogers is sitting down for an interview at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto.
Matt Rogers at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto. (CBC Arts)

Here & Queer is an interview series hosted by Peter Knegt that celebrates and amplifies the work of LGBTQ artists though unfiltered conversations.

Matt Rogers is having an exceptionally good 2022. Las Culturistas, the comedian and actor's wildly popular podcast with his best friend Bowen Yang, celebrated its 300th episode. He co-starred alongside Yang and Joel Kim Booster in the acclaimed queer rom com Fire Island (which won the entire cast a Gotham Award for best ensemble). He played Darcy Leeds on the fantastic Showtime series I Love That For You, which also starred the iconic likes of Jenifer Lewis, Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon. And now, he's ending off the year with a particularly spirited bang: he has rightfully been crowned the prince of Christmas.

In Rogers' new musical comedy special Have You Heard Of Christmas?, he offers himself this title, and asks that the Queen of Christmas (Mariah Carey, of course) give her blessing in allowing him to join what he calls "the pantheon of Christmas royalty." Whether or not Carey ultimately agrees, Rogers makes a pretty solid argument he deserves it anyway in the special. Through nine original songs that he created with musical director Henry Koperski (who also just so happens to be his ex-boyfriend), Rogers offers the holiday the unapologetic gayness it deserves. It's a show Rogers and Koperski have been touring live for years, though now we are all lucky enough to be able to watch it our own homes, ideally repeatedly, through the holiday. 

We were lucky enough to sit down with Rogers at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto ahead of a live performance of the show to talk about the special (among other things) in this episode of our new interview series, Here & Queer. Watch the episode below:

The origin of the special goes back to when Rogers was coming up in the comedy scene in New York and looking for a new show to put on.

"I was very involved in the Upright Citizens Brigade and the improv and sketch community in New York," he says. "And then I started the podcast Las Culturistas with Bowen Yang, and I sort of discovered my own comedic voice. And so I was looking for something that combined all my interests. I have a love of musical comedy and musical theatre. I have a sketch background, and I was starting to find my voice as a podcast host. So I wanted to make a one-man show that sort of combined all that stuff."

Comedian and actor Matt Rogers sings into a microphone on a stage, with a Christmas tree behind him.
Matt Rogers in his special, Have You Heard Of Christmas? (Showtime)

And thus, a budding prince of Christmas was born.

"My boyfriend at the time, Henry Koperski, is a brilliant musical director," Rogers says. "He's an amazing musician. And we started just writing a Christmas show. We have since broken up, but he is still my musical director... And we've been doing this show together ever since. And so I think of it as half mine and half his — you know, he's like the music to my lyrics."

"The show started at the Duplex in New York City, and now here it is on Crave in Canada and Showtime in the States. And I'm doing it at the Queen Elizabeth Theater. And it's a fully realized, original pop Christmas album like any of the girls are doing."

Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas? is streaming on Crave (in Canada) and Showtime (in the United States) now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Knegt (he/him) is a writer, producer and host for CBC Arts. He writes the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and hosts and produces the talk series Here & Queer. He's also spearheaded the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2010s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films, the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights and the host of the monthly film series Queer Cinema Club at Toronto's Paradise Theatre. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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