Catching Up With Carolla Digital's Matt Fondiler

Catching Up With Carolla Digital's Matt Fondiler
  • Part of what makes the Adam Carolla such a great listen is, not only Adam's quick wit, but the cast of characters at Carolla Digital e.g. Dawson, Lynch, August, Bald Bryan, Alison and, of course, Matt "The Porcelain Punisher" Fondiler (not to mention recurring guests like Damashek). There is real intrigue about these characters and people want to know more about them, which is why I'm really excited with the new format of Alison Rosen's podcast -- which I want to go later.

    But I'm even more excited because today, Pod-On, welcomes its first celebrity guest to the "show," the one and only Matt Fondiler or as he's known in the Carolla world, "The Porcelain Punisher" (flush sound). We're going to get to talk to Matt about his own podcast he does on movies "There Will Be Spoilers" (, his new role in the ARIYNBF Thursday podcast and what it's like having a job that makes all your friends jealous. Btw, you can also find Matt on Twitter at

    Matt, welcome to Pod-On, and can you start by just telling us a little bit about your back story and how you ended up working at Carolla Digital?
  • Thanks Zach, looking forward to this.

    Backstory is pretty simple... I'm an LA guy born and raised, grew up watching The Man Show, and spent many hours listening to Carolla's morning show on my commute to work. At the time I was in a soul-sucking finance job, desperate to find something more satisfying. I wasn't sure what else to do, so I just submitted a fan letter along with my resume... to my great amazement I heard back on it a couple months later.

    Ended up keeping my finance job for the first five months or so... just coming to Carolla Studios in the evenings to write episode summaries for free and be seen by the staff. Eventually they gave me enough hours to leave my other job and it's been an incredible journey ever since!
  • Zach, would it be creepy if we asked Matt do the entire conversation while sitting on the can? That would be legendary (and appropriate).

    Matt, first, we are huge fans. I love the new MBF addition of ARIYNBF. I loved the discussion regarding the parked Honda Civic and the note from "James Gandolfini's son." That was great pod. I nearly shit my pants. You are great on that podcast.

    Can you also tell us how you came to do the There Will Be Spoilers podcast? Have you always been a movie guy? Or was it a way to start your own podcast? I have to tell you that I've been listening to the ACE podcast from the beginning and known about you since you started to work for Carolla Digital. But it wasn't until I googled you that I found out you had your own movie review podcast. And it's a really good one too, guests and all. I think the word about TWBS needs to be spread, people that don't listen to it are missing out.
  • Nice! Thanks man, it would be awesome if more people listened to TWBS. That project has always just been about having fun with my friends and inviting people to listen in if they'd like. Appreciate you guys helping me spread the word.

    In terms of getting that podcast started... I used to do a lot of personal writing, journaling and such, but I felt like I was getting too personal and I wanted to have something that I could share with friends and not feel too self-conscious about it. Around that time Adam started up his podcast and had said something on the air to the effect of "I like being on the radio because I like getting paid to exchange ideas with people". That seemed really appealing to me too, so one night I talked to my friend about maybe doing something movie based since I've always been a huge movie fan, and I know all of my friends are very opinionated on this topic. So finally one night my buddy Joel convinced me to record something short, and I've been hooked ever since.

    I mentioned before that I had written a fan letter to Adam and didn't hear back till a couple months later... the weirdest part of all this is that I sent my letter to Adam, started podcasting on my own, and then THE SAME DAY that I posted my first episode was the day that I heard back from my letter (which at that point I'd essentially forgotten that I even sent). Adam calls it "The Great Magnet" and I truly think that if I hadn't had the impulse to immerse myself in podcasting on my own time that the opportunity with Adam would have never arrived.
  • You bring up an interesting point that really supports this big theory I have about human beings. People love listening to people speak when there's good chemistry, even if they don't really the know the people involved, and even if they don't get to be part of the conversation. Look at Bill Simmons -- his most interesting podcasts weren't with experts, they were with his friends from college.

    I think TWBS picks up on that -- it's just you and your friends, but it's great. and it's why I'm really excited by the new format of ARIYNBF, because you guys have such great chemistry. I love the way that everyone plays off each other.

    The people behind the Simpson's characters famously NEVER spent time with each other outside of work. Do you guys hang out when you're not doing the show or does this chemistry just happen magically?
  • Eh, it's a little bit of both I think... certainly there's a level of comfort around Alison, Gary and Chris since we've all worked with each other 5-6 days a week for the last several years. I hadn't previously met Alison's friend Jenna, but she's got great energy and reminds me of other close friends so I just instantly felt comfortable around her. Anyway, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the new episodes, I'm having a blast being a part of it.

    Re: hanging out when we're not at work, there have definitely been many great weekends and parties to be remembered, and likely many more to come. Also, Gary recently moved in with me and my friends so I feel like I see that guy every waking moment of my life.

    And since you mentioned it, Bill Simmons is great, though I don't really follow sports (yeah, yeah, I know), so mostly I just enjoy the pop culture eps. I'm a huge fan of Chuck Klosterman, so any time he's a guest it's a must-listen.
  • Hey Matt
    Sorry I'm late to the party guys. The first thing I wanted to bring up to you is something I'm into that caused me to be a fan of the "Pod Father" and the Carolla empire. I've always been fascinated with those who are able to make something out of nothing. To me it doesn't matter if its your passion, hobby or career. Adam is able to do that over and over with the pod world, Mangria, Road Hard etc. After reading the reply about your back story you are now on my short list of people who have that talent for making something out of nothing. Can you offer up some insight on how to be successful at that?

    My day job is in construction. Doing that for a living and being a big Adam fan Ace on the House is a must listen for me. As the producer of one of my favorite shows, what can you tell us about it that we may not gather from
  • Ooh, good questions. I want to give a good, comprehensive answer here! In terms of creating something out of nothing I think there's really two facets to it. The first is much more practical, and it's what Adam constantly preaches, which is to just chip away at stuff one small task at a time. He applies this to everything from working on his cars to writing scripts. To take the metaphor literally, you have a block of stone in the beginning, you chip away at it, and eventually you have the Statue of David even though it seems a million miles away in the beginning. I think that's really the most concrete advice to give to someone looking to accomplish a goal: just chip away at it.

    The other facet is a little more new-agey, but basically you have to convince yourself that you WILL achieve what you want. You may have to lie to yourself until your behaviors match your reality, but I truly believe in the powers of your own perception. Jobs I've had, girls I've dated, and projects I've accomplished have all been the result of setting my sights on a particular image in my mind and then constantly reinforcing myself mentally that I will get to that point eventually, regardless of road blocks. Again, I know that sounds a little bullshitty, but whatever you believe to be true is going to be true... if you think you're hindered by a particular item, you ARE going to be hindered by that item, because that's what you believe to be the truth and you will always prove yourself right. But if you're convinced that item holds no power over your life, then I promise you that will be true as well. There are some great books out there that preach this kind of advice, and I can tell you after reading a couple of especially good ones that I have been considerably happier about every aspect of my life, which in turn has lead to more opportunities and even more happiness.

    And in terms of On the House, I'd say what you hear on the show is pretty much what you get. The only thing people may not necessarily know is that we tape On the House and CarCast back to back whenever we record. People often ask for multiple episodes per week of both of these shows, but I can tell you based on Adam's recording schedules that it will probably always be a once-a-week show. If you're listening to a show that feels kind of rushed... well, it's probably because the guests for the next show have already arrived and Adam knows he's got a radio interview to do after that. We always want to put out an amazing product, but every week is a little bit different and I think that's what makes all of Adam's shows so fun and different. Ray is also always hilarious and you can always feel whatever energy is happening outside of the studio will immediately be brought onto the air. Gary and I have a ton of fun working on this show and laughing at Ace and Ray all morning long. Glad to hear you're a fan!
  • (Back from labor and delivery, that was fun!)

    I actually don't think your point about visualizing success is "bullshitty" at all. It completely resonates with me and, now that you mention it, it's something I do as well.

    I don't want to get away from the personal questions, but, in the meantime, I want to hit you with this movie question -- and I'm wondering if you've discussed it on TWBS.

    Right now, if "The Town" comes on TV, I watch it. It's that simple. It's not because of nostalgia (ala Karate Kid) -- I just love "The Town" so much that if I see it on TV, I'm compelled to watch (even though Ben Affleck takes himself a little too seriously). It's almost like a rule -- and I think same would go for "Zero Dark Thirty," and I used to be this way with the Borne movies.

    Matt, what is your current "Put-down-what-you're-working-on-and-watch-this-movie-right--fucking-now" film(s)?
  • (Btw, Matt, if you didn't like "The Town," please don't tell me. I simply like you too much -- it would be like when little kids find out that Santa isn't real. I mean the freaking switch car was one of the coolest twists...okay, don't want to get ahead of myself here.)
  • I think Forrest Gump will sadly ALWAYS be that film for me that I end up watching till the end whenever I see that it's on. Reservoir Dogs, Ghostbusters and Swingers are also on that list... I'm pretty sure I did do an episode on this topic, but I think it was even more ridiculous than that, which is "movies that you own but would still just as easily watch it on TV and deal with commercials rather than walk upstairs and get the disc."

    The Town was GREAT, so was Argo, and his first movie Gone Baby Gone was also pretty effin great. I think each of his movies was better than the one before but I did love the simple straightforward storytelling of The Town. I just remembered being kinda pissed at Affleck's character the whole time because he KNEW he was just going to cause a problem with his relationship but kept it up anyway. Bros before hoes man, cmon!
  • This touches on a major problem I have in my marriage that maybe Matt can help me with(you guys should chime in also. Ram, you know my wife and get the challenge). My wife was raised in a house that didn't have T.V. I tried to fill in the gaps of her childhood with movies from mine. Examples are Back to the Future, Goonies, Breakfast Club etc. Quite frankly she just doesn't get it. I don't know if its because watching 80's - 90's movies now just don't translate the same nowadays like they did then or what. I feel like I have maybe one more chance to knock it out of the park to make her love an iconic movie before the window of opportunity is shut forever. Matt, as the creator of TWBS and movie expert, what's a sure thing to make her watch and love?
  • (Ha. I'd say she first needs to watch you yell at her parents for not having a TV in the house! Btw, if Matt solves this one, I've got a whole slew of "fix my marriage questions" in store. We could be here a while.)
  • Scott, is not the translation. I'll tell you that though we are the same age, since I am a foreigner, I never saw The Breakfast Club until THIS year, and it was a good movie. It might be because she is Canadian, who knows.

    Zach, wouldnt it be hilarious if Matt solved a bunch of married guys' marriage "issues" (figuring out which movie your wife like sounds like a "rich-white-guy-problem" to me)?
  • Yeah, I've had the same issue showing friends movies like Ghostbusters, or Poltergeist, or my personal 90s fave Heavyweights... no one seems to get it unless you watched it at the time. Unfortunately I don't think the 80s produced a single movie that can save your marriage (if we could open it up to 60s and 70s movies, I could save you thousands on therapy).

    BUT, there is a ray of hope here: The Untouchables (1987). Costner, DeNiro, Connery... a million great lines, incredible score, and a lil' bit of history too. You can't NOT like that movie.
  • And, I mean, I feel like these are too obvious which is why I skipped them, but: Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Terminator(s) & Alien(s) are all mandatory iconic filmwatching.
  • The Untouchables is a great freaking movie. I wonder if chicks are into it as much as guys. Matt where are you on the Scorsese movies?
  • The chick thing is the point I was going to make. Those are all great movies that need to be watched. But for a woman with sketchy taste already, I don't know if they have enough universal appeal. This is the challenge in finding the right movie to put her on the right track. Remember, she didn't grow up correctly and as an adult she loves shows like Bachelor( and so do I kind of but that's another issue that I'm not yet ready to deal with).
  • Hmmm... well I'm 100% guilty of not knowing shit about good chick flicks... Maybe "When Harry Met Sally"? "Annie Hall"?? Another great gem of the 80s is "Say Anything" with John Cusack (directed by Cameron Crowe who later did Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous). SA is great, definitely more female oriented, but a little dated. Otherwise I think Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles are pretty popular with the ladies... though I feel like I'd rather rip my own toenails off than watch any of that shit.

    Actually if there's ONE chick flick that I actually enjoyed thoroughly, it's called "In Her Shoes". I mean, this is REAALLLYYY chick flicky about shoes and dating and being a woman in a man's world (booooriiiinnngg)... but it's directed by Curtis Hanson (who did LA Confidential) so it's significantly better than it should be. Not exactly a movie from your childhood, but a better-than-average chick flick. You may also have luck introducing her to old Audrey Hepburn movies. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is the most popular, but "Charade" is a way better movie. There's also a really funny-yet-depressing movie she did later in her career called "Two For The Road" which will PROBABLY directly lead to your divorce, but it costars Albert Finney and is another personal fave that very few people have seen.

    As for Scorcese, I have a mixed relationship... I spent a long time convinced that all of his movies were just way too long. But in more recent years I've come to really look forward to everything he releases. Goodfellas is my fave of his, with Casino and The Departed both close behind. Still need to see Mean Streets which I hear is actually his purest and best... also, the trailer for Wolf of Wall Street blew my fucking mind. CANNOT wait for that... have you guys seen that yet??
  • Bonus: Cameron Diaz looks uh-mazing in "In Her Shoes." I had to ask my wife to leave the room twice.

    Before the guys chime in on Wolf, let me get in a quickie on Heavy Weights. I was unaware that people with good movie taste liked this movie! I just thought it appealed to me as a career dieter. (my avatar pic was taken on my skinniest day of the last five years!)

    I giggled for two straight hours and I could make a very strong argument that Heayweights was Ben Stiller's best performance (shocking that Stiller does best in roles where he's a maniacal asshole!).
  • Sorry. Must sneak this in Cameron Diaz looks like a horse with her giant teeth smile. She can rub her naked body against mine and I'd stay as limp as a shoe lace. And yes The Wolf Of Wallstreet look rediculous. Can't wait.
  • And I must sneak this in (before the next response) -- Matt's 200th podcast is coming up pretty soon, but in the meantime check out his site and the 199 other podcasts he's got on there.
  • Matt -- it's funny that you bring up trailers, because both "The Town" and "Black Swan" convinced me never to watch a trailer again. I had no idea what either movie was about going in, and I feel like that made those two movies infinitely more enjoyable.

    Where do you come out on trailers?
  • Re: Cameron Diaz-- my roommate Chandler is convinced that she has a clause in her contract that mandates at least one male co-star calls her "beautiful" in every movie. He thinks Reese Witherspoon has the same contract rule. We have a good laugh every time it happens, because it happens EVERY TIME.

    Re: Heavyweights-- glad there's another fan! It's actually an early Judd Apatow project, which may explain why it's so goddamned hilarious. Stiller is amazing it in, and it's just a hilariously mean-spirited "family" movie. Definitely an all-time fave that I know virtually line for line.

    Re: Trailers-- Wolf of Wall Street is a rare exception. Typically my point of view is, if I'm going to see the movie anyway, you don't need to sell me on it. Most of the time, if it's a movie I really want to see, I will go so far as to close my eyes and plug my ears while in the theater, just so it doesn't ruin the movie for me (have had to do this for nearly every Christopher Nolan movie). Been burned one too many times. I mean, MAYBE I'll watch a trailer once all the way through (like Wolf) just so I can get a feel for the movie... but by the time they start doing quick montage shots of the second half of the movie, I just feel like it's spoiler spoiler spoiler so I tune it out. Odds are I will not see the Wolf trailer ever again. Just want to see the movie! Having said that, I will watch trailers for mediocre movies all day long cause there's no way I'm sitting through the whole thing. As it turns out, the highest compliment you can get from me is that I turn off your trailer.
  • HOLY SHIT I just thought of two more classics to consider showing your wife: The Princess Bride and/or Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Princess bride. YES. You've done it again Fondiler.
  • Are we just going to ignore that Matt has a roommate named Chandler? That guy must get more annoying questions than Mike Bolton in "Office Space." (See how I tied that back into movies?)

    Matt, are movies the new books? I feel like twenty years ago, you were considered lazy if you didn't read enough books. Now, I feel lazy because I don't watch enough movies.

    Ram is always giving me shit because I don't watch enough movies, although in my defense I'm convinced that Ram's iPhone is plugged into his butt -- that is the only way to explain the amount of media the man consumes.
  • Zach, first, I give you shit about not watching TV shows more than movies, but it all falls under the same umbrella. Second I totally agree about the whole book/movie thing. One is now considered lazy if one doesn't take the time/effort to go watch a movie. Movies are as an important learning tool these days as the internet. I truly believe that with today's technology and graphics one can learn a lot or at the very least be very entertained and stimulate the brain with visual effects.

    Matt I hope that people get a lot from this interview with you, but at the very least I hope they get titles of movie they may have missed or never heard of/never saw. I don't think I ever saw Heavyweights, but guess what movie I'll be renting/streaming tonight? Goonies, just kidding, Heavyweights.
  • To combine all of what you guys've said, I think TV Shows are the new Movies. Especially since the HBO/AMC era has dominated the pop culture landscape, I think people are clinging more to TV shows a) because it's cheaper than a night at the movies, b) you can watch them on demand, and c) you can invest hours upon hours loving your favorite characters and stories. This is not to say that movies are going anywhere, or are any less important, but I think as movies become more and more corporate/franchise friendly, original story tellers need a place to go. Cable TV seems to have served that purpose.

    I do still love reading though... I try to tackle a book a month if I have time, though these days it's more like a book every 2-3 months. Books are REALLY where storytellers get to draw out the characters and the emotions, so it's probably my favorite medium. Though it's definitely much easier to sit still and watch a 3-hour movie or marathon, as opposed to sitting still and reading for that long.
  • Matt. I couldn't agree more. Both on the tv shows are the "new movies" (and no movies aren't going anywhere) and about books being where storytellers get to draw out characters and emotions. In fact, since I still have time before the movie comes out, I think I'll make The Wolf Of Wall Street my next book. Have you read it?
  • (If you've read Popular Crime by Bill James, you should read -- SHAMELESS PROMO ALERT -- my convo with Bill James about his book ...if not, read Popular Crime)
  • Have not read Wolf or Popular Crime... I actually just started Wonder Boys (have not seen the movie, but I really enjoyed another Michael Chabon book called Kavalier and Klay so I thought I'd try this one out).
  • Matt, I was listening to your 200th pod today, and you mentioned that there will be a slight format change in TWBS moving forward. Tell us about that.

    Btw, it's
  • Well, "slight" is definitely a good word for it. From the beginning, the intention was always that movies would serve as a jumping off point for larger conversations about our lives and experiences. But after 200 episodes dedicated to film, with many of my friends guesting on the show like 15 times in the last three years, I just wanted to give us all a chance to start from somewhere other than "Random Film Topic #302".

    The energy of the show will still the be same, but now I'll go to a museum and talk about it on "There Will Be Art". Or we'll bust out some red cups and record "There Will Be Beer Pong". There will still be episodes dedicated to movies ("There Will Be Heavyweights" is definitely happening), and maybe I'll finally ask the Aceman to do "There Will Be Carolla".
  • Okay, I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass (especially given your can-related reputation) but I love this.

    I think you've got the right format already because, as I said above, people LOVE listening to camaraderie and good chemistry. And, again it's why I've now made "More Best Friend" part of my regular listening. Hell, I think it's what makes the Appatow movies so popular. Not everyone has those types of friendships -- people they can rib with -- and a lot of people try to enjoy that vicariously through podcasts like yours.

    Matt -- this has been great having you on, and hopefully we can get you back at some point to get your take on "Wolf of Wall St" or to solve some more of Scott's marital issues.

    Please use the final Reply to plug what you're working on and feel free to include a few links (if you wanna score points with the Ace-man, you could even put in a link to the Road Hard campaign ;)
  • Matt. Thank you. We hope to catch up again with you in the future. It's been enlightening and a pleasure.
  • Yeah, thanks for all the time you spent Matt. I for one still need you. She's seen the Princess Bride and liked it but it didn't do much for her. I'm still in trouble.
  • Thanks to all of you guys for having me on, would love to chat Wolf or anything else. Scott- I will continue to rack my brain for choices.

    Lots of links worth visiting: