You’ve seen Matthew “Matty” Cardarople before. In fact, you’ve seen him in just about everything geeky that you love. The poet-turned-comedic-actor pops up everywhere from Jurassic World, to the heart-warming Star Trek-focused indie dramedy Please Stand By; which just hit Blu-ray on Tuesday. But, in a sense, he’s always playing the same guy. And according to Cardarople, that’s exactly how you’re supposed to think of all his characters. No matter the film or show, this is the same geeky person, involved in a secret multiverse-crossing adventure.
“I explain it to people like this,” Cardarople says, totally deadpan. He sounds exactly how you’d expect. He takes his time with his answers, he’s funny, but he doesn’t talk like he knows he’s funny. “My character in Jurassic World had to shut down the park and he didn’t have anywhere to go so he joined Count Olaf’s troupe in A Series of Unfortunate Events and then he didn’t like that job, so he went and worked in the mall in Please Stand By —“
Cardarople pauses for a second, knowing that in order to get to the arcade where his character “Keith” worked in Stranger Things season 2, there needs to be time travel. But, because Cardarople is funny, and doesn’t act like he’s funny, he chooses the best possible time travel method for his uber-character.
“— and when he was in the mall he met up with Bill and Ted and got into a phone booth and went back in time and worked at an arcade in Stranger Things.”
In Please Stand By, Cardarople plays a stereotypical nerd who works at Cinnabon with Dakota Fanning’s character Wendy. Along with a few other guys, they try to stump Wendy on Star Trek trivia, all of which she easily gets right. Cardarople says that this scene, like some of his jokes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (where he plays a deadpan henchperson), contained “Quite a bit of improv.” When pressed, he’s not sure where the script begins and the improv ends. Which is much like how he sees being typecast as this quintessential “nerd” character. The lines between where Cardarople begins and the Jurrasic World park attendant aren’t clear.
“It’s perfect for me,” Cardarople explains, eschewing any notion that he resents being typecast. “That character is essentially who I am and it totally works. I love playing roles like that. It’s natural. It’s who I am.”
Part of Cardarople’s philosophy about playing the same character over and over again probably comes from his path to acting in the first place. He didn’t dream of becoming an actor or even a comedian. Instead, he was encouraged by teachers in high school to read his humorous poems out loud, which gave him the confidence to become himself.
“I wasn’t a bad kid, I kind of tried to always entertain the class. One teacher sort of gave me the floor to act like an idiot,” he says, detailing some of his early comedy concepts. “I would say, ‘oh look, I’ve got a new pair of shoes’ and then I’d pull out a piece of paper and say ‘oh that’s weird I found a poem in my shoe.’ And then I would read the poem.”
In addition to roles like Please Stand By, or The Big Sick, and of course, the forthcoming third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Cardarople continues to write and publish off-beat poetry. His debut poetry collection is appropriately titled Space Cadet.
And that’s just one more piece of evidence Matty Cardarople is exactly who he pretends to be on screen. “I love Star Trek. It’s the best,” he says flatly as if asking if he doesn’t is patently absurd. “Anything in space, I’m in. If it takes place in space, I’m down for it.”
- Please Stand By is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.