Tom Papa Thinks His Pal Matt Damon Has Potential as a Comedian

'He's one of those annoying people who could probably do anything he sets his mind to.'

Tom Papa Photo Provided

Tom Papa Photo Provided

Actor, comic, and prolific podcaster Tom Papa has made a few famous friends over the years, including none other than Matt Damon.

Papa, who performs in Boston this weekend, has become pretty good pals with the Cambridge-born star after working together on Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant and HBO’s Behind the Candelabra. The comic admits that Damon could probably make it in the comedy world since he’s such a funny guy behind the scenes.

“He’s one of those annoying people who could probably do anything he sets his mind to,” Papa says. “So let’s hope he doesn’t.”

Check out what else Papa has to say about Damon, his frequent conspiracy theory discussions with Bill Burr, and more.

Boston comic Will Noonan told me to ask you about sourdough bread starters. What’s the story behind that?

I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately. I was home for the holidays and as a comedian, when you’re not on the road, you get a little buggy. A writer friend of mine taught me about sourdough bread and how it comes from this sourdough starter with natural yeast that comes from the air around us. I kind of went down this rabbit hole and now I can’t stop baking sourdough bread. I guess I talked about it on the podcast, that’s probably where he heard it.

So when are you opening up a bakery?

If comedy goes south I’ll end up being a baker.

You’re coming to perform in your pal Matt Damon’s hometown. Is he a funny guy behind the scenes?

He’s the greatest. We’ve become really good friends and it’s mainly built on just hanging out and making each other laugh. He’s really, really funny. A lot of times, you meet actors and they are interesting, but he’s actually really funny and just a great guy. We became really tight as soon as we started working together.

Do you think he could make it as a comedian?

He’s one of those annoying people who could probably do anything he sets his mind to, so let’s hope he doesn’t.

Damon and a bunch of awesome stars have been guests on your radio play. How did that idea come about?

I was always a fan of the Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, and I always thought it might be an interesting idea if it was in the hands of a comedian. I just started writing it and became really fun to write scripts for these great comedians and actors, combining it with music and stand-up. It’s just evolved into this really great show.

Bill Burr, another Boston-bred star, has been a guest on your show before. What’s it like working with a comedian like him?

He’s one of those guys whose brain is constantly busy. He’s either working on comedy or working on conspiracy theories. Either way, it makes for an interesting hang.

That sounds hilarious. Do you talk about conspiracy theories a lot?

Nonstop. We were just hanging out. I was over his house, just having a cigar and hanging out with our wives. He’s definitely not a guy where you’re thinking, “What are we going to talk about next?”

Do you have a favorite conspiracy?

No. I don’t believe in them. We’ve gone to the moon. 9/11 wasn’t done by two guys in a government office in Jersey City. I think fans of those conspiracy theories don’t have a family. Like once you’ve had kids and you’ve got to worry about getting people fed and to school on time, you don’t have a lot of time to wonder about whether we’ve walked on the moon.

Yeah, those people have probably heard Alex Jones talk about chemtrails a little bit too much.

Exactly! Who’s got that kind of time?

Tom Papa performs at Laugh Boston Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27.

This interview has been edited and condensed.