"Mathew Klickstein might be the geek guru of the 21st century." -- Mark Mothersbaugh
Kids of Widney High reunion show & fundraiser; live concert, screening of Kids rockumentary, thoughtful Q&A, and signing with the band at LiveNation's Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles; Skylight Books as bookseller partner; profits go to continuing the band and to non-profit LA Goal (7pm, Sept 9)
"Animal Farm" youth theater program, partnering with Dayton's Dare 2 Defy Productions for a youth theater workshop in which children will work to create their own play based on the themes and concepts in George Orwell's immortal Animal Farm (June - August, 2021)
So Good to Be Bad, a playful middle-grade reader that involves the wacky misadventures of a young boy who is very good in a topsy-turvy world that is very bad, and can only make it through with the power of friendship, a la Matilda meets The Goonies (set for Sept 28, 2021 release through Blackstone Audio)
So You Need to Decide, working with alt-comedy impresario Beth Lapides on bringing together a stable of high-profile personalities in the modern comedy scene for a long-form cultural discussion via audiobook series (set for Jan 2022 release through Recorded Books)
Untitled memoir, ghostwriting the electrifying memoirs of a young Italian musician/actor who ran away to this country in pursuit of the "American Dream" ... only to discover a wild rollercoaster of Best Of Times/Worst Of Times misadventures in the entertainment industry, emerging three decades later with plenty of hilarious, heartbreaking and even enlightening stories to tell
Untitled Nancy Reagan biopic, co-writing a uniquely impressionistic biopic of Nancy Reagan; with bestselling author and esteemed journalist Allen Salkin
Untitled comedy scene TV series, working with renown comedy journalist/author/documentary filmmaker Julie Seabaugh on a new travel show about speciality comedy scenes around the country
Mathew Klickstein is a multi-platform storyteller who consistently works in the formats of: reportage, non-fiction books and novels, ghostwriting, filmmaking, episodical television, live theatre, public speaking, comic book creation, audiobook originals, and podcasting.
SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age (2013/18, Penguin Random House/Plume)
Being Mr. Skin: 20 Years of Nip Slips, Cheek Peeks, and Fast-Forwarding to the Good Parts (w/ Jim "Mr. Skin" McBride, 2019, Simon & Schuster/Post Hill)
So Good to Be Bad (2021, Blackstone Audio; to be published ... STAY TUNED FOR MORE SOON!)
So You Need to Decide (w/ Beth Lapides, 2022, Recorded Books; to be published ... STAY TUNED FOR MORE SOON!)
Flicks & Teevee (etc.)
Mysterious Skin (2004; on-set dresser, location scout, background actor)
On Your Marc (2017; director, producer, writer, production coordinator, screening tour producer)
Comic-Con Begins: Origin Stories of the San Diego Comic-Con and the Rise of Modern Fandom (2021; creator, producer, writer)
Untitled "Animal Farm" youth theater project (w/ Dare 2 Defy; 2021; co-director, producer, co-writer; MORE INFO ON AUGUST PREMIERE SOON!)
Mathew's writings have appeared in such publications as: WIRED, The New Yorker, New York Daily News, Splitsider (now New York Magazine's Vulture), Heavy Metal Magazine, Alternative Press, ABLE Magazine, Boulder Weekly, Yellow Scene Magazine, Colorado Daily/Daily Camera (as Staff Writer), OC Weekly, Willamette Week, Hammer to Nail, Entertainment Today (for which he was Editor-In-Chief), iTechPost (for which he was Deputy Editor), Bleeding Cool, Fade In Magazine, the Kansas City Star/Ink Magazine (for which he created and ran a regular foodie column), Decider (NY Post), the Baltimore Jewish Times (for which he was the Senior Reporter) and the Baltimore Sun.
Curiouser and curiouser ...
A wildly prolific writer at a young age, Mathew Klickstein wrote his first novel (a Twilight Zone-esque sci-fi thriller that he has since turned into a screenplay called One Among Us) at 13. He would write three more novels and dozens of short stories/poems/essays (some of which were published in numerous periodicals and anthology books) throughout the rest of high school, during which time he also helped run his school's weekly newspaper and nationally award-winning yearbook teams.
Heeding the advice of a beloved English teacher, Mathew chose to concentrate on another lifelong passion of his -- film -- for his college studies. The very same day he graduated from the University of Southern California's prestigious screenwriting program (for which he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts), a few friends of his and he sold a weekly television show to the short-lived National Lampoon Network (an early precursor to the likes of CollegeHumor.com and Funny or Die) in 2003. Mathew was only 21 at the time.
In addition to being co-creator of the show -- a comedic travelogue called Collegetown, USA -- Mathew was head writer and field producer during season one. He left the series to pursue further work in feature/short film/music video/television production and his continuing interest in journalism. He would additionally expand his interests to professional theatre and arts therapy.
Throughout his college and post-college "LA Decade," Mathew worked closely with the Kids of Widney High, a group of young adults with developmental disabilities who write, record and perform their own rock music. Mathew produced music videos, short films, fine art pieces and creative writing pieces with the Kids, including festival favorite Dinner Time. He also directed/produced Act Your Age: The Kids of Widney High Story, the feature-length rockumentary that chronicles the Kids on their 2008 West Coast tour, which Mathew managed and which was sponsored in part by Sony PlayStation. Act Your Age was executive produced by Alfred Coffee founder Josh Zad. Starting November 2020, Act Your Age is available for streaming via Troma Now.
Mathew additionally worked with the Kids of Widney High as a production associate, featured player and behind-the-scenes documentarian on satirical television pilot Sweetwater Tides, which was produced and written by staffers at South Park in 2004, featured How's Your News? (a group of musicians/filmmakers with disabilities similar to the Kids) and though did not go to series, does enjoy the distinction of being comedian/actor/Catastrophe co-creator Rob Delaney's first film/TV role.
Before leaving Los Angeles in 2009 to explore creative opportunities in other parts of the country, Mathew optioned a handful of screenplays including one that would ultimately be produced as Sony Pictures' Against the Dark. The film has the dubious distinction of being action veteran Steven Seagal's first and only horror film to date. (Incidentally, if you're curious how Mathew "accidentally" wrote Steven Seagal's one and only horror film to date for Sony Pictures, he recently divulged the entire Nathanael West-esque harrowing and hilarious true-Hollywood story here.)
After working on various projects in New York -- such as assisting bestselling author Laurie Graff with the screenplay adaptation of her book The Shiksa Syndrome -- Mathew moved to beautiful Boulder, Colorado. It was there, in 2012, that he co-wrote/produced/directed Phamaly's disLabled. Phamaly being the three-decade-old theatre organization that remains the only in the country to work exclusively with actors with varied physical and mental disabilities.
The live, multimedia performance involved actors with disabilities who helped to write a series of comical, musical and intimate scenes revolving around their personal experiences. Mathew was also the behind-the-scenes documentarian for the show, which sold out each night at Boulder's Dairy Arts Center. This pilot program would be the first Phamaly enterprise produced outside of the troupe's home in Denver.
It was at this time that Mathew became involved with Boulder-based design and animation studio Mighty Fudge, with whom he has produced short animated films and promos. He has also worked with the Fudge on developing teasers and pilots for potential animated series such as CIA Moms and Fartbot Ninja Princess Network.
After three productive years in Boulder, Mathew moved back to New York City to finish his book on the so-called "Classic Era" of the Nickelodeon network. SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age would end up culling together exclusive interviews with more than 250 VIPs from the First Kids Network. The book was published by Plume -- an imprint of Penguin Random House -- in 2013, and was included on such "Best Of" lists as those compiled by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly and Parade Magazine.
Mathew produced and hosted a series of reunion and book launch events for SLIMED! around the country, partnering frequently with the Jewish Book Council. The book's premiere launch was celebrated on Sept. 27, 2013 at the prominent 92Y cultural event space in New York City.
The sell-out event (900 seats), which Mathew produced and helped moderate, was hosted by Nickelodeon icon Marc Summers (host of Double Dare and, later, Food Network's Unwrapped) and featured panels with 40+ Classic Nick VIPs and live music, including the first-ever live performance by the Beets, a fictional band from the Nicktoon Doug. The event may remain the largest pop culture reunion of its kind and helped to kickstart the recent spate of similar fandom events, show reboots and overall media fascination with early Nickelodeon shows.
Taking the opportunity given to him by Marc Summers to become a casting producer for Summers' "restaurant rescue" series on the Food Network, Restaurant: Impossible, Mathew continued traveling around the country, focusing this time on the yet-unexperienced Midwest. He concurrently continued writing and producing his own material, outputting a great deal of journalism work for local, national and online media outlets along the way.
Ending up during this period of travel in quirky college town Lawrence, Kansas, Mathew spent much of 2016 conceptualizing and developing a topical, gender-bending twist on William Golding's immortal novel The Lord of the Flies with a local theatre organization called Orange Mouse Theatricals.
As producer and co-writer on the project, Mathew workshopped the script with a group of nine local Lawrence girls (ages 8-16) to produce a unique, immersive theatre experience based on the girls' own lives and personalities. The play Ladies of the Fly opened at the Cider Gallery in Lawrence, August 2016.
Mathew meanwhile contributed regular pieces to local alt-weekly The Ink and its publisher the Kansas City Star, for which he created a "culinary culture" column called Kitchen Convo. Mathew guest lectured at the University of Kansas, establishing lasting friendships with faculty and local luminaries such as Academy Award-winning screenwriter/filmmaker Kevin Willmott (BlackKklansman, Da 5 Bloods) and filmmaker/author/critic Jon Niccum, with whom Mathew worked on various projects including a commissioned screenplay adaptation of a successful play whose film is currently in pre-production.
It was also in Lawrence that Mathew met his future wife Becky at the nation's finest dive bar (pictured above), The Bottleneck. The two left together for Baltimore when Mathew was invited to become the senior reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times, one of the oldest Jewish newspapers in the country (est. 1919).
Never one to sit still for long, while in Baltimore, Mathew coordinated work with his team members around the country on his feature documentary about Marc Summers, On Your Marc. In partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the film was successfully screened over the course of a national tour in October 2017, which Mathew produced/managed, traveling alongside Summers to Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Austin and Chicago for a series of specialty events that included celebrity hosts, audience interactive games and live musical performances.
The screening events, some of which were live-streamed to theaters outside the main tour route, received standing ovations from thousands of fans as well as laudatory press from the likes of People Magazine and other print, online, radio and TV media outlets throughout the country.
Mathew was all the while developing and co-authoring Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons (with series writer/producer Mike Reiss; foreword by Judd Apatow). The book would later be published by Dey Street, an imprint of Harper Collins, in June 2018.
The book quickly became a best seller on Amazon, which chose this first-ever long-form "insider" story about The Simpsons as a "Best Of" pick for its month of release. Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, AV Club, Parade Magazine and the American Library Association's Booklist similarly included Springfield Confidential among their notable books of the week/month.
Springfield Confidential was also listed as one of Vulture's "Top Ten Comedy Books of 2018," one of NY Post's "Most Unforgettable Books of 2018" a semifinalist for Goodreads' "Best Humor Book of 2018," and a semi-finalist for 2019's Thurber Prize. The German translation and editions of the book in Russia, the Czech Republic and Spain have been following its expanded paperback release that came out in late April 2019.
During the process of finishing/touring with On Your Marc and finishing Springfield Confidential, Mathew and wife Becky made the decision to move back to the beautiful natural splendor and creative exuberance of the Boulder area. Along with being on the programming board of the community's arthouse cinema, Boedecker Theater, Mathew continued partnering with equally productive area colleagues on various new endeavors such as active project development with Academy Award-nominated/Emmy Award winning documentarian Jerry Aronson and assisting renown humor scholar/behavioral scientist Dr. Peter McGraw, author of the groundbreaking Humor Code, with his latest book, Shtick to Business.
Mathew's two years of further Boulder adventures included re-visiting and developing his CIA Moms cartoon series with Mighty Fudge Studios for wide distribution and a new ghostwriting project for a private client who will be working with Mathew in the telling of her story as loving mother to a son who lived a vibrant life that came to a mysterious, tragic end.
Mathew's previous ghostwriting project was the characteristically tongue-in-cheek memoir Being Mr. Skin: 20 Years of Nip Slips, Cheek Peeks, and Fast-Forwarding to the Good Parts, which humorously details the rise of the unlikely pop culture icon and creator of one of the first-ever commercially successful websites, Jim "Mr. Skin" McBride, made (in?)famous by the likes of Howard Stern, the film Knocked Up and TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and Family Guy.
Comic strips written by Mathew and illustrated by Eisner Award-nominated underground comix mainstay Johnny Ryan were incorporated into the final book, as well. Foreword by Adam Corolla. Being Mr. Skin was published by Post Hill in May 2019 and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
The partnership with McBride also led to Mathew's being brought on as associate producer (providing scholarly cinema research and additional writing) on feature documentary Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies. Executive produced by McBride (released date: August 18, 2020), the project chronicles the volatile century-plus trajectory of nudity in cinema and includes thought-provoking interviews with: Kevin Smith, Richard Roeper, Pam Grier, Peter Bogdanovich, Mariel Hemingway, John Cameron Mitchell, Shannon Elizabeth, Malcolm McDowell, Amy Heckerling, and many other luminaries from in front of and behind the camera. The critically hailed film is available to watch on Hulu (where it quickly became a "Hulu Pick"), Amazon Prime and VoD.
Filling out perhaps his most productive year yet, Mathew's book Selling Nostalgia: A Neurotic Novel (a comedic look at today's so-called "nostalgia/geek culture" industry) was published by Post Hill imprint Permuted Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster in August 2019. The Washington Post said of the book: "Klickstein ... delivers a searing critique of geek culture and the trouble with indulging nostalgia at the expense of reckoning with reality. Though he didn’t set out to write a social commentary, it’s on that level that he finds the most success." Bestselling author and columnist Allen Salkin says Selling Nostalgia "reads like Philip K. Dick on speed." The book's got one "totally rad" cover, too.
You Are Obsolete, the first comic book series by Mathew, was issued as a monthly five-part release by AfterShock Comics from September 2019 through January 2020. The series has been referred to as "creepy and highly entertaining" with "spot on dialogue" by the New York Times. The Denver Post's John Wenzel suggested the series "neatly sums up our predicament." And AiPT! has said You Are Obsolete "is a terrifyingly good read. It will keep you guessing with every turn of the page. The dialogue is solid, the pacing is on point, and the mystery behind the children is just terrific."
All five comics were bound together and released as a beautiful, single graphic novel collection June 17, 2020, after which Mathew traveled to promote the project on a six-state Midwest comic book store tour. In June 2021, the Spanish-language edition was released as well. You Are Obsolete is also now in active development as an adapted limited TV series run. (MORE ON THIS SOON: STAY TUNED!)
Mathew's first book for middle-grade readers (ages 8-12), The Kids of Widney Junior High Take Over The World!, inspired by the actual Kids of Widney High, came out from Schiffer Publishing, September 28, 2020. Illustrations by Baltimore-based artist Michael Bracco. A portion of the profits go to LA Goal, which for the past 50 years has offered vocational/recreational/artistic services to persons with disabilities.
The book became an Independent Publisher Book Award winner, was a best seller on Amazon and received plaudits from the likes of Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, who said: "This book is tender, it’s funny, it’s perfect to read with your kids, and it gives me hope" and legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne: "A wonderful story about inclusion and acceptance." Recommending it to school libraries everywhere, the School Library Journal wrote, "Klickstein’s story provides readers an opportunity to learn about their music and world while simultaneously modeling for readers how to sensitively interact with individuals with disabilities." The audiobook edition was released by Blackstone Audio in March, 2021. It too quickly became a bestseller on Amazon thanks in part to further promotion by Bialik.
Mathew is also now working with acclaimed alt-comedy impresario Beth Lapides to bring together a stable of some of the most high-profile comedy personalities of our day discussing impactful societal issues for what will be a humorous yet thought-provoking audiobook original series called So You Need to Decide. The audiobook original will be published by the largest independent audiobook company worldwide, Recorded Books, and is currently set for a 2021 release. More details soon!
Meanwhile, Mathew's was brought on by Mighty Fudge and producer Alan O'Hashi to adapt the warm and funny children's book Carol and Santa to the animated big screen. And Mathew continues hosting NERTZ, a podcast focusing on nerd-geek culture and based on his book published in China, Nerding Out: How Pop Culture Ruined the Misfit. Starting in June 2020, Heavy Metal Magazine partnered with Mathew to distribute NERTZ through their streaming and social networks.
Along with his multitude of projects in development now, Mathew continues to lead various theater and filmmaking workshops, as well as guest lectures on such topics as: public speaking, creative writing, screenwriting, film history, media analysis, podcasting, pop culture history and, most recently, how Jewish culture continues to inspire The Simpsons.
In late June 2021, Mathew launched his six-part audio documentary SiriusXM entitled Comic-Con Begins: Origin Stories of the San Diego Comic-Con and the Rise of Modern Fandom in which he interviewed and collected stories from nearly 50 Con foundational members as well as "geeky" celebrity guests about thebirthof the largest pop culture event on the planet, the San Diego Comic-Con and the fandom scene it helped foster. Celeb guests include: Kevin Smith, the Russo Bros, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Felicia Day, Kevin Eastman, Trina Robbins, Sergio Aragones, Maggie Thompson, Stan Sakai, Bruce Campbell, and many other luminaries of the comics/sci-fi/film/pop culture scenes.
With consistent travel becoming more of a major staple in Mathew's film/TV/writing work, his wife and he decided in February 2020 on settling for the time being in Dayton, Ohio where he's excited to get involved in the local arts/culture community (including new animated projects with Cincinnati-based SkyVengers Cartoon Studios), lecture at the various area colleges, host speciality events, and explore what it is about this hidden gem of a city that makes it home to the likes of: Dave Chappelle, the Academy Award-winning couple who brought us American Factory, The Breeders, Guided by Voices and, of course, most impressive of all, the cartoonist behind Mother Goose & Grimm. The adventure never stops!
Mathew is not one of the 18% of Americans on Twitter. Yes, he's technically in a band, writing lyrics for novelty lo-fi death anti-folk band The Shenanigoats fronted by "The World's Most Adorable Art Critic," Daniel Rolnik and UK-based musician/producer Gareth Evans . Some of Mathew's favorites are: combination fried rice, Calvin and Hobbes, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Larry Sanders Show. His wife Becky and their dog Adjunct Professor David Foster Wallace are not so bad, either.