No, no no no. My boys actually didn’t care. They were like, “So what? Welcome to the club.” [Laughs.] “This not a daggone celebration. We in the same boat, man. Move on. Enjoy life.” So we didn’t do too much.
I love being funny. I love being a comedian, and being a comedian sometimes puts you in a position where you can be the comedy relief in a film. When you’re responsible for laughter it’s always good. Laughter heals. That’s what people want to do. It also helps move a story along.
How much relief is there when you get on set or read a script and find, “OK, I’m more than just the wacky, wild guy who’s supposed to crack everyone up”?
When you have a character who literally has levels to him, where he’s funny but at the same time he’s depressed, at the same time he’s going through personal problems, it gives you so much to do because you want to be real. And sometimes when you’re just the wacky guy, you’re not real. You’re the wacky guy and people question, “Does this guy exist?” But when you’re funny and you have a sense of reality to you and you have your moments when you’re serious and you have your moments where you’re affected by what’s going on, and then you go back to being funny, it actually shows that you’re talented within your craft and you can act. So that’s the ultimate goal in acting: You want to show that you’re polished and this is what you do and you’re good at it.
You’re in Jennifer Hudson’s video for the song “Think Like a Man.” How do you stack up against Ne-Yo, and how would you set yourself apart from him if, like in the video, you were both competing for a woman?
Well, first of all, I’m much more attractive than Ne-Yo. I tell him that all the time. Second of all, I’m a better dancer. Ne-Yo only has three moves. You can literally Google this and you’ll see the same three moves. And I tell him that all the time, too. So basically I’m probably more of a catch to a female and that’s why they wanted me in the video. For sex appeal, to bring more women to the project.
Why are you keeping your sexuality and your musical abilities and dancing to yourself?
You have to make choices. At the end of the day, there’s two roads to go down. There’s the comedic road for me, and there’s the road of modeling and sex symbol type work. For me I want people to know me. I don’t want to be looked at for just my body and my face. There’s so much more to me, so that’s why I chose the road of acting. Here’s the thing, if that ever goes south and I can’t do it, I’ll always have modeling to fall back on.
Neither one of us is especially tall in stature. What do you think is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of your height?
The biggest advantage of being small is I’m a great cuddler. [Laughs.] That’s a small guy trait. The biggest disadvantage is going to the supermarket with women taller than you and having women get things off of shelves that you can’t reach. [Laughs.]
Why is the supermarket the place that causes the problem?
’Cause that’s the only place where I gotta get stuff off shelves. Any place else it’s cooler ’cause people gotta get stuff for you.
In the movie Cedric rubs his feet and smells his hands. What’s something about you that for someone to be with you, they have to accept it and not try to change it?
Probably me rubbing my feet and smelling my hands.
That was taken from your life?
That’s taken from my personal life. That’s me when I come home and take my socks off. I don’t want to do it; I don’t mean to do it. It’s a habit that I can’t break. As soon as the sock goes off, middle finger goes in between one toe, and there’s a slight sneaky (sniffs finger) and I just put my hand in my pocket and wait for that smell to get off my finger.
Did you even know they were shooting?
Honestly, I think I was really reading the paper and they said “Action” and I didn’t hear ’em. And that’s why there’s a delay. If you watch that scene, there’s a delay. That was me being myself right there.
What he thinks about when people talk about Chicago: “Cold. Not being able to get out the airport when it’s time to go home. Snow. Slush. Ice … [It’s not that I’m a] warm weather fan, I’m just against Chicago’s weather. There’s cold, and then there’s Chicago cold. It’s different levels of cold. I’m from the east coast, but this, it gets downright disrespectful here. It’s almost not real.”
Tips for Steve Harvey when he moves here: “Dress warm. Trenchcoat. Scarf. [Laughs.] No dress shoes here. Thick socks.”
On playing basketball on set with Ron Artest, Shannon Brown, Rasual Butler, Darren Collison and Lisa Leslie: “We had fun. It makes you respect their talent that much more because that day we played so much basketball. In between takes just playing with these guys you got to see how good they were. These people are good; they can really play. I played Shannon Brown 1-on-1; I don’t think I could get by him. He just kept putting his forearm out. He was that strong.”
Guilty pleasure movie: “There’s Something About Mary.” “Funniest movie in the world to me.”
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U