Hear Yee! Hear Yee!
Comedic pianist and singer Matt Yee returns to Martuni's
by Ronn Vigh
More than a pianist and singer, Matt Yee is an entertaining whirlwind of energy both on and off-stage. However, Yee's admittedly bleary-eyed for this interview, after having a great show and partying a bit late aboard the Atlantis Gay Mediterranean Cruise where he's currently performing. Growing up in Hawaii, Yee has a degree in law but found that his passion is in music and comedy, making folks sing and laugh night after night as he packs out shows for all sorts of audiences on cruise ships and dry land. We chatted via emails as he replied from various ports of call.
Ronn Vigh: You've been performing on cruise ships for years now. I take it that you don't get seasick?
Matt Yee: Only when I eat ass.
Wow! I don't know why that just shocked me so much when it says both 'outrageous' and 'adult' in the title of your show. So, is there a difference in your performance on the gay cruises vs. the straight cruises?
The ordinary cruises as I call them can be just as wild as the gay cruises, just with more wheelchairs. The goal of course is to get to the energy and feeling of a giant communal party, like church with booze. I am definitely not politically correct in either setting. I will do what it takes to get to the place where everyone is laughing, singing along and letting their hair down no matter who you are and where you come from or what you do in bed.
This weekend, you're bringing your Outrageous Adult Sing Along Show to Martuni's in San Francisco. What can we expect of your show on dry land?
Boas and muu-muus will definitely be flying. We are all going to be singing up a storm of songs that everyone will know (and if not just sing "na na"). I don't care if you don't know how to sing. I don't care if you suck. All I care is that you sing loud! And at Martunis last time we blew off the roof! People were coming off the street going, "What's happening?"
Is there any thing you must do when you come to the Bay Area when you're not performing?
Yes! Go to Truck on Tuesday nights and a visit to the Armory.
You are from Hawaii and still reside there. Is 'Island Fever' a real thing, or do you really embrace your time on steady land?
I treasure my time at home with my husband. We got married last year as soon as it became legal in Hawaii. We spend lots of time with my family, and at home watching old reruns of Star Trek. But if I stay at home too long I get rock fever too. So these jaunts around the world; it's addicting. And I love it when my gay and straight audiences come together on land. It's so satisfying! And they bring their friends and new peeps and we get to recreate that party for new people who would never think to step on a cruise ship.
While you've made a career of performing on cruise ships, are there any drawbacks?
Here in Europe, they really do need to wash more. Nothing like a dirty foreskin to leave a bad taste in my mouth. But, don't get me wrong, I have been so blessed, meeting so many wonderful people, from so many countries. The only big drawback is the travel it takes to get there. It's even worse in coach. Sometimes you get stuck in the back of the bus.
You've shared the stage with many celebrities. Do you get starstruck? Any stories of a favorite performer you worked with?
I get starstruck all the time. And I'm so appreciative of the time we all spend with each other and the chance to play with each other on stage. One of my favorite all-time highs was performing with Idina Menzel of Frozen/Wicked/Glee fame. She had just done her show and came up to see mine. Idina got up and sang with me and that duet is on my website. I just saw her on Broadway and she gave me a big hug! I'm such a fan, and I'm like a twelve-year-old girl: "Let it go!" I love the chance to hang out with folks like Patti LuPone and Chita Rivera.
Oh, Courtney Act from RuPaul's Drag Race will be here tonight. Courtney is such a generous and wonderful person. She let me stay at her place in Los Angeles when she was out of town. I told her, 'Don't change the sheets, and leave me some dirty underwear to sniff.' That's how close we are. We share notes in the steam room!
You've made friends with stars from all different parts of the entertainment industry!
Yes! Bruce Vilanch (writer of the Tonys and Oscars jokes) and I always have a great time together. Nothing is ever "too soon" for Bruce. I'm sure he's writing hurricane jokes right now for Hawaii as we speak.
We just spent time with Alec Mapa and his family. I love how his nine-year-old son has been raised. When we go to an Italian Restaurant, he orders San Pellegrino. Teach your kids right!
Oh I could go on for hours, but I have to go shopping in Nice, people are waiting for me. It's just been an amazing adventure for the past 13 years with both Atlantis Events Gay Cruises and the ordinary cruises.
Before you run, what's your guilty pleasure?
Yes! Keep it simple! But, If you could sing a duet with one person, living or dead, blonde or not, who would it be?
My husband. But he can't sing. He's a mute. So sad. But he gives a great blow job.
I'll let you run to explore Nice now. What's the final word from Matt Yee?
Asian men are huge! And girls, get your tickets to Martuni's now before they sell out. It's going to be a blast!
Matt Yee's Outrageous Adult Sing Along Show at Martuni's Piano Bar, 4 Valencia Street, Saturday, August 16 at 7pm and Sunday, August 17 at 4pm. $17 advanced tickets available at www.BrownPaperTickets.com