Q&A: UT alum creates new Comedy Central show “Corporate”

Chris Duncan

Matt Ingebretson pursued marketing and English while studying at UT, but his passion was in comedy. After joining the Texas Travesty and finding his writing style, he graduated from school, developed a career in stand-up comedy and most recently Comedy Central’s new dark office comedy “Corporate.”

DT: Did your degree program promote creative writing?

MI: I’m not even sure if they offered a creative writing tract at the time, but I did take courses. Literature opened me up to that in a new way, and then I started writing comic strips for the Texan. I submitted comics for a summer, and then I moved on to the Texas Travesty.

DT: So at the Travesty was where you found your voice?

MI: The Travesty was an amazing opportunity because it was a space to learn how to do comedy for the first time. It was a pillowy cushion (with) fewer stakes than there are in the real world. I got a crash course there on the simplest things, like thinking of basic concepts of something that’s funny and could be printed. At the time, the publication was very satirical, and pretty absurdist.

DT: Does much of “Corporate”’s content come from your experiences working in offices?

MI: Definitely. The tone and look of the show comes from a few jobs. In a lot of office comedies, they’re portrayed as these quirky environments with interesting people and a boss that’s funny, but my experience working for companies like this was that they’re extremely soul crushing, terrible places. They’re so unnatural to be there… I’d leave every Friday not looking forward to the weekend but dreading coming back Monday. When we wrote the show, we wanted to find the comedy in that depressing and dark environment instead of painting over it.

Our view on the world is more that we’re all f*cked, everything is pretty terrible. But that’s funny on a different level. I like comedy that is honest, but isn’t afraid to be a little too blunt. That might turn some people off, but I think others will get really into it.

DT: Your character in the show (Matt) is a Junior Executive in Training, what exactly does that mean?

MI: The intent behind that title and character is a direct reference to many people that have vague duties. These people aren’t coming in and making something specific every day, they have a vague job that doesn’t really mean much. It adds a little confusion to everything. The character has a title that suggest he’s important, but he in fact has no importance to the company whatsoever.

DT: Where do you think the show goes from here?

MI: Each episode stands along and functions on its own. Going forward, we want to explore the depths of hell that is the corporate world, bring in the dark satire of the climate in America with a late capitalist edge. Corporations own America, essentially, so we want to poke fun at that and write funny stories to see where they go in this nightmare world we’re living in.

Watch 4 episodes of “Corporate” on Comedy Central’s website or tune in to the show’s debut Jan. 17 at 10/9c.