Matt O’Brien, a Toronto comedian who has since moved to L.A. reached out to us this week when a Reddit post about a talk show on a subway went viral. Redditors loved the concept and the show, and the episode’s views skyrocketed to mid six figures, and has gotten media attention on HuffPo, WPIX, and Gothamist and others. The show, “Derailed” is hosted by 27-year-old Dean Dimitruk and is shot on the L train once a month with sidekick Jeremy Christian. Sounds great right? Except not for O’Brien whose web series “Talk Show on a Subway” has been running since 2013 out of Toronto with guests like Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson and T.O. comics like Julia Hladkowicz, Alex Pavone, Steph Tolev, Mark DeBonis, D.J. Demers, among others. O’Brien has been working on bringing the series to L.A. and was surprised, and needless to say, disappointed to see the newer series getting so much attention.
O’Brien, by the way, has some serious credits. His hour special debuted on The Comedy Network in Canada this year, he just performed in his third TV Gala at Just for Laughs in Montreal, has performed at JFL42 in Toronto and won SiriusXM’s prestigious Top Comic competition. There’s more– his debut album “Live in a basement in front of 20 people” hit #1 on the iTunes Comedy charts, he’s won multiple awards, and has been featured on MTV, Variety, Comedy Network, CBC, Odd Squad on PBS, and San Francisco Sketchfest. Matt wrote to us, to make his pitch for his show:
“Back in 2013 in Toronto, me and my friend Dave Dunnville started filming a talk show on the Toronto subway. Super low budget, just him filming and me writing and hosting- Canada doesn’t have any late night talk shows, so I figured I’d have some of my comedian pals on and it would be like a super goofy late night style show, we could all have a good time on.
We did about 25 episodes while I lived in Toronto, got some good press up in Canada. People seemed to really like it. I recently moved to Los Angeles 6 months ago and since I moved and got settled, I’ve been planning and setting up shooting the show in the LA transit system (which seems like a much more terrifying ordeal than the safe, gentle, sweet, safe Canadian subways).”
“A few months ago, a friend of mine from New York mentioned they saw a video of a guy hosting a talk show on the subway in New York- I messaged him to let him know that I also have been/am doing the same thing to no response. Then yesterday, I saw it on the front page of Reddit and it really blew up, which was really depressing. I mean good for him, but ugh, we worked so hard for so long to get this concept out there and it feels like it was kind of stripped away from us.
I get that the two talk show styles are different in their own way, I made mine wanting it to be very loose and goofy and not at all like mainstream talk shows and it seems like they went the other route and made it more like a “Fallon on a train”. It wouldn’t bother me much, if it didn’t seem so influenced by mine, even if you watch the intros side by side, it’s pretty hard to ignore.”
“They’ve responded to me after some fans of my show started mentioning the similarities between the two shows and they claim to have never seen mine. Either that’s true or not, WHO knows? All I’m saying is the two shows are crazy similar and mine was years before theirs ever existed.
The timing couldn’t be more insane because I’m literally shopping it around to networks/production companies and there’s been a lot of interest in getting it picked up in some capacity. Regardless of what happens, I’m going to keep doing mine and if they keep doing theirs, it looks like we’re going to have a West Coast vs East Coast, Leno vs Conan subway talk show thing going on.”