EWU alumnus turned comedian arrives in Spokane


Courtesy of Spread Eagle Comedy

(left to right) Matt Setzer, Chris Armi and James May have fun fooling around before the "Acoustic Apocalypse" show at the Big Dipper on Jan. 12. The trio make up Spread Eagle Comedy and have brought their diverse comedy styles across venues in Spokane.

By Sam Jackson, Copy Editor

After a year of working in archaeology in Western Washington, EWU alumnus Matt Setzer decided to spread his wings and relocate back to the Spokane area to pursue what he truly wants to do—comedy.

Setzer graduated from EWU during August 2017 with a bachelor’s in anthropology and focused on a career in archaeology. Setzer says archaeology is fun, but jobs can be a hit or miss. It wasn’t until he found himself waking up at 5 a.m. every morning, putting on a yellow vest and taking pictures at an archaeology site for nine hours, that he decided to quit and commit fully to comedy.

“Archaeology and anthropology, I can always return to that,” Setzer said. “But this comedy thing if you start late and you find out you’re good, then it’s like well s— imagine how much better I would’ve been if I found out about this 15 years ago. I took a large risk moving over here just for that … but I did it for comedy.”

In a “completely unexpected way” the entire anthropology degree prepared Setzer for his comedy endeavor. He even wrote his senior capstone on stand-up comedians and how they related to anthropology.

“I have this joke that I open with, ‘Yeah I graduated from college and decided to start doing stand-up comedy. If you’re keeping track, that means I got a degree in being a f—ing moron’,” Setzer said.

Setzer realized that he could use his knowledge of anthropology and his understanding of people’s perspectives as a valuable trait in his comedy.

“That’s something they really push on you in anthropology,” Setzer said. “Having knowledge of other people’s cultures and how they see the world. It really helps with forming jokes that can work towards certain crowds.”

After joining the Spokane comedy scene, Setzer came across a fellow amateur comedian, James May.

“James was the first person I met at the comedy club, and he was pretty optimistic,” Setzer said. “I kind of wanted to surround myself with optimistic people.”

May wanted to form a group of aspiring comedians and acquainted Setzer with another comic, Chris Armi. In September 2018, the three assembled a comedy group known as Spread Eagle Comedy.

For fresh comedians, the purpose of having a group is to make promotion easier, according to Setzer. May however saw it as an opportunity to showcase a diversified version of comedy.

“I wanted it to be all types of comedy,” May said. “You come to a show, you get Matt, Chris and me, but we’re not all the same shtick. Nowhere close is our comedy anywhere near the same.”

Armi explains that because comedy is typically a “cut-throat and lonewolf type of thing” this group works as a team and they help each other often.

“We really are a team effort and we try really hard not to have a hierarchy,” Armi said. “Everybody does as much as they can.”

That’s something they really push on you in anthropology: having knowledge of other people’s cultures and how they see the world. It really helps with forming jokes that can work towards certain crowds.”

— Matt Setzer

Spread Eagle Comedy performs in open mics at venues all over Spokane including the Red Room Lounge, The Observatory, Lucky’s Bar and Spokane Comedy Club.

The group will host a Roast Battle Competition at The Observatory on Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. Anyone aged 21 and over can attend. The first-place winner of the competition will receive a $50 prize and cannabis samples.

Carts and Comedy—the biggest show the group has ever hosted—will be at the Garland Theater on Feb 21. from 9-10:30 p.m. The show is open to people 21 and older, and the audience will be allowed to smoke cannabis with vape pens inside the venue, according to the group.

“There’s no regulation in Washington that says you can’t use weed vapes indoors and so we got the Garland to say we can use weed vapes for the show,” Armi said.

The group acknowledges that the comedy industry is a tough game to be a part of, but intends to continue hosting events and supporting each other throughout their comedy adventure.

“Early on we recognized, if we want to progress, people aren’t going to hand us stuff,” Armi said. “We have to go out and get it on our own. And that’s what we do …We are self-starters. We are creating everything we can and uniting as many people.”

For more information on the group’s bookings and events visit the Spread Eagle Comedy Facebook page or spreadeaglecomedy on Instagram.•