In this extended interview with Big Brother’s “super-genius” now that he’s out of the house, we hit on many topics, including his strategy, what he was thinking at specific times of the game, who really created the Brigade, what he’s thought of the editing on what he’s seen so far, what he thinks of statements made by the Melorheostosis Association about his big lie, the overall strategy level in the house, and much more! Matt tells is straight and you may be surprised by some of what he has to say!
I interviewed Matt when he was first evicted from the Big Brother house. But that was done while he was still in sequester and the types and number of questions I could ask of him was limited. Now that he’s out, I caught up with Matt again to talk to him at more length – and I do mean length, because we talked for over an hour!
Hello, Matt, and thanks for taking the time to once again talk to us here at Reality News Online – and this time I truly mean your time and talking to us, now that you’re out of the house and have returned to freedom!
RNO: How much of the show have you actually gotten to watch so far?
Matt: I am all the way through Episode 4 and actually probably going to start plodding away. I’m very curious to see how it goes. I wanted to see how they’d edit the creation of the Brigade and that.
RNO: That actually leads directly into my next question. The live feeds weren’t turned on yet at that time, so we could only see what was shown on TV. So what did you think of that very topic – the way footage was edited and presented in terms of the original setting up of the Brigade?
Matt: Now I totally understand why people said all that stuff about Enzo when I said I created it. It makes sense now. I don’t agree with it (laughs), but I get it.
RNO: What don’t you agree with?
Matt: It’s funny because it’s a weird thing to watch. It all really happened but not like that. What went on is that all formed because of the blackout that night and who was on the couch next to each other. That’s how Enzo and I talked and accounted for each other and the other two. I knew Lane was by me the whole time and Enzo was talking to Hayden a lot. It was that all of us were accounted for. Me and Enzo were like, “We know none of us are the Saboteur – let’s try to talk to them. You talk to Hayden and I’ll grab Lane.”
It’s very telling because Enzo is very excitable. What I like doing is I enjoy trying to convince people of an idea and get them to roll with it. He’s one of the easiest people. For example, in Annie’s eviction, what was supposed to happen was Kathy was supposed to go against Rachel as a pawn. Selfishly, I didn’t want that to happen because I was getting close to Rachel and Ragan in the Have Not room and she’d be a good asset to have on my side. I couldn’t say that, so I went to the HOH and it was me and Enzo and I asked him what to do. He was so gung ho “Rachel’s gone.” I don’t even believe as I’m telling him this, but I was like, “Big Brother is crazy, what if Kathy goes home? What do you think if we put Annie up instead just in case something goes wrong? Then it’s not as bad.” Almost on a switch, Enzo went to “Annie’s gotta go up!” Hayden comes in and you see Enzo saying Annie’s got to go. I’m sitting on the bed laughing and it totally appeared like Enzo thought of it. I put it in his head and let him run with it.
I give him 100% credit for making the Brigade name a household name. I give him credit. The scheming, the side alliances, the secrecy was definitely me. The rest of it, throughout the game, the Brigade did a lot and it was everybody in terms of ideas and who we should put up. I don’t want to slight anyone. We all did our part. in the beginning, me and him both sort of assembled it and Enzo was the hype man. The concepts and the minutia were definitely my doing.
Another thing you can see in Episode 2, it’s another funny thing. You see a scene that cuts in with the four of the Brigade members in the room; it starts with Enzo going, “I don’t mean to break this up but we need to name this thing.” What he was referring to breaking up was strategy talk! It’s so quintessentially Enzo. We’re trying to discuss game play and Enzo is worried about naming this thing. We were like, naming is the last thing that’s important. It’s funny. I don’t mean to come across like he’s useless, because that’s an important part of the legacy that’s been created for the Brigade. Everybody knows “the Brigade” and that’s all Enzo. He definitely made it what it was [in terms of becoming well-known by viewers]. But strategy and game play, that wasn’t him by any means.
RNO: What’s been going on between you and Enzo since the show ended? It seemed like he thought you were talking smack and said some things back on Twitter – have the two of you actually talked?
Matt: I texted him once or twice. I think he’s bitter but it’s hard to tell. He’s probably busier than any other cast member. Or maybe he’s just angry. I have a strange mentality about this game – this was a very emotional season and people took things personally. As a huge fan of the game, I’m not that way. This is a game to me.
I don’t care; him talking trash is hysterical. I love the guy, I totally do! I would love to hang out with him and have beers with him. If he’s taking this personal, it’s on him. I have no ill will or animosity. I’ll read it and laugh, it’s funny because it’s Enzo. Maybe I’m being delusional. I totally don’t mind it I think it’s funny and I have nothing against him.
RNO: Have you seen the way you were edited during your first term as HOH and how they portrayed the situation with you saving Radon? Specifically, we know you made a deal with Ragan to save them, but you were portrayed as either betraying the Brigade, seeking petty revenge against Kathy for her sympathy vote, or being too dumb to pull the trigger against Radon.
Matt: No, no. I’ve been reading questions I’m getting. It seems like that’s the least understood thing: “Why did you not put up Brendon and Rachel?” That was some of my best game play. That’s one thing I do not regret. I put myself in a win-win situation. I made a deal with Brendon and Rachel that they wouldn’t be put up unless I needed to replace them because one of the original nominees won POV. And they would protect me. Andrew was gunning for me but if he got off, I could put one of them on.
It was very selfish game play but that’s Big Brother and the best game play move for me. I totally covered all my ground.
So people asked if I would have backdoored Brendon. I would have but it wasn’t as big as it seemed. I really didn’t care if we did or didn’t. It was fun for me to go through the house saying I’m such an idiot, but in my mind I was thinking, “You guys are idiots because I just did a great move for myself in the game.”
[As for the “deal” with Ragan,] it wasn’t really a deal. Ragan and I weren’t after each other anyway. Ragain was basically like, “Hey, you want to talk?” Yeah, we should talk. The others went inside and he was like, “What should we do?” It wasn’t really a deal as much as a discussion. I knew we shouldn’t make it too long – we’re not after each other, we don’t need to make a deal. Let’s just call ‘em all out here and we’ll talk about it after one of us falls off. He was like, “We should make a deal with Brendon and Rachel.” I was like, “Yeah that’s cool, but let’s talk about it later.” It was more just kind of like a talk that carried over after the surfboard thing ended. We had no reason to make a deal with each other.
RNO: The presence of Radon for the first half of the season really drew a lot of attention and focus from everyone in the house, and meant that many players didn’t truly start to play the game until the Brigade had a stranglehold on numbers. While many people have criticized you for the failure to target Radon in your first HOH reign, do you think the Brigade would have been as successful at staying hidden if Rachel was evicted and the Radon distraction ended?
Matt: It would have been weird, that’s another reason I didn’t want that to happen. Ragan would have been like, “Why’d you do that?” If I voted to keep Rachel, Ragan’s happy but the Brigade is happy; if not, the Brigade is happy and my side alliance is busted out. I think the move I made was a solid move. Obviously, later in the game Radon was kind of gunning for a little bit and found me to be a threat, but at Weeks 1 and 2, I was in good with them.
RNO: Let’s jump to the big lie and the reaction you’ve received both while in the house and since you’ve gotten out. One New York Post writer said, “the producers are allowing a ‘houseguest’ to lie to other contestants that his wife is suffering from melorheostosis…” Do you think anything should be off-limits in terms of what the producers “allow” houseguests to tell each other?
Matt: No, I think the rules should be against violence and cheating and against [anything forbidden in] the contract. Lying is part of Big Brother and what you should lie about? I don’t like lying about anything in my real life. And you can see that I’m the f*&#ing worst liar on the planet! I knew I was going into the game with a lying strategy and it had to be foolproof. No one’s ever going to call you out on it. I was a horrible liar, but if anybody calls you out on it, they’re automatically an @$$#ole. Nobody would say that. This is a foolproof lie. If you’re going to lie at all, you should lie big. Brendon lied about his job, Ragan lied about his job. I think it’s BS to quantify lies. All lies are bad and nobody should lie in their real life. But this is Big Brother, so you do what you got to do.
RNO: The chair of the Melorheostosis Association was quoted as saying, “If Matt thinks melorheostosis is funny, he should look at the video on our Web site showing some of the beautiful little children afflicted with this catastrophic disease.” But I sure didn’t see anything indicating you thought the disease was funny. They seemed to think that because you chuckled a bit after telling the diary room about the lie, that meant you found the disease funny. Can you clarify that for people?
Matt: I didn’t. I don’t find any disease funny. I think people expect me to come out and say I should write a letter apology. F*%# that completely. This may be make me sound like a total @$$#ole. I think with what I did (I’m not a saint – it was accidental), these people got more publicity for a disease nobody knew about than their money could ever buy. I didn’t make fun of the disease in any way. There is now awareness of this disease. Their website hadn’t been updated since 2008 and now they have awareness. They definitely got promotion they never would have gotten. For them to bitch about it is probably just them riding the promotional train. I can’t blame them for that, just as I’m in the end of my 15 minutes, so are they. I think it’s just BS they’ve gotten upset with me. I haven’t made fun of it. It blows my mind that they aren’t grateful that I’ve brought it into the limelight. And I was going to give them a huge sum of money if I won and they’re saying this $#!t to me and my wife. It’s crazy!
RNO: In our first interview, immediately after you’d been evicted, I asked you how you thought your former houseguests would react when they found out about the lie and you said, “The fellow houseguests will be very upset. Maybe disappointed is a better word and they should be. I hope over time they will get over it and we can be friends.” We saw Kathy get very upset and we saw Rachel act like she was upset so she could get more camera time. How has everybody else reacted?
Matt: (Laughs) When I was in jury, I was saying the order of people eliminated worked out well. That’s the order of those who would take it the hardest, from most to least. In Brendon’s goodbye video, he was so sympathetic. Kathy of course with her cancer was emotionally invested. That was what I was really dreading. Next was Ragan, then was Britney. I knew she had a little emotional investment, but I thought it might not be as bad. The other three guys – Enzo probably forgot and the other guys, we were like gym buddies. I’m sure they were disappointed but it’s nothing that was spoken about afterwards.
RNO: Do you think Kathy will ever forgive you?
Matt: I don’t think so. She’s pretty heated about it. I don’t agree with her being that upset about it just based on what I said before. Although it was inadvertent, a lot of good probably came out of it. To say I was making fun of it was f*%#ing insane to me. I completely sympathize with anybody who has it. It was arbitrarily picked. But Kathy has kind of the mindset of the head of this foundation and I’m sure there are many people in America who feel the same way, but I just can’t relate to that.
RNO: You also indicated in our first interview, which obviously took place while you were still sequestered, that you didn’t think the public would like you. Have you been surprised at the public’s reaction to you?
Matt: Yeah, oh my God. I still kind of don’t think they do. When you’re on a reality show like Big Brother, if you hate a character on the show but see them in the mall, you’re still going to run up and ask for a picture. I’m sure people who have done that still didn’t like me. but there are so many supporters and the amount of fans – which sounds weird to say – is totally overwhelming and humbling. They couldn’t be more supportive. I know Stacy went thru a tough time with people calling her and threats, and the fans were just amazing to her. She connected with viewers who gave her the support she needed. I am indebted to the Matt fans and love them. And I’m shocked. I thought I’d be completely loathed and despised.
RNO: Moving back to strategy, in retrospect, other than throwing that HOH competition, what do you think you could have done differently to stay in the game?
Matt: That’s the main one. I hate to say the Diamond POV because there was so much back-end BS that went with that. The only other thing would be to use it on Britney, which was my original plan. It was my decision but there was a long diary room session of devil’s advocate stuff. I wasn’t going to use it unless I was on the block.
The pretzel thing had me fuming. I still think that was a load of BS. I talked to Brendon outside the game and he confirmed to me that he was putting Britney up if he hadn’t seen that message. I guess I regret not using the Diamond POV on Britney. But that whole situation was a clusterf*#k. My only regret that I feel totally responsible for is the HOH. Even that, had Britney been gone, throwing HOH wouldn’t have been that bad. And it’s not even throwing HOH because of the effect it had. I only had a couple strategies and one was to bust ass at every comp and never give up. The one time I did it, it bit me in the ass. I shouldn’t have done that.
RNO: Given the way things turned out in the end (and how Britney responded to the news of the Brigade), it’s been suggested you could have told Britney about the Brigade and turned her against them instead of you.
Matt: I thought about it and I can’t say what would have happened. At the time, I figured it would be one against three. They would say, “He’s desperate and trying to do whatever he can, we don’t know what he’s talking about.” I figured I’d look even more like an idiot. Outside of the house, looking back, it probably would have been the better thing to do. At the time, you gotta take into consideration that you go kind of crazy. I probably should have called them out. I was also kind of blinded. Hayden did a great job of swindling me. I got duped, I got played. No ill will or anything, but I definitely got hosed big time.
RNO: How would you compare this experience to your tenure on Average Joe 4: Revenge of the Joes?
Matt: (Laughs) The Average Joe thing was more of a joke. I was dating somebody at the time and I was joking about casting it and I said, “I guarantee I could get on the show.” It became a joke gone too far. I got on but they all knew I had a girlfriend.
The comparison was night and day – I didn’t give a s#!t about it but Big Brother has been a passion of mine and was like living a dream. Average Joe was staged and contrived. Big Brother is a bit, but it’s the real deal. What you see is what you get. As douchey as my friends told me I came off on TV, that was me being douchey. They take tidbits of your personality and edit them to be what they need, but it was me being me. In that respect, it was a totally different experience.
RNO: Why did you dislike Big Brother 11‘s Natalie so much? (Don’t get me wrong – I definitely was not a fan and a number of us loved you saying, “Natalie, you suck,” in your first eviction speech – I just want to know your take on things.)
Matt: (Laughs) It’s funny because to really truly grasp how this started, you have to be constantly living on the live feeds. How that started was we were talking about contestants who we didn’t think were good game players and Natalie came up as being part of a $#!tty final two. Petty superficial BS stuff kept being said about her and it snowballed. She became our general scapegoat. She’d probably like to kill all of us.
There are so many more reprehensible players than her, but she became the scapegoat. I do think she was a terrible player, but the level of $#!t we gave her was completely uncalled for, but it was just us being stupid and I don’t regret a minute of it. That was more for the live feed viewers. I don’t care about Natalie – I don’t think she’s the worst Big Brother player in history, though she’s up there. It was something to do to pass the time, but I hope we haven’t caused her too much psychological damage.
RNO: Why did no one ever suspect Ragan of being the second Saboteur?
Matt: I dunno, he was really good. I get why nobody suspected him because he did a good job. The thing we could have picked up on was he slept through the nighttime messages – but he had the POV. And I [slept through them] too because I just thought it was stupid. Lets be honest, this was the worst twist Big Brother’s ever done. Then they rub salt in the wound by bringing it back and making it worse. What did he do? He wrote a note and left some messages? We’d already established that anything the Saboteur said was BS. I joked with Ragan after the show, saying it was the eastiest $20,000 you could have ever made. Ragan did a good job, but as good a job as anybody could do for making some dumb videos that nobody cares about.
It was just an exaggerated version of America’s Player with a different name. As a fan and not a player, I love the show and the twists have been some amazing $#!t. And then this was a joke and seemed like a copout of a twist.
RNO: You constantly described yourself as a diabolical super-genius as well as mentioning your membership in MENSA. Yet after all was said and done, the eventual winners were guys who couldn’t even spell their alliance name. As an intellectual, how pissed are you?
Matt: (Laughs) Not pissed at all. Looking at past seasons winners, Hayden was deserving and played a good game. Just because you win Big Brother doesn’t mean you’re the best Big Brother player – last year was the pinnacle. The best players usually don’t win the show.
[For the super-genius quotes,] Stacy said, “You’re such an idiot, why’d you say it?” They kept asking me to say it. I’m sure it’s pretty funny in a very douchey way. All my friend were laughing at me. Nobody would even know I’m MENSA – I don’t go to activities, but you get discounts on car rentals. When you need an angle to get on a show, genius is a good way to go. Knowing me, I’ll probably watch and think it’s so stupid.
RNO: I watched and figured you were making fun of yourself.
Matt: You hit the nail on the head.
RNO: Apart from the Brigade, there were no real alliances in this season, since Radon was a showmance and all the side alliances were just peripherals to the Brigade. What advice would you give future contestants who might want to use this season as a model for their own game?
Matt: One of my favorite parts about the Brigade is that it changed the face of Big Brother for future seasons. When you go into Big Brother, there is so much paranoia, the one thing you could hold onto was getting into a good alliance. For future seasons, every time somebody gets into a good alliance, you’ll never know if you’re a side alliance to a real alliance. Just when you thought it couldn’t get more paranoid! For me that’s really funny and I’m excited to watch Season 13 because I think the trust factor has gone down immensely.
RNO: If you had avoided elimination and Ragan had been sent home instead, what would the next few weeks have looked like for you?
Matt: That’s interesting – it’s hard not seeing the show but it sounds like they were gunning for me anyway at that point. I would have had no choice but go full-on faith in the Brigade. Ragan in my mind was gone from the inception of the Brigade. All the side alliances were just casualties, it was just a question of when they needed to be executed. I would have gone full-on Brigade and hoped to pull it out.
RNO: How would you rate the cast of this season from a strategic standpoint when compared to some of the previous casts?
Matt: I’d rate them as very ingenuitive. I don’t think the entertainment factor was there, but strategy was. There were a lot of game players and people who really knew the game. But because of the Brigade, people didn’t get to really act on their strategic impulses and kept it to the two-person alliances. If Britney, Ragan, Rachel, and myself were in a season with no Brigade, I think it would have been a lot more strategic because there were a lot of hardcore Big Brother fans. It’s funny to me that those in the final two had never seen Big Brother until they got into sequester. It’s very telling of the fact that just because you’re a fan doesn’t mean you’re meant to play the game.
RNO: That’s interesting, because a lot of viewers thought this was not a particularly strategic season.
Matt: There wasn’t a lot going on, but the people in there were strategic people – I just think people were so clouded because of the Brigade. Ragan would try to break up those three guys and I’d say no, there’s nothing going on. Britney and Kristen were saying the same thing. It was the Brigade’s job to distract people from those thoughts. The Brigade was telling them to shut up and stop talking strategy. We weren’t in it to entertain people, we were in it to win, which meant stopping people from talking strategy. We needed to make sure the Brigade were the only strategists in the house.
RNO: Since you mentioned the rest of you weren’t as entertaining, that meant we were forced to see lots of Rachel.
Matt: Sorry about that.
RNO: Speaking of her, what’s the worse form of torture, water boarding or a taped loop of Rachel’s laugh?
Matt: Oh my God. Ha ha! I think I’d take Rachel’s laugh because once the blood trickles out of your ears, you’d go deaf. Waterboarding is more of a continuous form of torture.
RNO: One of our writers is putting together a list of the most insane moments in the house this season, in honor of last season’s absolutely-insane Chima. Do you have any nominees?
Matt: Andrew’s tirade about him having no friends because none of us are Jewish. That definitely should have made it to TV because it was absurd. They all almost involve Andrew because he was so weird. Andrew’s shorts on the surfboard with his balls hanging out [was another one].
Rachel maniacally laughing for no reason as she trounced through the house and stared at Ragan. She just came out of the diary room and it made no sense to anybody. She was cackling loud and Ragan and Enzo were in the kitchen, she stared at them, laughing for a good 40 seconds. Ragan was like, “What are you laughing at?” She didn’t answer, walked outside, and kept laughing. I asked her in jury and she didn’t even remember that – that’s how crazy she is.
The Rachel/Ragan blowout [when Rachel returned after being evicted] would be the top insane moment.
We weren’t a very entertaining cast.
One of my funniest moments and I know you didn’t get to see this – we had spent all week for what we assume is a knowledge-based challenge but it wasn’t. We were studying like mad and the only person who never studied was Kathy. It gets to live eviction night and we’re five minutes from going live and Kathy looks up and says (imitating her accent), “Can you just let me in on what I need to know?” We’re like, “What is wrong with you?! We studied for five days!” That was kind of bizarre in a very Kathy sort of way.
Kathy was funny (laughs) other times too. When you’re going out to do a challenge, a screen comes over the door, so you open the screen and then the door and it’s all revealed. Every time we’d be sitting in front of the screen, Kathy would always go (imitating her accent again), “I don’t know if I could do this guys.” That’s how unconfident she was, we didn’t even know yet! It was the worst when you were on a team competition with her! Her whole season was an insane moment.
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time in the house or your time since leaving the house?
Matt: It was a total ride. I don’t regret a minute of it. To me it was a game and it’s so separate form the real world, I just wish more people felt that way about it. It was such a fun time – I would do it again in a heartbeat and I’d try to be more entertaining for the fans.
RNO: We appreciate all the time you’ve spent talking to us here at RNO. So thanks again, Matt!