COMMENTARY
Matt Bellassai ##Photo by Tim Beckford and Karen Seifert

Worst Whiner, Ever

Play on words helps launch funnyman, media star

Matt Bellassai is the brainchild of BuzzFeed’s popular web series “Whine About It.” In each weekly episode, the openly gay Bellassai chugs an over-filled glass of wine at his desk before complaining about a chosen topic, such as “The Worst Things About Fall” (apple pie), “The Worst Things About Being an Adult” (figuring out your own health insurance) and “Types of Co-Workers That Are the Absolute Worst” (bathroom talkers).

Bellassai started at BuzzFeed after winning a fellowship at the company’s New York headquarters. Previously, he worked a desk job at Northwestern University’s law school in Chicago. As a BuzzFeed fellow, he authored well-performing, entertaining posts, such as a doughnut crawl or “A Day in the Life of Oprah, Probably.” Then, Bellassai had the idea of getting drunk and recording it. With that, “Whine About It” premiered in May 2015. Eight months later, he won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Social Media Star.”

Although “Whine About It” is still a BuzzFeed brand, as of January this year, Bellassai has struck out on his own. Along with a similar video series, “To Be Honest,” recorded in Bellassai’s studio apartment, he is exploring new projects, such as a book of essays, a podcast and TV opportunities. His live comedy tour, “Drunk and Alone” will be stopping in Portland on July 27 at Revolution Hall. Tickets are available at www.mattbellassai.com.

Assuming you like wine, what’s your favorite variety? What’s the worst?

I’ve said this before, so it’s kind of an open secret that I’m ashamed to admit, but wine isn’t really my favorite go-to drink whenever I’m out and about. I know! I’m sorry! But honestly, it’s because I drink it as part of my job now! It just reminds me that I have work to do! And also, I usually chug the wine I drink on camera, which doesn’t make for the most enjoyable wine experience. So now, I’m a little scared of wine, and if I’m gonna have a drink when I’m out, I usually go for a nice whiskey or cocktail.

But when I do drink wine, I usually like a nice chilled white wine, like a Chardonnay. Or a rosé. I had rosé for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’m not ashamed to say it might be my new favorite drink. In terms of the worst wines, I don’t like anything too sweet. I already feel a little bad that I’m drinking alcohol; I don’t wanna also feel bad that I’m drinking a bunch of sugar. Plus, it’s wine, not a juice box. It should feel like it’s punching you in the throat just a little bit.

What inspired you to get drunk at your desk and complain about stuff?

Well, like most decisions involving wine, there’s wasn’t a whole lot of thought or planning that went into the idea. I’d wanted to experiment making YouTube-style vlogs for Facebook, especially original comedy videos, and getting drunk at my desk was something that sounded fun and easy, and worth trying out! It combined two of my favorite things: ranting and drinking. And luckily, I had a boss who didn’t mind one of her employees drinking an entire bottle of wine in the middle of the day, so the idea got approved and it just kind of grew from there.

What’s the absolute worst thing about being a celebrity?

Well, I definitely don’t feel like a celebrity, so I wouldn’t know! But, I do get stopped on the street now and then, and it’s always funny to see how different people expect me to behave in real life. I think everybody assumes I’m just this drunken grump all the time, which is obviously sometimes true, but if I were like that constantly, I would be the worst person alive. I wouldn’t be able to stand myself!

But that’s sort of part of the bigger thing, which is that people maybe don’t realize that those five minutes they see in a video are literally just five minutes in the life of a person who also exists outside of the Internet the rest of the day. And yet, people take those five minutes and assume that’s your entire life.

We know which types of foods you think are the worst — yes, creamy peanut butter is wrong — but which foods do you actually love?

I have a severe addiction to ordering takeout, so my favorite foods are usually whatever foods can make it to my apartment the fastest. I’m a big breakfast person, like literally every other person. But seriously, if I could replace every meal with waffles and scrambled eggs, and coffee, I would. And a mimosa, obviously.

What’s the worst thing about serious wine drinkers?

Hardcore wine drinkers, like the people who may be reading this magazine and judging me for these opinions, need to understand that there’s no right way to drink wine! I was always self-conscious when I drank wine because I didn’t know if I was holding the glass the right way or drinking the right variety with the right food, or drinking it at the wrong temperature, or whatever. And then, I realized it literally doesn’t matter. If you like it, then who cares how you drink it? If you think a bottle of wine that costs a dollar is perfect, then it’s perfect. Don’t let anybody shame you for your wine drinking habits! (Unless you put ice in your wine, then you’re literally garbage.)

Anything you’d like to complain about to our OWP readers?

Well, I’ve never been to Oregon, so I can’t say anything bad about it just yet. But I’m visiting for a show this summer, so everyone will have to stay tuned and see what I have to complain about once I’ve gotten the full Oregon experience.

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