Matt Rogers’s Ideal Day Off Includes a Trip to Universal Studios
You’ll find the actor and stand-up comedian sipping on dirty martinis on Santa Monica Boulevard.
By Kelsey Allen and Matt Rogers
Published on 12/8/2022 at 12:00 PM
Matt Rogers | GettyImages Jerod Harris / Stringer
Matt Rogers is co-host of the podcast Las Culuristas with his best friend, Bowen Yang, where they discuss anything from allergy season to Taylor Swift’s newest album. He's also a stand-up comedian and actor known for his roles in Fire Island, Shrill, and I Love That for You. His holiday comedy special Have You Heard of Christmas? debuts on Showtime on December 2nd, and he’ll be taking his festive show live on the road for 14 dates across the country. When he isn’t doing Kate Hudson impressions on his podcast or touring, he spends his days off gallivanting around Los Angeles hanging out at his local diner, drinking artisan smoothies, and hitting up Universal Studios.
On an ideal day off, I probably would wake up at about 8:30, and then there'd be about an hour period where I would lay in my bed sort of deciding at what point I was going to actually get up. I would probably roll out of bed, let's call it around 9:30. Once I decided to do that, I would probably cross the street. I live very close to the Clark Street Diner, which used to be the 101 Diner. A lot of the staff is the same that was there before the pandemic, which is really nice because they're a great vibe.
I'll go, and I'll sit at the counter. I try to surprise them with my order. It's usually some sort of smoked salmon on a bagel situation. But lately, I've actually been going in there and having pasta lunches, which has been really good for my "wanting to surprise them" thing, but not as good for my being awake during the day situation. I do love a diner. I stan a diner. I kind of think of it as a little bit of a good luck charm, actually, because I used to print out my audition sides and then I would have lunch and I would read and highlight. The last thing I auditioned for before the pandemic when I was going in there was I Love That For You. I remember one of the waitresses asked me what it was, and I was like, "Oh, it's this really cool show on Showtime that Vanessa Bayer is doing, and it’s a really good part for me, and I hope I book it." She wished me luck. Then I ended up booking that job. I associate it with a little bit of good juju as well.
Dragon Bowl and Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie | Photo by Stan Lee for Thrillist
“I'll go, and I'll sit at the counter. I try to surprise them with my order... I do love a diner. I stan a diner.”
I start my Griffith Park hike at this cute little coffee stand called The Trails, which is at the base, and then I do a six-mile hike. I go all the way up to the top. I like the length that I do because it's a solid podcast length. Sometimes if I ever have to edit my own podcast, I'll honestly take it to Griffith so I can feel like I'm not just lounging around listening to myself. If I'm doing this vain thing of listening back to my podcast for edits, at least I'm getting something done and I'm energized and I'm out there at Griffith.
During the pandemic, that hike saved my life because there was a moment where I was sitting here in my apartment—I think I watched 31 seasons of Survivor in the beginning months of the pandemic. Then I finally just decided, you know what? Griffith Park is right there, I'm going to do it, and soon I was doing two a day. It’s a good one.
After my hike, while I'm on a little health kick, I pop over to this place, The Punchbowl, which is over on Melbourne in Los Feliz. These are the best smoothies in the biz. My friend Greta Titleman introduced me to it. They have this one smoothie called the Honey Bee shake. Love the Honey Bee shake. It's strawberry, banana, raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds, and almond milk. It is a slay. Then there's another one called the Rita Hayworth shake, which has primrose oil, strawberries, rose water, coconut meat, almond milk, and raw honey. There's just something about having your shake after a hike, you're feeling very LA and on top of the world.
Med Men | Photo by Stan Lee for Thrillist
“The little kid in me, the inner child in me, which is still very much alive, sits a little straighter in my seat and is like, ‘Wow, I can go.’”
There actually happens to be a lot of shake places around me. If I go to Equinox in Hollywood on my day off, then I'll hop over to Body Energy Club. They're a little bit less heady with what shakes they put together, but their stuff is really healthy. There's a peanut butter and jelly shake that I really love. I do try to make sure that I get my shake game popping off on a day off, especially after a hike.
If I have the time and I feel like I'm with someone that's as stupid as me and down to clown, we'll go to Med Men, stock up on, let's just call it about a metric ton of edibles, imbibe them, and then go to Universal Studios Hollywood and sort of just spin around for a while. Then head down to the lower lot, hit up the big three—which are Jurassic World, the Revenge of the Mummy, and Transformers—and then call it a day.
If I knew when I was a little kid that I would be neighbors with Universal Studios, I'd be like, "What do you mean you're not going every day?" I was such a theme park kid growing up. I still do get a little giddy when I'm driving on the 101 and I see Universal in the background. You can see the Harry Potter castle. The little kid in me, the inner child in me, which is still very much alive, sits a little straighter in my seat and is like, "Wow, I can go."
Harlowe | Photo by Stan Lee for Thrillist
“My mom always said ‘gin is sin,’ and she's right. They also have a gnarly chicken Parmesan at Jones. I go there for my deep conversations.”
If you can get a table, the best martinis in LA are happening at Jones. They are artisans over there. I'm a filthy, filthy, filthy—either gin or vodka, depending on the vibe—martini person. Vodka, if you want to stay behaved; gin, if you want to sin. My mom always said “gin is sin,” and she's right. They also have a gnarly chicken Parmesan at Jones. I go there for my deep conversations.
I also love Harlowe. Harlowe is a really good date spot because it’s quiet but it’s also a dateish vibe. You better believe that is where I take boys because during the week, it’s really nice and you can actually talk to somebody. It’s a good vibe. Harlowe and Jones are really my one-on one-spots; I don’t go with a bunch of people to those places. They’re really close together, so if I’m trying to socialize in a way that doesn’t get out of control, I go to Jones for dinner and Harlowe for drinks, maybe even two in one night.
My bar of choice in WeHo is Hi Tops. That's where I go, if people wanted to know where this particular gay person goes in West Hollywood. It was a really good place to watch Drag Race before the pandemic. I haven't really been back there since to watch it live, but it’s the place you go to watch gay sports. When you go to a bar like that and it’s really busy, you feel like an asshole ordering a craft cocktail, but they have a spicy tequila moment called the Hot Rod and it’s so good. Once you've had enough action at Hi Tops, you can just let the winds take you wherever you're going to go on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Places to Eat & Drink
Things to See & Do
4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles
8208 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City