Today rounds out the trifecta of birthdays that happen in the month of September – Richard, Rob and Matt, otherwise known to con-goers as R2M! So, in the spirit of this being the last year of the little show that brought the three of them together being on the air, a look back at what makes Matt Cohen so special, and such an integral part of Supernatural.
Kathy and I first met Matt ten years ago at his first Supernatural convention. He didn’t really know what to expect, so he just went with his instincts. That is, he attempted to hug every single person who wanted a hug from him. I remember turning to Kathy and saying oh, we need to interview this guy, he really knows how to interact with fans (And also? He’s gonna have to not keep hugging every single person or he’s never going to get anything else done ever again!)
We sat down with Matt for the first time shortly thereafter, and found out that he was in fact every bit as warm and genuine as he seemed – and just as appreciative of the fans as his hug policy had suggested. In those early days, when Matt was onstage with Richard Speight, Jr. he was the quieter one. Richard’s quick wit and ability to riff off the cuff had to be intimidating – for anyone! But little by little, Matt developed the same ability, and soon he was keeping up with Richard and making us all laugh.
I have enjoyed all our thoughtful chats, and a few times when we weren’t all that serious – what were we doing this day?? I can’t remember but it was undoubtedly fun!
When Rob joined Richard and Matt onstage at cons, the kinetic energy between the three of them onstage was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an R2M panel without laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. They are hilarious together, and at the same time, the depth of their genuine affection for each other is always clear. Who knew I’d be missing Matt’s traditional leap off the chair onstage that kicks off every R2M panel so much right now?
As some of the few ‘regulars’ at the early Creation conventions, Matt and Richard also were the natural options to revamp the convention karaoke. When they realized it wasn’t as egalitarian as they wanted, they recreated karaoke and made it something amazing – something no other show’s conventions had. They had costumes, they had themes, we all dressed up and got silly together, and they played all the songs we loved from the show.
The other actors heard how much fun it was and started to join in, and in those early days there were actors dancing on chairs and crowd surfing through the cheering fans – it was beautifully chaotic and Matt and Richard, the Karaoke Kings, were a big part of that. When Richard gave up his karaoke emcee spot, it was of course Matt who stepped in.
Matt has also been an important part of the Saturday Night Special from the start too. I don’t think he had aspirations of becoming a rockstar, but Louden Swain has a way of turning you into one – and that’s what happened to Matt. I love watching him belt a song out, and love love love when he pops back out for ‘Mama’s Jam’ and cheerleads us all into rocking out with him.
It’s not just the conventions that have been shaped by Matt Cohen. His portrayal of young John Winchester brought the family patriarch to life in a different way than Jeffrey Dean Morgan had done, giving us more insight into who John was and how he came to be the man we met in the pilot episode. Later, Matt also portrayed the archangel Michael, foreshadowing Jensen’s portrayal of Michael in much later seasons. Anyone who’s a Winchester is automatically an integral part of Supernatural, but Matt’s nuanced portrayal of John ensured that anyway.
In Season 15, he returned to the show in a new role, after making his own short film, Mama Bear, which is incredible – if you haven’t seen it, make sure you do! Matt directed a Season 15 episode of Supernatural that hasn’t aired yet, and I have no doubt the cast and crew who love him were thrilled to have him at the helm.
While he’s always been involved with Supernatural in some way, Matt also was a regular on General Hospital, a host for Entertainment Tonight, and graced quite a few dramatic shows with guest star roles. But Supernatural, as is true for so many of its actors, was the show that changed his life.
Matt was one of the first actors I asked to write a chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood. I’d had so many in depth conversations with Matt by that time, I knew he had something to say and that it would be powerful. He wasn’t a writer, but he sat down to write his chapter on his own, telling his personal story of how being on this show and his experiences with fans and his fellow actors shaped him into the person he is today. A husband, a father, a successful filmmaker and actor – Matt credits the SPNFamily and his fellow cast members for inspiring him to be the man he has become. I love his chapter – it’s genuine and unfailingly honest, just like Matt himself.
As my partner in crime and photographer extraordinaire Kim Prior said, Matt is a sweetheart and a gentleman, and I value and appreciate his #YOU posts – they and Matt are also very encouraging.
It’s been such a pleasure to know you for these past ten years, Matt Cohen. Thank you for contributing to every single one of our books and being so supportive over the years. I’m beyond thrilled that you got to direct an episode of this show that’s been so special to you – and to so many of us.
Happy happy birthday! Keep right on kickin’ it in the ass!
You can find Family Don’t End With
Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You
Are Done at peacewhenyouaredone.com
or at the pinned article at the top of the page