Hyla Matthews Draws Upon Cancer Experience
For Night of Stand Up Comedy
Actress & Comedian performs Stand-Up Show “You Are Here”
• The Slipper Room- NYC- June 6 & 7 at 8pm
• The Hudson Backstage Theater/Comedy Central space- LA- June 15 & 16 at 8pm
For tickets, click on the posters below.
Washington D.C.-based actress Hyla Matthews is performing a stand-up comedy show that reflects on the past four years of her life spent battling breast cancer that metastasized to her brain.
“You Are Here,” developed by Matthews over the past year, comes to The Slipper Room in NYC for 2 nights and The Hudson Backstage theater in LA for 2 nights. Candace Brown, an actress and comic, will open for Matthews in both cities.
“The subject matter can be a bit scary, but hopefully people will laugh,” Matthews said. “And you will walk out of that theater with a warm, happy feeling that you aren’t me.”
Matthews performed in films, television, theater and stand-up comedy for 10 years in Los Angeles before relocating to Washington in 2009, where she has performed on the D.C. theater scene for years and appeared on HBO’s Veep. In April 2014, seven months after giving birth to her son, Matthews was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. That was followed weeks later by the discovery of a metastasis in the cerebellum, which placed her in the stage IV category. She underwent a punishing series of treatments, including months of chemotherapy, brain surgery, breast surgery (lumpectomy), and postsurgical radiation. When scans showed a possible recurrence of the brain tumor a year later, Matthews had a second brain surgery in December 2015. Subsequent tests showed that the cancer actually had not recurred, but Matthews then experienced life-threatening complications in recovery, including a brain hemorrhage. She required two additional surgeries and was in the hospital for 30 days.
“My doctors were baffled that these awful things kept happening to me,” Matthews said. “One of them told me that if they had not seen the hemorrhage on a scan and rushed me into surgery within an hour, I would have died. So, that is quite something to hear. After a month in the hospital, I was starting to lose it so I discharged myself – very female. I just wanted to go home. But back home, I needed a walker to move around; I needed help to bathe. I had an incision in the back of my head. I had an IV pumping antibiotic into my veins every morning for weeks. And we had a 2-year-old child.”
Matthews has since largely recovered from the events of January 2016, though she continues to work at physical therapy. As for her cancer case, she currently shows “no evidence of disease,” and scans have not shown any recurrence in the breast or brain since the initial May 2014 metastasis. She is considered a cancer survivor but lives with the possibility of a recurrence, and will do so “for the rest of my life.”
Background on Hyla Matthews
In Los Angeles, Matthews performed sketch comedy and improv with The Groundlings Sunday Company in 2004-5. She was cast as a bumbling TV news reporter in This Just In, a web-based series of comedy shorts produced by HBO and AOL, and performed at the Montreal Festival and HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo. Matthews did guest appearances on series TV and was a regular roundtable guest on E! Network’s Chelsea Lately, and booked national TV commercials. She also performed stand-up comedy at a number of LA clubs, including the Hollywood Improv, Comedy Store and M Bar, and opened for Chelsea Handler at several venues on Handler’s 2008-09 stand-up tour, including D.C.’s Warner Theatre in April 2009.
Marriage brought Matthews to Washington in 2009, where she was cast in Studio Theatre’s production of The Big Meal in 2012. She portrayed then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in the Gross National Product sketch show Sound of Palin at DC’s Atlas Performing Arts Center in 2011. Matthews also had roles at Bethesda’s Imagination Stage (Aquarium) and Glen Echo’s Adventure Theatre, where she portrayed Ma Ingalls in A Little House Christmas (2012). In the summer of 2015, a year after her first cancer surgeries, she replaced Chicago actress Holly Laurent for several performances of The Second City’s sketch/improv comedy production Let Them Eat Chaos at Washington’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Also in 2015, Matthews was cast in HBO’s Veep as the manager of a women’s gun show. She graduated from Bennington College in 1991 with a BA in Drama.
Hyla Matthews is represented by Fred Shiffman at Capital Talent Agency, (202) 429-4785
More about Candace Brown can be found at: CandaceBrown.com
About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer – Breast cancer is understood in terms of four categories: tumors that are receptive to the estrogen gene, the progesterone gene or the HER2 protein, and tumors that don’t test positive for any of those three genes (thus the name triple-negative breast cancer). While each of these types has its own character and treatment protocol, and TNBC is typically responsive to chemotherapy, the TNBC Foundation says triple-negative tumors “can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer.” More information on the TNBC Foundation is available at their website: tnbcfoundation.org