Matt Berry holds the distinction of playing one of the horniest vampires ever to grace American television—True Blood and Buffy be damned. As the libidinous Laszlo Cravensworth on FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, the Bedfordshire, England-born Berry rounds out a colorful quartet of vampires living in modernity on Staten Island. Laszlo is a prolific pornographer and unrepentant libertine, and Berry electrifies the undead Casanova with a flamboyantly assured edge through gag after gag.
In parallel with his acting career—which has included roles as self-aggrandizing blowhards in Toast of London and The IT Crowd—Berry has released nine albums of lavish songs driven by keys and guitar. Though most audiences know him for his comedic flair, Berry says that music has been his driving creative force, ever since he started playing the electric organ as a child. But he notes one key intersection of his crafts: “You have to keep a keen eye on your timing in music as you do in your comedy.”
His musical ability is somewhat of a secret weapon in Shadows, with Laszlo casually passing the time at a piano, joining his wife in song, or, in one episode, claiming centuries-long authorship of the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.” Berry credits Shadows creator Jemaine Clement, whom he knew prior to working on the show, with incorporating the detail into his character. “It’s quite cleverly done in that Laszlo can’t look like he’s particularly accomplished yet,” he says. “He has to look sort of amateur for it to be funnier.”
Fresh off a slew of Emmy nominations, What We Do in the Shadows returns this week for its fourth season, and the tomfoolery doesn’t stop as Laszlo and company try to open a vampire nightclub. Berry caught up with Pitchfork from his home in London to discuss his love for golden soul and high-drama rock.
Arlo Parks: “Too Good” (2021)