Hey. I’m Matt Ruby (email@example.com). I live in Brooklyn and I'm a standup comedian and the creator of Vooza, a video comic strip about the tech world. This is Sandpaper Suit, a comedy blog about standup, filmmaking, and whatever else I feel like talking about. Established 2006. Phew, that's a while.
reggie watts is a comedy god, so if you haven't seen him yet, PLEASE take this opportunity to come see his magical blend of beat, looped, sexy vocals and robo-fantasy freak-tasion this sunday. john mulaney is hilarious, and you have probably all seen his face on VH1 or on MTV during human giant's recent take-over of the airwaves. noah, matt and merritt are all lovely, sexy human beings and hilarious comedians whose many lovely qualities i cannot ennumerate here, because i am going to be late for work!
please be there! the show is free, the parkside just asks that you buy a couple of drinks to support the sexy cocktail waitress. there is regular alchohol as well as tea and soda!
yay! oh check out my blog @ rubysneakers dot blogspot dot com! thanks! see you on sunday exclamation point!
check everyone out on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/reggiewatts http://www.myspace.com/johnmulaney http://www.myspace.com/merrittgurley http://www.myspace.com/mattruby http://www.myspace.com/noahgarf
Surprise is a mental "slap in the face" that leads people to laugh.
Most assessments of humor's underlying structure gravitate to the notion of controlled incongruity: You're expecting x, and you get y. For the joke to work, it has to be readable on both levels.
People only laugh when there are others around. It's a form of communication. That's why it's so tough to kill in a room with only a few people.
"You're 30 times more likely to laugh when you're with other people than you are when you're alone...In fact, when you're alone, you're more likely to talk out loud to yourself than you are to laugh out loud. Much more...We've vastly overrated our conscious control of laughter."
You can't tickle yourself. You need an "unpredictable touch." Punch lines need to deliver that same sort of unpredictability.
Like the incongruity theory of humor, tickling relies on a certain element of surprise, which is why it's impossible to tickle yourself. Predictable touch doesn't elicit the laughter and squirming of tickling — it's unpredictable touch that does the trick...The laughter of tickle evolved as a way of cementing the bond between parents and children, laying the foundation for a behavior that then carried over into the social lives of adults. While we once laughed at the surprise touch of a parent or sibling, we now laugh at the surprise twist of a punch line.
Venue: Comedy Village Date: 5/21/07 Length: 9 minutes Crowd: 25 people
Brought back some of the religion talk I was doing a few months back (at the end of this video). Trying to stretch it into a longer bit. A lot of my jokes are in/out affairs. If I can string more together on the same topic I think it'd help my flow.
2-3 hour marathon shows sap the life out of the crowd. If you're one of the last comics to go up, it can be pretty depressing. A dozen people in the room who are tired and don't feel like laughing. It's tempting to just phone it in, get conversational, give up on doing any written stuff, etc. I've done it before.
But then you watch an established comic work a room like that and you see something different. Last night, Rick Shapiro and Gary Gulman went up late on one of those shows at Comedy Village. And they still got laughs. Rick's always a tornado on stage, regardless of the size of the crowd. I've seen Louis CK kick ass in a similar, dozen-people-in-the-room situation too.
They do it right because they don't know how else to do it. It's built in. The energy, the commitment to the bit, the pro-ness. There may be some modulation, but there's never any quit.
There's a frame thing going on in those situations too. If you have a strong enough mental frame, you can seduce others into it. People will follow a strong attitude. If you know you're funny and ooze that confidence, other people will buy it too. It's your job to put the wind in the sails.
There's no point in sitting around and waiting for hours to get up on stage just so you can phone it in. Better to view it as a test. Can I turn this completely dead room around? Can I follow a total hack that has people squirming and bring 'em back? The plus side of it all: If something works in a dead room with just a few people, then you know you've got something.
"Stage time in this city is too valuable to waste." -Gary Gulman
Probst admitted that he sometimes did this because he did not want to be a cause of delay for the show's taping. This is another addition to his long list of misadventures during tapings of previous seasons. It can be remembered that he got electrocuted because he urinated in an electric fence. He also got stung by a jellyfish near his genitals and also had a close encounter with a reticulated python.
Note to Jeff Probst: In addition to electric fences, jellyfish, and reticulated pythons, some other good things to keep your penis away from: the Jaws of Life, crocodiles, barbed wire, guillotines, electric eels, oscillating fans, and Ted Haggard.
Sarah Silverman stopped by Greg Johnson's show at Rififi last night. Only caught the last few minutes of her act but she was really funny. She'll be hosting the MTV Movie Awards soon so I'm guessing she wanted to try out some new material. (One movie joke: "They call it '300' because that's how gay it is on a scale of one to ten.")
She claimed to be terrible at crowdwork and then tried some anyway. Asked a girl what her name was and what she did (A: actress) and then responded, "I'm just gonna let Todd Barry [the next comic] take care of you." She talked about gift bags and then said that's what she calls her boyfriend's balls. She also did a bizarre cheese fucking routine. She really likes some cheese and said she just wants to fuck it and then started acting like a dude raping some cheese. Weird. But she's got that wavelength thing where anything she says is funny so it all worked.
The brilliant thing about her is how she uses her appearance and her voice to get away with saying really fucked up shit. Sweet little Jewish girl + filthy jokes + smart = ripe for laughs.
Lightbulb! Maybe there's a market for other racist snack foods. "Ooh, a bag of Onion Spics!" "Halloween = time to stock up on Candy Coon."
I have a pool shaped kidney. (It's an above-ground kidney.) The doctors are worried because it's full of chlorine...and vicodin.
Sometimes when people move they ask you to help and offer you pizza in exchange. This is not an equitable trade. If I am going to carry a couch up four flights of stairs, I need more compensation than cheese and tomatoes.
"Paint my house and I'll give you a cracker." "I don't think so!" "Scrub the floors for a lollipop?"
People who are lactose intolerant piss me off because I hate intolerance in any form. These people are prejudiced against dairy products and I won't stand for it. First they came for the cheese, then they came for the Jews.
Hating intolerance is not a very tolerant thing to do.
Downstairs at the mellow and sophisticated B Flat, your bar chef meticulously measures each ingredient, uses three different sizes of ice cubes (the largest of which is filtered, frozen, chopped and chiseled in-house) and only takes your order if you're sitting down (because greatness shouldn't be rushed).
These ice cubes are frozen and chiseled IN-HOUSE!? How fucking incredible. I usually outsource my ice chiseling to a place in Bangalore.
And there's three different sizes of ice cubes?! Precious. I hope they also have urinals that automatically adjust to my exact height. And napkins that come in different shades so I know one will match my seafoam tie. And I hope they stir the drinks with the tusk of a freshly murdered elephant.
Beginning comics pay too much attention to albums and tv specials by famous comics. There's only so much you can learn from an HBO special or a live album because it's got so little to do with the reality of working a room as an unknown comic. Here's what's off about standup specials:
There's no crowdwork. In a lot of ways, it's more theater than standup routine. They're playing to the cameras (or mics), not the people. It's not about calling the room, thinking quickly, or being in the moment. It's about delivering your set.
The sets are long. A killer 30+ minute set is totally different than a 5 minute one. When you've got an hour, there's a lot more space to relax, tell stories, etc. New jack comics need to be able to bring it in a hurry.
The people in the audience are already fans. Making a room of people who already like you laugh is a hell of a lot different (and easier) than making strangers laugh. You don't have to establish a persona and win them over 'cuz they're already there.
The audience has been primed. They're juiced by the setting, the opening acts, the lights, the producer telling them to whoop it up, and all that crap. Heck, the Tonight Show audience even laughs at Jay Leno's monologue so there's obviously some sort of reality distortion field going on.
There's no bombing. The comic is doing a set that he knows works for an audience that he knows will laugh. There's no randomness at play. That's a totally different equation than new comic + new material where you need to poke around and take a chance on failing.
No doubt, soaking in albums/specials by Chappelle, Rock, Martin, etc. is valuable for any comic. But if you stop there, you're studying a fantasy.
Venue: Mo Pitkin's Date: 5/10/07 Length: 7 minutes Crowd: 35 people
"Flying Carpet" went well despite some on-the-fly shuffling of the lineup. The final bill included: dark host Greg Barris, bearded Texan Aaron Baker, insightful Greg Johnson, Naked Trampoline Hamlet director Andres Dubouchet, deep-voiced Dan Soder, yours truly, and phonebook-reading Kristen Schaal.
Why all the shuffling? Comics started dropping off the bill like flies. (Hmm: Do flies actually drop a lot? Can't they, you know, fly? Anyway...) There was a hot shot meeting in LA, a case of pneumonia. a host stuck in an airport in Texas, and a work-related MIA. Now I see why people who put together shows always seem so stressed out.
Anyway, all's well that end's well. People dug it. Not a big laugh kinda group but they paid attention and played along with diverse lineup. Mo Pitkin's was happy and looks like we'll do it again sometime. Details on that soon.
Here's my set:
Aaron commented to me that my set took a turn for the better once I dropped the one liners and went to more conversational tone/jokes. Dan, on the other hand, has told me before that he thinks the one liners are my "wheelhouse" and mentioned to Aaron he's seen me kill with them. Always interesting to get conflicting advice like that. I think it all depends on the audience. Some crowds love the one-liners while other times they can def fall flat. I like to start off with a bunch of 'em just to set the tone, get a rhythm of punches going, and get a read on a crowd.
This Thursday is the debut of "Flying Carpet" (a show I'm doing with some friends). Come on out.
Flying Carpet An extravaganza of comedy and more Thu 10 May 9:30pm $3
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction Downstairs room 34 Avenue A (between E 2nd and 3rd Streets) http://www.mopitkins.com/
Featuring: Kristen Schaal (http://www.myspace.com/kristenschaal) Andres Dubouchet (http://andresdubouchet.com) Matt Ruby (http://www.sandpapersuit.com) Landon Kirksey (http://www.lovelandon.com) Dan Soder (http://www.myspace.com/scareddan) Joe Alexander (http://www.myspace.com/kingjaffi) & more
Isn't this group of people different than that group of people? 'Cuz this group of people likes those things while that group of people likes these things. But can you imagine what it would be like if that group of people liked those things instead of these things? It would be totally incongruous!