Permalink | 2/29/2008
It's tough to be sad and funny at the same time so some of the comics weren't as ha ha funny as usual. Out of the people I saw perform, I thought Mike Birbiglia was the funniest (he's got a new-to-me bit on bloggers that certainly struck a chord).
I thought Demetri Martin did the best job of balancing sentimentality with laughs. He strummed his guitar while discussing various memories of the show. At one point, he commented on how Rififi has the worst screen in the city, walked up to the pieces of paper that are taped over a rip in the screen, pulled one off, and dropped it in the time capsule. Big laughs.
Funniest thing I saw on Tuesday night was during Andy Kindler's performance. Zach Galifianakis came out of the back room and Andy started yelling at him. Zach then jokingly took out his cellphone and proceeded to take a photo of Andy on it. Something about seeing Zach taking a cellphone pic, like some obsessed fan, really cracked me up.
Big picture time: Invite Them Up is one of the reasons why I began doing comedy. I moved to NYC from Chicago years ago and hadn't really seen much live comedy up until them. I lived in the East Village and I started to go to ITU and then, later on, Andrés du Bouchet's Giant Tuesday and Aziz' UCB Crash Test shows all the time. I couldn't justify sitting at home watching TV when I knew I could see amazing performers just a few blocks away for cheap or free.
I remember seeing Patton Oswalt blow the roof off the place at ITU one night and being inspired by it. The energy and whole anything-can-happen vibe of those shows felt more rock 'n roll than the rock shows I'd see in NYC. It just felt like something was happening there.
And, for me, an especially big hat tip (I mean a big tip of the hat, not a tip of a big hat like a sombrero or something — anyway...) goes to Eugene Mirman. It was great to be able to watch a comic that good play and experiment every week. Even if a bit misfired, it was still cool to watch him take the risk. It was a lesson in the value of taking chances. And the way he used videos, emails, magazines, or whatever to make people laugh definitely expanded my ideas of what comedy can be.
Now that I'm inside "the scene," I'm a lot more jaded and cynical about comics and shows. Even writing this seems kind of sappy. But there's just some things that shouldn't be taken for granted. Invite Them Up was one of those things. Bobby and Eugene, good luck and thanks!
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/28/2008
In a recent interview, he admitted that he spends "seven days a week, mostly from a laptop in his bedroom" pretending to be an underage girl in chat rooms. Yeah, uh, thanks so much for defending us against creepy guys...grown man who's not a cop yet spends two-thirds of his life pretending to be a 13-year-old girl named Tiffany who's really into horses, Hannah Montana, and anal. That's totally normal. (Note: He's also got that weird thin-beard thing going on.)
Another one of these creeps is Pete Townsend from The Who. He was busted with child porn on his computer and said it was there because he was doing "research" in order to give it to the police.
Yeah, right, research...Is that what we're calling it nowadays, Pete? I bet you've been doing a lot of "research"....yup, quite a thesis you've been growing there. It's really gonna make a big splash, eh?
I'm not buying Pete as "The Profiler." Anyone who knows The Who well knows this guy has some pins in the wrong alley. After all, this is the same guy who wrote, "I'm a boy, I'm a boy, but my ma won't admit it." And don't even get me started on that whole Ivor the Engine Driver thing from "A Quick One."
The "it was just research" excuse is a funny one. Can any weirdo use this excuse? Maybe like this: "I like to 'research' Asian midget cheerleader gangbang porn. It's terrible stuff...but someone out there has got to stop all this senseless violence against Asian midget cheerleaders. I'm a real vigilante...The Equalizer of the Asian midget cheerleader world."
Permalink | 2/27/2008
FLYING CARPET ON MAR 4
Boy, Have I got a kipwinger of a show for ya. One week from tonight.
Flying Carpet. Still at Rififi. With some hilarious comics "as seen on
TV" -- on stations like HBO, Comedy Central, & VH1. You watch those!
As I like to say, "It's not TV, it's cable TV." Full details at the end of
UPCOMING SHOW AT UCB THEATER
More excitement: I've got a show at UCB Theater on Thursday, March 20
at 6:30 PM. (Early worms, here's your shot at some non-late-night Ruby
showness!) It's going to be a newfangled standup show with a big
twist. More info soon...or just go make a reservation now:
LINEUP FOR NEXT FLYING CARPET
Full details on next Tuesday's show:
Flying Carpet with Matt Ruby
FREE Comedy Extravaganza
Tuesday, March 4 At 9:45 PM
Todd Lynn (HBO, BET)
One of my fave NYC comics. Recently appeared on HBO's P. Diddy's Bad
Boys of Comedy. After you see him, you'll want to walk across a bridge
to pick up cheesecake for him.
Uber Luber (Heavy metal comedy duo)
Heavy metal duo that will bite the head off a bat if you look at 'em
Pete Holmes (VH1, Comedy Central)
"Boisterous, sharp, and fills a room with his energy and physical
"A performer who is wide-awake to the world around him both onstage
and off, a quality which only makes his comedy that much more
enthralling to watch."
The King of New Orleans. We got arrested together recently!
332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.
Other upcoming shows:
Wed Feb 27 @ 8 PM "Get it While You Can" @ 507 Bar
Mar 8 @ 11 PM The Stand Up Experience @ The Pit
Permalink | 2/26/2008
And then I'm like wait a minute, there's something weird about this Krista Ayne chick that's on the cover. She looks familiar. Oh no...
The eyebrows, those lips, that thing resembling a nose...She's totally Michael Jackson!
Now I've got this image in my head.
Make it stop.
I need to take a forever shower.
Permalink | 2/26/2008
I guess in some people's eyes, [nerds] might be mildly sexy - and, as a nerd, I'm certainly happy to enjoy some of the effects of that. But as far as the very brief affair that I had with Natalie [Portman], it's made me a target of a lot of nerd wrath. You don't date Luke Skywalker's mom and not have them hate your guts.
Moby did link up that "27 Ways to Kill Moby" video I made about him. Perhaps that's got something to do with this quote?
Anyway, my wrath has nothing to do with his "brief affair" with Luke Skywalker's mom. I'm pissed because he fucked Chewbacca.
Labels: in the news
Permalink | 2/23/2008
Permalink | 2/22/2008
But people can't resist: "The charges were dropped, i'll be there!" Oh, I get it. It's like you were going to be tried for a crime. But now they're not going to prosecute you anymore. So let's party. Funny stuff, man.
"Cinco de Mayo party...yo quiero tequila!" Thanks for pulling out the dated commercial tagline! What's next, a Spuds McKenzie reference? Yo quiero for you to not show up.
Even worse are people who feel like they have to reply with their whole life story. "I'm going to be coming back from Connecticut on Monday with the family, but I will hopefully be back in time to stop by. Trust me, if I can get away from the in-laws, I will! Last time we were there..."
Aaaaackh, just stop. No wants to read "War and Peace" here. It's a simple question being asked here: "Do I need to buy more beer or not?"
Permalink | 2/22/2008
Maybe it's because I'm Jewish. We're not the best at being Mr. Fixit. You don't see a lot of Weinbergs working down at The Home Depot. "This hex wrench here, it's very good for publishing newspapers...or escaping persecution." I think Jesus was the last Jewish carpenter. We saw how that worked out and said, "Yeah, um, let's try accounting."
The only tool I really know how to use is a level. And a level's not very useful if you can't actually build anything. Plus, it's tough to sound manly using a level: "Oh yeah, that thing is totally straight. Straight as fuck. Straight...just like my sexual preferences!" Just doesn't cut it.
My incompetence is made worse by the fact that my girlfriend's dad knows how to build/fix just about anything.
He recently came to our apartment and built us this incredible shelving unit that's all beautiful and fits perfectly in the space. Meanwhile, all I can do is hand him stuff and pick up anything that drops. When he asks me for help, I hear a parenthetical "(jewboy faggot)" at the end of everything he says. "Can you hand me that hammer (jewboy faggot)?"
Then he brings in the heavy artillery: a pancake air compressor. Contrary to what I thought at first, this is not used to shoot pancakes at people. (Sounds like a great way to feed the needy though, huh?) What it does do: You hook up different attachments to it, and it becomes a drill, or a nailgun, or a how dare you fuck my daughter machine. I swear that's what the setting on it said: "How dare you fuck my daughter (jewboy faggot)." It was a very anti-semitic and homophobic piece of machinery.
Anyway, he finishes drilling and nailing and builds this amazing thing and I'm left with the ladyfolk to do all the women's work at the end. We paint the thing, clean up the sawdust, and take our tampons in and out repeatedly. And then dot our i's with hearts. And try on Ugg boots. And watch Gray's Anatomy. And complain about how hard it is to find a good man these days.
Then I brought out the level and declared, "Oh yeah, that's way straight."
Permalink | 2/21/2008
Why you need to get your stuff in front of other people as much as possible:
Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them...
Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well. So it does matter to have an audience. The things I've written just for myself are no good. They tend to peter out. When I run into difficulties, I find I conclude with a few vague questions and then drift off to get a cup of tea.
Wandering is a good thing:
The Meander (aka Menderes) is a river in Turkey. As you might expect, it winds all over the place. But it doesn't do this out of frivolity. The path it has discovered is the most economical route to the sea.
The river's algorithm is simple. At each step, flow down. For the essayist this translates to: flow interesting. Of all the places to go next, choose the most interesting. One can't have quite as little foresight as a river. I always know generally what I want to write about. But not the specific conclusions I want to reach; from paragraph to paragraph I let the ideas take their course.
Err on the side of the river. An essay is not a reference work. It's not something you read looking for a specific answer, and feel cheated if you don't find it. I'd much rather read an essay that went off in an unexpected but interesting direction than one that plodded dutifully along a prescribed course.
Aim for maximum surprise:
I was afraid of flying for a long time and could only travel vicariously. When friends came back from faraway places, it wasn't just out of politeness that I asked what they saw. I really wanted to know. And I found the best way to get information out of them was to ask what surprised them. How was the place different from what they expected? This is an extremely useful question. You can ask it of the most unobservant people, and it will extract information they didn't even know they were recording.
Surprises are things that you not only didn't know, but that contradict things you thought you knew. And so they're the most valuable sort of fact you can get. They're like a food that's not merely healthy, but counteracts the unhealthy effects of things you've already eaten.
How do you find surprises? Well, therein lies half the work of essay writing. (The other half is expressing yourself well.) The trick is to use yourself as a proxy for the reader. You should only write about things you've thought about a lot. And anything you come across that surprises you, who've thought about the topic a lot, will probably surprise most readers.
Read the whole thing here.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/20/2008
The inspiration for the character in the video: A friend was complaining about a comic who did a whole bit about his cleaning lady and how she showed up without any cleaning supplies. I guess the joke was about how he had to supply the cleaning supplies too and how that was ridiculous. We started laughing about how unrelatable that premise was and what a bad idea the whole thing was (yeah, crowds really love it when ya make fun of the hired help!?). Anyway, it got me thinking that it'd be great to do a character who takes this concept even further. And that's how Mortimer came to be.
We edited a bunch out of the video too...here are all the jokes, including ones that didn't make the cut:
Move over Larry the Cable Guy, it's time to make way for Mortimer the Steel Baron...the world's first White Collar Comedian.
My name's Mortimer the Steel Baron and I'm insanely wealthy.
I'm so wealthy, I outsource my masturbation. An Indian fellow named Sanjeev does it for me. Now that's freakonomics.
The other day I was sailing on my yacht with Ted Turner. I said, "Hey Ted, drop the anchor!" Next thing I know, he fired Wolf Blitzer.
Does anyone here have change for a thousand? Oh, just me then I guess.
I buy things you could never afford. I have a polo horse in my Ferrarri. I shit gold. I wear fur condoms. For her pleasure. Mink dick baby!
I had cosmetic surgery on my dog. His tits are huge now. Just the way I like them. "Roll over Fido...Oh wait, you can't, because your tits are so huge. Perfect!" I also gave him a Brazilian bikini wax. His pussy looks great now.
My wife wears lipstick made from the blood of Vietnamese toddlers. And she only wears fur coats made from endangered species. I only buy her extra blood diamonds. If a couple of Nigerians have to die to make my little muffin happy, it's worth it. And I just bought her some diamond studded tampons. I had to pull some strings at Tiffany's to make that happen. The negotiations were tough. A real bloodbath....it went on for days. What a bitch.
But we're not that different, you and I. I have my pants put on me one leg at a time, just like you.
Here's a good one: A black, a jew, and a democrat walk into my country club. That's it! Hilarious, eh? Imagine, one of those at Fair Oaks country club. Maybe if the entire security staff was dead! Really, even the busboys at my country club are protestants.
How did I get so wealthy? I invented steel. In fact, I invented science and then I invented steel. I invented science and then I sold it to the Jews. I'm insanely wealthy.
My moustache is made from the pubic hair of whales. You didn't even know that whales had pubic hair, did you? That's how poor and ignorant you are.
It's hard to find good help these days. My accountant told me I need to diversify my portfolio. I told him it's my money and I'm not letting minorities anywhere near it! But seriously, I believe in diversity. I have gardeners from all over Central America. And that's not easy. You try finding a Guatemalan that's good with topsoil.
It's hard to find good help these days. The other day I caught my maid stealing from me. I said, "Guadalupe, if you're going to do standup, come up with your own material at least! Otherwise yo no habla green card...comprende?" I shouldn't be surprised though. Her name is Guadalupe Mencia.
I had the most horrible nightmare last night. I dreamt I only had as much money as you people. I'm insanely wealthy.
You sir, i'm looking at your outfit. You must be homeless. No? Are you going to a costume party dressed as a hobo? Surely, you're a vagrant or a drifter or a ruffian of some sort. Just look at your shoes. Would you like some change? Can I give you some newspapers to sell out on the streetcorner? How much do you make a year, 2 figures? Don't worry about it, the world needs plumbers too.
I love this phrase "ghetto" that the kids use these days. Now I use it all the time. The new GPS system on my yacht is so ghetto, I had to launch my own satellite to get it to work properly. My sweatshop in Bangladesh is so ghetto, the managers have to share a single whip.
Do you know how wealthy I am? It's crazy.
Sometimes people want to know if they're a blueblood like me. Well, here are a few ways you can tell:
-If your nanny's first language is English, you might be a blueblood.
-If your single malt scotch is older than your mistress, you might be a blueblood.
-If the last time you voted for a democrat was because you already rigged the election, you might be a blueblood.
Vegas is for the hoi polloi. And what a terrible slogan: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Us white collar types have a more refined phrase for shenanigans that take place where we summer: "If it happened in Nantucket, then I never fucked it."
It's no wonder you're bad with money. They teach you incorrectly from a young age...Sally sells seashells down by the seashore. Memo to Sally: The seashore is a terrible place to sell seashells. Because there are free seashells everywhere there. I'm not sure where you went to business school but I'm not sure you grasp the laws of supply and demand. What's your next big idea: Selling dirt in the forest?
I'm Mortimer the Steel Baron and I'm insanely wealthy.
Permalink | 2/19/2008
One interesting bit: He talked about his grandfather who was a cab driver and preacher. He said he writes jokes the same way his grandfather wrote sermons, using bullet points. He wants his jokes to have the force of an argument and not having them fully written out helps with that.
He also said if he had known the positive side of his family's history when he was young, he probably wouldn't have become a comedian.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/18/2008
MR: wow, i had no idea hot chip was SO ugly!
MR: i like 'em more now
TE: more like "not hip"
MR: they make devo look like david cassidy
Related: "Click to receive your Valentine's Day eCard from David Cassidy"
Permalink | 2/15/2008
Family Hour with Auntie Sara is a wondrous comedy show featuring comedians talking about family in a manner that is not at all appropriate for actual families with actual children.
Family Hour with Auntie Sara was just named a NY POST HOT PICK and featured on METROMIX. COM! WHOA!
NEXT SHOW!!!! Friday 02/15/08 - 7:00 PM
Family Hour w/Auntie Sara
Ochi's Lounge (Comix)
353 West 14th St. at 9th Ave.
New Yizzle , NY
Cost: 1 item only!
Permalink | 2/14/2008
A visit to the home of Mortimer the Steel Baron! Thanks to Brad Steuernagel, Jay Bois, and Selena Coppock for their help.
Permalink | 2/13/2008
Booking big name comics at your little alternative show is a good way to get people in the house. But it sucks if they decide to blow you off at the last minute. To pro comics: A text message 20 minutes after the show starts saying you're sick/busy is pretty disrespectful. (But two bigtime comics did exactly that at a Rififi show last night.)
Some good advice I got a while back about "making it" in comedy: Figure out what you really want to do. Do you want to do standup? Do you want to write? Do you want to act? Do you want to produce videos? Knowing where you want to go is the first step to getting there.
You need to get as much stage time as possible. But open mics can be soul sucking. And lame ones can even make you think good jokes aren't funny. What to do? Find decent ones and plow on through. There's no substitute for getting up in front of people so ya gotta do it. Just be ready to break away from the script if no one's buying it.
Going autobiographical is tough. You have to actually open up about yourself. (I'm good at pointing out the foibles of others but find it tough to point that laser beam at myself.) I'm trying though. 'Cuz if you do it right, it really connects you with the audience.
Write, write, write.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/12/2008
Live set from Chicago a couple months back. Great crowd.
Permalink | 2/11/2008
She got it legally too: Medical marijuana because she lived in California and had MS (she was paralyzed and it helped her deal with muscle pain). She lived out in Humboldt County, where they have some crazy good weed. I call it Hannukah weed: One hit and you're lit up for eight days.
So while the chronic illness was very bad, the ill cronic was very good. I'd go out there and she'd have me pack bongs until I was out of my head. That's when I learned a valuable lesson: Never try to outsmoke a paralyzed person. They are going to win. Every time. What's going to happen...Is she going to smoke so much weed that she can get up off the couch? Unlikely.
Trying to outsmoke a paralyzed person is like trying to go shot for shot with the ocean. You: "Come on ocean, I can drink Jaeger all night long!" The ocean: "Bring it on. I'm an immense body of water. Trillions of gallons. I'm not worried. Plus, I'm not even human so I can't get drunk."
And here's another piece of advice on smoking with someone who's paralyzed: No matter how good the weed is, don't call it "The Crippler." That's just bad form.
I think if you’re in a wheelchair, you should be allowed to take whatever drug you want. You’re not driving anywhere. You're not gonna join a wheelchair gang (though that would give new meaning to Bloods vs. Crips: "The Hemophiliacs are battling the Parapalegics again!").
Bottom line: A person who has to wear a seatbelt their entire lives should be allowed to move about the cabin of their mind freely.
Permalink | 2/09/2008
02/15/2008 07:00 PM - Family Hour @ Comix (Ochi’s Lounge downstairs)
02/20/2008 11:00 PM - School Night @ UCB Theater
02/21/2008 08:00 PM - Slightly Buzzed @ Rififi
02/23/2008 07:00 PM - Delusions of Spandex @ Parkside Lounge
03/04/2008 09:45 PM - Flying Carpet @ Rififi
Permalink | 2/09/2008
Btw, the Terminator robot kicked the FOX robot's ass during the Super Bowl:
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/07/2008
Fuck Ebert & Roeper, I'm going to start getting all of my film recommendations from BloodyDisgusting.com.
And who doesn't love and respect Joblo.com? I'm sure lots of people are saying things like: "I was on the fence about going to see Rambo. But now that I know Joblo.com is endorsing it, I'm in!" That's like saying, "Jeff Craig from Sixty Second Preview said it's a great movie so we should totally go!"
In light of those other ones, this one I messed with in Photoshop almost seems believable...
Permalink | 2/07/2008
After waiting for almost two hours to get onstage, I was a bit grumpy. So I called out a few other comics who went before me and had already left. One I labelled as being borderline racist (he kept saying stupid shit and then bizarrely tagging it with "Am I right?").
Another I went after for chewing gum onstage (big pet peeve of mine, really disrespectul to the audience I think), saying "because I'm so famous" in a semiserious way, and then telling a joke about airplane food.
I accused another comic of ripping off the premise of this Tig Notaro bit:
But really, it could have been just parallel thinking.
Anyway, I got chewed out afterwards by the host of the show for not being supportive and rushing to judgement. Point taken.
I'm so into getting Bill Hicks-y and "telling the unvarnished truth" that sometimes I forget 1) a little varnish ain't such a bad thing and 2) my opinions/theories aren't always "the truth."
Anyway, I'll try to put the nasty demon back in it's box...well, somewhat at least.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/06/2008
Tomorrow (Tuesday) night is the next one...
FREE comedy extravaganza
Tuesday, Feb 5 (9:45pm)
RIFIFI at 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.
Hosted by Matt Ruby and featuring:
Dan Boulger (http://www.myspace.com/danboulger)
Mike Vecchione (http://www.myspace.com/mikevcomedy)
Kumail Nanjiani (http://www.myspace.com/5kumails)
Becky Ciletti (http://www.myspace.com/ciletti)
Brad Steuernagel (http://www.myspace.com/bsteuernagel)
Joselyn Hughes (http://www.myspace.com/joselynhughes)
Dan Hirshon (http://www.danhirshon.com/)
Mark Normand (http://www.myspace.com/heresmarkk)
Dan Boulger won the Boston Comedy Festival. He and Mike Vecchione have both appeared on Comedy Central. Eugene Mirman called Kumail Nanjiani one of "the funniest comedians not enough people are aware of right now." And everyone else on the show is super funny too. In fact, if this show was a woman, it'd be one classy broad.
Labels: flying carpet
Permalink | 2/04/2008
1. Comedians who have red hair and are shitty.
2. Comedians who use initials instead of their real last name.
3. Comedians who go on after me even though they are inferior.
4. Comedians who tape their specials in the Boston area. (But not CD's, because that's where my new one was recorded. It comes out March 4th.)
5. Comedians who have been asked repeatedly to "get out of the business," but don't.
6. Comedians who have this website
7. Comedians who have red hair and aren't funny, and have initials for their last name.
8. Comedians who name their special "Shameless" instead of what it should be titled: "Goodjokeless." Ahahaha. That was the best one.
9. Comedians who name their CD "Live in Houston" when it should be titled: "Goodjokeless in Houston."
10. Comedians who named their current tour "Chewed Up" instead what it should of been titled: "Shittyjoked Up"
Making fun of Louis is the running joke of most of Todd's posts there (e.g. "The CK stands for 'Can't Kill.'")
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 2/04/2008