Hey. I’m Matt Ruby (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
Come on out to Flying Carpet, tomorrow (Tues) night at Rififi at 9:45 PM.
I'll be hosting and there are great comics on the bill: Matt McCarthy (just taped a set for Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and he was also at the Montreal Just For Laughs festival) Jesse Popp (he's been on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and cohosts the Beauty Bar show) Jamie Lee (VH1 Best Night Ever and Diamonds in the Fluff show) Luke Thayer as Tony Francione, The New York Sport Guru ("Loves this city baby, and isn't afraid to shed a tear for Big Blue") Joe Powers (cohost of Morrison Motel) Phil O'Reilly (elder statesman of laughs, saw this guy at a mic and said you have to do my show...imagine your dad or grandpa doing jokes about Tupac, but weirder and funnier)
And it's free too.
Flying Carpet with Matt Ruby FREE Comedy Extravaganza Tuesday, April 1 at 9:45 PM Rififi 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.
I'm probably happiest onstage when I riff off something in the moment and it's genuinely funny. You get a whole different energy when you're using the front of your mind (spontaneous) vs. the back (written material).
And people respond to that energy. Especially if you're calling out a truth in the room that hasn't been addressed. When you do that, it's like a big tension reliever for the whole room. People laugh because the bubble's been burst. A few examples:
I'm at a mic last week. The host talks about meeting up with this gay couple he knows who's names are Gordon and Sven. I get onstage and say, "If I wrote a novel with a gay couple in it named Gordon and Sven, my editor would make me change their names. Because those names are too gay to be believable. The only way they could be more gay is if their names were Alejandro and Guy Who Likes Cock in His Ass. By the way, that's the Native American name for gay dudes."
Then I talked about this crazy woman in the crowd. During the show, she sits in the back and keeps talking during the other comics sets. And instead of applauding she yells out the words, "Clap, clap, clap." So I went onstage and say something about it. Then she yells out, "I can't clap, my wrist is broken." Whoops.
But then I realize this excuse doesn't fly. "That is a good reason for not clapping. But that does not explain why, instead of laughing, you keep yelling out the words, 'Laugh, laugh, laugh." (Which she also did.)
Then I said, "Every time you do that it makes me sad: Tear, tear, tear. I would hate to go running with you. You would probably be all saying, 'Sweat, sweat, sweat' the entire time." Only a small crowd but they ate it up and she was silent for my set. I said, "I had to diffuse that bomb early. Phew."
Then, last night at Kabin, I'm doing a set and the host is talking to the crowd and finds out that there's two girls from Harlem and two girls from Denmark in the crowd. First thing I say after being intro'd: "Boy, you guys are in for a treat. Because my comedy is targeted specifically at the Harlem/Denmark demographic. If there was a Venn diagram for it, one circle would be Harlem and one would be Denmark. And the overlap in the middle would say, 'My comedy.'" (Fyi, I love Venn diagram jokes.)
I went into my material after that. But now I think I should have gone further and launched into my "Denmark material": People from Copenhagen talk like this, but people from Stockholm talk like this. And what's the deal with fjords? You can't have a word with an f followed by a j. That's fjust ridiculous.
Near the end of my set, a couple in the corner started making out. I said, "Are you guys making out during my set? That is awesome. I'm not surprised. My comedy is like Barry White's music. It turns people on. You are all totally going to get laid tonight. I have to get off stage soon because otherwise this whole room will turn into an orgy."
My material went over well too, but it's the moments like that which really elevate a set in my mind.
Whenever I get Chinese food, I get General Tso's chicken. I don't know who General Tso was but I bet he wasn't a very good general. Otherwise, he might be more famous for General Tso's battle plans instead of General Tso's chicken.
Great generals usually aren't known for the food they prepared. "You know what they say about Ulysses S. Grant: He makes one hell of a meatloaf! It is to die for. Especially if you are a confederate."
"You haven't lived until you've tasted General Patton's lasagna. It fights the war on two fronts: delicious and filling."
I bet General Tso's enemies made fun of him too: "Oh no, General Tso's army is attacking us...I hope they don't sauté us until we surrender!"
The next "Flying Carpet with Matt Ruby" will be at Rififi on Tuesday, April 1 at 9:45 PM. I'm hosting and comics will include Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham), Jesse Popp (Comedy Central's Premium Blend), Joe Powers, Jamie Lee, and more. It's free too.
A friend of mine is a doctor going through rotations at the hospital. He recently spent a month doing OB-GYN stuff. His guy friends were excited for this constant exposure to vaginas...what a blast, eh?
Well, it turns out that the parade of vaginas at an inner city hospital gynecology department is not exactly a "greatest hits" collection.
It's kinda like if you're a mechanic. You don't see Lamborghinis all day. You see 1979 Pintos that haven't had the oil changed in two decades. And you open up the hood and there's a rat in the carburetor. And the antifreeze doesn't connect to the fan belt.
Antifreeze connect to the fan belt? That didn't make any sense. I don't know anything about cars. Or maybe it's that I don't know anything about vaginas. Because I can never find the fan belt when I'm having sex. And I always forget how to hook up nipple clamps...is it positive to positve or positive to negative?
I do think a GPS for the g-spot would be a good idea, though. "You are going the wrong way...Turn left in 3 millimeters...You have reached your destination!"
This suit made from sandpaper raises questions of what it would be like to wear – uncomfortable no doubt - and what its impact on others would be – discomfiting perhaps? Would such a suit knock the rough edges off its owner, or increase them? Would it literally rub other people up the wrong way, or smooth them over?
Seems like a good tagline for this site..."Sandaper Suit: Comedy that will rub you the wrong way."
Scrolling Ticker went pretty much as promised: interesting, awkward, and funny. Kumail talked about Octopusses and "cheese" and Rob brought out his badazz mothafuckin' beat machine fo' real.
Here's a taste of the ticker commentary during Rob's beat machine freestyle adventure:
Clap people! Bee rock! Keep it missionary. He's making it up as he goes along. Freestyle. Groovy ruby. Heal the earth. i'm typing to the beat. Get in Rob's hat. Yes. Evil shit. That's the name of the preset: Evil Shit. Get ample. Laser! She sounds sassy. Funky fresh is kind of an oxymoron.
Scrolling Ticker with Matt Ruby is all set for Thursday night at UCB Theater at 6:30 PM. The concept: Standup comics perform and I type commentary at the same time which shows up on the screens at the theater (the comic can also see what I type and riff off it).
Just did a tech walkthrough at UCB Monday night and I think the setup will work well there. I've tried out the idea a couple of times in other venues but it'll be nice to do it at a theater that can handle the tech/lighting requirements (the tricky part: making sure that the comic is lit well yet keeping the room dark enough so the screen is still visible).
Someone asked me the other day why I'm doing this instead of a normal standup show. A few reasons: 1) I go see a lot of comedy shows and they all start to blur together after a while. So I wanted to create something different than the status quo. 2) It throws comics off their normal rhythm and forces 'em to freestyle a bit. I like that. It might not be funny all the time. It might be awkward. It's up in the air. 3) It increases the chances of a unique, you-had-to-be-there moment happening. 4) It brings me closer to my dream of being one of those old muppets in the balcony who gets to offer his .02 on everything.
The show will feature Rob Cantrell and Kumail Nanjiani, two of my fave comics in the city. They are also two guys who riff well and will probably get a kick out of the randomness of the whole thing. Let's see what happens!
I get a kick out of people who stop liking a band once they get popular: "Oh really, you like the White Stripes? I liked them before they sold out. Yeah, before they signed to a major label. Before they could even play instruments. I liked them before they were born. I got a bootleg of Jack White's ultrasound on a white label 7-inch import, directly from the hospital, and I was like, 'Woah, this kid's got something.' And then he was born and I'm like, wow Jack, being born, that's a mainstream move. Stay true to the womb next time, Jack. I'm not sure how much they paid you to come down the birth canal, but was it really worth your soul? You were a punk fetus. A DIY embryo. Too bad you didn't keep it real."
I'd like to hear a food lover talk this way: "Oh really, you like bread? I liked bread before it went in the oven. Back when it was flour, yeast, and salt...and it was all raw and mushy, that's when I liked bread. And then it had to crossover and rise up in the oven and become delicious and I was like fuck that, man. Bread was way better when it was keeping it real. I liked eating bread back when it was cooked in a toaster oven in a loft in Williamsburg. Now you can get it anywhere...lame."
Coming up next week: "Scrolling Ticker," my first show at UCB Theater. It's a standup show with a newfangled twist...Details:
SCROLLING TICKER WITH MATT RUBY Standup comedy with live running commentary on the big screen! I invite a couple of funny comics to the UCB stage and type live color commentary while they perform. The result is lots of riffing, awkward/funny moments, and a unique night of standup.
Thursday, March 20 At 6:30 PM UCB Theater ("The hippest of New York's comedy rooms." -Salon.com) 307 W. 26th Street Tickets: $5 (reserve now)
Featuring: ROB CANTRELL CBS Late Late Show, Marijuana-Logues, Last Comic Standing finalist in season one.
KUMAIL NANJIANI Best Comedian Award nominee at 2007 Chicago Comedy Awards and "one of the funniest comedians not enough people are aware of right now" according to Eugene Mirman.
Also on the show (pre-"Scrolling Ticker"): ULTIMATE ROOMMATES
And the next Flying Carpet is Tuesday, April 1 (no foolin') at 9:45 PM at Rififi. More details on that later.
Screened this at the last Flying Carpet: James Lipton mock interviews Wanda Sykes on "Inside the Actor's Studio." Kudos to Matt Lament for his animation work. Matt and I are also in a band together: Ruby Lament.
Doug Benson writes, "I mean, mentioning another comic that was onstage earlier than you, even if you are not friends, is pretty routine in stand-up shows. especially in the alternative scene, where the likes of Paul F. Tompkins and Greg Fitzsimmons often open their sets with a rundown of remarks about preceeding moments in the show." He also says, "If someone one-ups you in a douchey way, you should say 'douché.' Like touché."
Another commenter tells this tale about Marc Maron dissing a previous performer: "I was at a show at M Bar one night and there was a group hosting that included those women Frangela on Best Week Ever. They opened the show with an improv sketch, they actually took an idea from the audience. I thought it went OK but I was near Marc Maron, who was going up first and groused, 'Now I have to dig us out of this improv hole.' I feel OK sharing this because Marc then went up and opened with, 'Now I have to dig us out of this improv hole.' It was really uncomfortable and hilarious at the same time, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't friends with any of them.
Jen Kirkman wants everyone to play nice: "Sometimes it's an easy quick laugh to point out the obvious such as 'that guy had a long set' 'that girl is wearing a weird skirt' but overall it just does end up setting some kind of pissing contest or said comedian getting the last word. There's not really a need to do that. No matter how nice you are or what recommendations you have behind you - just don't do it. That particular move sounds dick-ish - no matter what someone's prior track record."
Oddly, some other guy on the thread claims, "The New York comedy scene is all about mutual respect and love among the comedians." Yeah, um, right. Never seen any namecalling or disrespecting in the NYC comedy scene. No sir. Every show around here ends with a round of Kumbaya, a massage circle, and trophies for everyone!
Since others are weighing in without knowing wtf happened, allow me to do the same: If Sean's original report is accurate, I don't get what the big deal was. Seems like a gentle poke that should've beeen fine, even between strangers. I've opened a set with a similarly flavored comment many times. Then again, people also think I'm a big douche. Or is that douché?
Anyway, it's fun to watch comics act like a bunch of 10th grade girls. It's like The Hills, but more ridiculous. Who even knew that was possible?
P.S. Here's Showalter going off on a lady in the front row who brought her cats to the show. It's really funny and offers a glimpse at what he's like when he's ticked off.
"Tortured" artists You know who must hate the phrase "tortured artist"? People who have actually been tortured. "Hey John McCain, you know how you spent six years in a box in Hanoi? I know how that must have felt because I spent six years hosting a bad poetry slam in Berkeley in the late '90s. Yeah, the way you got your fingernails ripped out and your ribs broken, I feel that same kinda pain when there's too many syllables in my Haiku. And you know how you can't lift your arm above your shoulder anymore because it's too painful? I can't even smoke clove cigarettes anymore...it's just too painful emotionally."
Indie rock bands with "Wolf" names Enough with the "wolf" bands: Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Wolfie, etc. I predict these names for the next batch: Wolfowitz, The Wolf Wolf Wolves, Castle Wolfenstein, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Wolf Shit.
Supersweaters at the gym I snapped this guy on the stairmaster at my gym. Dude needs to use that towel before the places turns into his own personal sweat reservoir. Look at the steps on the machine...there's actually a waterfall of sweat dripping down the whole thing. Also: The black socks with sneakers look ain't so hot either.
This guy wearing a helmet on the stairmaster He's using the stairmaster and wearing a helmet. With a mask. Did I miss something? Is there a new level on the stairmaster where the machine starts shooting hockey pucks at you? "Gotta be safe, bro." Maybe he's just super clumsy and also puts on shoulder pads when he takes a shit.
People who write witty Evite replies When did the Evite reply area become the open mic of the invitation world? "Ooh, it's my big stage...Finally, I get to shine!" No, it's an RSVP to a party...just chill. No more lame "The charges were dropped, i'll be there!" Or "Cinco de Mayo party...yo quiero tequila!" Yo quiero for you to not show up. Also not funny: your outgoing voicemail and wacky holiday ties.
This "Spring Awakening" billboard The quote on this poster says, “Broadway may never be the same.” That isn't necessarily good. You could say the same thing if Broadway was the location of a terrorist attack. Imagine you ask me to housesit. When you came back, you probably wouldn't be happy if I said, "Your bathroom may never be the same."
Menus above urinals This place has its menu above the urinal and it's got fancy sounding items like "Brioche French Toast" on it. Like I'm gonna think the place is all swanky now. "Honey, let's get brunch at that fancy restaurant. You know, the one with the menu above the urinal!" They should put the drink menu on the toilet paper too.
Pervert vigilantes The head of the group that finds the "To Catch a Predator" guys is a weirdo too. In an interview, he said he spends "seven days a week, mostly from a laptop in his bedroom" pretending to be an underage girl in chat rooms. Gee, thanks for getting all the creeps off the street...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. Nothing strange about that! (Note: He's also got that weird thin-beard thing going on.)
Anyone who picks out ridiculous items for their wedding registry "It's things that we *need* to build our life together." Bullshit. 2/3rds of most registries I've seen are items that these people don't need and won't use. Really, you need Samoan serving plates, a platinum couture butter tray, and a set of Martha Stewart Nonskid Mixing Bowls? Because your bowls are normally sliding all over the place, right? "Please Martha, stick some Firestones on the bottom of these bowls so they stop flying out the window every time I dip my spoon in my Cheerios."
This "Mob Candy" magazine cover I'm walking down 1st Avenue and I see this poster promoting Mob Candy magazine. 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! Click here to see what I mean.
Come check out the sweet lineup tonight at Flying Carpet: Todd Lynn (LETTERMAN, HBO), Pete Holmes (VH1, Comedy Central, The Apiary says he's "boisterous, sharp, and fills a room with his energy and physical presence"), Uber Luber (ridiculous heavy metal duo), Sean Patton (was on THE TYRA BANKS SHOW yesterday and is "enthralling to watch" according to The Apiary), Cassidy Henehan (Gothamist says he's "endearingly goofy" with a "lovable shtick"), and Danny Lobell (host of Comical Radio's "The Danny Lobell Show" on WBMB).
Plus Matt Ruby action with a new edition of "10 things I hate," a video that features CELEBRITIES, some "Scrolling Ticker" commentary (you'll see), and more. All for free too. Don't be silly, come. (And yes, Rififi is still open!)
Flying Carpet with Matt Ruby FREE Comedy Extravaganza Tuesday, March 4 at 9:45 PM Rififi 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.
Wedding registries are annoying. God forbid I buy you something heartfelt or sincere when you can offer me up a checklist of ridiculously stupid things that you'll never use. "Here's the Samoan Salad Bowls you registered for. Sure, of course, you need the entire 28-piece set. Really, how else would you celebrate your nonexistent love of Samoan culture?"
Couples argue, "It's things that we need to build our life together." Bullshit. These aren't items that people need. These are items that people fantasize about needing. Really, you "need" a set of Martha Stewart Nonskid Mixing Bowls? Yeah, I bet your bowls are just sliding all over the place now. "Please Martha, slap some Firestones on the bottom of these bowls so they stop flying out the window every time I stir my oatmeal."
The marrying couples that I know are usually guys that I went to college with. And it's usually a guy who, in four years of college, ate nothing but ramen, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and his own vomit. But now he totally needs a Mikasa Couture Platinum Butter Tray. God forbid his butter sleeps inside stainless steel. Heavens no!
One friend of mine -- a complete stoner who never cooks anything -- got engaged and then registered for a fondue set.
Oh sure, man, I'd love to buy you a fondue set. 'Cuz if there's one thing I know about you, it's that you do love to fondue! I remember those good ol' days when we use to sit around the fondue pot, our skewers filled with youthful idealism...and we'd pull up our splatter guards...and dip those dream-filled skewers into a bubbling tub of chocolate or cheese or whatever the fuck you fill a fondue pot with.
Yup, those were the days. That's why I'd love to help you continue your fondue-ing ways by purchasing you this item which you are certain to get extensive use out of...probably every day. Do do that fondue that you do so well.
One thing I know for sure is this fondue set will most certainly not just sit at the bottom of a closet, completely unused, for years, until you sell it on eBay once you file for divorce.
Fuck Crate and Barrel, when I get married, I'm gonna register at the Ball and Chain Store. I can't wait to be on the receiving end of a monogrammed cannonball that I can attach to my ankle. I better make sure it's a Martha Stewart non-skid cannonball though.