I'm everyone on Facebook

Hey! I'm everyone on Facebook. I'm grateful for how amazing this year was. I use a photo of my child as my profile picture. My identity is wrapped up 100% in this other human being and that is totally healthy. Kimye!!!! Gun control!!!!! Jay Z talking to an old lady on the subway!!!! Exclamation points!!!!!!

Here's what I'm listening to on Spotify. I have GOOD TASTE. Did you see that proposal where the guy hired a marching band? I cried! I bet that marriage will last FOREVER because the best way to show you truly love someone is to use them as a prop in your bid to make a video go viral since your improv group didn't really go anywhere. Watch this documentary on animal dictators. We NEED to do something about that issue I just forgot about. I don't understand economics but here's a link to a Paul Krugman editorial.

LOOK AT ME. At a wedding I went to. At a vacation I went on. At dinner. With my girls doing karaoke last night! I heart karaoke because it's like being a performer and people pay attention to you but you don't have to work hard or be talented. Afterward, we all commented on each other's photos: "You look gorgeous." "No, YOU look gorgeous." I just changed my status to IN A RELATIONSHIP. I hope people who rejected me in the past see that and feel bad. I am THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. There is an icon of a heart next to my name now. That is the same as love.

I am OFFENDED by what someone said. Delta airlines lost my bag. I have OPINIONS about the news. This is my good side. Baby photo! Go local sports team! Beyoncé. The Elders of Zion are meeting at the Denver Airport. I just invited you to an event. Breaking Bad!! I find privacy settings confusing. I am a human being desperate for connection. Instagram wants to sell my photos to Al Qaeda.

I am SO grateful to you. I have edited out all the bad stuff from my life and presented the rest here. I am a Disney version of myself. Tag me! LIKE me! LIKE THIS! I'm worthwhile! Validate me, internet! VALIDATE ME! I am TRYING. Happy New Year!!!!!!

COME TO MY SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I forgot to mention: Someone famous DIED recently. I am SAD about this and this is my way of making it ALL ABOUT ME.

P.P.S. Whoops, forgot this too: Please vote for me in this online voting contest for a publication/corporation that is using me as a shill to increase its page views/social media exposure. Also, don't forget to donate to my Kickstarter project where I ask you to support my "art" that no actual consumer is willing to pay for. Thanks! You guyz rock!!!!


Saturday We're All Friends Here, Wednesday Hot Soup

Saturday (12/22): We're All Friends Here
9:30pm at The Creek and The Cave in LIC - FREE

It's the comedy chat show with boundary issues! In the hot seat this time:

Nick Vatterott
Kara Klenk
Charles Gould

Hosted by Matt Ruby and Mark Normand.

Listen to the podcast.

Wednesday (12/26): Hot Soup
8:30pm at ELLA LOUNGE - FREE

Twas the night AFTER Xmas and all through the East Village all the creatures were laughing and even a mouse and whatever the rest of that is ANYWAY we have a comedy show that night and it'll be a good way to laugh off that holiday ham. Half-price drinks too!

Michael Che (Letterman)
Sean O'Connor (Conan)
Andy Haynes (Fallon)
...and more!

RSVP to confirm your spot:

Doors: 8pm
Seating: 8:30pm
Show: 9:00pm sharp

Ella Lounge
Downstairs room
9 Avenue A (between First and Second Street)

Produced by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura.

(Can't make it? Our next show at Ella is Wednesday, Jan 9 at 8:30pm.)


Why Seinfeld still performs all the time

Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up talks about why comics need to get up all the time...

When he can't tinker, he grows anxious. "If I don't do a set in two weeks, I feel it," he said. "I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, Why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don't I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop."

...and why he thinks small bits are harder to make...

Seinfeld likens his fine-bore interest in jokes to his longstanding infatuation with Porsches, of which he owns “a few dozen.” “People ask me, Why Porsches? A lot of it is the size, same as with bits. The smaller something is, the harder it is to make, because there’s less room for error.” In high school he took shop classes, even after a counselor told him that collegebound kids didn’t need to, because he wanted to know how machines fit together. “I have this old ’57 Porsche Speedster, and the way the door closes, I’ll just sit there and listen to the sound of the latch going, cluh-CLICK-click,” Seinfeld said. “That door! I live for that door. Whatever the opposite of planned obsolescence is, that’s what I’m into.”

...and how there are different kinds of jokes in a set.

“There’s different kinds of laughs,” he explained. “It’s like a baseball lineup: this guy’s your power hitter, this guy gets on base, this guy works out walks. If everybody does their job, we’re gonna win.”

The baseball analogy reminded me of Louis CK discussing "brushback pitch" jokes.

It's worth checking this accompanying video too. In it, Seinfeld describes the anatomy of a Pop-Tart joke and shows his longhand writing process.


Chris Rock on bullet control

Turns out that US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduced a bill in 1993 to the Senate that would have levied a 10,000% tax on hollow-point bullets. The bill would have raised the price from $20 a box to $2,000.

Six years later, Chris Rock offered up a similar idea in this classic bit:

[via Kottke.org and @joffley]


Video: Turning the crowd against a heckler

So the comedy gods gave me a texter/heckler (teckler?) the other night at HOT SOUP at Ella Lounge. She thought I was ugly. I had some fun with that. Then the rest of the crowd shouted at her to leave. Here it is on tape.

BTW, next HOT SOUP will be Wed, Dec 26 at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Details.


Chris Rock's real wife vs. his comedy wife

Chris Rock is interviewed by Judd Apatow via email in Vanity Fair. He argues that comics were better when they had to perform in front of all kinds of crowds.

Do I think comedians are better now? Hell fuckin’ no. Show me one guy or woman as funny as Rodney Dangerfield or as good as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, or Joan Rivers. There are a lot of good comics out there, no doubt, but as far as the quality of the comics goes, I think what you have is a bunch of situational comics. What we have now is black comics that work only black crowds, gay comics that do only gay crowds, and southern comics that only work down South, and so on with Asian, Latino, Indian, midgets, etc. The previous generation’s comics were better because they had to make everybody laugh. Richard Pryor could do The Ed Sullivan Show and play the Apollo. Seinfeld can work any crowd. Ellen can work any crowd. Lopez can work any crowd. And a few more, but the rest of them are just situational comics.

He also talks about his real wife vs. his comedy wife.

What isn’t O.K. to say onstage? Any of your family’s personal business. No experience that is just theirs. I don’t really worry about what they are thinking. Anything I say about women, I try to make sure that at least five or six friends of mine are going through a similar situation. That way I’m not picking on my wife. We like to say I have my real wife, who’s a lovely woman, mother to my children. Then I have my comedy wife, who’s a crazy bitch.

Interesting split. Seems like the tricky part would be getting real wife to be ok with comedy wife. [via JH]


PFT and Aziz on observational material vs. more personal bits

Paul F. Tompkins and Aziz Ansari discuss the qualitative difference in the laughs/connection you get from observational material vs. more personal bits. On the latter, PFT says, "There's a deeper connectivity there that's very rewarding."

Neat to see PFT doing a longer interview format. I like when he talks and wish people would pay him to do it more.


A collection of Judd Apatow podcasts, articles, and quotes

It's Judd Apatow podcast season! Apatow seems to hibernate from media until he's got a new flick (this time: This is 40) and then hits the interwaves to plug it and drop comedy knowledge. Good for us since he's a fascinating guy to listen to discuss comedy. For example, I keep thinking about a (paraphrased) line he used in a recent interview: "All great drama has some comedy and all great comedy has some drama."

A rundown of some of his recent appearances:

Adan Carolla Show: Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow's podcast appearances on Earwolf
Fresh Air Weekend: Judd Apatow
Fitzdog Radio: Judd Apatow
Nerdist: Judd Apatow

Making jokes work
He also called this Chicago Tribune piece "a very good article that shows how Leslie and I work together." It's interesting because it feels like he brings lessons learned from honing a standup set to editing a movie.

They had test-screened cuts of the movie the previous evening at a San Fernando Valley multiplex, running two different versions in separate theaters and recording the audiences' reactions throughout. Now White was cueing up versions A and B of a scene in which Annie Mumolo, who co-wrote the Apatow-produced “Bridesmaids” and here plays the best friend of Leslie Mann's lead character, Debbie, describes the after-effects of losing all feeling in a certain lower region of her body.

In one version Mumolo cites two examples of her numbness before a punch line that involves a shower head. In the other version, she offers more and more examples before reaching the payoff. As the editor played back the scenes synced up to the test-screening laugh tracks, it was clear that the audience responded more enthusiastically to version B, the one that took more time to set up the gag.

“We can actually look at the joke when we showed it this week and when we showed it two weeks ago (at an earlier screening) and see if we've either made it work better or actually hurt the joke by surrounding it with different variations of lines and stuff like that,” White said.

Sounds like a familiar process. “I know where to give a pause and let the audience’s laughter die down and not bury the next line,” he once said. Once a standup, always a standup.

There's no sound for drama
That doesn't mean it's all just about getting the funny stuff though. The drama matters more. But it's also trickier for a basic reason: Good drama doesn't make an audience erupt aloud the way comedy does. He explains in this interview:

“We feel the movie's working when it's getting laughs, but that's actually not true,” said Apatow, who turned 45 Thursday. “The audience is actually following the drama, and sometimes we have to think hard and go: ‘It's OK that they're not laughing here because this is a heartfelt moment or a devastating moment.' It's still not my strongest suit understanding all of that. I always say I wish there was a noise people made that let me know that drama was working.”

Don't obsess over likability
He also explained that the audience doesn't need to like a character.

With Mann and Apatow both using the word “crazy” to describe Pete and Debbie's behavior at times, the movie is willing to make its leads unsympathetic in the quest for some greater truth, if not humor.

“I like when people don't try so hard to obsess over likability,” Apatow said. “I wanted it to be balanced. I wanted Pete and Debbie to have an equal amount of good qualities and bad qualities. But it was helpful working with Lena Dunham on ‘Girls' (the HBO series that Apatow executive-produces) while I was working on this, because she doesn't care at all if you like her character. It just doesn't even occur to her that that's part of what you factor in. And so just talking about the script with her — and she's such a great cheerleader of this film — put me in a good frame of mind to not polish things up.”

Talked about something similar here recently, but from a standup perspective: Trying too hard to please the audience. I don't think it's just a "greater truth" that results from this approach. Sometimes when someone doesn't care if they're sympathetic/likable, that just makes them that much more appealing. At least you know you're not being pandered to.

The gods of comedy
As for the neuroses that comes with making funny stuff, he feels the good and bad come together.

There’s a fine line between what’s healthy about being a comedian and what’s really sick and demented about it. And usually both of those things are happening at exactly the same time. When I’m doing good work, there’s a part of me that feels like it’s a positive contribution to society. I’m making people laugh and helping them think about their lives in a positive and life-affirming way. But at the same time, there’s a sick, wounded part of me that’s looking for acceptance, and just wants to know that there’s somebody out there who likes me. I serve both gods simultaneously.

The rest
But wait, there's more! There's a good rundown of his history at Brobible's 45 Unforgettable Moments from Judd Apatow’s Career. And he guest edited Vanity Fair's comedy issue (he did something similar with the book I Found This Funny a while back). And I've written about him previously in these Sandpaper Suit posts:

Judd Apatow on adding stakes
Judd Apatow's "most personal moment" on Freaks and Geeks
The three funniest "in theater" movies Judd Apatow's seen


The HOT SOUP Holiday Spectavaganza Comedy Show – Free at Ella Lounge Dec. 12

Hot Soup returns on Wednesday night with our big holiday show! We're at Ella Lounge, a super venue in the East Village - it's got a downstairs room perfect for comedy, half-off drinks for our audience, and a Bossa Nova band upstairs after the show. And it's all FREE. Come on out and we'll mistle your toe.

Janeane Garafolo (24, SNL, Reality Bites)
James Adomian (Comedy Bang Bang, Last Comic Standing)
Kurt Metzger (Last Comic Standing)
Jared Logan (Comedy Central)
Mark Normand (Comedy Central)
Matt Ruby (MTV, SxSW)

RSVP to confirm your spot:

Doors: 8pm
Seating: 8:30pm
Show: 9:00pm sharp

Ella Lounge
Downstairs room
9 Avenue A (between 1st and 2nd St)

Produced by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura.

(Can't make it? Our next show at Ella is Wednesday, December 26 at 8:30pm.)


My Joke of the Week in Time Out NY

Joke of the week!

Thanks to the great Mindy Tucker for the swell photo. I told her to use her "soulful eyes" filter.


A screenplay and comedy-centric look at "making it" in the entertainment industry

Here's What People Won't Tell You About How to Make it In the Entertainment Industry But I Will by Mandy Stadtmiller offers up a screenplay and comedy-centric look at "making it."

As for making a splash online, think of something catchy, new, strong, simple, bold, authentic and calling-it-out true — like the viral gold standard “Stuff White People Like” — which is hilarious. Then do a Tumblr and Twitter of the same name and YouTube if you can. Boom, you just created your brand. Think: “Texts From Last Night.” One idea. Stick to that, and see if it’s fun and takes off. Nowadays anyone can become a brand or entrepreneur this way...

You can network your brains out, but if you haven't produced/created/completed/delivered the project -- as in, written the book, started the blog, written the screenplay, shot the video, staged the one-person-show or developed the tight five minutes of material of standup -- you'll get nowhere.

Concentrate on creating something that you are passionate and excited about, and you'll be blown away by what happens. Even if it doesn't land you the exact career you dreamed of, you'll have created something that you love. I know it'd be cooler if it were guaranteed that it would make your career, but creating something you love will change and influence you in ways you never dreamed of...

Podcasting is changing the industry; so is someone like Louis C.K. who is selling direct to fans. So is Twitter. As Seth Godin says: The way the industry is nowadays, no one is going to pick you. Pick yourself instead.

I agree with the idea that making something you think is great comes with some nice side benefits, even if it doesn't rocket you to stardom. Plus, the opposite is even scarier. As I've said before, there's nothing worse than selling out without selling anything.


Podcast: We're All Friends Here with Yannis Pappas

It's another WAFH episode. This time, one of our fave guests Yannis Pappas talks about his transgendered character Mauricia Rodriquez, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and inbreeding. Download at iTunes or listen at Cave Comedy Radio.

Moving on/Subscribe to my newsletter

I only post on rare occasions here now. Subscribe to my Rubesletter  (it's at  mattruby.substack.com ) to get jokes, videos, essays, etc...