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.
I loved his act. Standup takes a lot of work, a lot of talent, and an equal measure of temperament. You have to have the right temperament. Onstage, you have to have a resilience and a kind of an engine. He was a little fragile onstage. If it wasn't going well, which most of the time it's not, he fell apart. It's a tough thing.
And Jerry's take on why Seinfeld was given more seasons even though it struggled at first: It had the right demographic. "If you get rich people to watch your show, they'll keep you on the air."
So I'm watching all the hubbub about gay marriage. Good for you, gays. BUT if gay people were being discriminated against because they couldn't have the special benefits of getting married then you know who else is getting screwed? Single people.
Our entire society is geared around this Disney fantasy of lifelong monogamy/attachment/wedded bliss and we just blindly ignore the fact that all these laws set up to boost marriage are discriminating against single people. And you know what? Us single people are already sad, lonely, and not getting laid. Aren't we the ones who deserve some love from the government? We sure as hell ain't getting it anywhere else.
Why should being married have ANY impact on insurance, taxes, and the rest of it? Who you bang and for how long should have nothing to do with this stuff.
And if it does, I'd argue single people deserve a break even more than the marrieds. Marrieds already have the joy of holy matrimony. Us single people have the sorrow of OK Cupid hookups. (If I have to trade emails with one more girl who's got a fake mustache photo and lists Amelie as her fave movie, I'm gonna join Al Qaeda.)
Tax benefits? Single people are the ones who need a tax break. You know how much it costs to drink alone at a bar five nights a week while you try to drown out the fact that you're unloveable? A lot. It costs a lot. I mean, that's what I've heard.
Health insurance? Single people are the ones who need to join up for health insurance. You know how much it costs to pay for STD tests every six months? Priced out Plan B pills lately? ("Next Choice" may be slightly cheaper but ya don't really wanna go with the generic option after sleeping with someone who was, well, the generic option.) Just sayin', a little Blue Cross action for singles sure would be nice.
And then there's the maternity/paternity leave thing. Breeders get paid leave to take care of babies while us single types have to just sit there and work straight through our entire (empty) lives. I'll cut you a deal on this one though: You get three months off to baby down BUT all us single people get three months of not having to deal with your lil' vomit machines. For three months, I get to walk on an airplane and kick all the babies off because it's my NON-PATERNITY LEAVE. For three months, I get to ban everyone I know from posting baby photos on Facebook and Instagram. Seriously, I open up that app lately and it looks like a nursery exploded inside my phone. (News flash: Your baby isn't cute because no babies are cute and, in fact, they all look the same and all that baby photo posting really just seems like a way for you to brag about yourself under the cloak of seeming nurturing and selfless. That baby pic is really just a selfie minus the self.)
Why is the government involved in this at all? Could it be that the government-industrial complex thinks marriage (and home ownership too) is a good way to lock people in place and prevents uprisings so it's decided to offer incentives that help convince people to surrender to a cultural norm that involves sacrificing freedom and participating in the charade that lifelong monogamy is natural/desirable while simultaneously ignoring the fact that marriage was actually created centuries ago as a system to bind women to men in order to guarantee paternity. Nah, that couldn't be it.
Anyway, my point: Let's separate love entirely from financial and legal benefits. Us single unlovables are already bitter enough...as you can see from this post.
Writing jokes is nice and all. But then there's funny that comes from just telling the truth (or at least the truth how you see it).
Check out this video of Charlamagne that Kurt Metzger posted at Facebook. (Everyone follows Kurt, right?) Charlamagne is talking about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber getting involved in the "wrong activities." His advice to 'em: "Don't be a waste of good white skin."
Hilarious. Btw, ratchet pussy explained. (And no, there's nothing whiter than linking to the Urban Dictionary definition of ratchet pussy at your blog.)
Never heard this guy talk before but he sounds pretty brilliant to me. Funny as fuck just from spilling what he really thinks. I don't care about Miley/Bieber but after hearing this, I'd listen to Charlemagne talk about anything. Funny that comes straight from a truthful p.o.v. makes you crave more.
HOT SOUP is back EVERY WED NIGHT at Ella Lounge at 8:30pm. Free show + happy hour drink prices.
LINEUP THIS WEEK:
Tom Shillue (Comedy Central)
Jermaine Fowler (In Living Color)
Luke Cunningham (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)
Claudia Cogan (New York Magazine top new comedian)
Andy Blitz (Conan)
Mark Normand (Conan)
Matt Ruby (MTV)
RSVP to confirm your spot:
An idea usually starts with having an experience that triggers an emotional response- often anger, frustration, bewilderment, or more rarely, happiness. Then comes the hard part- they set about figuring how to communicate this to an audience of strangers in a funny way.
Sitting waiting for a bus may be boring, but "Waiting for buses sure is boring!" is not a great topic. But "do you think aliens wait for buses?", while not particularly funny, is a start. So, you write it down. Comedians have notebooks filled with things like "do you think aliens wait for buses?" Right now, my instincts tell me the idea is going nowhere, but you never know. 98% of a comedians notes will go unused on stage.
The 98% figure is the key I think. Want to write a great joke? Write 100 of them. One or two will be good. Probably.
The big story here isn't rape culture, it's social media culture. It's the way we're talking (or not talking) to each other. Online, everyone is outraged, offended, cruel, mocking, trolling, or attacking. But what they are TRULY communicating is this: Look at me. I'm lonely. I'm bored and hate my job. I'm craving human connection. I seek validation. I'll type anything to get someone/anyone to pay attention to me.
That's why people say nasty stuff online. It's not a sign of genuine misogyny or outrage. It's a sign that technology is eroding human connections. When we stare at screens all day, the threads that tie us together fray. And that is making us sad, afraid, and lonely. All this online negativity is our response. The medium is the message.
Also, follow the money. The real winners in any online "debate" are the companies who profit from page views (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Gawker, Salon, etc.). They are the ones converting all this emotional diarrhea into cash. These companies have no economic incentive to provide actual solutions or constructive engagement. They want us to keep yelling, provoking, and stirring the pot – as long as it makes people hit reload and they can sell your data to Bonobos and show you a "hot deal" on Tory Burch Reva Ballerina Flats from Neiman Marcus.
We didn't solve rape jokes six months ago. We're not solving them now. We won't solve them when this debate happens again in six months.
But hey, if you're bored at work and spouting off on all this helps you feel alive, then go for it. I mean, I get it...Why the hell do you think I wrote this!?
P.S. Please don't use YouTube comments to prove any point in your article/story/whatever. At that point, you might as well "quote" the gorillas at the zoo flinging their crap.
In The Onion, Birbigs discusses what he learned from confessional comedians.
I watched people like Marc Maron and Doug Stanhope, and other confessional comedians who I admired. Also, my first manager was this guy named Lucien Hold, who has since passed away. He was the original talent booker for The Comic Strip on the Upper East Side, so he passed [i.e. let onstage—ed.] Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Miller and Chris Rock, and Eddie Murphy used to play there when he was 18 years old. He took me under his wing, and one of the things he said at one point was, “You should really write about yourself, because no one can take that away from you. No one can steal it.” That was very instructive toward where I went.
If you talk about something that only happened to you, no one can ever accuse ya of being hack.
One challenge of going personal is that it's tough to get people to identify with what you're talking about. Gay marriage or the differences between men/women or fast food are topics ripe for joking. Playing basketball in a Jewish youth league? Not so much. Here's how Gary Gulman deftly manages that...
...Below, Birbigs talks about how to take something personal and make it relatable.
When you’re writing something, no matter how specific and personal it is to you, you need the audience to feel it’s about them. That is the balancing act of writing something personal, is that you need to get really specific with yourself and somehow make that feel really specific to the audience. I’ll give you an example of that. I’m trying to come up with an analogy right now for the stage. Last night I performed at Union Hall, and I’m doing so many talk shows and personal appearances that I want to be able to say things in a comedic way about making the film that people will understand, that’s relatable. But making a film is actually entirely unrelatable. There’s nothing relatable about it, it’s nothing like anything anyone has ever done, except like, 100 people in the world. You need a million dollars to do it. Not only do you need a million dollars, you need to be willing to blow a million dollars. It’s a small subset of the world, and fortunately it wasn’t my own million dollars.
So I came up with an analogy this week that I think is going to work, and it worked last night onstage. Directing your first film is like showing up to the field trip in seventh grade, getting on the bus, and making an announcement, “So today I’m driving the bus.” And everybody’s like, “What?” And you’re like, “I’m gonna drive the bus.” And they’re like, “But you don’t know how to drive the bus.” And you’re like, “Well, I’ve been watching the bus driver, and I’ve been playing close attention. I’ve been watching other people’s bus rides. I know what I like, I know when I think a bus ride is good, and I have a notebook of things that I’ve written down that I’ve observed about other bus rides.” Sometimes you drive the bus to the location, sometimes you drive off a cliff. That can happen. So it feels very risky, but then if you get to your destination, it feels like it pays off in such a big way.