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The Matt Ruby Newsletter - Issue #2

Hey! I'll be at Hot Soup at Irish Exit tonight, Comedy Cellar on Wednesday, and the Albany Funny Bone
The Matt Ruby Newsletter - Issue #2
By Matt Ruby • Issue #2 • View online
Hey! I’ll be at Hot Soup at Irish Exit tonight, Comedy Cellar on Wednesday, and the Albany Funny Bone Thursday-Sunday. Download/stream my album here.
Here’s some recent stuff I’ve written:
WHEN SOMEONE CANCELS ON ME AT THE LAST MINUTE
What I think: Jesus Christ, seriously? Ya flake. We made these plans in advance and I confirmed to make sure we were still on and then you bail at the last minute!? I know, I’m some kind of dinosaur. But in my jurassic world, when you make a plan that means you actually stick to it because it’s the respectful thing to do. I know you’re busy/sick/work needs you/things got crazy/whatever, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you probably could have given more notice. You are a rude person. This isn’t a video game. I’m not an avatar. I’m a human being. I’m busy too and it’s not okay to disrespect my time. Shame!
What I type: That’s cool, no worries. Rain check!
One thing I like about standup comedy is you can be onstage and mention something about DJ Khaled not eating pussy and see a roomful of people look at you with blank stares and remember how little social media has to do with the real world. Also, I guess this is my way of saying you shouldn’t ask me to stretch on your clean show.
I think Giuliani is on pills. Just a hunch based on the last three people I dated.
Most artists are creeps or loons. That’s why they make art. They live on the fringes and report back to us via their chosen medium. Good. I want art that’s made by bad people. I want art that’s made by people I disagree with. I want someone out there crossing the lines that I’m unwilling to because I’ve been conditioned by society. Let these freaks dance in their madness. Art that’s made only by nice people we all agree with isn’t art, it’s missionary position propaganda. Adults should be able to say, “This bad person made this good thing.”
hot take: i don’t think andy kaufman was a brilliant comedian. i just think he was an ultraconfident prick who didn’t care about the feelings of others. admiration for people like that is how we got this president. it upsets me that he even gets lumped in with comedians. he was a performance artist. pulling out the great gatsby and reading it to the crowd until they leave? that’s just a dick move. it’s like a 12 year old’s version of being a badass. congrats on ignoring the social contract and common rules of decency i guess. but write a joke and then i’ll really be impressed.
I feel like comedians who live in LA have a fun hobby that they do a couple nights a week while comedians who live in NYC have a fungus that is growing all over them until they are completely consumed.
It’s kinda crazy that Trump can be this corrupt yet still not actually be rich
No one else will go there but I’ll say it: Donald Trump and Nicki Minaj both say “China” the same way
My mom’s dead and people always react very sadly to this and it takes all my strength not to respond, “hey, it’s ok…my dad’s dead too.”
You know how Guitar Hero is just a simulation and nothing like actually playing guitar? Well, Facebook is just like that but with friendship.
There was a very smart black man who made jokes about a white con man in public and the con man was very hurt by this so he ran for the black man’s job and won by telling scared coal miners and factory workers they won’t have to learn how to do something new, however he doesn’t know how to do a real person’s job and he hates reading and no one smart will work for him so he just undoes everything the black man did and now that means Iran will build a nuclear weapon putting the Middle East (and the world?) on a path to war and it’s all happening because the con man felt the black man was uppity. Sigh.
Hey supporters of Israel, if you think the left in America has been brainwashed into supporting the Palestinian cause, please offer up some counter-programming that explains why Israel is doing what it’s doing instead of aligning with Team Trump. Jared and Ivanka make smart people want to puke. When you pile into the Trump clown car, it’s the best way to get anyone in their right mind to abandon your side. Between Netanyahu & Trump, it all smells like a “We About To Get Indicted Up In Here Distraction Tour 2018.”
Also, please spare us all the whataboutism/history lesson/Hamas is terrible stuff because yeah yeah okay but Israel is unleashing snipers against people because they have kites and wirecutters. If the other side has kites and you have bullets, this is what we call a mismatch. It’s like watching the Warriors’ Hamptons Five lineup dunking on a pee wee hoops squad.
If you really want people to buy that’s fair, you better have a solid web site or spokesman that explains why it’s justified. And please don’t tell me it’s this Ben Shapiro guy because dude gives me a goddamn aneurysm with his “I talk very fast and use big words in a condescending way so therefore I’m an intellectual” schtick. (Everyone knows that real intellectuals use big words in a condescending way *on Facebook* the way I do.)
Here’s my idea: The most outraged I’ve ever seen liberals on Twitter was when they found out that DJ Khaled won’t go down on his wife. Well, Khaled is Palestian. Netanyahu should use this info. Like say “the sniper fire is in response to men refusing to perform oral sex because y'know how Palestinian men are…” and then just back away from the mic slowly. At the very least, you’ll cause liberal Twitter to have a meltdown as they’re forced to decide which is worse: killing civilians or refusing to perform oral sex on women.
To sum up show business, everyone trying to make art is getting notes from execs who decided the best name for a morning show is “The Today Show” and the best name for a late nite show is “The Tonight Show” and a live comedy show on Saturday nights should be called “Saturday Night Live.” Way to get creative, fellas! Honestly, it’s kinda shocking they didn’t make Ellen call it "The Afternoon Show.”
Good story from the book Sapiens…
On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo 11 astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities and there is a story -or legend — describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals.
One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favour.
“What do you want?” they asked.
“Well,” said the old man, “the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important to them from my people.”
“What’s the message?” asked the astronauts.
The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorised it correctly.
“What does it mean?” asked the astronauts.
“Oh, that I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.”
When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorised, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorised so carefully meant, “Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.”
So this is what happens when you say the emperor is wearing no clothes. Sure, the emperor gets pissed off. But so does everyone else along the parade route who was going along with the whole charade.
I mean, you think she just ran these jokes up the flagpole for the first time at that dinner? You think she was taking chances? Nah. That was a crafted set. I saw her run it night after night for months. She honed it. She perfected every line. She knew exactly what she was doing.
Pundits don’t get this because pundits bloviate for a living. Comics actually do research. We know how our material plays. We know what people really think because we’re there in the room with ’em. They’re up in the tower passing judgement. We’re in the arena wrestling pigs. So don’t lecture us about what’s funny. We’re immune to your consultations. We’re quite aware what we’re going through.
Telling a comedian who is doing honed material that he/she is wrong is silly. It’s too late. We’ve already been proven right in the court of comedy clubs. We already have the evidence. The verdict is in. Saying we’re wrong for doing a joke that we know works is like insisting DNA evidence is false. We just think you don’t understand science.
This is the difference between working a crowd and online/TV punditry. Being on TV or writing thinkpieces or chiming in on Twitter is not the same as testing ideas in front of a roomful of people every night. That process is a crucible that tells you how people really feel.
And you know who gets that? Comedians and Donald Trump.
Think about this scenario: You’re a performer. And night after night, you get up in front of a cross-section of America. People from all over. And you run your material. You see where they respond and you tweak accordingly. You add a line here, you drop a line there. You hone it and make it sing. You know when you’ve hit the mark. The crowd tells you with their response. They laugh at this spot, they applaud at that spot. They groan here, they cheer there. You do it enough, it doesn’t matter what the “experts” think. The crowd is the real expert and you know when you’ve got them.
So, did I just describe a comedian working out a set or Donald Trump running for President? Is there even a difference?
I remember reading how Trump didn’t even like the phrase “Drain the Swamp” but he tried it after someone suggested it. It hit and so it stayed in the act. Every comedian knows what that’s like. The crowd teaches you every night: Do this but don’t do that.
Sure, Wolf and Trump have completely opposite points of view. But they both understand how completely out of touch everyone who attends that black tie circlejerk dinner is and know America’s on a different page.
As a comedian, you learn early that sometimes it’s your fault and sometimes it’s the room. Michelle Wolf is a great comic and that was a great set. The problem is the room.
P.S. Did y’all really think the smokey eye line was more offensive than the Uncle Tom line!? Comedy tip: Being called an Uncle Tom is the worse thing.
P.P.S. Please stop referring to comedians as “elites.” We are mostly dog walkers who perform in basements, get paid in drink tickets, and live above a bodega in Bushwick with three roommates who own skateboards.

 

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