SUBSTANCE: Watch me do standup high, drunk, and on shrooms!
I've got a new comedy special/documentary/experiment that drops on YouTube today.
My new special drops today!
What happens when a control freak decides to lose control? That’s the question at the heart of Substance, my new comedy special/documentary/experiment, premiering on YouTube.com/mattruby today (1/19) at 3pm EST. Please join me there for the online premiere – I’ll be leading a live Q&A/group chat thingie on the app as the special streams.
Substance has me performing four standup sets, each one filmed a week apart, in a different state of mind: high, drunk, tripping on shrooms, and sober. I took the mission seriously – and got seriously f*%$ up. I wanted to see what happened performing outside my comfort zone: Would I crash and burn or could I still stick the landing? The resulting sets were unlike any comedy special you’ve ever seen before.
Here’s the trailer:
And keep in mind, these weren’t typical special tapings where the audience gets all pumped up, they were just regular spots on NYC shows. And the crowd didn’t know anything about what I was doing until the host brought me onstage. It was all a bit of a tightrope walk.
The film, directed by Matthew Salacuse, also includes documentary footage of the day preceding each performance, including my conversations with fellow comedians like Shane Torres, Andy Haynes, and Mark Normand discussing comedy, sobriety, performing under the influence, and more.
In my sets, I discuss each of the substances ingested alongside jokes about his therapist, generations, nut milk, female magicians, serial killers, and tons more. There are also deeper musings about social media addiction, death, and my mom’s (and the venue’s) surprising relationship with the Velvet Underground.
What did I learn? Well, you’ve got to watch to see what happens – but let’s just say it proved shrooms are way superior to alcohol, for me at least. Also, I realized just how much people want you to be human more than perfect. Although I cringe at some of the sloppy stuff that happened, those are some of the most captivating and hilarious moments. Even when things didn’t go according to plan, it all wound up feeling right. Sometimes not knowing the way is the way.
Substance is edited by Anthony Verderame. The sets were filmed at New York Comedy Club in NYC’s East Village. The soundtrack features music from Plastics Hi-Fi, the indie rock band I fronted in Chicago in the early 2000s before I began performing comedy.
It’d be super neat if you can watch/chat along with me on YouTube.com/mattruby today (1/19) at 3pm EST. Apparently, the recommendation engine likes that kinda thing and I’d love to see this spread far and wide. The algorithm is the new Greek god and I’m out here praying for a thunderbolt. ⚡️
📺 Watch it online!
(YOUTUBE) THU JAN 19 - 3pm EST
🎭 See the celebration show!
(NYC) THU JAN 26 - 10:30pm
NY Comedy Club (4th St.)
Tickets – Half-off with code “ludlow”
🖼 Get the poster!
Designed by Scott Sugiuchi
Order: $30 each including shipping
(or Venmo: rubymatt or PayPal: rubyisagem)
🎯 Helluva run by the word “cohort.” Nothing was a cohort five years ago, now I see the word 5x a day. It’s become the kale of jargon.
🎯 Women hate men in cargo shorts yet love dresses with pockets which, c’mon, are basically just female cargo shorts.
🎯 Watching actors dance at a party always creeps me out. It’s like “Fine, you win. We are all watching you. Happy?”
🎯 Just learned there's a word for when you mishear lyrics: mondegreen. Now excuse me while I kiss this guy.
🎯 The greatest trick the patriarchy ever pulled is getting women to date based entirely on photos, swiping, copy/pasting in order to enter into open/poly relationships all while thinking they’re doing feminism.
🎯 "Transitioning" is a crazy word. It means you're either dead or now want to be called they. Helluva variance there. "OMG, Miguel is dead?" "No, he's Michelle now." "Oh, phew."
🎯 Can't get over Harry describing William's “alarming baldness." Dude, it's just baldness. It's nothing to get alarmed about. And ya ain’t that far away from joining us either, dude.
🎯 Alexa/Google home devices lead to so much yelling. Just constant screaming of mundane things: "Hey Google, turn on the lights!" "Alexa, add eggs to my shopping list!" Great way to get a taste of what it must feel like to grow up in an Italian household.
🎯 Tech companies are incentivized toward building things that scale. The problem: Humanity doesn't scale. Thus, in order to fulfill their mission (i.e. maximizing profits), they invariably wind up minimizing humanity. And that is how we wound up where we're at.
🎯 Newspapers incentivized journalists to challenge authority. Substack incentivizes them to throw chum to tribalist readers.
🎯 We're living in the golden age of morons who think everyone else is “sheeple.”
The Rubesletter • by Matt Ruby (Vooza) is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Yer* boi** has a new podcast! KIND OF A LOT WITH MATT RUBY. Just released ep2: RIP "Always leave ‘em wanting more."
One nice bit about the pod so far is the length of each episode is kind of *not* a lot. You'll be in/out in under 15mins. How refreshing. Subscribe now for funny/deep words on tech, art, comedy, zen, & more.
* You don’t own me.
** I'm a grown man.
😈 Lately on my other newsletter: “Funny How: Letters to a Young Comedian”:
😈 Lonnie Dama, business shaman, showed up at a psychedelics conference and did a Q&A. It was a good time. Watch:
😈 I post clips of my standup at Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
🗯 Cartoonist Lynda Barry on teaching kids:
Here’s the big difference I’ve seen over the last few years in the people I work with: They don’t have a big relationship to their hands. I’ve had to show them how to cut a circle out of paper. Barry demonstrated her technique, which is to hold the scissors in place and move the paper in a circular motion. For whatever it’s worth, it was new to me, too. You keep the scissors there and you move the paper like this, and they’re like, “What?!” There’s so much dexterity that they, by and large, do not have.
🗯 George Carlin on euphemisms.
Sometime during my life, toilet paper became bathroom tissue. I wasn't notified of this. No one asked me if I agreed with it. It just happened. Toilet paper became bathroom tissue. Sneakers became running shoes. False teeth became dental appliances. Medicine became medication. Information became directory assistance. The dump became the landfill. Car crashes became automobile accidents. Partly cloudy bacame partly sunny. Motels became motor lodges. House trailers became mobile homes. Used cars became previously owned transportation. Room service became guest-room dining. And constipation became occasional irregularity. When I was a little kid, if I got sick they wanted me to go to the hospital and see a doctor. Now they want me to go to a health maintenance organization...or a wellness center to consult a healthcare delivery professional. Poor people used to live in slums. Now the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities. And they're broke! They're broke! They don't have a negative cash-flow position. They're fucking broke! Cause a lot of them were fired. You know, fired. management wanted to curtail redundancies in the human resources area, so many people are no longer viable members of the workforce. Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins.
🗯 Pamela Anderson does not want to do this dance anymore.
There was a certain dance that we expected from women who made a living, in part, off being beautiful in the 1990s (or maybe that we have always expected from sex symbols). We expected to talk about their bodies in front of them and have them laugh along. We expected them to embody perfection but resented them for conforming to an unattainable ideal. We expected them to have higher aspirations — but sneered at any suggestion that they could.
🗯 Easy money: The basic mechanics and goals of quantitative easing are “actually pretty simple.”
It was a plan to inject trillions of newly created dollars into the banking system, at a moment when the banks had almost no incentive to save the money. The Fed would do this by using one of the most powerful tools it already had at its disposal: a very large group of financial traders in New York who were already buying and selling assets from the select group of twenty-four financial firms that were known as “primary dealers.” The primary dealers have special bank vaults at the Fed, called reserve accounts.II To execute quantitative easing, a trader at the New York Fed would call up one of the primary dealers, like JPMorgan Chase, and offer to buy $8 billion worth of Treasury bonds from the bank. JPMorgan would sell the Treasury bonds to the Fed trader. Then the Fed trader would hit a few keys and tell the Morgan banker to look inside their reserve account. Voila, the Fed had instantly created $8 billion out of thin air, in the reserve account, to complete the purchase. Morgan could, in turn, use this money to buy assets in the wider marketplace. This is how the Fed creates money—it buys things from the primary dealers, and it does so by simply creating money inside their reserve accounts.
🗯 Harry and Meghan are American-style celebrities who speak our language.
Rather than staying mum, they insist on speaking up and speaking out — and speaking their own truth, as opposed to the more rigorous feat of speaking the truth. When they do speak, it’s in the manicured, massaged and meditative parlance of self-care and cause-driven commerce. Words like “conscious,” “consent” and “purpose” roll off their tongues in soothing uptalk. They’ve created a “safe harbor” for themselves. This is a “new path we were trying to forge.” Their work is about “creative activations” and “building community.”
Thanks for reading. Go watch the special. Thanks much.