Laughter is the Best Medicine

Matt Ruby on Taking Comedy Skills Beyond Just Being Funny

Erik: So last year, when you were here for
your Year 2 interview, we talked a bit more about opening up, and it’s something that
you had been working on, and looking at as far as your improvement as a standup comedian,
now that that’s kind of taken place, what’s the next incremental improvement you’re looking
to do? Matt: I think there’s still further to go
on that. On that, you know, introspective examination
and being vulnerable on stage or having stakes is something I think a lot about. Like if I’m talking about something what are
the stakes of it. Like why is this important? Why does this matter? Why should the audience care? Why does this matter to me, what I’m saying? Or does it? And if it doesn’t then why am I saying it,
you know? Like I’m commanding a room full of people
to pay attention to me because I’ve got something to say, here it is: blank. You know, like, you gotta give them something—or
ideally, you’re giving them something. You know, and so doing that but then also
still making it funny, so that’s the challenge of—I think when I was starting out, I was
more like, “Alright, can I make this funny, then that’s what I’m talking about.” Like it’s so hard to be funny about anything. Like let me be just funny and then the stage
that I’m at now, I’m a little bit less, you know, anything funny is out there, it’s more
like, “Alright, here’s what I wanna talk about, how can I make this funny?” So it’s been a little bit of a different approach
and so I think there’s definitely like more room for improvement to go there. I think also just having a clearly defined
point of view, and you know what we — a lot of comedians refer to as your voice or whatever,
which is something that seems simple but as like a very hazy thing in a lot of ways, so
I think figuring out exactly what that is and who I am onstage and where I’m coming
from and I think part of my challenge is that I like—I like being a chameleon or being
all over the place or trying different things or coming at things from different angles
and while that can be — keep myself engaged or be appealing to me, sometimes I think that’s
harder on an audience as opposed to someone, you know, not that I wanna be one-dimensional
but if someone comes out and is one-dimensional or is like a clearly defined character coming
from this one point-of-view all the time, it’s a lot easier for them to process or to
be like, “Oh, yeah, that’s the guy who does blank.” You know, whatever it is. And I think that’s something that I’m still
wrestling with, is like, okay, who’s—who am I onstage? And what’s my point-of-view? And what’s, you know, everything that I talk
about. What’s my attitude or approach or angle on
it that I bring that no one else is gonna bring?

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