The PR Blurb for Rubin’s Netflix special promises that Rubin will take the audience “On a wild ride not soon forgotten…he doesn’t just take the stage, he attacks it. This special is for those craving something different. Something really, really different”, and perhaps that’s the case if the only stand up you’ve ever seen is on Netflix and performed by white guys in their forties or fifties, but anyone who’s sampled a little more of the stand up scene might not be quite as impressed.
In a fair few ways Rubin’s like an American Tony Law, not just concerning the type of material but his delivery as well, the way he speeds though the set and often leaps from subject to subject without any links, though sometimes coming back to it seemingly randomly later on in the set. He certainly has a way with words like Law does too and shares the Canadian comics’ surreal nature, but rather unfortunately he doesn’t come close to being as funny as Mr Tony nearly always is.
There’s a certain amount of potential here but most of the time it’s the odd line or idea rather than a complete routine which made me laugh. His best material includes some jokes about how he’s a Jewish Hillbilly who wasn’t really circumcised “and the rabbi just whittled on him a little bit”, while also decent are a few lines about how he’s weird because of his upbringing, and as the books his mother read to him included Dr Seuss “You practically walked me by the hand to that first hit of acid”. Also pretty great is a line about how he wants to be a storm chaser, but plans to “start easily with a slow moving cold front”, but all of these never quite deliver on the promise shown.
There’s also a fair amount of blandness here too, sure the subject matter might be outlandish but the stories or ramblings never end up going anywhere that will make you laugh. His obsession with tales about cocaine and acid are easily the weakest element of the set, and contain jokes of the variety which you’ll have heard before, and like most times someone talks about drug use it was probably a lot of fun at the time but it doesn’t translate in to an interesting story afterwards.
Some of it’s just plain weak too, a bit with a boy in the bubble leading him to solving a murder relies too much on a twist that doesn’t deliver, and that’s also the case with a routine about him being a bullfighter in Spain. Some material about how Stonehenge was built because “They were fucking bored” is almost open mic levels of poorness, while his final story is a particularly average piece and I’m not quite sure why Rubin thought it’d be a good idea to end with it.
For all the show’s supposed oddness a lot of the time this isn’t as unusual as Rubin thinks it is, especially when it touches on his love for substance abuse. It’s also not as funny as I’d hoped it would be, many a time his stream of consciousness style ramblings don’t really go anywhere that interesting, or end on a funny line, it’s a likeable enough special I suppose, with a few decent moments, but it’s also one which means it’s doubtful that I’ll ever check out Rubin’s work ever again.