Comedy in DC: Adam Ruben

Adam Ruben Scientist

I met up with Adam Ruben who is a local comic and author of the book My Stupid Decision to go to Grad School on an extremely sizzling Sunday over at Teaism in Dupont Circle. We each coincidentally ordered hot tea to drink as we chatted. At first I thought that ordering hot tea on hot day would equal a hot mess; however, my brain recalled from television that drinking hot things helps to cool the body down ironically. I don’t know if that is true. I’m not a scientist, but Adam is! His day job involves finding a cure for maleria. You want to know more about this guy? Well alright.

Adam Ruben Headshot

Adam grew up in Wilmington, Deleware and has lived in the DMV area for ten years. He started performing comedy in college at Princeton by entering in a comedy contest. His first time went well and he decided to enter the contest every year that he attended the university. He knew he was funny with his friends, but he wanted to find out if he could make strangers laugh. “You get really spoiled. There are about a hundred people and half of them are your friends. You know what sort of things are going to make them laugh.” Adam searched for an open mic on the internet using Yahoo local, before Google took over, when he went home one summer in between semesters of undergrad and called a place that advertised it was a comedy club. “They asked me what do I do and I said I do stand up and they said ‘Oh okay. That could work.’ I should have taken that as a bad sign.” The place was in New Jersey about an hour away from his home in Deleware, so he made the trip to put his skills to the test.

When he walked in the door he found out that the place was nothing like he imagined. “It’s basically a red neck bar where people go to watch stock car racing and there is a band there. It’s an open mic where essentially if you have a guitar you can get up and perform a couple songs,  and they call it a comedy club, because they have a comedy show once a month, which was not that night.” He stayed and when the band went on break  the host said. “Please welcome the comedy stylings of Adam from Deleware” “Nobody was listening and why should they? They are there to talk to their friends and have music in the background. It was the longest ten minutes ever.” Adam learned a major lesson that helped him to want to keep pursuing performing comedy. “Now I know, no matter what, at least I know how bad it can be. It’s never going to be that bad again. That was awful, but I survived it.”

Adam Ruben Mic

Adam began hitting the open mic scene, legitimate comedy open mics, while in graduate school at John Hopkins and learned why they are important. “I did an open mic gig one night and thought ‘No one is going to be there. Who cares?'”  A comic walked up to him after he performed and recommended that he do another show at another venue that had an open mic. At the next gig he met a comic who said he should submit a tape to the DC Improv. “I did and got a phone call a few months later.” He was offered the opportunity to be part of a contest and made it all the way to the finals. He did not win the contest, but they liked him and later he was offered a spot to perform there. “DC Improv is my favorite comedy club in the world. It’s the best place to perform there I love it. I have been performing there once a year since 2003.” You can see Adam perform at the DC Improv this month from the 18 through the 21 and if you are out in Arlington on August 11 you can see Adam perform with The Story League show “Politics of Science” that is going down at Artisphere.

Patrick comes from the West Texas town of El Paso, and decided to make D.C. his new home in the Spring of ’09. He didn’t think that he would love D.C., but things changed after it started seeing other people. That’s when he knew that he was in love. He is on a mission to find the funny in a town where serious decisions are made and hoping to shine the light on the places that force you to enjoy the fun and ridiculous in life. You can reach him at for any comments or requests.

One thought on “Comedy in DC: Adam Ruben

  1. Correction! The title of his book is “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School” It is a humorist guide to making it through graduate school.