By Bea Wolff
Tom Rubin plays a motivational speaker with New Jersey-style gusto in an irreverent homage to success gurus. Directed with aplomb by Rocco Urbisci, who directed shows for many top comedians including George Carlin and Richard Pryor, this satirical one-man show is formatted as a success seminar. To enhance the seminar illusion, the audience wears name tags, and Tom’s hard-sell presentation is aided by graphics, impeccably designed by Stewart Turner.
Written by Tom Rubin, the show centers around this concept: to chase success is to live a life of disappointment, because failure is more likely than success. Tom dismisses the optimistic views of Tony Robbins, Oprah, and other “competitors,” dissecting their inspirational platitudes one by one to prove how dangerous and delusional they are. He offers hilarious evidence to support his thesis that failure is an option — and, in fact, a desirable one.
Creating deep humor by straddling the thin line between tragedy and comedy, Tom flirts with real wisdom even as he mocks the conventional American wisdom that touts success for success’ sake. He sprinkles his act with solid impressions of celebrities as well as with ridiculous infomercial-style advertisements.
The most brilliant moments of Tom’s sterling comedy are when he playfully vamps on an idea, mercilessly piling words on top of words as he promotes negative visualization or explains the meaning of life or why it’s impossible for him to find the woman who’s ideal for him.
Presented by T2M Productions, Tom Rubin – Success Guru runs six Friday nights only: Jan. 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15, & 22. All shows are at 8 p.m. Performances are located at Santa Monica Playhouse, The Main Stage, located at 1211 4th St. in Santa Monica. For more information and to purchase tickets go to tomrubin-successguru.com or call (323) 960-4420. General admission is $25.