True funny things

My Spiritual Death: A Comedy Show

Katie Rubin returns to Sacramento with a stand-up act about recovery and spirituality.

Katie Rubin returns to Sacramento with a stand-up act about recovery and spirituality.

My Spiritual Death: A Comedy Show; Saturday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.; $15 advance, $20 at the door. Center for Spiritual Awareness, 1275 Starboard Drive in West Sacramento; (916) 374-9177.

If you think there’s nothing funny about recovering from addiction to anything, you’d be wrong. Nobody laughs louder—and in recognition of their own foibles—than a bunch of people in recovery. And local actress and comedian Katie Rubin will be facilitating that process of healing laughter this week with a stand-up show at the Center for Spiritual Awareness in West Sacramento.

Rubin’s one-woman show, Insides Out!, which had its professional premiere in a nine-week run at the Sacramento Theatre Company in 2006, is both funny and about recovery, but it uses a more traditional theatrical approach than a stand-up show.

“In the last year or two, I’ve been putting together a bunch of recovery comedy,” Rubin said, “because I wanted to be able to speak to the recovery community in a funny way without it having to be a beginning-middle-end theatrical narrative.

“There’s a certain power that comedy has to break through what seem to be barriers between people. There’s a certain familiarity that you get with stand-up, because you break that fourth wall right away. We’re in a conversational space which allows for more intimacy.”

And, she noted, it allows people to relax, even if the subject under discussion is something as serious as recovery.

“You can get people to think about deep stuff because you’ve tricked them into laughing about it first.”

Rubin, a UC Davis graduate who has acted locally at both STC and the Capital Stage, has been doing a lot of stand-up since she moved down to Los Angeles. “It’s also a huge industry down here,” she said. “The movie-TV-comedy scenes all overlap, and the credits feed each other.”

She’s been doing stand-up at all the L.A. hotspots: Improv, The Comedy Store, The Icehouse in Pasadena, Flappers in Burbank. “I’ve been everywhere,” she said. And yes, she’s getting some leads on TV work, but she’s also working on another one-woman show, commissioned by Capital Stage, and will be meeting with members of that troupe while she’s in town this weekend.

And she’s doing movie work, too. Rubin is one of the producers on a film that she described as “a love story about a wayward, Charlie Sheen-esque actor who is sentenced to private sessions with a Buddhist meditation teacher.” An actor whose previous credits include the Showtime series Dexter is attached to the project.

As for My Spiritual Death, Rubin described it as “60 percent stand-up, with a little theatrical intro.” After the intro, though, it’s all jokes about recovery and spirituality.

“The beauty of the stand-up form is that it’s about truth-telling,” Rubin said. “Stand-up comedy works when you’ve got a solid premise that’s a statement of truth—and is not funny. It needs to be unique and insightful in some way, and if you have that, you can build comedy on top of it.”

It will definitely be a “grown-up” show, built around Rubin’s personal experiences with recovery and what she described as a “deepening relationship with the divine, turned into really funny jokes.”

The thing is, she said, “You point out something true, and then you say something funny about it. Everyone laughs, and then we’re all thinking about that true thing.”