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July 23, 2018

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For star of Strip satire ‘Failure is an Option,’ New Year’s resolutions are a laugh


Christopher DeVargas

Comedian Tom Rubin performs at the Sin City Theater inside Planet Hollywood, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015.

In his show "Failure is an Option," Strip performer Tom Rubin takes on a Tony Robbins-like persona to spoof motivational speakers and the self-help industry.

The show features Rubin, a Harvard-educated entertainment lawyer who became a comedian, putting on a fake seminar that skewers subjects ranging from corporate workforce rah-rah events to the profit motives of the self-help industry.

"If you were to go through a wormhole into an alternate universe and end up at a success seminar, this would be it," Rubin says of the show, which he performs at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays at Planet Hollywood's Sin City Theater.

His underlying message? Becoming obsessed with success is anything but healthy, and what exactly is success, anyway?

"It's really a satire of our society," says Rubin, who created the show in Southern California and brought it to Las Vegas this year. "Bigger, faster, gotta get ahead: That's this culture. But if you look at a lot of what these guys are pitching, it's unattainable, you don't have to attain it or it's not going to make you happy if you do attain it."

So while Robbins has spun out statements like "If you can’t, you must; if you must, you can," Rubin's tips for a healthier life include, "The harder you try, the more likely you are to get a hernia," and, "You can do anything you want to do, but you might get arrested."

"The thing is, some of the best comedy is based in truth," Rubin said. "People will come up to me afterward and say, 'Everything you say is right.'"

With the start of 2016 upon us, it seemed fitting to ask Rubin for his take on New Year's resolutions. Here goes:

On resolving to lose weight

"Why bother? It's easier to be fat. Plus, there's an advantage to being fat. When you're fat, you can't get fat — because you already are."

On resolving to eat healthier food

"Eat foods that taste good. You know why? Because you never know when you're going to die. And you don't want your last meal to consist of kale."

On resolving to take up a hobby

"Seriously? What, stamp collecting? No one has had hobbies since the '50s."

On resolving to stop procrastinating

"Next year."

On resolving to spend less time watching TV

"Why? TV is great. And if you're paying for cable, make sure you get your money's worth."

On resolving to live each day as if it were your last

"If you follow that advice, it will be."

Rubin also offered suggestions on resolutions that might pay off. Among them:

• "Make a resolution you will actually keep. Like, I resolve to eat lunch every day. That also works in the negative, such as, I resolve not to do any sit-ups."

• "Resolve to do something vague. Such as, I resolve to be a better person. Who's to say?"

• "Resolve to do something that will happen anyway. Like, I resolve to lose some of my hair."

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