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Wonderbox, 629 NY Ave NW

Remaining Performances:

Tuesday, July 19, 9:45 p.m.

Thursday, July 21, 6 p.m.

They say: “Comedian Adam Ruben shares true tales of a class election gone awry and a stuffed animal smuggled into summer camp, plus embarrassing excerpts from his fifth-grade diary and a manifesto of self-pity written while at home dateless during Homecoming.”

Olivia’s Take: In his one-man show Please Don’t Beat Me Up: Stories and Artifacts from Adolescence, “comedian, writer, scientist” Adam Ruben is finally getting the laughs he strived for as a child. With tales of pre-teen bed-wetting, third-grade love affairs, and emo-esque diary entries, this self-proclaimed nerd paints a pathetically detailed picture of “dorkdom.”

Modeling the stage after his old bedroom, Adam moves between the twin bed and desk presenting his audience with “artifacts”—-photos and sound recordings from his childhood. While we all have a good laugh at the self-filmed, self-directed, self-starring clips of the lanky kid who hasn’t quite grown into his teeth, one does start to wonder, somewhere around the fourth video clip, whether or not Adam Ruben was friendless due to his narcissistic tendencies.

Regardless, Ruben’s deadpan does entertain throughout the 60 minute show, and his self-deprecation is appreciated. But the show isn’t entirely humorous. There are moments of sincere sadness: Adam stays home alone on homecoming, writing the “ESAR: Esoteric Secrets of Adam Ruben.” As he reads aloud his fears of eternal virginity and loneliness the crowd vocalizes their pity, mostly via female aww-ing and unfortunate sighs.

In the end the nerd triumphs, receiving a standing ovation as though it were an apology from every bully in the audience. The burly man next to me clapped especially hard, as Ruben thanked his audience and plugged his next shows.

See it if: You remember how awkward growing up truly is.

Skip it if: You were the bully.