Dave Rubin Gets His "Please Clap" Moment

Dave Rubin is a uniquely modern political personality. He made his bones hosting various talk shows and eventually landed one with TYT. He left the network over ideological differences and eventually started running his own show independently on YouTube. There, he describes himself as a “classical liberal” who “left the left” because of woke ideology and identity politics among other things. That line worked well in 2015 when Rubin launched the independent show—the not-so-subtle reveal that he was actually conservative actually managed to turn some heads.

In 2021, though, people know what they’re getting. And it doesn’t even draw applause.

To be as fair as possible to Rubin, maybe he’s got a point. Socializing and attending events is a weird little after months of staying inside. His assertion that the pandemic “made us crazy” has some merit. But it’s also true that live audiences generally cheer and applaud things that are worthy of cheers and applause. In fact, you’d think the crowd might be even louder and rowdier than normal. Professional baseball and basketball games are as raucous as ever even at partial capacity. Then again, maybe this is par for the course when you’re going to see Dave Rubin live.

More likely, though, is that culture has caught up to Rubin. People know he’s a conservative now. That’s precisely why the people in this audience went to see him live, and it’s probably why they don’t clap. They didn’t pay to see him shock them—they know his deal and they’re into it. But it’s not just that Rubin’s big reveal is diminished to the point of nonexistence. It’s that he hasn’t pivoted away from it. He’s been doing the same “classical liberal” routine for six solid years. People have copied it and copied the copies and now it’s old hat. He’s not convincing anyone with his story; in fact the more he tells it, the less plausible his “I used to be a liberal” gets. He keeps going back to the well because that’s what got him here. (Well, that and Koch affiliations.)

People have been wise to Rubin’s anti-woke woke grift for years, too. Far better writers have chronicled the anatomy of his couched, leading interviewing style. Others have reported on analyses about how hosts like Rubin platforming extremists and eugenicists foments right wing radicalization. And in today’s political environment Rubin’s aged like buttermilk. He still tries to color his commentary in a shade of red-pilled clarity that just comes off as blindingly dull. His jokes are bad and his takes are worse. He’s become a parody of himself, one whose brain is still in recovery mode from taking in so many high-level important ideas. It’s only fitting that Rubin now has his own “Please Clap” moment, one as epically pathetic as the rest of his shtick.