Absurd, honest comedy delivered twice a weekish through the vulnerable personal essays of Alex Dobrenko: tv actor+writer to some, father to
one two, and friend to all.
You might be wondering what’s happening here, so here it is:
A Top 10 Humor Substack
Both Are True is where I explore my background (immigrant from Ukraine, Jewish, loottttaa mental health stuff) and how it affects the person I am today (father, artist, just a lil guy). I share my shame, analyze my anxiety, make the jokey jokes, and hope it’ll all help me feel less bad.
Or, as one subscriber wrote,
“It’s the newsletter equivalent of The Office.”
“You’ll usually chuckle, sometimes you’ll laugh out loud, sometimes there’s a cringe-by-design moment, sometimes you’ll rethink your whole goddamn life. And most times, you’ll have all those things happen to you in just one newsletter.”
Stick around and feel less bad with me.
Who reads Both Are True?
People with messy ass spaces. People who have trouble being happy when things go well, and people who cannot handle their son’s crying. People with ADHD, OCD, or any other Disorder that just means you’re probably a really cool lil weirdo who enjoys this type of fever dream comedy with a beating, sometimes bleeding, and even at times bleating heart.
People like you, probably.
Here’s what a few of those people have to say about Both Are True:
Hard to explain, easy to love. These essays are always funny, and they always hit just right. For something completely different, original, hilarious, heartfelt and vulnerable, check out Both Are True.
Your writing is completely engaging and somewhat addictive. I adore your sense of fun and zany whimsy.
— Joan W.
So beautiful and real. Your writing makes me think of my own family — the bad, the good, the ugly, the imperfect.
What’s in it for me?
BATheads are a ragtag bunch with HEART! (Or mental illness or whatever you have when you don’t have the regular thing other people have.) Anyway, come hang out with us.
You’ll get twice-a-week-ish essays that are free, on the house, zero total dollars.
OR, as a paid subscriber, you’ll get free essays, PLUS:
Deeply hilarious, personal essays that I’m too nervous for everyone to read, like this one about addiction
Invitations to participate in YAMA/MAYA, a thread where You Ask Me Anything, Me Ask You Anything, like this one about family
Consider subscribing - your contributions keep this little rag of a mag going.
"Something about your writing has compelled me to not only subscribe, but also pay and now make my first ever public comment on the internet outside my personal social media accounts.”
The Bangers: Both Are True’s Most Popular Essays
👶 I think my son hates me
PLUS: I am not handling it well
🇺🇦 I was born in Odesa Ukraine
How it feels when your homeland is attacked
🤖 Can everyone kindly shut the fuck up about AI
The robots aren't coming, but the people who can't shut the fuck up about them are already here
📈 How I grew this newsletter from 56 to 2,177 subscribers in less than a year
I know the title is clickbait but I'm told that these sorts of posts 'do numbers'
About Me, Alex Dobrenko, Lil Guy
(I wrote this part in the third person to sound more professional, lmk if you think it’s working.)
Alex was born in Odesa, Ukraine and moved to America when he was 7 years old. He studied screenwriting and psychology at Brown University and began making comedy videos on Twitter during the pandemic. Some have gone low-key viral (like this one about what it’s like to be married to a comedian and this one about taking a 15-minute break from Twitter) which is, you know, pretty chill. These days, when he’s not writing Both Are True, he makes unhinged reels on Instagram.
Alex created, wrote, and produced an 11-episode digital series called Distance that was nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Breakthrough Series award and received praise from the New York Times, Paste Magazine, and Vulture, who called it “Digital’s Next Step”.
You can catch Alex in the films KIMI from Steven Soderbergh and BABYLON from Damien Chazelle, or you can just subscribe to Both Are True and hang out in his comment sections, which are wildly wholesome - just check out this one and this one.
I just want to say how refreshing it is to read/listen to a comedian with a heart, or more accurately, willing to show his heart. It's unique and wonderful.
In this day when life is far too serious, this is golden.
What does “Both Are True” mean?
My brain runs on binary - zero or one, this or that. Logic reigns supreme.
In the therapy, we’d call this ‘black and white thinking’ and lemme tell you what: sure it might have been good for the SAT, but it sucks in life!
Time and time again, I find myself locked in this sort of thinking:
either I’ve gotten negative feedback and am the worst writer alive, or I am praised and am the greatest writer that’s ever lived
they didn’t invite me because I suck, otherwise they’d have invited me!
I’m right and she’s wrong OR she’s right and I’m wrong.
The truth, like Jimmy Eat World once said, is in The Middle.
In other words, life is less of an either/or and more of a both/and.1
In other words, both things are, in fact, true. This is what I’ve found most of life to be - the messy middle that accepts multiple truths existing simultaneously.
Notice how I once again split life into two camps - either/or OR both/and, which we know is false. So actually it’s a bit either/or and a bit both/and. This could continue for a while but we’ve all got banks to rob so let’s get on with our days.