Spit Take Saturday: Erik Griffin

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erik griffinWelcome to Spit Take Saturday, courtesy of Brown Paper Tickets’ Comedy Doer Julie Seabaugh and her professional comedy criticism site The Spit Take. Julie’s goal with the site is to “elevate the public perception of stand-up comedy to that of a legitimate art form, and to enable comedy criticism be taken as seriously as that of theater, film, music, food, even video games. No a**-kissing. No bias. No mercy. Just honest, unfiltered, long-form reviews written by professional, knowledgeable comedy critics.” 

Every week Julie will select an entry from the site to be included on our blog and hand-pick some related events happening that week that she feels all you comedy lovers out there will appreciate.

So, without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s Spit Take Saturday!

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Erik Griffin has achieved a unique but far from rare acting milestone as a “That Guy,” someone who gets recognized regularly even if it’s only for his familiar face or character’s name. Though he’s earned the title from portraying bawdy braggart Montez Walker on Comedy Central guy-com “Workaholics,” he’s still had to admit “I just had my name on the marquee” of the Laugh Factory in an interview on Dom Irrera’s podcast.

Griffin mentions his That Guy-ness at the start of debut stand-up album “Technical Foul: Volume One” presumably to get it out of the way in the same manner that fellow comedian Tom Wilson, best known for playing bullying Biff in the “Back to the Future” trilogy, sarcastically recites some of his more famous lines or sings his viral hit “The Question Song.” Instead, by acknowledging that he’s not one of the show’s “cute ones,” Griffin is able to provide an illustrative introduction to his self-deprecating style.

Griffin’s onstage persona melds well with “Workaholics” general humor, but it’s also accessible to those falling outside of the program’s typical demographic. He brings a great sense of energy and keen eye for details to commonplace situations; he also does so with what some might call “guy humor” precisely in order to subvert it (he devotes a fair amount of time directly and indirectly expressing his love for women’s “titties”). His bizarre fixation on the sexual proclivity of the conjoined Hensel twins, for example, could feasibly get a rise out of the easily offended. Fortunately, just about anyone with an open mind could find reason to like his clever, observational twists, and he fully commits to the premise by digging into the dark part of the human brain that would bring the questions up in the first place.

The majority of Griffin’s targets don’t break much new ground. Comics have certainly covered such topics as movie theaters, dating, reality TV and the airport from just about every conceivable angle. He does, however, find interesting ways to mine fresh material by citing their most egregious faults and his frustrations with them, turning the joke on himself to out his own quirks and flaws, whether it’s how guys should react to sad moments in movies (“I cry like I’m at a black funeral”) or his unabashed love of reality competitions like “The Voice” (“You know how I know [Christina Aguilera] is big? Because her chair takes way too long to turn around.”)

Griffin does hit on some stickier issues like racial diversity and slurs he wishes he could use, but he does so in a way that anyone who doesn’t look for a reason to be put out could relate. He’s not above that kind of knee-jerk humor, and he’s willing to self-censor in order to placate more sensitive ears, but he also makes sure that the material’s basic foundation is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s guy humor that you only have to be a comedy fan to enjoy.

By Danny Gallagher

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Check out more Comedy Central vets appearing on these upcoming events:

Monday, March 18 I “Meathook Comedy Presents: “318” with Headliner DAN ST. GERMAIN” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Dan St. Germain headlines a one-night-only event, Meathook Comedy’s “318”.  3 cities represented on 1 stage by 8 hand-picked comics from these powerhouse comedy towns.

Thursday, March 21 I  “The Super Serious Show with Tom Segura” Los Angeles, California  The Super Serious Show is a monthly live comedy show at Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, a historic Los Angeles landmark home to music, comedy and dance.  Comedy with Music, Food Truck, Sweets and FREE BEER & WINE.

Monday, April 1 I “Jersey City Comedy Festival Presents Todd Barry”Jersey City, New Jersey  The Jersey City Comedy Festival opens at 8pm on April 1st at Art House Productions with a great lineup of NY & NJ area performers.