Spit Take Saturday: Anjelah Johnson at Just For Laughs Chicago

just for laughsWelcome 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!

Threats of a torrential derecho kept some Chicagoans home instead of braving the storm and put a damper on the Just for Laughs-branded pedicabs that shuttled fans around the city. But they didn’t stop eager Anjelah Johnson fans from lining up with their umbrellas and galoshes outside The Vic Theatre, the former vaudeville venue on Chicago’s north side, to snag good general-admission seats for the former MADtv cast member’s Wednesday night performance.

Nashville-based opener T.C. Cope had an undeniably energetic stage presence, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for his dated material. Large, stagnant chunks devoted to Tickle Me Elmo, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and a SeaWorld drowning that happened in 2010 made it feel as though Cope hadn’t read a newspaper or been online much recently. He showed versatility with his Luther Vandross impression and preached the efficacy of R&B as an aphrodisiac, but somewhere along the line he meandered, reaching the halfway point of Toby Keith’s “Angry American” before it became difficult to remember how the joke began in the first place. The crowd seemed to like Cope well enough nevertheless, though perhaps Johnson’s younger, hipper fans weren’t his usual audience.
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Spit Take Saturday: T.J. Miller

image001-330x330Welcome 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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T.J. Miller is loose and natural in pretty much everything he does, whether it’s a small part in a big movie like “Rock of Ages” or last year’s goofy faux-rap excursion “The Extended Play” EP. Lately the Denver-born, Chicago-bred standup has been hosting Comedy Central’s “Mash Up”, a half-hour experiment that goes beyond countless “Tosh.0” rip-offs to take legitimate chances with form and content.

But since he’s so prolific and straddles so many genres, it’s hard to find a project that encapsulates him. Each of the past few years has seen Miller building on his Hollywood bit parts and cross-country touring, and last November he enjoyed his first hour-long Comedy Central special with “No Real Reason”. His latest audio-only release, “Mash Up Audiofile”, is a companion piece to both that and his current Comedy Central gig, and while it shows off many of Miller’s best traits, it also feels like another sampler of his occasional brilliance padded with pleasant but inessential gimmicks.


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