Spit Take Saturday: Jim Gaffigan

Dad-is-Fat_photo_medium-311x470Welcome 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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The name of Jim Gaffigan’s book on parenting comes from one of his two sons. The author is presumably Jack, the oldest, since Michael would have been little older than one at the time of Gaffigan’s writing. It’s hard to keep track of them all, since Gaffigan has five kids, a fact that surprises and challenges him, and also makes him very sleepy. And if it seems difficult to keep track of them in a book, imagine keeping track of them on the way to the park, walking or riding the subway, or even within a New York City apartment. That’s Gaffigan’s life as a father and the experience he chronicles in Dad Is Fat.



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Spit Take Saturday: The Best Comedy Releases of 2012 – The year heartfelt comedy melted our steely tickers

notaro.jpeg.CROP.article250-mediumWelcome 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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1. Tig Notaro, “Live”

There is a way to make everything funny. Everything. And there is no finer example of this concept than Tig Notaro’s accidental comedy gem—an album recorded from a set at Largo that the owner just so happened to tape. Having recently received a cancer diagnosis, Notaro is honest in a way that’s not only inspiring for other comedians, but for everyone hoping to face problems head on. Notaro does so with immeasurable grace and wit, letting the world know that comedy is her armor, and that truth in comedy isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a goddamn prerequisite.


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Spit Take Saturday: 2012 Comedy Gift Guide

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Welcome 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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Each sense of humor is a little different, but who doesn’t love to laugh? With that in mind, we’ve got comedy both naughty and nice, memoirs and one-person shows, the classics, British comedy, alternative and musical. That should cover just about everyone, and some people two or three times.

Some of the newer releases reviewed on The Spit Take are here, and we tried to keep it fairly current while still choosing the best stuff in each category. Some choices would fit multiple categories, but we didn’t repeat artists or selections. Everything here is also fairly easy to find, at least online (that kept Belle Barth and Pearl Williams, whose work is mainly available on vinyl, out of the “Blue Christmas” section). Lists are in no particular order; feel free to leave your own suggestions for releases we neglected to cover below.”

 

Blue Christmas (Adult Material)

Lenny Bruce – “To Is a Preposition; Come Is a Verb”  There are better Bruce albums, but this collection ought to please fans of his more scatological side.

Robert Schimmel – “Unprotected”  Schimmel spoke frankly and explicitly about sex and his health, and could make you laugh describing a sigmoidoscopy.

Andrew Dice Clay – “The Day the Laughter Died”  Clay can be hard to take, but several contemporaries who work blue still cite him as an influence, and this is his best work.

Patrice O’Neal – “Mr. P”  Released after his untimely demise, this is just a sample of O’Neal’s brutal brilliance.

Redd Foxx – “Very Best of Redd Foxx: Fugg It!”  Foxx was a pioneer of the party album, “adult” comedy records that shops kept under the counter.

 

Santa’s Good List (Clean Comedy)

Jim Gaffigan – “Beyond the Pale”  Sing it with me, Pale Force Nation: “Hooot pockets!” Gaffigan has fun with a very accessible, food-obsessed “dumb guy” philosophy, but he’s a smart writer.

Mike Birbiglia – “Sleepwalk With Me Live”  Birbiglia is very easy to root for, and though he is not always the good guy in this story (which eventually became a book and a movie), he sees that. Remember, he’s in the future also.

Jerry Seinfeld – “I’m Telling You For the Last Time”  The premise of this album was that Seinfeld was retiring his best bits. No politics, no profanity stronger than “hell” or “damn,” just Seinfeld’s reliable observational humor.

Ray Romano – “Live at Carnegie Hall”  Romano drops the f-bomb early on, but it’s bleeped, and it’s clean—and funny—from then on.

Brian Regan – “The Epitome of Hyperbole”  It’s hard to resist Regan’s affable Everyman. He has a very specific cadence, one that can easily get stuck in your head, and a wonderful physicality. This special can be played for just about anyone.


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Spit Take Saturday: Tom Shillue

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Welcome 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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Recorded at the Buell Theatre in Denver, “Big Room is the second of 12 consecutive monthly releases by Tom Shillue. It was recorded by Shillue himself over two shows with a combined audience, according to his estimate, of 3,600 people. He was opening for Jim Gaffigan.

As The Spit Take’s review of Shillue’s first album of the series, “Bigger, Stronger, Faster,” appropriately puts it: “This is a project worth following. Shillue is off to a strong start. Now he just needs eleven more 35-minute chunks as good as this one, and he’ll be set.”

Big Room is a 31.5-minute album, but there are only about 25 minutes of on-stage comedy, each of the two tracks being bookended by Shillue speaking directly into the recorder. Moreover, while each of the three tracks on his first album is built around its own self-contained story, “Big Room”’s two tracks are each opening sets for Gaffigan. By virtue of this premise, neither set allows Shillue room to fully explore his stories and tease out the details. Instead, each finds Shillue appropriately hitting on a few key areas, weaving them together the way any good opener should and would.

This is not to say that “Big Room” is worse than its predecessor, or by any means a bad album. Far from it. It is, however, a different album, and in this way it makes Shillue’s project even more intriguing. His first two releases are decidedly built around two distinct premises, which poses the question: What will his third album bring?


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