Spit Take Saturday: High Plains Comedy Festival

HPCF-logo_small_new-330x207Welcome 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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Denver has been in desperate need of a national-quality stand-up festival for years. The explosion of open mics and alternative showcases, plus the city’s growing reputation as an incubator of new talent has nevertheless failed to put it on the same footing as similar scenes in Austin, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon. Newer events like the Laugh Track Comedy Festival or the punk-rock Too Much Funstival are stacked with talented locals and a few out-of-towners, but neither have the resources or attention to compete with something like Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival.


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Spit Take Saturday: Craig Ferguson

14622604_201306031410_265x265_padWelcome 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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If there’s anyone more deserving of the term “cheeky,” that person should promptly track down Craig Ferguson and strip the smiley-faced belt from his jolly Scottish midsection. Ever since Ferguson took over hosting duties for CBS’s The Late Late Show in 2005, he’s nightly brought viewers into his gently pompous world of crude animatronics and winking asides, broadening his American résumé beyond his bit role as the dick boss on The Drew Carey Show to include all manner of sparkly-eyed mugging.

** WARNING! This video contains language that may be offensive to some viewers. **

I’m Here to Help is the antidote to that. Both richer and harsher than the cutesy Late Late Show monologues, which years ago began to stray into a sort of in-joke schtick, Help reinforces Ferguson’s true mastery of a crowd. Sure, his public image is reflected during the credits of Help, which present a black-and-white montage of Ferguson as jet-setting rock star, complete with an entourage and private jet. Recorded at Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theatre, Help also features pre-show audience testimonials of Ferguson’s mesmerizing effect on his fans.
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Spit Take Saturday: Richard Pryor

RichardPryorOTL_10_8col-330x220Welcome 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!

In trying to pinpoint what made Richard Pryor so compelling, writers and documentarians often steamroll over the man’s visceral gifts. At a gut level, Pryor’s ideas, word choice, delivery and body language were (and many would argue, remain) unmatched in stand-up comedy, not just revolutionary in their power but untouchable in their effortlessness and honesty. As a result, we often get eggheaded treatises on race relations, the poisoned chalice of fame or whatever trend in comedy Pryor’s legacy is currently hitched to.



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Spit Take Saturday: Gabriel Iglesias

alohafluffyWelcome 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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Gabriel Iglesias doesn’t so much tell jokes as act them out like classic radio plays, inhabiting various characters with a snappy, head-spinning precision that would make most vocal actors jealous. It tends to render the physical side of his shows less essential than his rubbery, high-pitched voice, but his on-camera persona at least adds a certain sports-mascot joviality to the proceedings. His latest special, “Aloha Fluffy,” refines that colorful persona while building on the mountainous inventory of stories that have made him a touring gold mine.



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Spit Take Saturdays: Paul F. Tompkins

PaulFTompkins cover copy

Fans of urbane podcaster and “Mr. Show” veteran Paul F. Tompkins have likely watched his recent Comedy Central special, “Laboring Under Delusions,” which shares much of its material with this audio-only version.

But “Live in Brooklyn” [ASpecialThing Records] also contains 19 more minutes than even the “uncensored” Comedy Central DVD, and since Tompkins is both a gifted storyteller and jaunty improviser, “Live in Brooklyn” is worth the price of admission—at least if you’re dying to hear such elaborately-titled “riff suites” as “Vaudeville Moths – The Great Chandelier Debate – The Organs of the House Skeleton,” which opens the album.

Recorded at Brooklyn’s Bell House, it’s looser than the TV special, which took its name from Tompkins’s stories about odd jobs and general professional embarrassment. Those stories remain in roughly the same order, but their delayed intro blunts the thematic unity when compared to the special. Tompkins’s improv is charming and witty, as usual, but the edited-down version was more presentable to general audiences for a reason.


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