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: 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: Maria Bamford

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!

________________________

The concept for Maria Bamford’s new “the special special special!” sounds amusing—a direct-to-fans download (available at Chill.com) shot in her living room with an audience of just her parents and a couple of crew members. The natural question is, can that novelty sustain a full hour?

“Special” is a purposefully awkward, sometimes downright intense, series of character monologues. Wayne Federman adds musical accompaniment on keyboard and Jackie Kashian introduces Bamford, traditional touches that further set the stage. The whole thing feels like it could have been directed by David Lynch, especially the short asides of Bamford giving her pug, Bert, his eye medicine or feeding her parents pizza during a particularly dark bit. More than anything else it’s intimate, a good fit for the type of distribution model pioneered by Louis C.K.

A feeling of something loose and comfortable yet highly choreographed pervades. Bert loafs on the couch behind Bamford in a long shot as the ceiling fan whirs. Federman laughs along with Bamford’s parents, who are lovely. There is a designated pee break. It’s a different situation, however, during the shots tightly focused on Bamford. With just a red stage curtain in the background, she purposefully locks eyes with the viewer. Depending on the character she’s in at the time, this can be admittedly unnerving.


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Comedian Christophe Davidson – Comedy Below the Equator

Greetings comedic traveller! Are you one for adventure? Do you like being surrounded by people who speak a language not unlike your own, but with its own added quirkiness? Do you often think about how funny you’d be if only you were able to demonstrate your comedic arts in the southern hemisphere? Well then an Australian tour might be worth considering.

Please note that going to the other side of the planet will not improve your act in any way. It is strongly advised that along with toothpaste and sunscreen, you also pack a solid hour performance with you before embarking on your trip.

Many comedians feel that North America is it. Yet the simple fact is between Australia, the UK, and Ex-Pat shows throughout the rest of the world, you could have an accomplished career in comedy and never once set foot on a North American stage. Now I’m not saying you should rush up to your local comedy club owner, saying, “Forget you. I’m off to entertain the world,” but it’s good to know that there is more out there than you think.
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