Spit Take Saturday: Patrice O’Neal

patrice-oneal-unreleased1-585x510-330x287Welcome 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 So, without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s Spit Take Saturday!

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Most of the new Patrice O’Neal album, Unreleased, is devoted to the late comedian’s give and take with his audience. It’s a compliment to last year’s posthumous release, Mr. P, taken from the same live shows, and in at least one significant way, better captures what was special about him as a performer. To some extent, every stand-up comedian has to sell the idea that what they’re saying is extemporaneous, not something they’ve honed to a sharp edge working stage after stage. For the audience, it has to be a fresh experience, no matter how many times the comedian has done it before.


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Spit Take Saturday: Bo Burnham

2DEBB37CE-9098-46A3-23A54EE7C0FBE15E.jpg.pagespeed.ce.rY-nXBGn_lWelcome 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 So, without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s Spit Take Saturday!

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Earlier this spring, I spoke with Bo Burnham for The Boston Globe, and the subject of his two-year hiatus between specials came up. Burnham had developed a lot of career momentum when his YouTube videos led to his first EP, Bo Fo Sho, in 2008, on through his second special, Words Words Words in 2010. He has been working on the material for his new special, what., since at least 2011, when he performed much of it at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, his last show before moving to LA.


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Spit Take Saturday: Saturday Night Live FAQ

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

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Stephen Tropiano declares himself a Saturday Night Live loyalist early in the introduction to his Saturday Night Live FAQ: Everything Left to Know About Television’s Longest Running Comedy. The book, he explains, is written from the point of view of a “critical fan,” someone willing to sit through all the bad sketches and lame premises, and to ignore the conventional wisdom when it’s down on the show. He’d have to be, to sit through more than 38 seasons of television, what he estimates as “1,117.5 hours of original programming,” to put together this guide, which runs from the first season through May 2013. (For the initiated, the book starts with feeding your fingertips to the wolverines and ends with the marriage of Stefon.)


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Spit Take Saturday: Tom Shillue

51XAsonDjrL._SL500_AA280_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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For the past ten months, Tom Shillue has been on a comedy marathon, releasing one new album every month, each with its own theme. With Heyday, he is nearly to the finish line of what has so far been a successful experiment. He has done a remarkable job putting out consistently funny work, producing this series of Moth-like personal stories.



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Spit Take Saturday: Bo Burnham

indexWelcome 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 most informative bit in Bo Burnham’s book of poetry, Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone, comes at the end in the acknowledgments, in which Burnham thanks George Carlin and Shel Silverstein. Both had a deep appreciation of language and love for playing with it, a quality Burnham shares. Both also enjoyed decidedly adult material, as does Burnham. That’s how Burnham winds up with a collection that includes a contemplation on the shock of empathy (“The Party”), what could be the start of a science-fiction novel (“Xia Cobolt”), and a meditation on crapping philosophers (“Socrates”).



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Spit Take Saturday: Doug Stanhope

indexWelcome 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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Years ago at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Doug Stanhope appeared on a show called Confessing It. The lineup of comedians found laughs in everything from the mildly embarrassing to genuinely soul-searching. Then came Stanhope, who told a story about a former girlfriend using the morning-after pill. His graphic description shocked a few in the room who ostensibly were there to hear people’s deep, dark secrets.



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Spit Take Saturday: That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick!

9780393074093_p0_v1_s260x420Welcome 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 cover of That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream, is a telling sign of just how much author Ellin Stein immersed herself in researching her new book. An illustration by longtime Lampoon artist Bruce McCall depicts a hand holding a skewer run through such figures as Santa Claus, an angel, the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam and a panda bear. Stein respects her subject, internalizes and even admires it, though she is willing to break out the blade herself wherever necessary.


Comedy and culture make interesting dance partners. To what extent one influences or reflects the other is a fluid question. The founders—Henry Beard, Doug Kenney and Rob Hoffman—developed their taste for near all-encompassing rebellion at the Harvard Lampoon, which took a leap forward from its twee past during their tenure in the 60s. The output increased, and the humor changed. They found success parodying other media like Time, Life and especially Playboy. And the targets shifted. It was no longer the self-deprecating “me like a schmuck” attitude and more a cutthroat “you like a schmuck” mentality, as Stein points out. That fight against the accepted and the unquestioned carried over when National Lampoon started in 1970, and continued until Nixon left office and the counterculture seemed to have won. Then, sadly, it faded.


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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: Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

moontower-330x439Welcome 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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Any serious comedy fan who’s ever white-knuckled South by Southwest will both note and appreciate Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival‘s comparative laser focus. Instead of an entire downtown clogged with spring breakers throwing elbows between literally hundreds of stages, the second annual Austin event features a dozen venues, with ten located no more than seven blocks apart. Instead of sponsorship capital from Monster Energy, Pepsi and Doritos brand-imaging a war over attendees’ very souls, do-gooder local outfits like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Comedy 102.7 radio hang unobtrusive thought-balloon signs to the side of small stages. (Both SXSW and Moontower happily agree to share IFC for now.) Most essential, instead of all-out debauchery, Moontower is about talent discovery.



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Spit Take Saturday: Tom Shillue

shillue-halfwayWelcome 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 title “Halfway There refers to both this album’s place in Tom Shillue’s yearlong slate of monthly releases and his status as a popular kid in school. This is album number six, which means Shillue has released something approaching three-and-a-half hours of new material so far. And he’s only halfway through. Impressive in quantity at the very least. And in quality. And consistency.



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