Spit Take Saturday: Patton Oswalt

Patton_Oswalt _Tragedy_Plus_Comedy_Equals_Time_posters_381020Welcome 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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Here are a couple things you’ll learn about Patton Oswalt on his new EPIX special, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time: he once paid for a hooker (the results were rather disheartening), he occasionally gets suicidal during morning supermarket runs (but only under the perfect conditions), and his primary fitness goal is to not be in a Rascal scooter at his daughter’s high school graduation (along with not looking like he’s always wearing a bulletproof vest).



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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 Saturdays: Paul F. Tompkins

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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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