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: Rory Scovel

Live-At-Third-Man-Records-330x330Welcome 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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In theory, Third Man Records is far from the ideal distributor for a comedy album. The Jack White-founded label has a live venue at its Nashville, Tennessee base where musical performances are recorded and transferred directly to vinyl. The practice runs counter to how the majority of modern comedy albums are produced, in which two or more performances are typically edited together to create the best show possible. At Third Man, though, the artist—as is the nature of live music—gets just one take.


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Happy Birthday Lenny Bruce!

Tomorrow is legendary comedian/social critic Lenny Bruce‘s birthday. Had Bruce not died in 1966 of “acute morphine poisoning caused by accidental overdose” in his home in the Hollywood Hills, he would be celebrating his 86th birthday. Despite his success, Bruce led a tortured life and he used comedy as an outlet for his frustrations with, not only his personal life, but with American culture in general.

He had good reason to be frustrated, his performances often ended with him being taken away in handcuffs by police officers who deemed his comedic style obscene and offensive. Social criticism and obscenities are commonplace amongst today’s stand-up comedians, but this is due to the pioneering work of Lenny Bruce and the multiple injustices that he was forced to endure. It’s clear when one looks at comedians before Bruce and after. Just compare Bob Hope or Bob Newhart to say Richard Pryor or George Carlin. The difference is night and day and neither Pryor or Carlin  would have achieved the level of success that they did, without Lenny Bruce blazing the trail for them. He pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and challenged his audiences to think about the world around them and essentially changed the face of stand-up for the latter half of the twentieth century. Today, tons of comedians use risqué language, outlandish behavior and controversial subject matter to drive their material. They don’t have to rely on what’s “safe” or predictable, they can push the boundaries and every one of those comedians owes something to Lenny Bruce.
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