Spit Take Saturday: Erik Griffin

erik griffinWelcome 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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Erik Griffin has achieved a unique but far from rare acting milestone as a “That Guy,” someone who gets recognized regularly even if it’s only for his familiar face or character’s name. Though he’s earned the title from portraying bawdy braggart Montez Walker on Comedy Central guy-com “Workaholics,” he’s still had to admit “I just had my name on the marquee” of the Laugh Factory in an interview on Dom Irrera’s podcast.

Griffin mentions his That Guy-ness at the start of debut stand-up album “Technical Foul: Volume One” presumably to get it out of the way in the same manner that fellow comedian Tom Wilson, best known for playing bullying Biff in the “Back to the Future” trilogy, sarcastically recites some of his more famous lines or sings his viral hit “The Question Song.” Instead, by acknowledging that he’s not one of the show’s “cute ones,” Griffin is able to provide an illustrative introduction to his self-deprecating style.
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Spit Take Saturday: Todd Barry

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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Todd Barry is a sharp, precise joke writer. It speaks to his talent as a performer that he appears loose and not overly rehearsed, but if you follow his stuff from set-up to tag, it’s wonderfully efficient, high-percentage comedy. Zero fat. So why would a guy like that mount a seven-city tour doing two shows a night of nothing but crowd work? Turns out, because he’s very good at it.

Barry started his set for his second sold-out show at ImprovBoston’s 100-seat theater more understated than usual, speaking a couple of notches up from a whisper so the crowd had to lean in a little. The host introduced him by saying Barry wasn’t going to tell any jokes, “He’s just going to talk to you.” Barry acknowledged the premise and said, “It’s going to be an awful show. Terrible idea for a show.” He hyped the previous “Crowd Work” shows in Philly and New York and the early show, and then said he was due for a bad show and this was probably going to be it.He was vamping, catching a thread to establish his particular blend of mock arrogance, self-deprecation and sarcasm; and simultaneously getting himself and his audience in the flow. And he found a lot he could work with. Once on his feet, Barry started building a cast, addressing a woman in the front row who turned out to be an opera singer. “You do, like, the music version of what I do,” said Barry. “Most people don’t get it.” He picked a small group of five or six people and set them up like spinning plates, returning to them when the mood struck.


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BPT at SXSW: Fair Trade Comedy at Esther’s Follies

Get ready Austin, Brown Paper Tickets is coming to SXSW 2012 and we got some great events planned.

One that we’re especially excited about is a comedy showcase organized by our very own Comedy Doer Julie Seabaugh. Julie has long been active in the stand-up comedy scene, first as a journalist and then working in PR, booking and production, and in February she launched The Spit Take, a comedy review site that hopes to serve as an honest, unbiased, taste-making entity that helps comedy criticism be taken seriously. 

The “Fair Trade Comedy” showcase will take place this Wednesday, March 14, at Esther’s Follies. Officially presented by Brown Paper Tickets and the Spit Take, the showcase will feature stand-up from headliners Todd Barry and Brendon Walsh, two comedians that have been taking the comedy scene by storm. You may know Todd Barry from his appearances on Bored To Death, Flight of the Conchords, Lucky Louie and Chapelle’s Show. Brendon Walsh calls Austin his hometown and was the winner of the “Funniest Person in Austin” award in 2004. He’s appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live as well as Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. He’ll also be featured in his own half hour comedy special on Comedy Central this spring. The show will also feature Nick Flanagan, Kristine Levine, DC Pierson and will be hosted by Nick Turner.

Here’s a little preview of what you can expect:

Be sure to stop by our table in the foyer of Esther’s Follies and say hi. This is going to be THE comedy event of SXSW, so don’t miss it. We’ll see you there.

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Tonight! Neil Hamburger in San Francisco

Neil Hamburger is dry, dark, depressing and miserable, but in the best way possible. A character played by comedian Gregg Turkington, Neil has appeared in such bizarro comedy staples as Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! and Tom Green’s House Tonight, and has toured with not only Tim and Eric, but comedy-rock duo Tenacious D.

The Hamburger persona is old and haggard, constantly hacking and wheezing while telling taboo anti-jokes about celebrities and a fictional ex-wife. He’s also notorious for raging against hecklers in the audience, with everything from name-calling to throwing his drink (which he often spits in) in their faces (if you are not easily offended, a YouTube search for “Neil Hamburger Heckler” will produce a plethora of examples).
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BPT’s Featured Venue: Connie’s Ric Rac

Wanna hear a great story? It’s about the Tartaglia family from South Philly. For years the father, Joe Tartaglia Sr. worked a stand on 9th and Ellsworth with his sons, Joe Jr. and Frankie, selling everything from Kung Fu movies to Fixodent toothpaste.

The mom, Connie, meanwhile ran a discount electronic appliance shop called “Connies’ Ric-Rac” down the the street at 1132 South 9th Street. Connie’s stayed open for 13 years until the mid-90’s when internet shopping started stealing her walk-in customers, causing her to close the doors of her shop and start using the space as storage for her, now internet-based, mail-order business.
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An Interview with Corey Cohen of Corey Cohen Comedy Productions

Philadelphia’s independent comedy producer Corey Cohen has been putting together some incredible bills at Connie’s Ric Rac in South Philly and we caught up with him to chat a little about life as an independent comedy producer.

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