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!
Plenty of seats remaining in her 120-capacity venue, Caroline Rhea was nevertheless in good spirits at her eponymous Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, or at least in good enough spirits to joke about how thing weren’t exactly going her way. “I had this song written for me for the Fringe,” she noted of her intro music, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” leading the audience in a synchronized arm-wave and chorus sing-a-long. She also recalled how, having spent summers in Scotland while growing up, her family always enjoyed After Eight Thin Mints following dinner. Out came the cookies, around they were passed, and in Rhea dove to an informal, personable, self-deprecating hour of material surprisingly and deliciously registering on the PG-13 side of the spectrum.
Plagued with similar air-circulation woes as fellow Gilded Balloon performer Greg Proops, she paused amid a lengthy chunk on the Scottish to wipe her brow and apologize, “I was originally booked in the core of the earth, but…” The numbers and heat may have been passing annoyances, but Rhea’s frustration nevertheless provided reactionary context for her grin-and-bear-it onstage persona, one deliberately showcasing a more flustered and world-weary side to Rhea than her eccentric Aunt Hilda from the audience’s beloved Sabrina the Teenage Witch (about which she also had a few choice thoughts).
Her daughter, her mother, a lover’s snoring and cell phones may be well-trod subjects, but Rhea’s emphasis of the personal over the universal offered quirkily original perspective, as did her proclivity for delivering such offhand dismissals as “Fifty Shades of Grey, that is the worst book I have ever read…seven times. No one has that much sex without getting a urinary tract infection,” in quick bursts and loopy asides. When her thoughts turned to career and aging, however, a certain wistfulness emerged, adding unexpected depth and insight. “I’m the kind of celebrity where fans say to me, ‘I’ve got to go…’” Rhea admitted, nevertheless pleased to describe how a now-adult fan recently paused from vomiting in the street to proclaim, “You were in my 15-year-old spank bank.”
Closing with projected slides illustrating highlights of her Edinburgh trip, childhood hairstyles, her TV Guide cover and a $1.26 Sabrina residuals check, Rhea’s commentary came fast and unfiltered. Flipping to a photo of her posing alongside Jeremy Piven, she commented, “Someone in this picture is a total asshole, and it wasn’t me or the baby.” “Someone in this picture is crazy,” she echoed a few frames later of an on-set shot featuring herself, Aunt Zelda actress Beth Broderick and Salem the cat, “and it’s not me or the cat.”
As much a form of self-roasting as an opportunity to simultaneously share and take stock of her life in a public forum, Rhea’s stand up exuded an awareness of tone and mood that extends to such running commentary as “Can you just say ‘titter titter titter’ when you laugh?” and “I got a snort! Yes!” Most importantly, just beneath her frazzled exterior and emotional ups and downs, she clearly has passion and joy to spare.
For more Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy veterans, check out:
Friday, September 6 I Jamie Kilstein Stand-Up Comedy – Seattle, Washington Jamie has been seen on The Conan O’Brien show, MSNBC’s Up with Chris, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Showtime’s The Green Room, CNN’s The Joy Behar Show, The Paramount Comedy Channel in the UK, The BBC, The Comedy Channel in Australia, HBO Canada, and Showtime Comedy in the Middle East. He co-hosts Citizen Radio, which has been praised by Janeane Garofalo, Noam Chomsky, Robin Williams. He and his co-host were named by The Nation Magazine as top “media heroes.” Most importantly Glenn Beck has called him a “doofus” and “goofball” and Jonah Goldberg refuses to fight him. He was a Timeout Chicago, Sydney, New York and London’s Critics Pick. He has played the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House and opened for Bad Religion. Before that he lived out of his car and dropped out of high school. Take that, life!
Saturday, September 21 I Eddie Pepitone at JAIL GUITAR DOORS COMEDY NIGHT – Los Angeles, California Matt Dwyer is hosting a fundraising night of comedy to benefit Jail Guitar Doors USA. JGD-USA is charity founded by musicians/activists Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer based in Los Angeles which provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate prisoners. This event features performances by some of today’s leading comics to raise funds for in-prison music programs and instruments, including outreach to women’s prisons as well youth camps for underaged offenders. Wayne will provide the evening’s music.
Saturday, September 28-Saturday, December 14 I KATIE GOODMAN – “I DIDN’T F*CK IT UP! – New York, New York Comedian and on-line celebrity Katie Goodman captivates her audience with her unique style of raw humor and gutsy original musical satire. An internationally touring musical comedienne, Goodman is known for providing an audience with an act that is political, personal, and wildly entertaining. Honed to a razor sharp edge, her recently released first solo album, I Didn’t F*ck It Up, received enormous praise from Punchline Magazine, who put it best: “On par not just with any woman in modern comedy, not just with any music act in modern comedy but, categorically on par with anyone working the current comedy scene… Impressive…Magnificent.” Katie holds nothing back on stage. Her charming-yet-challenging style and material appeal to both men and women and you can take a sneak peak at her hijinx on YouTube, particularly with the hit, “I Didn’t F*ck It Up,” which is sweeping the nation.