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 So, without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s Spit Take Saturday!
An Edinburgh Festival Fringe veteran several times over, Glenn Wool has the art of delivering a multi-faceted performance down to a science. One can, for instance, kick things off with a light-hearted video featuring hand puppets performing Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog.” Tales of time spent abroad can temper bewildering experiences with transformative lessons learned. There’s also the option of utilizing as a backdrop a few Popeye slides, the purpose of which remains tantalizingly unclear until the closer’s big reveal. And who knows? An arsenal of geography-related puns might even earn several applause breaks over the course of an hour.
** WARNING! This video contains language that may be offensive to some viewers. **
Like fellow globe-trotting Canadian Craig Campbell, Wool assumes the role of animated and amicable storyteller. His propensity for cutting moments of heightened tension with absurdity (and vice versa) extends to such running commentary as “That joke is nice and sweet at the beginning and ends with a horrible disease at the end. Just like life…” and various ways in which his onstage persona has been perceived. “I’ve been called ‘pointlessly theatrical!’” he bellows of past reviews, eyes popping and arm sweeping wide at the injustice. “’Overdramatic!’ Not once! Not twice! But thrice!”
Wool’s wide-ranging material occupies the sweet spot of taking things just seriously enough to make his point while deftly avoiding preachiness and self-importance. For every chunk on religious hypocrisy, freedom of speech or the Royal Family he’ll find humor in his own foibles, whether it’s learning a neighborhood hotel had to lower its nightly rates specifically because of him, slipping a disc prior to boarding a 14-hour flight fraught with intense turbulence or marvelling at his grandfather’s effectiveness in walloping three misbehaving kids with a single blow. (“Back in those [Depression-era] times, you couldn’t afford the calories to beat your kids!”) Wool also takes pride in performing for a “Mystery Night” group of elderly Jews from Brooklyn, a.k.a. “50 disappointed raisins” who arrived via chartered transportation. “Why the f**k did you get on a bus that you didn’t know where it was going?” he marvels. “Have you learned nothing?”
There’s giddily trite wordplay to spare and reimagined airplane humor that culminates in threatening to register as a sex offender to avoid sitting next to children (“I’ve also raped a lot of large women with too much perfume on”). But Wool is also unopposed to taking a contrarian stand on hot-button topics like molestation. Of bandwagon accusers who claim they were abused at the age of 19, he suggests a simple test: “Did you drive yourself to your molesting? Then you weren’t molested!” “Get out of my way,” he shouts, mimicking driving a car. “I’m late for my molesting!”
Though he believes karma is nothing but “Catholic guilt for hipsters,” Wool is nevertheless sincere in his search for enlightenment and unification. As the title of his Assembly George Square production makes clear, there will always be a price to pay based on the road travelled, but he’s just grateful and thrilled to be on the ride.
By Julie Seabaugh
For more great comedy from Edinburgh Festival Fringe veterans, check 0ut:
Friday, February 28 I David Crowe – Port Orchard, Washington David’s career launched quicker than most when, just three years after his first open mic, he won both the Seattle and San Francisco International Comedy Competitions. He has gone on to be featured at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Aspen Comedy Festival, Gilda’s Laugh Fest, Halifax Comedy Festival and the Vancouver Comedy Festival just to name a few. He has also released four comedy albums: Potshot’s at Goliath, Spoken Nerd, Cruciflex and Crooked Finger, all of which can be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Saturday, March 15 I Kumail Nanjiani at Karma: Comedy for Good – Los Angeles, California Every month the proceeds fundraised go to a different charity. This month: Pencils of Promise! With comedy from Kumail Nanjiani, Jon Daly, Sklar Brothers, Jerrod Carmichael, Beth Stelling, Zach Sherwin, Satya Bhabha, Justin Shepherd, and Daniel Van Kirk.
Tuesday, March 25 I Doug Stanhope – Athens, Georgia Doug has built a wide-ranging television resume of dubious achievement. He hosted The Man Show on Comedy Central as well as the ubiquitous pseudo-porn for the sexually crippled, Girls Gone Wild, both solely and shamelessly for financial gain. He has appeared on The Howard Stern Show, Comedy Central Presents, Premium Blend, NBC’s Late Friday, Spy TV BBC’s Floor Show Live while on ecstasy and wrote, produced and starred in Fox’s Invasion of the Hidden Cameras and has even popped up on Fox News with Greta Van Sustern and The Jerry Springer Show. In 2010, he was the Voice of America on the BBC’s Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe. But none of it compares to seeing him live.