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!
There are comedy festivals, and there is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Just ask Shane Mauss, whose self-spoken intro welcomed his small but amiable audience to “the finest comedy room in a car park in all of the Fringe! He’s been on Conan a bunch of times, Jimmy Kimmel and lots of other American shows you’ve never heard of and don’t care about…”
Opening with his befuddlement over the U.K.’s old-fashioned keys and bathroom water taps that spew either molten lava or liquid nitrogen, he turned his attention to the month-long event itself, one known for testing the stamina of freshman (and even veteran) performers. Mauss filmed a Comedy Central hour prior to his trip, and he figured things were on the upswing until he received the fateful call: “Hey Shane, we hear you have a great comedy career going. Would you like to come to Edinburgh and beg in the streets?”
As for his prepared material, he’d spent two years studying evolutionary physiology and biology in preparation for Mating Season, a show seeking to shed light on human behavior by understanding the primitive drives of our fellow animals. From monkeys learning to use currency to pay for monkey prostitution, male fruit flies dancing for female approval, elephants, peacocks, nursery web spiders and Americans who exhibit conspicuous consumption via excessively large trucks, every creature is subconsciously motivated to reproduce and further the species.
But his intro wasn’t kidding about the car park. ”This is really a shit festival, isn’t it?” Mauss interrupted himself midway through. “You don’t need another comedy show here. You know what you do need here this time of year? A car park!” Willing to let the moment take him where it would, he dropped all pretense, asking, “It’s way too hot in here, isn’t it?” then related his inquiries into amending the situation. Could they provide some air conditioning? Could he open a door? Could he hose the crowds down? With that Mauss walked stage left, threw open the double doors leading to a storage area and exhorted everyone to join him in the cool air. “It’s like Andy Kaufman!” he grinned.
He’d already proven himself a polished and accessible comedian with a folksy approach informed by his Wisconsin upbringing, but the ability to read a crowd and respond to their needs in a big way definitively established Mauss as a comedian unafraid to challenge imposed constraints. Attendees back in their seats and his set list abandoned by the wayside, he mused of bagpipers, “I have no clue; is this his first time playing, or is he the greatest bagpipe player ever?” and wondered why local toilets remained low-flow for environmental reasons, yet handing out tree-killing fliers, the overwhelming majority of which were immediately discarded in rubbish bins, was mandate. And then he was off, promising the remainder of his nights would feature more of the same and admitting, “By the way, I did exactly eight minutes of my regular show tonight, and this is the most fun I’ve had.”
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.