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Spit Take Saturday: Just for Laughs Montreal

colin-quinn-artist-pic-330x251Welcome 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!


At the top of his 1 p.m. Just for Laughs Keynote Address entitled Losers…I mean Loners in Unity, Colin Quinn marvelled, “Do you know how old you have to be to be the serious person at the comedy convention?”  As always, his gruff, stuttering, defiantly lovable persona was by turns self-effacing and unapologetically aggressive. A typical comedy career is not one that reaches a series of levels, he noted, pointing to his own varying successes with Remote Patrol, Tough Crowd and now one-man show Unconstitutional. There will always be ups and downs. And in order to avoid some of those downs, his advice included the following:

Bookers – Stop trying to edit comics’ sets.

Networks – Stop following “established” plans that do nothing but fail (and don’t test market to 14-year-olds).

Club owners – Stop hiring crowd-pleasing hacks. Respect the joke-writing process. Deal with hecklers.

Open micers – It takes five years to get any good. People doing it five years? It takes ten.

Established talent – Don’t be an a**hole. Say something. And above all, just be funny.

Later at Cinquième Salle, host Aidy Bryant brought out the nine New Faces: Characters performers to showcase three game-show style “chunks,” offering a rapid-fire sampler of sketch-style mayhem. Standouts included the versatile, sharp Samantha Martin (whose bit on Bjork ordering a pizza was the evening’s crowd favorite), the avuncular and rubber-voiced Mark Raterman, and the high-energy physical comedy of John Milhiser. The 50/50 split of genders and SNL-bait audition format was a refreshingly theatrical change from the litany of straight, mostly-dude stand-up sets offered elsewhere.

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