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Spit Take Saturday: Gary Gulman


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!


Despite the title of his latest Comedy Central special, “In This Economy,” Gary Gulman doesn’t really have much to say about the financial state of our country. Money is very much on his mind throughout the special, but his jokes are more microeconomic than macroeconomic, focused primarily on his own one-man financial system. He starts out with a seemingly dated rant against Blockbuster Video, but that soon segues into an amusing bit about Netflix, which cleverly encapsulates the absurd minutiae of the video-streaming service. “In this economy, if you’re not watching a movie, you’re losing money,” Gulman says to explain his obsession with getting the most out of his monthly subscription fee, and he’s certainly not the only person to feel this way.

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Spit Take Saturday: Jimmy Dunn

Boat Hack Cover! To anything but the most persistent comedy geek, the term “boat hack” will mean nothing. Boston comic Jimmy Dunn defines it as a terrible slur, aimed at comedians who work cruise ships for a living. “It implies not only are you a shi**y, unoriginal entertainer,” he writes, “you are also so desperate for work and approval that you’ve sold out your soul and have gone to work for the nit-wits and moronic masses that vacation on the ‘Whatever of the Seas.’” Which is why the book opens with Dunn sabotaging his cruise ship career by telling “The Aristocrats” joke, the vulgar, improvisational routine that inspired the movie of the same name, to a cruise audience.

“Boat Hack: A Stand-Up Comic’s Farewell to The Cruise Industry” is Dunn’s gruff exposé of cruise-ship comedy, his farewell letter, and a bit of a travelogue. He offers a sarcastic disclaimer to start, claiming that, despite his 12 or so years telling jokes on boats, none of the stories are true. “So don’t bother calling your lawyers,” he writes, addressing some anonymous cruise-line employee. “Or mine. I made it all up.” The book doesn’t read as false, so take the disclaimer with a gain of salt the size of Lot’s wife.

“Boat Hack” isn’t an in-depth, journalistic look at the industry. The chapters are short, usually only a couple of pages, some no longer than a couple of paragraphs. Dunn is no Bill Bryson, and offers no analysis of his observations, no Sociology 101. He treats almost everything as if he were writing it for the stage: focus on the laughs and the sarcasm, hit the punchline and get out. As a result, some of the stories seem a little incomplete.

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