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Spit Take Saturday: Tom Shillue

shillueWelcome 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!


“Edgy” isn’t the word that jumps to mind when describing the likeable, profanity-free storyteller Tom Shillue. Thus his decision to devote one album in his “12 in 12” project to racier material seems like more of a challenge to himself than a sampling of his material. It’s a brave choice to venture outside of his comfort zone as part of this grand experiment, and his immense talent means that even though taboo-busting isn’t the best use of his storytelling skills, the album is still very funny.

“Racism,” the first of two tracks on the 29-minute “Edgy,” begins with the strongest material. His musings on white panic and whether he’s inadvertently contributing to a culture of racism are both clever and mixed with an appropriate amount of liberal guilt. But the second half of the track, about whether women should rule the world, is more a story about telling a joke than a joke in itself. Comparing the Manhattan crowd at the taping with a past, über-liberal Brooklyn audience who had rejected his pro-male defense, one assumes he hoped to re-capture a great, confrontational set but instead gets a slightly put-off but mostly just unconvinced crowd.
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