National Campaign Promoting Comedy As a Work of Art
Many people will go out of the way to see their favorite actor, band or genre of music, but will choose a comedy show based only on which venue is closest. As a Comedy "Doer" at Brown Paper Tickets, Julie Seabaugh is a professional advocate for the comedy community, and she is trying to change the way America devours comedy. She attends comedy festivals around the world, publishes and curates critical analysis of performances at http://www.TheSpitTake.com, as part of her mission to elevate the public perception of comedy as an art form.
"Comedy is an artistic endeavor on par with music, film, literature or visual art," Seabaugh says. "Critical review that provides context and insight can show not only why some comedy is inarguably of higher inherent quality, but why it matters. I created the Spit Take to promote greater appreciation for the artistry and genius of comedy performances in the U.S."
Most major newspapers in the U.K. employ a comedy critic, whose work is given the same weight as professional reviewers of music, film, theater, literature, visual art, etc. In the U.S., print comedy coverage tends to be limited to an annual Comedy Issue, or rote and shallow, in a manner akin to a glorified calendar listing. "Very few publications take comedy reviews seriously, and none publish them very frequently," explains Seabaugh. "We are doing both."
The reviews on the site are contributed by some of the most respected comedy-loving journalists in the country. "I've always frowned upon the conflict of interest inherent when performers write about other performers," Seabaugh says.
Unlike many comedy-news websites, The Spit Take's list of contributors are regularly published in publications including Variety, New York Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Time Out NY, Las Vegas Weekly, The Denver Post, The Boston Globe, and they are all paid for their efforts.