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O Hai, Every Critics Roundtable Ever

O Hai, Every Critics Roundtable Ever

Although it’s ostensibly a promotional tool for standup comic Jacqueline Novak‘s album, “Quality Notions,” this ersatz panel discussion of its merits strikes uncomfortably close to home for anyone who’s even endured, or been part of, a group of critics not-so-subtly lunging for each other’s throats. (The panel I recently moderated went fine, thanks for asking.) The vicious sniping between easily bruised egos, the flag-planting overstatements (“Hers are the only true rape jokes”), and above all the panel’s apparently inability to focus on whether the comedy album in question is, in fact, funny, feel remarkably true to life — although in my defense, I haven’t used a phrase like “The EZ Pass moment is the eye of the storm for me” since at least yesterday. From the various commentators’ wardrobes to the humiliation implicit in the tight configuration of their chairs, everything about this short clip feels right; even the parts exaggerated for comic effects aren’t exaggerated by much.Artists who parody critics often fall back on lazy statements about overweight wanna-bes, but Novak’s “Eye on Art” is harder to dismiss — and, paradoxically, easier to enjoy. Let’s discuss.

(Thanks to the not-at-all pompous Jason Zinoman for pointing this out.)

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