Tonight is Polygon’s Holiday Spectacular at L’Etage (624 S 6th Street). Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door. There will be ample parking and booze available. That’s right folks, booze. If that doesn’t motivate you to put on your scarf and gloves and come out to a comedy show, I don’t know what will!
WitOut: Can you tell us about the formation and history of Polygon?
Rick Horner: Sure! I would say it is a collection of people more interested in comedy than their egos. We are promoting comedy acts with members that have a passion for comedy. A few years ago, Improv duo Rosen and Milkshake did a show and the audience loved it. The audience asked for cards, but they didn’t have any. They reached out to me and we got this idea to not only make cards, but start a website to promote comedy. We have been doing monthly comedy shows at L’Etage ever since.
WitOut: That is a unique way to start a….comedy group? If you could describe Polygon in one or two sentences, what would it be?
Horner: A passion driven machine of comedic talent; an optimus prime built out of sketch, improv and stand-up. It is a collective, like a bee-hive where all bees go but there is no Queen Bee.
WitOut: Can you tell us more about tonight’s show and the line-up?
Horner: Sure. The show will be hosted by Rosen and Milkshake. The line-up includes Cecily Chapman, Bill Parks and Demonikus Rex. So, improv, stand-up, improv, improv [laughs].
WitOut: Anything else you would like our audience to know about Polygon?
Horner: Look forward to 2014, because Polygon comedy has a lot of big plans on the horizon. We had a terrific year in 2013, and I feel lucky to work with people that are funny and talented. We have had most major Philly comedy groups perform at our shows such as The N Crowd, PHIT house teams, ComedySportz and Figment. However, if we haven’t had you, we would love to have you. Improv is like a team sport, you don’t have to be Babe Ruth, you just have to swing the bat.
WitOut: Is Polygon involved with any other regular events?
Horner: In addition to monthly shows at L’Etage, Polygon runs and improv incubator in West Philly at the Community Education Center on 35th and Lancaster. Whether you want to try it for the first time, get back into it or practice it more, they would love to have you. They simply ask for a small donation to pay for the room.
**Small chance of cancellation due to weather conditions. Please check polygoncomedy.com for updates.
Last night, Matt Aukamp and Pat Reber hosted Hey We’re Cool, a hilariously weird variety show featuring sketch comedy by Free Candy and The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie–as well as games, music and an impromptu twitter war. (Check out tweets @GreenDayFans with #notabit).
Matt Aucamp (left) and Pat Reber (right) host.
A reliable but nosy mail-man reads people’s mail.
Free Candy — Husband and wife discuss their pet Roomba.
Members of the crew and audience battle in a rotten-pumkin-carving contest.
The audience votes on with whom to start a Twitter-war.
Audience members join cast and crew members to play “The Newly-Met” game.
Big props to the show-stealingly hilarious Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie. The duo–who won Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia last month–has dynamic, loud energy and twisted premises reminiscent of Philly classics Meg & Rob.
The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie — Husband wakes up from a coma and longs to return to “Coma Kingdom”.
A principal’s valedictorian and javelin champ had a terrible accident.
She wants to go ahead with her speech anyway.
Valedictorian’s pre-written speech contains too many Javelin metaphors.
The principal never saw this coming!
A time-traveling, interior-decorating home-owner goes back to rid her German great-grandfather of his unfortunate mustache.
…she’s willing to use force.
…physical altercation ensues…
[Spoiler!] Success. Although the mustache might have been his only way to woo her great-grandmother…
Hey We’re Cool will be returning monthly, check back at WitOut for dates.
Who needs news? You need news? Then “Your News, Philadelphia” has you covered. This fully scripted half hour news program complete with anchors and correspondents, the show runs along the vein of similar programs such as Onion News Network. Started by Philadelphia writer and comedian Dave Metter, he plays one of program’s anchors also conveniently named “Dave Metter.” Described as a newsman who is now in the twilight of his career and seems to be phoning it in at the very least, Dave is placed alongside a young go-getter with a bit of a grating personality anchor “Allison Allison,” who is played by Jacquie Baker.
What originally started as an idea for a short web series, a “pilot” episode of YNP (Your News, Philadelphia) originally premiered during a run of PHIT’s “Sweeps Week” last May; it’s now in its third run the show has found a home at the Shubin Theate. While he focuses mainly on writing, Metter does have a few long term projects in the works and if you’re a local footwear aficionado you may even recognize him as the creator of “Soup Boots.”
Dave also writes his own monthly column on Free For All Comedy titled “It’s Elementary!” where he asks fellow comics to share grade school-era memories that may or may not have helped influence their potential comedic sensibilities at a young age. Metter credits shows such as the BBC’s “The Day Today” as one of his own early influences, in addition to Steve Martin, and his Uncle Tim. You can catch him and the rest of “Your News, Philadelphia” Thursday December 5th at 7:30 PM and Friday December 6th at 8:30 PM, both at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147.) For tickets, visit www.PhillyImprovTheater.com.
Those are words of caution– or, perhaps, enticement?–from Ryan Barlow, host of People Of Interest, an improv show that puts a whole new spin ont he NPR-style interview. People Of Interest is a parody show in the spirit of the ’2000 Year Old Man’, a sketch made famous by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner in which Reiner asked Brooks, the ‘Oldest Man In The World’, the burning questions.
During the show, Barlow, a Philadelphia native, will welcome various ‘persons of interest’ onto the stage. Of course, none of his guests will have the slightest clue as to what kind of ‘person’ they are or what exactly it is that makes them so ‘interesting’. That is, not until Barlow, equipped with his notecards, fills us all in. To give an idea of what to expect: At a recent performance of People Of Interest, Barlow interviewed comedian Corin Wells, whose character turned out to be a child-doctor; one who graduated medschool at the ripe age of eight. What followed was Barlow’s hard-hitting interview, in which he asked the Doctor to expound on the ever-worsening epidemic of ageism against preteen doctors in today’s medical world.
Adding authenticity to the show are the visuals– prominently displayed on an overhead projector throughout every interview. This was put to particularly stimulating use in a show involving comedian Kate Banford. While Barlow interviewed Banford’s character, a ‘Sex Columnist Who Gives Horrible Advice’, the projector displayed a series of photos of couples in impossibly awkward sex positions. After each photo, Our Columnist was asked to offer her unmatched expertise.
This Wednesday’s People of Interest will include Joel Thomas of PHIT House Team Big Baby, Quinton Alexander from improv crime show Reasonable Doubt, Chris Calletta, formerly of PHIT House Team Hot Dish, and Rick Helpa of Indie Team Demoniküs Rex.
Why go? Barlow, our trusty host, sums it up best: “People Of Interest is the only quality, live, NPR interview parody show that also highlights the amazing comedic talents of Philly’s best and brightest. And if it really takes off, maybe I’ll get to meet Terry Gross.”
People of interest runs Wednesday, December 4th @ 8:30 pm at the Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge Street). For tickets, visit www.PhillyImprovTheater.com
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Chip Chantry.
1. I’m thankful that my intramural Knockout Game team just made the semi-finals.
2. I’m thankful for the new Arcade Fire album, so now I don’t have to choreograph my figure-rollerblade routines to just Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, like I had to for the last 12 season in a row.
3. I’m thankful for my Thursday Red Lobster lunches with Steve Swan. (UPDATE: The police have only been called ONCE on us this past month!)
4. I’m thankful for the decades-spanning body of work of Mr. Dabney Coleman.
5. I’m thankful for Christmas music on B101, so now I have something to listen to when I write in my revenge diary.
6. I’m thankful that I’ll be at Helium Comedy Club tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 and 10pm. I’m thankful that there is more information at www.heliumcomedy.com.
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Brian Craig.
I could very easily give any number of jokey responses, delightfully glib or arcane or absurd, but instead I’d like to take this opportunity to genuinely answer what I’m thankful for: my wife, Samantha Russell. An inventive cook, an incredible party-planner, and a deftly subtle comedian, I am constantly floored by what she’s able to selflessly accomplish, and this little public note can hardly express the degree to which I truly appreciate what she does for me and everyone around her.
You can vote for Chip Chantry, Mary Radzinski. Rachel Fogletto, New Dreamz, Alison Zeidman at this year’s Philebrity Awards. Also nominated was Alejandro Morales [for general fabulousness]. Head over there and vote. (Also, keep an eye out for WitOut Award nomination forms, coming soon!)
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Aubrie Williams.
I am thankful for:
-my family- they have always been supportive of me, even when I decided to take up DDR in their living room for a few months in high school.
-my friends- for without them, I wouldn’t have any friends and would be known as that weird girl around town who cries into her nachos at the Applebees.
-for two new additions to my family, both named after geographical locations!
-also I’m thankful for maps- for without them, the previously mentioned additions wouldn’t have names! (or at least the same ones)
-for buffets- good and bad, old and new! Shout out to Ruby Buffet on Delaware Ave., where I was once elbowed by a man who was trying to steal the last snow crab leg from me.
-I am thankful for that man not letting me have that last crab leg, because as he took his tiny crab leg back to his table, they brought out a new tray and I got to fill my plate. I call that karma, sir.
-I am thankful for Buffetts, namely Jimmy- because of him, we have a wonderful chain restaurant called Margaritaville! …and also a song, but I’m more thankful for the one involving food.
-the 1st concert I ever went to, which was not Jimmy Buffett but Puff Daddy and the Family’s No Way Out Tour in 1998. If I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have gotten to shake ODB’s hand at the tender age of 15 and subsequently get yelled at by our chaperone for calling him “Mr. Bastard!” to get his attention.
-lastly, I am thankful that life always throws bizarre and absurd things my way because this is how and why I do comedy. If I didn’t do comedy, I wouldn’t be a comedian, and this article would never exist.
Philly native Todd Glass is coming to Helium Comedy Club this week for a string of shows with Chip Chantry Chip Chantry. Todd asked me to write it twice because he thinks Chip will get excited. [Scroll down for Chip's reaction!]
WitOut: Hi Todd! Where in the world are you?
Todd Glass: Hey, right now I am in Kansas performing with Jim Gaffigan.
WitOut: What’s a comedy crowd like in Kansas?
Glass: Well if you’re with someone as big as Jim you’re drawing his audience and they’re good. But the city doesn’t make the audience, the club does. If you have a good club it doesn’t matter where you are. Granted, there are cities that are more beautiful than others but as far as the way the audience acts it’s based on how the club operates. In my opinion, the best comedy club in America is Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis. Who’d think Minneapolis would have the best club? But when a club has high standards and respects the comedy, the audience will follow. They train the audiences. Helium, I give them an A++. One of the best clubs in the country. When Marc (owner of Helium Comedy Club) wanted to start Helium he went to the Montreal Comedy Festival and asked comics, “What’s your favorite club?”, and they kept saying Acme. So, Marc decided he had to check this place out. He went to Minneapolis, met with Louis Lee (owner of Acme Comedy Club), and made it happen.
WitOut: Do you have any memorable stories about shows you’ve done here in Philly?
Glass: It made me proud whenever I’d come to Philly with other acts. Once I was on tour with Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, and David Cross, and when we came to Philly I so didn’t want it to be a bad crowd. The crowd ended up being unbelievably great. So great. And I was so proud.
WitOut: I know you’ve shot a couple pilots over the years, is that something you’d like to do again?
Glass: I just sold a pilot to Comedy Central actually, I’m very excited about it. It’s called The Todd Glass Situation. My character owns a college bar/restaurant–which is one layer of the show but it doesn’t consume the whole show. It also deals with me being in the closet all those years…gosh I hate that term but what the fuck else am I gonna say? There’s never been a show about hiding in the closet. Like, what does it REALLY mean to be in the closet on a day-to-day basis? It’s important to who I am but I didn’t want it to be the A slot of the show so, it’s a layer, never the primary story. At least I hope it’s that way in the show.
WitOut: I’m curious, what is it you don’t like about the phrase “in the closet?”
Glass: “In the closet,” ugh, I don’t know, it’s probably my own issue. It’s just so…flamboyant. Maybe that’s not it.
WitOut: Is it because it’s sort of a pithy way to describe it?
Glass: Yeah, see, you said it better than me. But also, ya know, sometimes you just don’t like something and ya can’t even explain it? It’s hard to explain but, obviously one day we won’t have that expression because we won’t need to.
WitOut: I was actually not going to ask about last year’s WTF announcement unless it came up naturally since it seems interviewers always ask about it .
Glass: As far as the Maron thing goes, I don’t mind talking about it, I like the mix. I didn’t talk about it my whole life so I’m good talking about it. But yeah, I appreciate your thought to not ask. But, it’s a gigantic part of my life. If we pull it off right on the show it won’t be a gigantic part of the show. It was very rarely the A plot of my day. Mostly B or C slot. It’s not gonna drive the show. But I’ll say this, it’ll be funny obviously, but it’ll also hopefully shed a lot of light on the issue and make people say, “I never fucking thought about that.” Like, how to handle it when your parents are in town, or, if you’re in a diner and three people there know but the fourth doesn’t. If you’re smoking pot and worry, “Shit, did I just misspeak and say something I didn’t mean to?”
WitOut: Do you remember where your first set was?
Glass: Absolutely. It was at Comedy Works on 2nd and Chestnut. It was an amazing place. I first went when I was in high school. Some friends and I went to see comedy and I was completely unaware that there were comedians that weren’t household names but had followings. Established, really great comedians. It was a 300 seat room, we saw so many greats: Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Lewis, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Eddie Murphy, Stephen Wright, just amazing comics. Eventually I went up there. I was almost 16, I had a very frenetic energy. Everyone was very kind and told me I’m funny but that I gotta calm down. Then, and I’ll never forget this, [The Legendary] Wid comes up and says to me, “You don’t have to change anything, you’re funny just the way you are.” I have a special place in my heart for him. He’s very supportive and that’s so fucking important.
WitOut: What do people most often recognize you from?
Glass: Good question, times have changed with social media and podcasts. So, either a show like Comedy Bang Bang, podcasting or Jimmy Kimmel since I’ve done that show quite a few times. But people still remember me from Last Coming Standing too.
WitOut: How do you view the Philly comedy scene now compared to when you started?
Glass: Right now there’s a really good scene in Philly. There wasn’t for years but now there is, basically since Helium opened. It re-sparked excitement for comedy in the city. Between Helium and lots of niche one-nighters at bars or music venues or theatres, it’s great. And there are a lot of new, really funny people in the last 7, 8 years. I love watching stand-up comedy and if I get to a town a night early I’ll go to the open mic night. Some people are there for the first time, some have been there 7 times, but there’s also established really good acts who just live in Philly and go down there. You see a lot of funny new people which is exciting.
See Todd Glass (with Chip Chantry) this Wednesday (11/27), Friday (11/29), and Saturday (11/30) at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA 19103) .
Response from Chip Chantry:
Excited? Here’s what I would be excited about.
1. I’d be excited if I was working with a headliner that does NOT belittle me in front of the staff, customers, and management on a nightly basis.
2. I’d be excited if I was working with a headliner who does not insist on having the venue pay HIM my check for the week, and who then takes a 40% “mentoring fee”.
3. I’d be excited to work with a headliner who doesn’t throw glasses of whiskey at me when I forget to get extra pickles with the panini that he likes from the deli all the way across town at midnight. And who screams at me about how he’s friends with Jim Gaffigan, and how “friends with Jim Gaffigan get extra pickles, Goddammit!” And then he burns me with a cigarette and screams outdated racial slurs that don’t even apply to me.
4. And I’d be excited to work with a headliner who doesn’t force me to do wind sprints in front of the club right before I go onstage, so I’m all out of breath for the first minute of the four minutes he lets me do. And most of those four minutes are announcements he makes me read about how great Todd Glass is, and how Todd Glass is best friends with Jim Gaffigan, and how Todd Glass is so much funnier than I am, and how I should just quit comedy altogether and get a job cleaning up monkey shit at a monkey zoo. THAT’S NOT EVEN A REAL ANNOUNCEMENT, DAVE! AND I DON’T THINK THERE IS ACTUALLY A THING CALLED A MONKEY ZOO! IT’S JUST A ZOO!
I’m dreading this week.
Dave Metter is a Philly comedian, check him out on Twitter @DaveMetter, and check out his fake local news show Your News, Philadelphia December 5th and 6th at the Shubin Theatre.