I am a bad human being at heart. More often than not, when a friend sends me a Facebook invitation to an event for a comedy show, the first thing my mind goes to “Why’d they book him on the show? I should be on this show. Why not me?” I feel like I’m not alone in my bitter jealousy in this regard among comedians. The fact is that I have not been doing comedy long enough nor have I reached any sort of level of success to justify bitterness or a negative attitude. Not even a little.
I’ve been doing comedy just under four years now. My position in the Philadelphia comedy scene or lack of one is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done to this point. No matter how much it pains me to admit it or how much I dislike confronting the fact, I am still in the position where I have to prove myself to people. The existence of my ego is poisonous to myself as a person and to my continued success in comedy I’m on the lowest end of the lowest totem pole, I have no right to believe I deserve anything in comedy in this point. No one owes me anything. I might sound like I’m beating myself up, but I feel like admitting this is a healthy first step. I have to remove the arrogant negativity and replace it with something positive.
When I’m not booked on a show, there could be a lot of reasons for it. I might not be right for the line-up or the audience. The audience might not like the style of comedy that I do. I might have booked on that show already in a previous month. The host might be keeping me in mind for a future show. The host might have had a very specific line-up for the show when getting the idea for it. There are a hundred things I consider when I book a show myself that I should probably understand these things. There is also another possibility, and here’s the big one — there is a good chance that if I’m not getting booked as much as I would like, I should probably work harder on getting better so people would want to book me more often and pay me money. The easy thing is finding someone or something else to blame for my failures. The hard thing is taking ownership and making a point of getting better.
Nobody is going to hand me anything. Nobody should hand me anything. The magic answer to every problem I have is “work harder, get better.” That’s all I or anyone can do. Instead of poisoning my mind and the comedy scene in general with my envy and negativity, I need to keep my head down and do the work. The sad fact that there are thousands and thousands of comedians across the country and the world who are equally as or more successful than I am at comedy. How far will I get by being lazy and negative and complaining?
If you put the work in, you’ll create your own opportunities, just by the virtue of people that will see you more often. And you will only get better at your craft by working harder. It’s hard to admit to yourself that any lack of success or problems you might have are probably your own fault. Sure, I might not be the most mainstream comic in the world and that might eliminate some mainstream club and suburban opportunities. But that only means I have to work that much harder at getting better, exploring other opportunities, and creating other opportunities myself. I need to work on getting so good that I can’t be ignored. And until that point, I have no right to whine. Am I good enough right now not to be ignored by people who matter? No. So what right to I have to be negative? Continue reading OPINION: Why Not Me? (or: Getting Off Your Ass and Doing It Yourself)
Laughs on Fairmont. Like a Hollywood award show, or that time I was mugged — it was an epic event I will never forget. But when I try to recall what happened — now two weeks later — I realize it isn’t what they said that left the largest impression on me … it’s what they wore.
Here is a brief, fair and balanced run-down on what each of the 30+ stand-ups wore:
John Kensil — A straw-colored flannel rolled two inches above his elbows, a black watch, blue rubber band, blue jeans, and black dress shoes with a squared front.
Mary Radzinski — A purple blouse with a comfortable-looking gray robe over, blue jeans, and silver hoop earrings.
Luke Giordano — A gray bed-looking shirt, buttoned except for the top two buttons, blue jeans with three small holes, one larger hole, tucked into the back of his left sock.
Carolyn Busa — Denim shirt, a torquoise charm necklace, a brown dress, and brown boots.
Ryan Marley — A mostly white with darker striped bed shirt, black dress shoes with no laces, right pant leg tucked over the right shoe.
LaTice — A purple blouse over a black shirt that covered to the wrists with 3 pearly buttons, blue jeans, and gold earrings that looked like little caterpillars.
Jason Hazelwood — Gently worn jeans with a pocket chain, a black bowling shirt with black lettering that spelled “Motel” in a Ren-And-Stimpy-esque font, with tan and black Adidas.
Paul Goodman on last week’s March Madness winners: “Jamil B, Ian Fidance, Brandon Ketchup Wilson, Jon DelCollo, Sean Quinn, Brendan Kennedy, Tim Butterly, and Dan Scully will compete in the March Madness Elite 8 Finals on Wednesday, April 6 at Mad River in Manyunk. Mark your calendars — it’s going to be an awesome show.” [Facebook Event]
Meg & Rob‘s Meg Favreau is on the road to Los Angeles. Rob Baniewicz helped her drive down to Atlanta. She has a blog about it. [Blog]
Improv group Fletcher is having a “Thing of Things” contest to win a free ticket to one of their shows. Check out the rules and the contest itself on their Facebook page. [Facebook Page]
How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into comedy cause it was always a good feeling when I made people laugh as a kid. I was a bit shy and weird so it was a quick way to be accepted. I certainly did not get into for the money. There is no money in comedy, folks. Anybody got a dolla?
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I am brash. I like to play old ladies, and funny guys. I am physical. My training has caused me to slow down a bit and not worry so much about getting a laugh. I mostly just try to have a blast on stage and play with the people I work with, and make them laugh.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I love playing in an intimate house where people are close. I love also going out into the crowd if the tenor of the show calls for it, so its always exciting when that is a possibility. Some place like the Shubin is great when it is packed with folks, it feels so cozy and allows for shared experience. Don’t get me wrong, I have played on bigger stages and enjoy it too, but that feedback from the audience is so important, as a comedian, and I just get a better sense of it in a smaller theater.
Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Hmm … I remember a scene that Adsit and Gausas did where they playing characters on a date. They were warming up to an awkward kiss, and as they got closer and closer, they kept speaking to each other and they gradually were touching lips and talking at the same time. It was very funny. I would like to see more of that kind of risk taking form Philly teams. I loved it.
Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance?
Or a sort of method that you use to develop comedic material? I do not write, but I do direct some. I think it is important to be very aware of the source. I like starting with the performer, and going from there. A line coming from one stand-up or actor / improviser will go over much differently that from another. I think it is important to know how you are seen as a comedian in just about any genre of comedy.
What is it about improv that draws you to it?
The collaborative spirit and the instant gratification is what draws me to improv. The empty space to create that it provides is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I love the freedom involved in non-scripted work and as the challenges it poses to me as a director, a writer, and actor, choreographer, lyricists, and composer of my own work.
Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
I like to watch Marc Reber, Jess Ross, Matt Holmes, AJ Horan, Ralph Andraccio, Nathan Edmondson, Amie Roe, Emily Davis, Brandon Libby and pretty much anyone who gets up there to have fun.
Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
Ugh, yes. Plenty of bad shows. An improv troupe I was part of did an improv show at the Happy Rooster once. No one wanted to see us. They wanted to have dinner. We were being rude. Ugh. Terrible.
What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
The comedy scene needs to continue to invest in its own development by seeing the shows that are doing it right, be there in other cities or our own. Also a permanent home for comedy would be a great help to developing and audience for the scene, which in turn, will develop the scene.
Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
My goal is to take bigger chances as an artist, to be more comfortable with not knowing what comes next. Any who knows me also knows I want to push for performers to get paid more for what they do. I eventually want to make a living at this stuff.
Rob Baniewicz will be the new producer of Bedtime Stories once my tenure ends at the April show.
Rob was my first choice to take on the show. Meg & Rob were one of the core members of the show since it pretty much started — it wouldn’t be what it became without them. Rob also helped out a ton behind the scenes with giving advice through the years. He and Paul Triggiani have been the backstage forces who really helped me keep it together for as long as I was able to. They both deserve a huge public thanks for everything.
I’m really excited that Rob is going to continue the show. On top of being ridiculously talented, he’s also one of my closest friends. I’m glad to pass the torch to him and to keep it in the family.
He has his own ideas for how he wants the show to progress. All of that will be figured out in due time. But I’m excited to see how it grows.
I also know that it’s going to continue to be what I’ve always thought it was — the best comedy show in the city.
More on what Rob plans on doing with the show to come.
We received this e-mail from Abigail Bruley at the local NBC HD channel. Here is what they’re looking for:
Hi! The NBC Non-Stop Network, basically the local NBC HD channel, has granted me a segment with which to display the local comedy scene. Here’s the deal: I’d like it to include one-bits from stand-up comedians, as well as, original Philly-centric sketches, kind of in the vein of “Portlandia,” but for Philly. I would really like this show to be owned by the whole philly comedy community and really make it our own, something that everyone could be excited about contributing to. It’s a great opportunity and outlet to display your talent, so I hope I’ll get a lot of interest. Right now, I am looking for stand-up comedians to come to the NBC studios on the main line and do a “Rate my Bit.” These segments tape every other Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. I am also looking for original sketches to produce that have Philly humor in them, as I discussed before. I’m also looking for players for said sketches. Please get at me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put something about NBC Comedy in the subject line with what you are offering. Like this: ” NBC Comedy Show — Player & Stand-Up”
I hope you’re all as psyched as I am! Thanks, Abigail
p.s. I’m also looking for name suggestions for titles of the show. I’m stumped. I want it to be something ridiculously Philly like “Go Phils” or “Yankees Suck” or “Whiz Wit.” But, none of those, because they all suck.
The Roat of Meg Favreau is tonight at Philly Improv Theater (purchase tickets online if you want to get a seat — it’ll be packed). Unfortunately, Andrew Nice Clay cannot make it tonight, but he was kind enough to send us jokes that he would have used were he going to be there.
Meg and Rob are like Lucy and Desi if Desi wasn’t Latino and Lucy was a little bit prettier and funnier.
Meg Favreau? More like Meg Favoritecomedianofmine, am I right?
Meg’s moving to L.A. to do comedy — yeah, good luck with that! Seriously.
Meg, let me give you some advice: The first thing you should do when you get to LA is go straight to a plastic surgeon, because a lot of actresses have been requesting, “that Favreau look,” and I bet the surgeon would pay you a lot of money if you let him make plaster casts of your nose and stuff.
Meg is the second funniest comedian ever. (Sorry! Just kidding. It’s a roast.)
Meg is so small and skinny that it’s hard to believe she can fit so much talent in such a small package. Oh wait, that joke was supposed to be about Rob’s dick. (Rob I’m just kidding!)
Meg should take a comedy class and teach it.
Some people say Meg looks like a 12 year old boy — these people are just jealous. Ignore them.
Meg is a member of the improv troupe the Real Housewives of Philadelphia, which is ironic because she’s not a housewife and is moving away from Philadelphia. I guess she’ll have to join a new improv troupe called The Real Hard-Working and Extremely Talented Single Women who Don’t Feel Like Settling Down Just Yet Even Though They’re a Total Catch of Los Angeles.
Meg already has one job lined up in LA, as a nude body double for Charlize Theron. Meg is also very smart though, and shouldn’t just be treated like a piece of meat. The objectification of women makes me sick.
I think Rob is a lot funnier when Meg isn’t around, because when she’s on stage her beauty and talent eclipse everyone else.
Meg’s so funny that sometimes I forget she’s a woman.