Upcoming Shows

  • April 17, 2014 7:30 pmMILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN @ PHIT
  • April 17, 2014 7:30 pmTHE FLAT EARTH PRESENTS… @ PHIT
  • April 17, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • April 17, 2014 10:30 pmTHE SIDESHOW @ PHIT
  • April 18, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 18, 2014 7:30 pmTHE FLAT EARTH PRESENTS… @ PHIT
  • April 18, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 18, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • April 18, 2014 9:00 pmTHE FLAT EARTH PRESENTS… @ PHIT
  • April 18, 2014 10:30 pmATOMIC CINEMA VAULT @ PHIT
  • April 18, 2014 11:00 pmSKETCH UP OR SHUT UP @ PHIT
  • April 19, 2014 7:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 19, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 19, 2014 7:30 pmTHE FLAT EARTH PRESENTS… @ PHIT
  • April 19, 2014 8:00 pmBye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play
  • April 19, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 19, 2014 9:00 pmDR. SLEEPOVER @ PHIT
  • April 19, 2014 9:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 19, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 19, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 19, 2014 10:30 pmBIG BABY + MAYOR KAREN @ PHIT
  • April 20, 2014 4:00 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 20, 2014 7:00 pmCAKE BEAR + THE DEAN’S LIST! @ PHIT
  • April 20, 2014 8:30 pmTHE SHAM! @ PHIT
  • April 23, 2014 7:30 pmADVENTURE FRIENDS PRESENT A SKETCH HAROLD + SABOTAGE @ PHIT
AEC v1.0.4

Ten Questions With…Jim Grammond

Jim Grammond is a Philadelphia comedian and host of the new Philly Improv Theater panel show Reasonable Discourse with Jerks, which will make its debut Wednesday, July 27th at 8:30PM. Jim also writes a blog and is very active on Twitter.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into stand-up comedy because growing up in the stand-up crazed 80′s I loved it, everything from Bill Cosby to Sam Kinison. After watching it for years I finally thought I would try it.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
For me this is interesting (I guess) since I am coming back to comedy after a few years away. My previous style was kind of dry/angry/weird, which sort of reflected who I was. I’m still weird, but less dry and angry. So I’m trying to change my style now to reflect that.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
Helium’s my traditional favorite, but I’m really enjoying the new venues that have opened up to comedy in the past few years, like the Shubin and Connie’s Ric Rac. Most venues have some redeeming characteristics. Most.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Seeing a comic get off stage at the Laff House and go outside to fight an audience member. More than once.

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?
My new favorite tool is Twitter. I’m on there at @jgrammond. It forces me to write concisely and is great for developing a premise for a new bit. I used to be very into memorizing the bits I wrote, but am trying to get away from that as it can sound really unnatural on stage.

What is it about stand-up that draws you to it?
I’m an attention-craving nerd who always wants to show I’m the smartest person in the room (even when I’m not, which is often). So stand-up is a natural place for that attitude I guess.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
I’m going to answer this a little differently and mention the Philly comics who were just starting or really young when I went on my comedy hiatus who I think have gotten really good. That list includes people like you (note from the editor: I am Aaron Hertzog), Steve Gerben, Joey Dougherty, Blake Wexler, Pat Barker, Brendan Kennedy, Mary Radzinski, and I’m sure plenty more. I’m not even including the people who’ve moved away. I’m also glad Oakland or Oaklyn or whatever his name is is still around. He’s a treasure.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
I once did a show in the basement of a shady Phoenixville “bar”—I don’t think they had a liquor license. It was like no one told them prohibition ended. There were five people in the audience and I was the only white person within eight blocks. Before the show, the police were there looking for a local young hoodlum named “Butt-Butt”. I bombed real, real bad, but the after party was fun.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
It’d be great if a bunch of people could breakout of the stand-up scene here without having to move to NYC or LA first, like a comedy version of what Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Soundgarden did for people’s impression of Seattle. It’s cool that Luke Giordano just basically did that.

Also, the trend of doing and promoting stand-up shows in actual theaters rather than bars with makeshift stages has to continue. Bars are really hard to put on shows in. People in bars are usually there to drink and talk to their friends, not listen to weirdos with microphones.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
It’s nice right now that I don’t have a real, ultimate goal. I know people say if you don’t have a goal you won’t be dedicated, but I’d rather just do it for fun right now and see where that leads. I will say my job-related-to-comedy goal would be a TV writing gig, preferably for a late night show.

PRO-MANIA Fringe Festival Show Accepting Applications

THE SHOW
A sport-stravagant celebration of the larger-than-life spectacle that is professional wrestling (with only some of the wrestling). Philly’s top comedic performers pay homage to the flashy trash talking promos, slick video packages, & bitter rivalries of the squared circle. WARNING: Our performers may break your chair over each others’ heads.

APPLICATIONS
In place of auditions, this show will be taking online applications from comedians interested in performing. Potential performers will be asked to provide their contact information and a description of the wrestling character they would like to create for the show.

To complete an application for PRO-MANIA! please visit this link

CASTING, REHEARSALS, and SHOWS
Upwards of 20 people will be cast and notified in mid-July that they will perform in the September run, with a meeting of all participants sometime during the same month. Performers will then be paired up for “fights” and expected to rehearse their fight with the commissioners and a fight choreographer. There are three performances scheduled for PRO-MANIA!, on the following dates:

Friday, 9/2 at 11:30 p.m.
Friday, 9/9 at 11:30 p.m.
Friday, 9/16 at 11:30 p.m.

In addition there will be a fight call in the early evening (approx. 5:00 p.m.) before each performance for the wrestlers on that date to rehearse their moves.

PHIT Announces Casts for Fringe Festival Shows

Philly Improv Theater recently announced the casts for their upcoming Philly Fringe Festival shows.

twenty-four (directed by Steve Kleinedler) Each completely improvised performance of twenty-four unfolds in real time, a twenty-four minute window on the realistic relationship dynamics of six individuals. A stripped-down tour-de-force focusing on characters, their intentions, and their interactions – with a cast of improv veterans – twenty-four is funny, moving, theatrical, and not to be missed!
The Cast
Emily Davis
Corin Wells
Becca Trabin
Mike Marbach
Marc Reber
Jessica Ross
Cait O’Driscoll

Dark Comedy (directed by Jason Grimley) Chicago’s famous improv format “The Bat” is a show unlike any Fringe audiences have witnessed before: a spontaneously created comedy performed in pitch blackness. Come see Philly’s top improvisers do it in the dark.
The Cast
Shannon DeVido
Adam Siry
Brian Ratcliffe
Rachel Semigran
Alan Williams
Andrew Stanton
Hillary Rea
Amy Nash
Alan Kaufmann

Friends of Alcatraz Alcatraz, the most desirable cat in the world, is putting on a night of comedy with his fleece-faced puppet friends – and you’re invited! Featuring innovative staging that lets the audience watch the show on stage or on screen, this production is the first fully improvised puppet show ever seen in Philadelphia. (Please note: while this show features puppets, it’s not for small children).
The Cast
Rob Cutler
Dave Jadico
Jason Stockdale
Kelly Vrooman

Show times and information can be found on Philly Improv Theater’s Show Calendar or right here, on our Comedy Show Calendar.

Tonight: The Ministry of Secret Jokes

From Doogie Horner:

The Ministry of Secret Jokes is this Wednesday, July 13th,

When:8pm.

Where: Upstairs at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St., Philadelphia

How: Nobody knows.

Performing standup: Roger C. Snair, Luke Cunningham, Billy Bob Thompson, and David James

Special Event: Philly’s Punniest Competition! Do you like puns? Of course you do! Watch as Andy Nolan, Christian Alsis, and Pat Barker take the most highly evolved form of comedy—pun making—to new heights.

Omniana Battle: Roxborough-renowned street magician Jaykob Strange battles dangerous pregnant music duo Emily and Micah McGraw.

Also: Ian David Vaflor on drums, Bazooka Joe on gums.

Less information at:

Press Release: ComedySportz Philadelphia to become sole tenant in Playground at the Adrienne

Press Release from ComedySportz

ComedySportz Philadelphia has been performing every Saturday night since 1993. For the past seven years, they have been performing two shows each week to accommodate their continually growing audience. The company has been in residence at the Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. Starting this September, they will be Amaryllis Theatre Company’s sole tenant in the space.

 “We are thrilled with this opportunity. For the past few years, we have seen our audience grow rapidly to where we frequently sell out our shows and have to turn people away at the door. Being able to add more shows to our schedule will mean we now have the opportunity to reach even more fans and utilize the skills of our amazing company even more. We will also be able to reach a greater number of performers in the city and give them an opportunity to perform,” said Alli Soowal, Managing Director of ComedySportz Philadelphia.

The changes take effect in September. The increased schedule will start out slow. In September, ComedySportz will begin additional programming the last two Fridays of every month. At 7:30 p.m., they will host a traditional ComedySportz match, and then at 10 p.m. there will be a rotating schedule of special programs; including improvised plays, long form improv teams, and a Blue Show (R-rated humor). The company is also adding a brand new once-a-month Sunday Kids Show.

The biggest impact this new agreement will have for the company will be to the company’s education program. With greater access to permanent space, the company is looking at creating tracks that focus on Improv Games, Scene Work and Sketch Comedy. They will also be able to offer students new performance opportunities and expand our programming by starting a Minor League Team made of graduates from our Level 3 Improv Training Program.

“ComedySportz had been a Philly tradition for years that not enough people have known about. Now we can reach a wider audience of all ages and offer more of what we do best—make people laugh,” said David Dritsas, Executive Director of ComedySportz Philadelphia.

Added Soowal, “Our improv instructors are among the most experienced in the city, but one drawback to our training center is the fact that we were unable to offer our students any further training once they graduated. Now, with the Minor League team, we will be able to continue to foster the growth of comedic performers in the city.”

About ComedySportz Philadelphia

ComedySportz is Philadelphia’s leading improv company. Since 1993 ComedySportz has been entertaining fans with its fast, smart and funny comedy show. Two teams of improvisers vie for points in a hilarious competition similar to TV’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” A referee governs the action, calls the fouls and keeps the match moving at a blistering pace. The audience is always a part of the interactive show, with volunteers joining the players on stage! Because everything is improvised, it’s never the same show twice. And it’s clean–appropriate for all ages. Come see why audiences come back to see us again and again. For more information including ticket prices, showtimes and classes visit our website:www.comedysportzphilly.com.

Spotlight on a Group: Secret Pants

Secret Pants is a fitting group to kick off WitOut’s new Spotlight on a Group Series. A fixture in the Philly sketch scene, Secret Pants has been filming and performing live sketch comedy since 2004, have created some of the most memorable moments from Bedtime Stories (now The Theme Show) are regulars in the yearly Philly Sketch Fest and have produced their own sketch show extravaganza Welcome to the Terrordome as well as multiple successful shows at Philly Improv Theater. They found viral success with their man on the street gameshow Bush or Batman, and their Booty Shorts for Men sketch was mentioned as a favorite by Justin Timberlake on his Twitter. We asked members of Secret Pants some questions about the group, and they appointed member Larry Wiechecki to answer them.

Witout: How and when did you get together?

Larry Wiechecki: Secret Pants has been together since Spring 2004.  A majority of the members had taken a comedy writing class at Temple together. Sam, Brian Kelly and I(Larry) didn’t go to Temple.  BK and Sam both had friends who were in the class and invited them to a meeting.  I lived with BK at the time, he invited me.  The first initial meetings were basically meet and greets.  Bryce and Steve both had butt cuts, Brian Craig may have had one too.  Steve definitely had a visor.  We started out with 13 members, we are down to 7.

WO: How have you seen your style evolve in the time you’ve been together?

LW: I don’t think our style has evolved too much as far as our ideas and writing.  With all of the years of experience together, we know what works and what doesn’t.  As well as who’s good at doing what.  In that sense, we may have matured/evolved.

WO: What are some of your favorite shows or moments from shows?

LW: For me, it was easily our 5th Anniversary show at the Actor’s Studio.  All of us had been drinking and we sat backstage, we were behind a screen, making each other laugh and generally having a good time.  We were very loose that night, going out of our way to make each other laugh while performing.  During a sketch Brian Kelly surprised me with a Greek accent and I could barely deliver my lines I was laughing so hard.  Also, any Bedtime Stories at the Shubin was always a lot of fun and not because of the show.  Not that the show wasn’t fun, but hanging out with the other performers in the basement is/was my favorite part of doing shows.

WO: Do you approach your live sketches and filmed sketches differently, and how?

LW: I wouldn’t say that we do.  There aren’t many sketches that we have that we couldn’t perform either way.  We put as much detail into our live sketches as we do our video sketches.  We’ve always gone that extra mile for our live sketches to real set the scene.

WO: How have you seen the Philly sketch scene evolve in the time you’ve been around?

LW: There are definitely a lot more groups.  It seems a lot more people who are involved with the Philadelphia Comedy Scene, whether it be stand up or improv, are trying their hand at sketch.  Also, with the PHIT providing sketch writing classes and doing Sketch Up or Shut up at the Shubin, it seems it will keep evolving with new, young faces.

WO: Have you ever had an idea for a sketch that you loved, but the rest of the group didn’t? Tell me about it. Did you end up scrapping the idea, or using it somewhere else? Did it work out for the best?

LW: YES, yes there is one sketch that I always wanted to do, but no one else wanted to.  It was called “Fight the HIV with Magic.”  I can only assume no one wanted to do it because it consisted of me wearing blackface, top hat, cape and Magic Johnson basketball jersey.  Magic was hosting a telethon to collect money, not for HIV awareness, but to save his own life.  He’d say repeatedly “You don’t want me to die, do ya? Give your money.”  Then when we shot and performed live the Juggalos sketch, I had to put my money where my mouth is and put on blackface.  I can now never run for President.  There was also “Forklift Academy” which was just Police Academy with forklifts.  That was never written or shot because of my own laziness.

Secret Pants can be found online here, on Facebook and members of their group are hosts of regular Philly Improv Theater shows Sketch-up or Shut-up and TV Party.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 13

The first round of Helium’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued Sunday, with John McKeeverJoe Dougherty and Tim Grill moving on to the semi-final round. Preliminary rounds continue each Sunday until August 21st. Tickets available for any of the remaining preliminary rounds HERE.

Speaking of contests, this Wendesday The Ministry of Secret Jokes will play host to the Philly’s Punniest Contest where comedians will do battle for the crown Doogie Horner says we all know is really The Legendary Wid’s. Also performing on the show are Luke Cunningham, David James, Billy Bob Thompson, Roger C. Snair and the Omniana Battle will pit Emily and Micah McGraw against street magician Jaykob Strange.

The fouth annual Philly Sketch Fest is now accepting submissions. This year, the festival will be held from October 10th through 16th at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater as part of the second annual Comedy Month. Interested performers can find the application HERE.

This Friday will mark the debut of the Sideshow Improv Showcase at The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St.) The show aims to feature “new groups, old groups doing new things, or new and/or old groups doing odd things.” The first show will feature improv groups Beirdo and The Hendersons as well as some acts yet to be announced.

Last week, Center City Comedy hosted the BONERoo stand-up comedy show at Mad River Manayunk. Super DPS was there to cover the show, and posted video online that you can check out HERE.

Ten Questions With…John McKeever

John McKeever is a Philadelphia comedian who co-hosts the Bird Text Comedy Show at Helium Comedy Club with Tommy Pope and Luke Cunningham. He was recently featured in this ESPN Commercial. He only felt like answering nine of ten questions…

How and why did you get into comedy?
I started going to open mics here and there a couple of years ago but never steady.  I started going all the time about a year ago because I’ve always really enjoyed the process of writing jokes and then working them out on stage for a possible laugh.  I just didn’t want to get too old and regret never pursuing it full time.  I also don’t think I’m fit to lead a normal 9-5 life.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?      

I guess I would just say my style is conversational.  I’m just not a great at writing one-liners, I think that’s a really unique talent.  Some people can do both really well, like Chip Chantry or Luke Cunningham, which boggles my mind.   I like to just get on stage with an idea and work it out with different crowds and different tags without ever committing to a permanent structure.  I just make sure I get from A to B without rambling too much.   I think having a loose structure keeps me, personally, from being too rigid on stage like an actor trying to remember his lines.   I also have a terrible memory.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I like Helium and the Raven’s open mic is the best. Noche’s open mic is a lot of fun sometimes too but it’s more of a bar atmosphere so it’s harder to just tell people to stop talking, especially when they came to a bar to do just that.  Jack and Paul do a good job with it though.   The Hey Everybody show @ the  Shubin is a great show because there’s always a cool crowd and great performers.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
There’s so many but when Aaron Hertzog said onstage at the Raven “I’m going to tickle your throat clits with my word dick”, Darryl’s “Hatchet” bit and anytime I see the Feeko’s perform are on the top of my list.  There is great show almost every night in Philly, which makes it really exciting to be a part of this scene.

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 give my wife a topic,  I tie her arms and feet to one of those big circus spinning wheels and as long as she gives me good tags or punchlines, I don’t fire the paintball gun.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
There’s so many and for so many different reasons. Like I said earlier I think Luke Cunningham and Chip Chantry are both great performers, excellent writers and really great influences to those just starting out.  I love Tommy Pope & Steve Gerben’s storytelling, it’s so funny it and invites everyone in and usually gets so intense that you become scared for their well being.   Hesky has a great observational style.  He’s so relatable and never not funny.  Then you have people like Aaron Hertzog and Brendan Kennedy who are always trying something new with total confidence and making it work for them.  Sean Quinn is new to the area but he’s just a natural.  Darryl’s bits are probably my favorite. His commitment is just unreal.  When I tell a joke and I feel heat, I bail but when Darryl tells a joke it’s like “I’m not going anywhere and you fuckers are gonna think this is funny wether you like it or not” and then it kills.  There’s so many others that I’m probably leaving out.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?  
I bombed at a show in Port Richmond one time and the whole time this guy was heckling me.  At one point I made an AIDS reference and the guy yells “way too personal!”, which was weird because throughout the whole show I was hoping he had AIDS.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
Everybody works really well together and there is a ton of support.  That’s the kind of thing that makes this comedy scene so great.  If we keep supporting each other and going telling people about all the great shows in Philly, it will become a monster.  It already is.  Also, and I don’t like this anymore than anybody else does, but we have to make a decision between Darryl and Chris.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I just want to grow as a writer and a performer.  My biggest goal is to become a writer who fucks stand-up on the side.

 

ComedySportz Auditions

From the group’s Facebook page:

ComedySportz Philadelphia, Philly’s longest running comedy show, is holding auditions for new company members on Saturday, July 30th with callbacks Sunday, July 31st.

Auditioners will be required to reserve a 10-minute slot in the morning or afternoon of Saturday July 30th at the Playground at the Adrienne (2030 Sansom Street, in Center City Philadelphia). If called back, you will be required to attend a two-hour group audition on Sunday July 31st, either during the morning (10:00 am to 12:00 noon) or the afternoon (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm).

To reserve an audition slot, please e-mail auditions@comedysportzphilly.com with your name and which audition time you prefer: morning, afternoon or either. (Slots based on availability.)

Tonight: Dollar LOL at Danger Danger Gallery

Tonight, Danger Danger Gallery  (5013 Baltimore Avenue) will play host to Dollar LOL - a “three hour night of stand-up and short plays”. Hosted by Andrew Jeffrey Wright, the show will cost one dollar and feature 15-minute sets from Mike Robinson, Sidney Gantt, Malwina, Camp Woods, Will Dean, Steve Miller Miller, Brendan Kennedy, Michael Gerkovich and The New Dreamz.

Doors open at 5:30PM and the first act is set to hit the stage at 6:00.