(A note from the author: By the time Luke reads this, he very well may be in a different time zone, embarking on a new chapter in his life. Luke Giordano has been extremely gracious towards me, inviting me onto “The Bully Pulpit”, letting me write and post on this very website, and being a terrific friend. I’m not sure why he encouraged me as much as he did, but I’m secretly glad for it. Without getting embarrassingly personal, I think there is more of what is “funny” inside of Luke than anyone – myself and Luke included – can comprehend yet, and I can’t wait to see how well he does out there. As a sign of thanks to Luke, I’d like to send him off the only way I know how… )
The following is a brief, fair and balanced run-down of what each comedian at the Trashing of Luke Giordano wore on July 5th, 2011 at the Shubin Theater:
Luke Giordano – Beige/light-brown jacket over a white dress-shirt all buttoned except the top two; lightly-worn blue jeans with a hole in the left pant leg; beige canvas shoes with white soles.
Brendan Kennedy – Black t-shirt under a black short-sleeve, button-down
James Hesky – White dress-shirt with thin black stripes 1 shirt-pocket on the left; grey pants; black, grey and white sneakers
Mary Radzinski – Grey shirt under a black cloak that ended at the elbows, one button buttoned; blue jeans; golden flip-flops; black hair tie on the left wrist; 2 large silver rings – one on each hand.
Greg Maughan – blue and white checkered shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbow, un tucked, with top two buttons unbuttoned; dark blue T-shirt underneath; blue jeans; grey, white and black running shoes; silver watch on left hand.
Pat Barker – Dark red polo with only the lowest button buttoned; blue jeans; black sneakers with white Michael Jordan logo.
Doogie Horner – Grey t-shirt; white boat shoes with no socks; long khaki pants.
JP Boudwin – Tan/Brown and white checkered shirt, un-tucked and with pearl buttons buttoned up excepting the top two; grey t-shirt underneath; black jeans; black/dark brown shoes.
Aaron Hertzog – Black and white checkered shirt with thin red and green lines rolled to the elbow’s 2 pockets; blue jeans; black canvas sneakers white soles and white laces.
Mike Rainey – Black polo untucked and unbuttoned; white t-shirt underneath; blue jeans; white/orange/black/grey running shoes.
Billy Bob Thompson – Dark blue t-shirt; grey/blackish jeans; black belt with a silver buckle; dark-brown/light-brown/white sneakers.
Christian Alsis – Black, grey and white short sleeved flannel with 2 shirt-pockets, black buttons, buttoned up excepting the top-most button; white t-shirt underneath; black pants; black and white Nike sneakers.
Rob Baniewicz – White dress-shirt, buttoned to the top, sleeves rolled to just below the elbow two length-wise seams on the front of the shirt; a yellow, white and green tie; dark blue jeans; blue/grey canvas shoes, white soles, no laces.
Roger C. Snair – Red, green, yellow checkered shirt; khaki shorts; black socks; black shoes with velcro straps; a camo hunting bush hat with draw string.
Thanks for everything Luke, best of luck.
There are a lot of regular comedy shows here in Philadelphia, and in our new feature ShowFile (it’s a profile of a show!) we are going to make sure you know a little bit about what is out there for you to enjoy. Our first Shofile is on Rant-O-Wheel, an improvised storytelling show held at Philly Improv Theater at 7:00PM on the first Wednesday of their two-week runs. We asked host Jaime Fountaine some questions about the show.
WITOUT: How long have you been doing Rant-O-Wheel?
Jaime Fountaine: The first Rant-O-Wheel show was held in August 2009, at The Dive, during my Second Stories show. We’d put one on every few months or so, until July of last year, when Greg Maughan gave me the opportunity to do a monthly show at PHIT.
WO: What gave you the idea for the show?
JF: My friend Steve Martinez told me about a game he used to play when he was hanging out with some anarchists (he’s from California). They had a giant wicker wheel into which they’d woven slips of paper with various ideas and issues relating to social justice. You’d spin the wheel and then rant on the topic it had chosen for you. We thought if you shifted it from social change to storytelling, it could be a lot of fun.
WO: Explain the format of the show.
JF: At the beginning of every show, right after I make sure everyone knows what a noun is, I fill up the wheel with audience suggested words. Each contestant spins the wheel three times, and has five minutes to make up a story that includes all three of their words. The only rule is that you can’t use all three words in rapid succession and then expect to talk for another four-and-a-half minutes. Other than that, anything is fair game.
WO:Do you have any favorite moments from your time hosting the show (any especially memorable stories, or surprise guests?)
JF: One the most surprising performers was a man that volunteered under the name “Douche #7” who, instead of telling a story, warbled an off-pitch version of “I Can’t Live (If Living is Without You)”. Then he disappeared into the night.
It usually helps when shows take on themes, whether it’s because I’ve put one in place (like when Steve moved to Baltimore), because the audience has agreed on a certain theme through their noun suggestions, or because of some other factor, like the time the show turned into a hotbed of awkward sexual oversharing that just kept snowballing.
There have been a lot of great stories to come out of the show, although I think my favorite is still the story that grew out of Steve and I trying to finish half a wheel of words by ourselves and turned into the story of how we, the illegitimate children of an itinerant Native American brush salesmen, came to find each other in a desert.
WO: What are the elements that make up a good Rant-O-Wheel story?
JF: Confidence, whether or not you’re faking it, is key. If you believe that you can sell a story about scalpings, vacuum cleaner repair, and Walla Walla, Washington, the audience is much more likely to go along with you. Some people find it easier to go up there with the framework of a real-life experience or an existing story (like The Little Mermaidor Blood Meridian), but it’s not necessary. It can also help to be a little, but not overly drunk. It helps with bravado.
WO: What is it about comedic storytelling that you love? What about it is different from other types of comedy?
JF: I’m a writer more than I’m a comedian. Even when I’m doing comedy, it’s more a character telling a story than straightforward jokes. I’m a lot more interested in the backstory than I am the set-up and punchline, laying down an entire universe for the audience, and then trying to convince them to live in it for five minutes. Some people can do that with jokes, which I admire, but I need the space to sprawl out.
The Rant-O-Wheel format is especially exciting, because it’s about beating the limitations of a few words and a few minutes. It’s not exactly the stuff of OuLiPo, but it’s in a similar spirit – that a lot of fascinating things can still come out of a very controlled environment.
Since the show really depends on audience participation, the show is audience-driven in a very different way than a lot of other comedy shows. They don’t just set the tone; they’re the impetus for the entertainment. Everyone is responsible.
Message from Down the Show:
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This week at the Shubin Theater, Philly Improv Theater continues its two-week run of shows. PHIT has recently changed their schedule, shifting showtimes to 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00PM. You can check out their full schedule here.
Monday night open mic Comedy XChange has gone through a bit of a facelift, and will now be known as Comedy on the Corner. Not letting the closing of their venue, Bar Xchange, stop them from putting on a show, hosts Chris McGrail and Dan Vetrano have decided to go guerrilla and hold their open mic on the street, at the corner of 20th and Ludlow.
Tuesday night Philly will say good-bye to Luke Giordano, who is departing for Los Angeles, where he will continue his comedy career as a writer for the sitcom Two and a Half Men. Luke will not go quietly into the night, as he is being sent off with a “Trashing” [Facebook event] – which is similar to a roast, but from the mind of Brendan Kennedy.
The Theme Show will make its debut at 10:00PM this Friday night at PHIT. Hosted by Rob Baniewicz, The Theme Show continues in the tradition of Gregg Gethard’s Bedtime Stories as a monthly variety show where all the acts are based around a common theme. This months theme is, fittingly, “The First Time.”
Submissions are currently open for the 7th annual Philadelphia Improv Festival, being held October 3rd – 9th, kicking off the second annual Comedy Month. Applications forms are available on their website, and the deadline to submit is Sunday, July 17th.
Auditions will be held this week for two Fringe Festival shows being produced by Philly Improv Theater. Twenty-four is a show that will unfold in real-time and is described as “a twenty-four minute window on the realistic relationship dynamics of six individuals.” Twenty-four is being directed by Steve Kleinedler and will hold auditions on Tuesday, July 5th and Saturday, July 9th. Dark Comedy is PHIT’s take on the famous Chicago format “The Bat” an improvised show that takes place completely in the dark. Dark Comedy is directed by Jason Grimley and will hold auditions on Sunday, July 10th.