Upcoming Shows

  • April 24, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 24, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • April 24, 2014 9:00 pmCHEAT CODE W. SPECIAL GUESTS @ PHIT
  • April 24, 2014 10:30 pmHOUSE OF BLACK @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 25, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 25, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • April 25, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 25, 2014 9:00 pmCHEAT CODE W. SPECIAL GUESTS @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 10:30 pmSTORY UP! AFTER DARK @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 11:00 pmIRON SKETCH @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 26, 2014 8:00 pmBye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play
  • April 26, 2014 9:00 pmMEN WITH FACES + BIG BABY @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 26, 2014 9:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 26, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 26, 2014 10:30 pmTHE FUTURE + MAYOR KAREN @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 11:00 pmIRON SKETCH @ PHIT
  • April 27, 2014 4:00 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 27, 2014 7:00 pmTHE BUTTERED NIBLETS + THE DEAN’S LIST @ PHIT
  • April 27, 2014 8:30 pmGOON + THE SHAM @ PHIT
AEC v1.0.4

Ten Questions With…Brian Ratcliffe

Brian Ratcliffe is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team Codenamed Shadwofax. They make their debut this Friday night, at 10:30.

How and why did you get into comedy? I started doing improv in college and fell in love with it immediately. After graduation I had no clue where my life was headed next, but I knew for sure that I wanted to keep studying and performing improv, and Philly seemed like the perfect place to do it in.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I like to think that my comedic impulses as an improvisor are grounded in truth. Human interactions are already intrinsically rich with humor, and so the task of the improvisor is simply to find that hilarity and draw it out. I am heavily influenced by the teachers and teammates I’ve had, both at college and now as part of a houseteam under the magnificent Kristen Schier.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? 
I enjoy playing at the Shubin quite a bit. It’s an intimate space, so you’re right up next to the audience when you’re performing. It’s also great to just think about how many fantastic improvisors and comedians have performed right there in that same space. It makes you feel connected to the larger community of Philly comedians.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? 
I will always remember the night that my new PHIT houseteam hosted our first Improv Jam at the Shubin. We were all nervous going into it, but the night ended up being really relaxed and positive, the audience was super supportive. It gave us all confidence going into our debut on Aug. 5.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? 
For me, the creative process occurs wholly between me and my scene partner. I try to start a scene with total openness and let the interaction with my partner inform the world that we create together.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? 
I love the creative freedom and spontaneity of improv. It is an unleashed art form. Whole realities are co-constructed in an instant, and then are lost just as fast. It’s a thrilling and liberating experience.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? 
I can’t pick favorites… The thing is, everyone is bringing something new and slightly different to the table. As a wise improvisor, Neal Dandade, once told me, “everyone is a trailblazer”.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? 
At the end of my freshman year, the college improv troupe that I was on, Vertigo-go, performed at the Fracas! Improv Festival at USC. I’m not sure if it was the jetlag or if we were thrown off by the new space or what, but it was a nightmare of a show. Thirty minutes of incoherent, increasingly frantic and labored improv in front of a silent crowd… pretty mortifying for me as a very new improvisor. But it was a good early lesson to learn, that sometimes shows just go awry. All you can do is shake it off and try again.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? 
Just more of everything that is already happening now–more performances, more classes, more discussions, more experiments into what is possible. That’s why things like WitOut and the Fringe festival are such awesome resources for the comedy scene, they bring attention to this community and offer opportunities introduce new faces and launch new projects.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? 
The more I practice improv, the more I realize how much I still have to learn. This is a craft that you can spend an entire lifetime honing. My goal for now is just to keep practicing and learning from the brilliant people around me, and keep striving for that human truth that makes the foundation of it all.

Ten Questions With…Dennis Trafny

Dennis Trafny is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Brandybuck. He is also a member of independent group Iron Lung.

How and why did you get into comedy? I got into comedy because my family doesn’t think I’m funny. Look who’s on a funny website now, family! I will do anything for spite.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I’m influenced by everyday werido’s, they are my muse.  Someone described my style of comedy as “funny”, which felt good. I liken my style to a wolverine stuck on a raft at sea…even if you could rescue it, would you?

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I really like performing at the various developing independent comedy scenes in Philadelphia, such as Sketch Playground! at Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar or The Sideshow at The Arts Parlor. I also like to tell jokes at my place of employment because they have to laugh at what I say.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I had a transcendental moment a few months ago during a performance.  I remember actively thinking during the scene, “What life choices am I making? Why am I allowing a grown man to rub saliva on my face?”

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Process? I just regurgitate my head vomit

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I’m no better than anyone else, I do it for the money, women and fame….

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? One of my favorite improv groups is Asteroid!  They have a nice ensemble and exemplify the team concept.  In the realm of sketch, I was super impressed with The Hold Up as they are very smart and try to get the “harder” laughs.  I also genuinely love watching any new-to-stand-up comedian performing/tanking. Very real & very funny. There are some cool, local concepts being filmed in comedy too, such as the Brendan Keegan Show.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? One of my first improv shows, while getting the suggestion from the audience, I started making sexual innuendos out of nervousness.  As you can probably guess, in the opening scene I was a fish looking for genitalia to bite.  I try to be bland and straight forward at the top of the show now and it has made for far less genitalia scenes.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Somehow, this city needs a face, like Batman.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I want to live in lore. Next uproar I cause, I am going to immediately head for the exit to never return.

Ten Questions With…Erin Pitts

Erin Pitts is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut this Friday night at the Shubin Theater.

How and why did you get into comedy? I came to Philadelphia for graduate school in May 2010 and told myself that I was going to take advantage of all the opportunities this city has to offer. One of my goals was to some how get back on stage, I had done theater and a little bit of improv in high school and missed it tremendously, so I signed up for a PHIT level one improv class with Kristen Schier. Her enthusiasm and welcoming attitude were mimicked in every person I met in the comedy community, so I’ve been hooked ever since.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I don’t know if I have a style, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to figure out. I often give myself little challenges to improve, for example, I think I’m awful at miming, so I would make myself mime in every scene I did to feel more comfortable doing it.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? The Shubin is the only place I’ve performed in Philadelphia; I really enjoy everything about it.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I’d have to say, how smoothly my level 1 class show went. We we’re all a little nervous, I think mainly because we ended up only having 5 people left to perform with. It was a super fun show with a lot of different material and a reoccurring missing penguin (who later ended up being stuck in the bathroom) that really helped keep the show moving. It was great to see people from our class who would never be found on a stage in any other instance have a really great time in the spotlight that night.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? I focus on keeping my mind as open as I can to the endless possibilities that can be generated from a suggestion. And as Kristen always tells us… to never expect to do a scene, because you never know what’s going to happen when you step out.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I am such a worrier that improv is so freeing for me; it allows me to not think or hesitate before I act. I love how I feel when I just let go of any rationalized thoughts and allow my body to move before I know why it’s moving. And let’s be honest… when people laugh at something you do, that’s pretty cool.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? I love watching so many different people for so many different reasons! …I guess I’ll just answer this with some of my favorite shows to see.. The Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show, Jessica Tandy, Asteroid, Suggestical and Hate Speech Committee.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? I was in the premiere of The Gross Show… I think we all know what happened that night…during the segment I was in…

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Exactly what it’s doing right now, which is generating new, enthusiastic performers through classes, workshops, festivals and the number of independent groups popping up. I think the family-like attitude of the community makes it an enticing one to be apart of, I don’t know for sure, but I feel like a lot of other cities don’t have what we have, and that’s a who lot of love and respect for another.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I’d like to be sillier and smarter. I really want people to enjoy watching me perform, to feel at ease knowing they’re going to have a good time no matter what is thrown at me.