Upcoming Shows

  • August 21, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 21, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • August 22, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 22, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • August 22, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • August 22, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 22, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 22, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 23, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 23, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 23, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 23, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 23, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • August 28, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 28, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • August 29, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 29, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • August 29, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 29, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 29, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 30, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 30, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 30, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 30, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 30, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
AEC v1.0.4

Ten Questions With…Alex Gross

Alex Gross is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team Codenamed Brandybuck - who make their debut tonight at 8:30. He is also the host of PHIT improvised trash talk show The Gross Show.

How and why did you get into comedy? Buy the right meat. For juicy burgers, get ground chuck with a fat content of at least 18%. Lean and extra-lean meat make tough, dry burgers. Also, the more freshly ground the meat is, the more tender and flavorful the burger. If your store has butchers, ask them to grind the meat fresh for you. (Or just grind your own!)

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? Mix in salt very, very gently. The more you handle the meat, the tougher your burger will be. In a large bowl, pull the meat apart into small chunks, add salt, and toss gently with fingers spread apart until loosely mixed.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?Use wet hands to form patties. This keeps your hands from getting sticky. It also allows the meat to come together faster and prevents overhandling.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? Make patties thinner in the center. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and form patties about 3/4 inch thick at the edges and 1/2 inch thick in the center. They’ll shrink and even out when cooking.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Keep meat cold until it goes on the grill. Put the patties in the fridge while the grill heats up. This helps more of the flavor-carrying fat stay in the meat.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Use a clean, well-oiled, preheated grill. Bits of debris encourage sticking, as does an unoiled surface and too low a temperature; you want your burgers to quickly sizzle, firm up, and release from the grill.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Keep grill at a steady high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above grill level for 2 to 3 seconds). If using charcoal, you want ash-covered coals to produce even heat. With a gas grill, keep the lid down while cooking; with a charcoal grill, leave the lid off.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Flip burgers once and at the right time. Constant turning will toughen and dry out meat, and if you flip too soon, burgers will stick. Cook 2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium, and 5 for well-done.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Don’t press on the burgers while they’re cooking. The juice that seeps out holds most of the flavor and moisture.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? Let burgers rest a few minutes before eating. This allows them to finish cooking and allows their juices, which have collected on the surface during grilling, to redistribute throughout patty.

The real secret to comedy: Grind your own meat.

Ten Questions With…Scott Sheppard

Scott Sheppard is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team Codenamed Brandybuck. He is also the director of current house team Fletcher, and a member of The Groundswell Players.

How and why did you get into comedy? I got into comedy at Haverford College where I joined the Throng improv group.  They were working on long-form improv, which I didn’t know much about, but I pretty quickly fell in love with it.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I guess I used to describe myself as an improviser but now I am trying to do a little bit more acting and play development as well.  Some of my biggest influences are UCB, Pig Iron Theater, Larry David, and early Saturday Night Live.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I think my favorite venue is the Latvian Society because of the great bar, the helpful staff, and the cool way that theater companies transform the space.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? Favorite moment in Philly comedy is a tough one.  I think it has to be John Buseman’s goodbye Fletcher show at the Shubin.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Besides doing traditional long form improv, my theater company The Groundswell Players creates devised theater, which means that we use improv to collaboratively write our plays.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I love improv because it allows you to be an actor, creator, writer, and director all at the same time.  It’s freeing and energizing when you are out there on a stage and you have nothing to go on except your instincts.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? There are a bunch of performers I love to watch in Philadelphia.  I feel bad singling any of the members of Fletcher out because I think of them as an ensemble.  I’ll say I think JP, Nathan Edmondson, Matt Holmes are a few stand out veterans that come to mind.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? So many bad shows.  I remember a show that I did when I was still in college for DCM.  It must have been 2001.  I was performing with a thrown-together group that had practiced only a few times.  We had a god-awful time slot and I think it was an abortion joke involving a coat hanger that sent the audience–a sparse and tired group to begin with–into a chilly silence that lasted the duration of the set.  It was the worst of comedy doldrums, and only a few times have I ever felt as embarrassed about a performance in my life.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?  I think having a dedicated space for comedy will really help propel the scene in great ways. This will deepen the fan base beyond we improv and comedy nerds and help the scene embrace the rest of the Philadelphia community.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? My personal goals are to create stand-out, amazing comedy that is respected by comedy connoisseurs and average folks alike.  I’m always skeptical when comedians say things like, “the audience doesn’t get my stuff!”  I think you are just as responsible for showing an audience why they should laugh at you.  Great experimental shows push the envelope, but they find ways to bring the audience along with them, even if the ride is wild and incomprehensible.  I would love to create pieces that are unique and challenging but also intuitive and easy to watch.  We’ll see how it goes.

Ten Questions With…Karen Coleman

Karen Coleman is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. She also produces a web comic, Wednesday Night Danger Club.

How and why did you get into comedy? I needed comedy as a creative outlet. As a teenager I did a lot of community theater. When I was 19, I auditioned for an improv show at my Community College which ended up performing regularly and I fell in love with it. I then moved to NYC to study illustration at Parsons and took as many improv classes that I could. I just started working on a new web comic as another way to express myself comedically.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I’ve always thought of myself as an artist and I haven’t really thought about myself as a comedian until recently. It’s hard to think of myself as having a style. I have always been influenced by strong female performers and there are a lot of funny, talented women improvisers in Philadelphia. I want people that I think are funny to laugh at me. Hey, can I talk about my web comic? www.wednesdaynightdangerclub.com

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? The few times I was able to perform at the UCB theater in New York, it felt amazing to stand where amazing people stood. And I’m excited to be a part of the Philly Improv Theater and do shows at the Shubin, the energy at that theater is practically tangible.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? It is difficult for me to choose a single moment. I’m going to say it’s the time we were having Incubator in the park and a random man started crying because we were too loud.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? It’s hard to perform, and its hard to live your life, when you are in your head about what people are thinking about you or if you think your ideas are stupid. It’s important to be present and in the moment not only for improv scenes but also in general. I need to remind myself of that sometimes to clear my head, especially when it comes to performing.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I am drawn to writing my web comic, www.wednesdaynightdangerclub.com, which is heavily influenced by my experience with improv. I love the process of starting with nothing and creating something, and connecting seemingly random ideas to make them meaningful. I love using my energy to build characters and how sometimes I can surprise myself when I didn’t even know what I was going to say until after I said it.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? I do! I love and am inspired by my teammates on  - soon to be announced PHIT house team name –  and my favorite performers are the ones that look like they are having fun and make it look easy.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? I have had moments where I have been disappointed in my performance or scenes just felt awkward and terrible, but fortunately I do not.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Chia seeds.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? Personally, I’m only in this for the money. I’m hoping for a reality show. (Greater confidence in my choices, soak up as much knowledge as I can, perform as much as I can.) I also want the future to bring more readers of my web comic. www.wednesdaynightdangerclub.com

Ten Questions With…Scott Hinners

Scott Hinners is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut tonight at the Shubin Theater.

How and why did you get into comedy? I don’t look at is getting into comedy as much as finding different outlets to get the random ideas in my head to others for public enjoyment/scrutiny. More specifically, I was drawn into improv during high school with a great teacher and phenomenal group of improvisors. Improv feels like the purest form of comedy and I can’t get enough of it.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I like to think of myself as more observational and deeply appreciate when things are very clever. I find myself to be an analytical person in my everyday life which is probably the cause of the conceptual approach i take to comedy.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? No favorites, but improv begs to be on intimate stages where there’s little to no space between performers and audience.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? This question is kind of like picking your favorite Lego piece. One piece doesn’t really hold up against the sum of the whole. Like when you build a giant Lego space fortress and you tell your sister not to touch it, but then she does, but says it was an accident and now those cool orange glowy saws are missing and even if you said those saws are your favorite piece they don’t matter as much as when they were being used by your Lego space patrol to ward of invading robots. So I’d have to say no.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Writing is more conceptual for me – I like to periodically write down premises or ideas and revisit them. With Improv I think most people, myself included, are more random and find the fun of going with the first thought and seeing it through.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I mentioned earlier that I find Improv to be a very pure form of comedy. It is likely the purest form. So I’m drawn to this idea that comedy can be unearthed from our collective brains and put out there for others to see, before it has time to be refined and analyzed and watered down. Improv feels much more like real life, which i think is its universal appeal. Its a force I want to be a part of, as both performer and audience.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Philly has lots of talented performers, each with their own skills and wonderful peculiarities.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Negatory. Perhaps another benefit of improv is the ability to transform “bad comedy” into something we can all laugh at.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Thats a real tough issue to tackle. Economic theory would suggest there’s just not enough Raw resources in Philly as they tend to migrate towards New York. Demand doesn’t seem very high either here (Everyone’s spending money on their favorite sports team). I think if the Phillies suddenly vanished and there was a strong marketing push, we’d see a big growth in the comedy sector.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? No real goals. Not looking to pursue it as a career, just as a great creative outlet and a way of life.

Ten Questions With…Jen Curcio

Jen Curcio is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Brandybuck. She is also a member of improv family The Hendersons.

How and why did you get into comedy? When I was a little kid I used to watch “In Living Color” and “Saturday Night Live” and say, “that’s what I want to do when I grow up.” As a kid I was fascinated by funny people like Jim Carrey, Cheri Oteri and Mike Myers. I was also painfully shy, and cracking jokes was a way for me to break the ice.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I try to make bold character choices and be physical. People watching is a great influence. It’s important to have a mental library of characteristics of people.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I have 2 favorite venues. The Shubin because there is a great energy there, for both the audience and performers. And Tabu because it is such an intimate setting.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? The Really Big Show at The F Harold. To put it in context, Amie Roe was the only consistent improviser in the show and 1 person from the back line would initiate a 3 minute scene with her.  It was an amazing performance by Amie Roe. She made up 18 different characters. The participants on the back line were great too with rapid fire initiations.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? I have only dabbled in sketch writing. When I do write I like to think of the characters I am writing engaged in an improv scene. As for the creative process in improv, I really don’t do anything besides listen to upbeat music and stay away from people who are bummers.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Improv is just plain fun. Plus I like making people laugh.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Kristen Schier, Amie Roe, Emily Davis, Rick Horner, Matt Holmes. They are all amazing performers, very strong and always 10 steps ahead of the game. I feel like just by watching them I can learn a lot. And they are all hilarious!

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Let me preface this by saying I have nothing against The Gross Show or anyone involved in it. But when I was in The Gross Show my parents attended, and if you know The Gross Show you know it’s probably not a show you want your parents to see. Knowing my mother and father were in the audience while I was talking about furry fetishes made me freeze. But I am very grateful for the support my parents give me, even if it gets awkward.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? I feel like PHIT needs a more diverse audience, and by diverse I mean non-improvisors. The independent groups that are popping up all over the city is great for this. The more exposure people have to improv, the better. Showcases like Polygon are great places for independent groups to perform and get people interested in improv.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?  I hope to continue to grow and learn as an improvisor. I want to work with a new people.