James Hesky and Darryl Charles are two Philadelphia comedians and the founders of the deep, dark, dank cellar of the Podcast World – Cheapodcast. Darryl and James have tackled one of the biggest hot button questions of the 20th century… who are bigger assholes, Football players or Basketball players. Over the next three rounds, we’ll let them make opening statements, rebuttals, and concluding arguments. By the end, we should all be a little more enlightened:
Let the debate begin!
James Hesky: Basketball players are worse than Football players.
Being a bad person is to basketball as taking steroids is to baseball. Even the hero of the NBA, Michael Jordan, was a degenerate gambler and a philanderer who quit on his team and his sport to see if he could try another sport for another year. Hall of Famer Charles Barkley famously said “I am not a role model” and then backed it up by getting a DUI and used the excuse that he was rushing to go get a BJ. And these are the guys who are the face of the league.
Hey, remember that time all those football players got in a brawl with fans? Me neither. But it happened in the NBA because Ron Artest got a cup thrown at him.
You know what I hate? How Peyton Manning always shows up for the season 30 pounds overweight and just decides he’ll play his way into shape during the season and be ready for the playoffs. Oh wait, that’s what Shaquille O’Neal did for the entire second half of his career.
Even after they retire, NBA players can’t stop being horrible human beings. As the GM of the Knicks, Isiah Thomas used his position of power to sexually harass one of his employees. The worst part is that people in the NBA don’t even think that the fact that he’s a sexual predator is the worst thing about him, he is still most infamous for simply being a terrible GM.
Darryl Charles: Football players are worse than basketball players:
Imagine you could build the perfect asshole (person, not body part). The person would have to be arrogant, rude, obnoxious and self-centered. This person would have to be fantastic at exploiting weakness for the joy of others, awesome at hurting those weaker than him. The person should have an imposing physique, making sure intimidation happened on sight. They should be rich and famous, allowing for mindless adoration and a group of hangers on that would only feed the ego of this asshole. In short, this person should be a football player.
Football is a tough sport. It is a sport where large men dress in pads and run into each other to establish dominance on the placement and movement of a small ball. It is a game in which pain is a weapon and avoiding it will most likely lead to a loss. Physically tormenting your opponent is only surpassed by psychologically tormenting your opponent to the point their concentration is shaken and their game is rendered inept. This is going to breed an asshole.
The list of current and former players is as deep as Tiki Barber’s bank accounts, before he got divorced from his wife after leaving her while pregnant for an 20 something intern at a broadcasting job he wasn’t good at and used to ridicule the team that let him rise to enough popularity to get said job: Ray Lewis (alleged murderer!), Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino, Bill Romanowski, Ben Rothlisberger, Terrell Owens, Chad OchoCinco, Plaxico Burress, Joe Namath and even Bill Bellicheck. A list of the exploits of the aforementioned people is a thorough how-to on assholetry.
Murder, harassment, steroid abuse, finger biting, attempted rape, cheating (both in the game and in life), cockiness, erratic behavior, bullying and general assholy behavior are hallmarks of the NFL and it players and coaches.
Abigail Bruley is a writer, actor, and producer of Philly themed video comedy project Down The Show, which will premiere its’ second episode tonight at Connie’s Ric Rac (Facebook Event).
Witout: Where did you get the idea for “Down the Show?”
Abigail Bruley: A deep, dark canal in the back of my brain. On my first visit there, I ran into Corey Cohen and Doogie Horner holding Moleskins and cheering me on. Those two may never know, but they were a main catalyst for me.
WO: Tell us about the production process for the show.
AB: Well, let’s just say I spend a lot of time alone, laughing or crying to myself. You’re a comedian, so you know, it’s long periods of torture followed by short bursts of elation.
WO: How do you balance between creating new material and showcasing already produced sketches? What is the selection process like?
AB: If it makes people laugh that don’t know the people in the sketch, it’s in.
WO: Have you had to do a lot of Philadelphia comedy scouting in your time producing the show? Do you have any fun stories or experiences watching comedy around town?
AB: Yes, scouting is a new thing thing for me. Being the FNG to the scene, I’m always blown away by the crazy, innovative material that comes pouring out of these people, it’s amazing! Also, it’s no secret that comedians are nerds, but I feel like I’ve being gradually clued in to this whole new level of nerd that I never really knew existed, or, at least, didn’t want to believe existed. There are the ‘safe’ nerds that are into comic books and Sci-Fi and then there are these people, in the seedy underworld of nerd. It’s fascinating.
WO: Do you have a set format for the show in mind or do you plan on playing with things and keeping it loose?
AB: We will always have stand-up mixed with sketch. We will always have a new logo, hand-painted by a local artist and hand-drawn title cards painted by me. We will always have a new theme song by the maniacally-talented Ryan Kerrigan and we will always work with a new local band for background music. The editing will always be the vision of Andrew Laputka, because he’s so damn good at it. Besides all that stuff, it is unrestrained.
WO: What are your plans for the future of the show?
AB: Oh man, who knows. I don’t want to think about where it will end up – probably in the back of a van somewhere. I just want to continue collaborating with people and putting something out there on a consistent basis. I used to be a perfectionist and now I realize how limiting that can be. I feel very good about letting people in on our process and allowing our audience watch us grow and working stuff out in front of them.
WO: Have you got any pitches for the show from people who were clearly crazy? Tell us about it!
AB: I’m a chick at the wheel, dudes hate that. I’ve been threatened with sketches. I’ve been bullied into including jokes I wasn’t completely behind. It’s rough out there, and I haven’t completely figured out how to handle it yet. I try to remember that it’s coming from a good place, that it’s the result of a strong desire to be a part of something, which will never be a bad thing. I have learned it’s best not to work with any overactive egos, though, however, simply because they are no fun.
Mark Leopold is a Philadelphia improviser, sketch comedian, employee, driver-who-talks-on-his-cell-phone-but-is-constantly-scanning-the-road-for-police-officers-because-then-he’ll- totally-just-drop-his-phone-into-his-lap-and-pretend-he-was-just-resting-his-head-on-his-hand- and-they’ll-never-even-have-a-clue, and a friend. He is a member of the PHIT house team Hey Rube as well as a new addition to the cast of Comedysportz and he does sketch comedy with his group The Hold-up. When he isn’t doing one of these things he is busy doing other things, like working and laundry, and so while he sincerely wishes he was able to be a real interviewer, the best he is able to do is interview people in his head while he drives different places. Today, while on 476 north, Mark took some time to sit down in a very quaint coffee shop in his head with Philadelphia comedian, improviser, sketch guy, and Hey Rube teammate Aaron Hertzog.
MARK LEOPOLD: Hey Aaron, it’s me Mark!
AARON HERTZOG: (laughing) Hey Mark.
ML: I’m glad you took the time to sit down with me today.
AH: I’m happy to do it Mark.
ML: So let’s just dive right in, who are you and what have you done with my son?
Aaron laughs and Mark joins him. Aaron stops laughing and looks at Mark expectantly.
ML: Do you want money? Is that it?
AH: I don’t have your son, I didn’t even know you had a son.
ML: I don’t in real life, but I do here.
AH: Here in your head?
ML: Yes. Here in my head at the coffee shop which, now that I stop and think about it for a second, is just the coffee shop from Inception where Leonardo DiCaprio explains the premise of the movie to Ellen Page.
AH: You want to make everything explode? This is your day dream after all.
ML: Get real Aaron! That would be so derivative.
The coffee shop explodes but, since my memory isn’t great, the way it is rendered leaves a lot to be desired.
AH: That was fun.
AH: You didn’t think that was fun?
ML: The whole thing just felt forced.
AH: …okay then.
There is a moment of uncomfortable silence as Mark looks at a speck of something that is floating in his coffee. He hopes it’s just a coffee ground, but with all the explosions and everything, it seems more likely to be a piece of debris. He picks it out of his coffee and wipes his fingers on a napkin. Aaron tries to force small talk.
AH: I don’t drink coffee.
AH: No, I don’t like the taste.
ML: Yeah, I could see that.
AH: I guess I’m not an “adult.”
ML: Do you still like the smell of gasoline?
ML: Me too, but not as much.
AH: That’s weird how you grow to like some smells when you grow up and you stop liking others. You always hear about acquired tastes, but you don’t hear much about acquired smells.
ML: Like body odor.
AH: I don’t think that’s true.
ML: I think I read somewhere that Matthew McConaughey doesn’t wear deodorant because he thinks women like the way he smells naturally.
AH: I bet he smells like vanilla.
ML: …but like, really manly vanilla.
AH: That wouldn’t work out as well for me.
ML: Yeah, me neither, I’m an Old Spice man now. I made the switch. It took a little while for my armpits to stop burning when I put it on, but I think the nerve endings are dead now. So it was tough, but hey, I really like their commercials.
AH: Well you had no choice then.
ML: True. Op! This is my exit Aaron, I gotta run.
AH: See you! Friendship!
The coffee shop re-explodes.
Much can be, and has been, said about the Ministry of Secret Jokes. I was present for the show on August 8th, and since there was no oath taken beforehand, I am free to reveal events of the evening.
Below are the first and last words from each comedian who appeared on stage:
Comedian : First word / Last word
Steve Gerben: Hello / Story
Doogie Horner: Thank / Night
Chip Chantry: Hey / You
John McKeever: Give / Attention
Micah McGraw: Hi / Yeah
Baby Doug McGraw: Is / Ok
Corey Cohen: Yeah / Phone
Conrad Roth: Thanks / Horner
Bing Supernova: More / Not
David Terruso: Hello / Much
Black Wexler: You / Mother
Brendan Kennedy: Something / University
It should be noted, some of the performers appeared on stage multiple times through out the night. The words listed are their first from when they first spoke into a microphone, last words are final words spoken in the entire evening.
Joe Moore is a comedy fan and sometimes-performer. You can follow him on Twitter.
Comedians love giving advice, most of the time when they’re not even asked for it! Unsolicited Advice is WitOut’s chance to give Philly comics the opportunity to do just that, without looking like a know-it-all so-and-so.
If you are thinking of making a career in comedy, don’t start a family. However, if you are an immature, reckless, simpleton who has no qualms about shunning the lifestyle of a well-adjusted adult in order to pursue your dream of becoming an entertainer, then continue reading as I will gladly show you how I’ve done it. It’s of utmost importance to decide early on in life if one would like to pursue dreams or start a family and spiral into the abyss. Thirty two years into my life, I’ve decided I’d like to have a career in comedy, but I also enjoy providing for my family so I have to teeter somewhere in the middle.
I began my career in comedy over eight years ago. Around that same time, I found out my girlfriend and I were expecting a baby. I fuckin’ love babies so I was pretty excited about the whole deal. Fortunately, once the baby came, my lovely fiance Jaime handled the brunt of the responsibilities while I caroused from open mic to open mic and performed roughly one show per weekend. This continued for about three years until my second daughter came along. I had to contribute a bit more at home, so comedy had to take a backseat now. I would wander into the occasional open mic and only do about 15-20 shows a year for the next three years. Then, Jaime and I found out we were expecting our final offspring, my son. When it comes to safe sex, Jaime and I have the planning skills of middle school rave organizers. If Jaime and I ever started a White Stripes-type band, we’d call ourselves Reckless Fuckers. So, logically, once our family starting rolling five deep, I decided it’s time to dedicate myself to comedy.
Honestly, being a comedian with a family is an absolute trainwreck. I can’t sit at the computer to write without breaking up a fight, cleaning up a mess, commenting on whether an outfit looks alright or not, changing goddam batteries on toys, answering why I’m on the computer, answering when I’m going to be off the computer, figuring out why the fuck one of the other four people or two cats in the house is crying, or just simply having someone stand over my shoulder as I type. Also, when I announce that I have to leave to do a show, the responses from the ladies of my home range from tears to anger. All in all, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. But please, if you have a dream to be a comedian and you do not have a wife or children, run with that dream. For the love of God, run like the wind! Or don’t. The world is always in need of fresh roustabouts.
If you’re a comic and want us to post your Unsolicited Advice, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
After 2 days, 20 hours and 100 amazingly funny people, ComedySportz is proud to announce The Rookie Class of 2011:
Alan Williams, Darryl Charles, Sue Taney, Kevin Lopez, Mark Leopold, Daniel Dorff, Rachel Sydney, Kevin Regan, Langston Darby and Lulu Krause.
ComedySportz calls new cast members “Rookies” out of tradition, but that title should in no way undermine their talent:
“These guys are really going to impress!” says Rookie Trainer, Jason Stockdale. “We are adding a group of very funny performers to our company. I’m looking forward to working with them over the coming months and can’t wait for them to hit the ComedySportz Arena and destroy everyone with their skills.”
The Rookies begin training this week and will debut mid-Fall.
ComedySportz performs every Saturday night at 7:30 and 10PM. Starting in September, ComedySportz expands its programming with “Final Fridays” — a series of new shows the last two weeks of every month.
Description: From the twisted and talented minds of Philly’s most hilarious comics, actors, and writers comes the second episode of DOWN THE SHOW!
Featuring original sketches and music from some of this town’s favorites, don’t miss the chance to see DOWN THE SHOW LIVE at Connie’s Ric Rac!
Style: Sketch Video Presentation
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Time: 9:00PM – 12:00AM
Location: Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S. 9th St. Philadelphia
Contact: Facebook Event
As we talked about all last week Philly Improv Theater debuted their new house teams on Friday night. Along with the debuts came the revelations of the teams’ actual names. Brandybuck and Shadowfax will now and forever be known as Hey Rube and ZaoGao. The teams will perform together during the Philly Fringe Fest at Fresh Laughs.
Next Tuesday, August 16, Chip Chantry will be recording his first live comedy album (Facebook Event) at Helium Comedy Club. Pat House and Amir Gollan will also be performing. Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased in advance online.
Last night at Helium, the first round of 2011’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest rolled right along with James Hesky, Chris Cotton and H. Foley advancing to the semi-finals, which are fast approaching.
The Grand Opera House in Wilmington Delaware is now accepting applications for their LOL @ The Grand contest. Ten comedians will be selected to compete and the winner will gain the chance to open for one of their upcoming mainstage comedians. Submissions can be found online and the deadline to apply is November 1.
Comedians for a Cause is organizing fund raising efforts for one of our own. Recently, Philly comedian Danny Ozark was attacked, beaten and robbed. Friend and fellow comedian Mike Rainey has organized efforts to accept donations for Danny through his PayPal account (send money to email@example.com on PayPal) as well as having a fundraiser show Saturday, August 13th at The Irish Pol (45 South 3rd St. Philadelphia).
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.
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.