You want high energy and high octave? Hear no further than this gem of a chuckle. His giggle is so adorable, it would make a flirtatious school girl just give up on chasing the prom king. Usually positioned in front, you cannot mistake it.
4) Tom Whitaker – “HA!”
Hide grandpa when this character is laughing, because just short of the sirens it could be mistaken for an air-raid. Keeping with the combat terminology, it also isn’t just the low frequency but the positioning. Tom Whitaker is a flanker. Rarely seated, almost always standing on the side, this laugh-vigilante will sneak up and strike when you are least expecting it. No one is safe.
3) Mike Marbach – ______
This is the only qualifier whose laugh can not be transposed onto paper: . That’s right, silence. Nothing. Like a beautiful comedic nymph whose laugh was stolen against his will, it is unclear what he did to upset the Gods. But it is there, and if you listen close enough, it can be magic to your ears. Listen. Closer. Can you hear it? No? Then you are not listening.
2) Cara Schmidt – “HeeHaw!”
More refined than a cackle, just short of a shriek, this lovely ladies laugh could overpower the collective audiences of Dane Cook and Carrot Top combined*. Her to-herself-laugh while reading Sunday comics would embarrass any of your at-the-expense-of-others laughs* (*research pending). You want to feel like a champ? Just tickle this girls funny bone and you have the inside track to “killing it”. Legend has it, she is a big pun connoisseur.
1) Joe Gates – “ggggggha ha”
There are two parts to the Frank Sinatra of Philadelphian laughter. As any good symphonic orchestra, it starts of slowly like a spring-time brook receiving the melting snow from the mountains above. A steady, constant flow of warmth and sincerity. Just when you think its about to end, it crescendos. This vocal maestro smartly adds more bass and the volume climbs until you are in the middle of the Mississippi River, next to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, laughing too much to realize they are a little bit racist. I would literally perform only for this gentleman and be OK with it.
4. When Fastball Bob dressed like a baby angel or something.
3. Some Peanut Butter bullshit song.
2. When Secret Pants killed Snoopy or whatever.
1. WHEN BENNY MICHAELS PULLED THE CHAIR OUT FROM UNDER MR. TARTAGLIA AT CONNIE’S RIC RAC. This was seriously the most funny/immature/base humor/brilliant moment in my life. Rainey and Mayo were doing a benefit show at the Ric Rac a couple of months ago. From what I remember, those two, Benny Michaels, me, the Feekos, and I’m sure some other funny folks were on the show- it was a fun time. At one point, Mayo was onstage. I was sitting in the back row of folding chairs, at the end of the aisle. Christian Feeko was sitting a few seats down from me. Benny walked over from the bar, and naturally wanted to sit next to me, because I am awesome. I was at the end of the row, so Benny decided to pull back the chair from the end of the row in front of us. As he does this, he goes to whisper something to me. He is so focused on whatever the contents of that whispered message are, that he does not see/realized that Mr. Tartaglia, a man in his 70’s, I’d assume, was attempting to sit down in the chair that Benny was now pulling out from under him. Christian and I both saw it happen in slow motion, but were powerless (according to us) to do anything to stop it. Mr. Tartaglia went down hard. Benny was shocked and horrified at what he had just done. Mr. Tartaglia then pops right up and yells, “WHAT IS THIS, SOME KINDA MAGIC SHOW???” Benny grabs the chair, sits the gentleman down, and makes sure he is OK, which, thank God, he was. Meanwhile, Christian and I were in tears, hyperventilating, like a couple of 12 year olds. We both had to leave the room. Benny Michaels, as many of you know, is one of the sweetest, kindest human beings you will ever meet, and funny as hell besides. And he felt AWFUL for what he inadvertently had done. But in doing that, he gave Christian Feeko and I the greatest gift you could ever give another person. Besides your virginity. Or a Lexus. Or a kidney. Speaking of kidneys and body parts, it should be noted that Mr. Tartaglia had undergone heart surgery just two weeks prior to the incident. As of this post, he is in wonderful health, and is, as many of you know, a great man with a great big heart.
Thank you, Benny Michaels, for all you have done, in this, 2011, the year of our LORD.
My name is Joe Moore and I go to comedy shows in Philadelphia.
At a good deal of those shows, I like to drink beer. When I drink beer, I like to take pictures with my iPhone. People who drink beer and have an iPhone know that most often, these pictures are awful – upside-downer’s, close up’s of one of my fingers, and most of all, BLURRY’s!
I just spent a good deal of time going through all of the pictures (some shows have one or two shots, and a few notable cases where I have close to 100!) and have selected my 5 favorite photos.
Out of the approximately 80 shows I went to and the many many shots, I’ve narrowed those down to my top 5:
In no order, here they are:
#1: “Changing of the Guard” Sketch Up or Shut Up – 3/4-5/2011
I think I killed most of a 6-pack (shared the rest) during “Meg and Rob – Quality Value Convenience: The Final Meg & Rob Show.” I know that I went to BOTH the Friday and the Saturday shows. I remember getting my shirt signed by BOTH Rob and Meg after one of the shows. I DO NOT remember putting the shirt in the washing machine that stole the signatures. And I just barely remember sticking around in front of the Shubin Theater after the Friday Show long enough to catch my second Sketch Up or Shut Up. A free show, Sketch-Up is just as nice at twice the price and one of my favorite shows each month.
This photo depicts Meg passing the proverbial torch to Brian.
#2:Bird Text Comedy Showcase – 4/1/2011
The first Bird Text Show! This was one of my favorite nights of comedy all year, for 3 reasons: 1 – It was my first time seeing The Feeko Brother’s Jay PeeBee’s PB+J. / 2 – It was my first posted submission to WitOut.Net. / 3 – It was an incredible night of brilliant comedy. Easily the best line up I’ve ever seen on stage at Helium.
A packed crowd got to see a killer line up of comedy and I drank a lot of beer.
Close readers of WitOut.net will note: I totally called the outcome of Philly’s Funniest and lit the match that became the Tommy Pope wild fire when I reported: ” 9:02 – Tommy Pope takes the stage. Is funny.”
#3: The Theme Show – 7/29/2011
The First Theme show was a really fun night for me as well as a funny night for Philly Comedy. After taking the reigns of the fabled Bed Time Stories, an amazing legacy which I unfortunately didn’t drink enough to take pictures of, I’m sure both performers and audience were expecting some hiccups. Rob Banewicz had Gregg Gethard’s funny shoes to fill, and filled them well with an entertaining show that went off without a hitch.
#4: Hate Speech Hall’s Jesus is Really Galactus – 5/20-21/11
I took this picture at 2:35 AM. I have no idea what is going on here.
My sustained adoration for Luke Giordano is VERY WELL documented on WitOut.Net. That being said, I was on stage this night which means it was probably the best night to be an audience member of anything ever. This was a photo I took from the stage, something I normally shouldn’t be able to do, but did anyway.
DISQUALIFIED #5A: TV PARTY – 3/30/2011
Once a month, The Shubin hosts what I believe to be the most fun a person can ever have – Guilty Pleasures w/ Brendan Kennedy and Roger C. Snair followed by TV Party Paul Trigg and Rob Baniwicz. Hands down the best $10 I’ve ever spent, and the best $1,010 I plan on spending for the next 101 months.
They have an old hollowed out TV they use as a cooler… which also can sometimes be a hat.
Disqualified because I didn’t take the picture, but me wearing the TV/Cooler from TV Party on my head is pretty cool.
During the Philadelphia Improv Festival this year, Adrift was featured. It was pretty star studded and I remember sitting there thinking what an amazing cast I was seeing. Tara DeFrancisco, Jill Bernard, Brian McConnell, plus some of Philly’s most experienced improvisers. Then there was Luke Field. I had only seen Luke perform once before and I knew he was good, but in a boat that full of talent I was afraid he might not be up to the challenge. And for a long time, it looked like it might turn out that way. Luke sat perfectly quiet for the whole first “day” of the show, not saying a thing. The second “day” started and things were moving along at a gentle pace, when the conversation in the boat quieted and reached a natural lull. Then Luke softly spoke up with an amazing offer, “I’d just like to reiterate my offer to hear anyone’s confession if they would like to.” It made the show for me. It was just a great, simple, strong move. Good job Luke.
Kristin Finger’s in The Real Housewives of Philadelphia.
The Real Housewives also performed during PHIF. It was a great show with many awesome moments, but one stood out to me above the rest as just a fantastic moment where a performer understands the audience completely. Throughout the show, various characters would step forward and do “confessional” scenes to the audience. Kristin’s character was very masculine. I’m not sure if she was a man, used to be a man, wanted to be a man or what, but it was pretty fantastic to just get to watch her duding it around stage. At one point, she stepped forward into the confessional, sat down uncertainly on the very edge of the chair and just tucked her chin back and said, “Uh…” in the character’s deep voice. The audience immediately exploded into a roar of laughter. But that isn’t what impressed me about that moment. What impressed me was what she did next. She read the audience perfectly and simply shrugged and walked offstage, which elicited yet another roar of laughter. Perfect timing, perfect offer, perfect delivery. Great stuff.
Billy Thompson’s cartwheel.
ZaoGao plays with a lot of intensity and I’m always impressed with the effortlessness of their constant support for one another. This was never more apparent than in a show during their Fringe run. Billy Thompson had established the character of an impertinent and lazy king who had other people do things for him. As the show progressed, two other characters challenged one another to a cartwheel race. No sooner had they finished their race than Billy ran forward and commanded his minions, “I want to be in the cartwheel race!” The whole team then proceeded to cartwheel him across the stage and it was wonderful. Great job ZaoGao, great job Billy.
Kristin Schier’s clowning at Sideshow.
At Sideshow this year, we all we treated with Kristin Schier’s clowning act. I loved it. I had never seen a clown before then. Not at the circus. Not at children’s party. Not at a party for clowns where you just invite clowns because that’s going to automatically be a pretty great party. So I didn’t know what to expect. Clowns have a reputation for being either terrible or terrifying. Kristin was neither. Her clown was this wonderful child-like creature who interacted so openly with the audience it was intoxicating. Everyone in the room was on the edge of their seats the entire time. She went through a wide range of emotions during her set, but one moment in particular stood out to me. Along one side of the stage the wall was covered in mirrors with a curtain obscuring them. Kristin’s clown, exploring the space, peeked behind them and discovered that there were mirrors there and gradually pulled back the curtains with growing delight. When the curtains were finally drawn, she caught sight of herself and reacted with surprise and confusion, turning to the audience as if to say, “Is that really me?” She then turned back to the mirror and simply looked at herself, becoming sadder and sadder…as the audience came on that emotional trip with her. Just amazing patience and control and willingness to go where that moment took her. Awesome job Kristin.
If you watch commercials you’ve probably seen Tom Fowler. He’s pretty great. If you’ve come to Comedysportz you may have seen Mary Carpenter. She’s pretty terrific too. Together they performed this year as Dangerous Fools. I caught their show this year when they performed at the Shubin and it was basically a seminar on patient scene work. One moment which really stood out to me was a scene where they were playing a husband and wife, trapped in a crazy female neighbor’s bathroom after their attempt to invite her into their newly open marriage had gone wrong. She had turned out to be way too into it and things had gotten intense and surprisingly racist. They had tried the open marriage because Mary’s character couldn’t bear the thought of touching him. So while they’re trapped in the bathroom, furiously arguing with each other in frantic whispers, Tom points out that it was all her idea to begin with, to which she respond, “I don’t want to touch you, but I can’t bear the thought of anyone else touching you either!” After that offer, Tom simply looked while Mary clapped a hand to her mouth. Then they stayed like that for about FORTY FIVE SECONDS. It was amazing. It was just insane to watch two performers have the balls to just stay there, silent, and allow their characters to react emotionally to an offer. So great. Then, after the tension had built to an unbearable limit, Tom simply said, “That is the sweetest thing you have said in a long time.” Great stuff Mary and Tom!
This sketch just debuted at Keep The Change Ya Filthy Animal: A Yuletide Variety Show – Secret Pants’ now annual holiday sketch show at Johnny Brenda’s. I stood in a room full of laughing audience members and fellow comedians who were amazed at the consistent, fresh, hilarious concepts and execution Secret Pants always brings to the table. This sketch is a prime example of that. Do yourself a favor and just enjoy this sketch, don’t do as I did and sit there wondering who plays the back of Paul Triggiani’s head (my guess is Brian Kelly).
Bird Text – The Real Househusbands of Philadelphia Occupy Philly
The Bird Text fellas combine their breakout characters with the hot-button-issue-of-the-later-half-of-the-year-that-disappeared-as-soon-as-the-cops-chased-everybody-out to make for some great moments in man-on-the-street comedy. This was the perfect third act for the Househusbands characters, a great way to keep the idea fresh and branch out to new territory.
Camp Woods – Detective Berry
Camp Woods has been killing it lately. Every show is packed with tightly written sketches that start with strong premises and are full of fearless performances from each of their members. I probably spend too much time over-analyzing comedy, and lately I’ve been thinking about Camp Woods and their group dynamic. The group is full of versatile performers who know how to write for each other and where they all fit in. They also know how to take a great premise and squeeze every laugh out of it with a combination of big, balls-out performances, and small nuanced hilarious moments. This sketch is a great example of that. The idea it self is laugh-out-loud silly, but the sketch is jam packed with little moments that make it great. From Billy Bob Thompson’s facial expressions to Brendan Kennedy’s reaction shots to JP Boudwin’s bewilderment to Sam Narisi’s great delivery of the line “it all makes so much sense”. Even the way Billy says the word “cum” makes me laugh.
I’m sort of cheating here by including The Feeko’s entire set from this year’s Philly Sketch Fest. Only “sort of” because the entire show ran together and was connected beautifully so it seemed like one complete sketch. The show started with a “body switch” premise, so I was hooked from the start. The set continued with a mix of new and previously seen ideas blended together to take us on a trip to see the Feeko Brothers’ British counterparts, watch Billy as he became possessed by a Demon hell bent on getting some marijuana, and watch as Billy and Christian frantically tried to return to their own bodies. Plus, the whole thing was sponsored by a quaint little restaurant on the corner of Market and Fifth.
For the rest of the year, we are going to run lists from you, our readers (and some that we wrote ourselves) of our Top 5 of 2011. You’ll hear from many Philadelphia comedians, as well as some fans of comedy about their favorite sketches, bits, shows, and moments of the past year. If you’d like to write a list – go ahead, do it! and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first list comes from Executive Director of the Philly Improv Theater, Greg Maughan, and includes his favorite $5 passwords for PHIT shows from the past year.
5. “Everything You Like Is Stupid Dot Com”: I can’t say this password was really all that funny, but I do read Luke Giordano’s website as a result of having it’s domain merciless pounded into my brain every time I went to his show. (By the way Luke, I’ll be sending you an invoice for this product placement).
4. “Meatspin”:Alex Gross‘ passwords for The Gross Show have taught me more about obscure – and in the eyes of religious conservatives, deviant – sexual practices than anything else since Steve Babcock’s asides in my 8th Grade Health class. For the love of God, please don’t say I didn’t warn if you decide to Google this one and end up offended.
3. “I am the Dread Pirate Roberts, there will be no survivors.”: I think there were actually people who came to TV Party‘s show dedicated to Fairy Tales just for the privilege of getting to say this line and then give us $5.
2. “Boehner? I hardly know her!”: It was hard picking my favorite Chip Chantry pun-based password, but the political junkie in me won out on this one (even if it does require you to mispronounce the House Speaker’s last name). A close second was August’s “So IRENE’S Over, and I Says to Him…” the day after the hurricane hit Philly.
1. “Friendship”:Aaron Hertzog completely ignored my rule that the $5 password had to be different each show all year long, but he was so friendly about it I didn’t have the heart to tell him he needed to stop. Now I’ve told him so publicly though, so if I had money to bet I would say that his next show will have a different word… but the root will still be “friend”.
If you are outside of Philadelphia this Thursday, Bird Text is throwing a holiday themed Bird Text/ Househusbands Christmas at Maggie O’Neal’s in Drexel Hill. The show promises the premiere of the Christmas Episode of The Real Househusbands of Philadelphia as well as stand-up from some of Philly’s best.
Looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve? Johnny Goodtimes is hosting a 1960’s themed night of comedy, music, and New Year’s Eve fun at The Latvian Society (7th and Spring Garden). The night will start at 8:00 with a cocktail hour and move on to a comedy show at 9:00. After the comedy there will be music by Terrence Brown and the Hornets to cap off the New Year’s festivities. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door (and include beer, wine, and champagne) and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com or from Johnny Goodtimes himself at one of his Quizzos.
Here’s a Christmas video from Chip Chantry and Bird Text to brighten up your day.
Description: Two teams compete for laughs while a referee governs the action. And, in this interactive show appropriate for all ages, the audience gets to call the shots, too, awarding points and shouting out suggestions. Come see why ComedySportz has been the most popular improv comedy show in Philadelphia for almost 20 years! Style: Improv Date: Every Saturday Time: 7:30PM, 10PM
The Ministry of Secret Jokes returns this Wednesday (8pm) at Fergie’s Pub. This month, Doogie Horner plans to entertain you with a Super Special Holiday edition of The Ministry with performances from Juliet Hope Wayne, Gary Vider, Mike Robinson, Animosity Pierre, Amir Gollan, and a Christmas story read by Dagger himself! You can see more info or RSVP on the Facebook event.
This Friday marks the debut of the Fighting Burrito Comedy Showcase at The Grape Room Lounge in Manayunk. Hosted by Nicole Yates, the show will feature sets from James Hesky, Carolyn Busa,Jim Grammond, Mary Radzinski, Aaron Hertzog, Jason Hazelwood and Sean Preston.
This Sunday at O’Neals Pub (611 S. 3rd St. Philadelphia) Philly Improv Theater house team Mayor Karen will be hosting Comedy Quizzo. For $5 players can test their knowledge of all things comedy for the chance to win the first place cash prize or one of many other consolation prizes.
One more reminder, you have until this Friday to vote for the 2011 Witout Awards, which, we just announced last week will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 in the downstairs room at World Cafe Live keep updated on information as it is announced by RSVPing to the Facebook Event.