Upcoming Shows

  • July 24, 2014 8:30 pmFree For All: Maginficent Seven pt VI
  • July 24, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • July 24, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • July 25, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • July 25, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • July 25, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • July 25, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • July 25, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • July 25, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • July 26, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • July 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • July 26, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • July 26, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • July 26, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • July 31, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • July 31, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • August 1, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 1, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 1, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • August 1, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 1, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 2, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 2, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 2, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 2, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
AEC v1.0.4

Fringe Festival Preview: Myths and Monsters

Myths and Monsters director Nick Gillette

Philly Fringe is just around the corner. This annual festival brings the world’s newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to our city, amplifying the vibrancy of Philadelphia as a renowned cultural center. Philly Improv Theater contributes to this vibrancy with an entire month of special programing that will certainly entertain and entice, including the upcoming improv show, Myths & Monsters.

Myths & Monsters improvises theatrical tales by spontaneously performing stories of heroic transformation. The improv group moves and breathes in tandem. Each member depicts a monstrous beast or terrifying deity amidst trials and transformations.

This team finds inspiration in stories that trace back to King Arthur and beyond and have been reincarnated in films such as The Matrix and the Star Wars trilogy. The hero myth is a personal journey full of dragon battles, night sea journeys, impossible trials and supernatural aid. Each night of performance, the ensemble will reach deep into their collective unconscious and draw forth two new fantastical tales of heroism and adventure.

Directed by Nick Gillette, the cast of Myths & Monsters is: Ben Grinberg, Nikitas Menotiades, Brian Ratcliffe, Jess Ross, Kristen Schier, Molly Scullion, Adam Siry, Jess Snow, and Alison Zeidman

Director Nick Gillette is a local actor and PHIT instructor who began performing improv in 2002 with his Colgate University team Charred Goosebeak. He’s made appearances at Skidmore College’s National College Comedy Festival and the Del Close Marathon in NYC. He has studied under Armando Diaz, Keith Johnstone and Joe Bill and is currently improvising with several groups, including the unabashedly uninhibited gang, Medic. Nick is also a founding member of the PHIT house team, Mayor Karen.

Nick’s non-comedy adventures include performances with the 1920′s-inspired burlesque troupe Cabaret Red Light, giving tours at Eastern State Penitentiary and, his longtime hobby, playing 2nd edition Shadowrun, a science fantasy role-playing game where he pretends he is a cybernetically enhanced hacker hiding out in Central America. He’s currently a student at the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.

Nick took a little time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions about his upcoming show.

WO: The concept of Myths & Monsters is very smart and unique. How did you come up with it? What sparked the initial thought?

NG: This all came out of a conversation with Cubby Altobelli. We were talking about his work in Commedia dell’Arte and how there are these immortal archetypes for characters. It reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s ideas that there are immortal forms for stories too, and since I have improv on the brain almost constantly, the show sort of presented itself.

WO: Besides a clear influence for the performances narrative, what else makes M&M unique from your average improv show?

NG: The myth is the form, but the monsters are the crazy cool part of the show. We’ve spent a ton of time really working the ‘group mind’ of the performers. Moving as one, supporting a choice instantly without even knowing where it’ll lead. I have to hand it to the cast for the inventiveness and commitment to these creatures, some of them have been hilarious, some have given me true chills, all of them are incredible to watch.

WO: You mention Star Wars and The Matrix as modern examples of hero’s tales. Should fans expect to see some modern references as well?

NG: Nah. I chose those as recognizable examples of the hero story format, but I always feel like pop-culture references punch a hole in a show by winking and saying “hey, look at us improvising.” I want the performers and audience to get swept up in these stories, really drawn into the worlds, just in the way we can get sucked into a really good book and forget ourselves. If you want a film comparison, it’ll probably be closer to Jim Henson style stuff. Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, those sorts of fantasy worlds.

WO: You and your cast have been in rehearsal for some time. What has been your biggest challenge in putting this together?

NG: I don’t know how hard I can push my cast without being a bully. I want them to take real risks in performance. I want them to dig deep, to trust that they’ve got each others backs, to perform to their fullest. At the same time, I don’t know how much I can legitimately ask of them as volunteers. It’s a weird mix. We say things like “don’t go for the joke” and “truth in comedy,” but asking a performer to be honest and vulnerable on stage is another matter.

WO: As the director what has been the biggest surprise to you during this process?

NG: I was amazed at how quickly the cast got it. I would propose a kernel of an idea and see them pick it up and run with it in surprising and exciting ways. For instance, I saw Alison Zeidman, a not terribly imposing looking person, stare down and tame an enormous, threatening storm demon. It was epic, and I’m not using that word in its watered-down internet sense. I think maybe that’s the point of this show. We’re bringing epic back.

A PHIT production, Myths & Monsters can be seen as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe at the Adrienne Theater , 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 at 7:30pm from September 6, 2012 -to September 9, 2012. Tickets can be purchased online through Leap Ticket.

Philly Comedy Round-Up, Vol. 55

Last week, James Hesky was crowned Philly’s Phunniest Person by Helium Comedy Club. We told you about it here (where you can watch his winning set from the finals). Now, you can read this interview with Hesky on CityPaper’s Critical Mass Blog. Enjoy.

Tomorrow night, Comedy Dreamz returns to The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave. Philadelphia) for a night of comedy featuring  Body Dreamz, Aaron Hertzog, Carolyn Busa, Steve Miller-Miller, The Feeko Brothers, Alejandro Morales and more! Doors open at 9pm, the show starts at 10, with a dance party following.

Wednesday, September 5th Corey Cohen Comedy Productions will host a stand-up show featuring Nick Turner (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, King Temp) and Andy Hanes (Conan, Comedy Central) at The Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Ave. Philadelphia). More information can be found on facebook, and tickets for the event can be purchased online.

Mani Pedi will be hosting another ManiParty on Saturday, September 1 to help cover their travel costs to the upcoming Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Joining them on the show (at L’etage, 624 S. 6th St.) will be fellow BCAF performers Camp Woods and The Feeko Brothers.

Meg & Rob have announced a new show, dubbed “The Next Final Show” set for November 1, 2012. The first show from the duo since Meg Favreau moved to Los Angeles last year. Keep your eyes out for more details about this must see reunion show in the near future.

In meta-news, Collaborate Philly did an interview with us (more specifically, with editor Aaron Hertzog) about our website and the Philadelphia comedy scene. You can read all about us here.

 

 

James Hesky is Philly’s Phunniest Person 2012

Last night, in front of a packed crowd at Helium Comedy Club, ten comedians performed for the rights to be the seventh person named Philly’s Phunniest Person. When the laughter cleared, James Hesky’s name would be the one added to that list. Hesky, host of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at Philly Improv Theater, and co-host (with fellow finalist Darryl Charles) of CheaPodcast, has been an active member of the Philly comedy community for years and the announcement of his name as winner was met with cheers of joy and chants of his name from his fellow comedians. Second place in the contest went to Pat House, and the third place finisher was Chip Chantry.

Tonight: Philly’s Phunniest Person Finals at Helium Comedy Club

Tonight beginning at 8pm, ten comedians will take the stage to compete for the title of “Philly’s Phunniest Person 2012″ at Helium Comedy Club. Tonight’s winner will become the seventh person to earn the title, following in the footsteps of David James, Steve Gerben, Kent Haines, Anton Shuford, Doogie Horner, and Tommy Pope. Last year’s winner Tommy Pope was just featured as a New Face at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. The ten comedians performing tonight will be: Darryl Charles, Pat House, Tommy Highland, Vince Patterson, Sean Jackson, Chip Chantry, James Hesky, John Nunn, Ed McGonigal, and Kevin Hurley. Tickets can be purchased online.

Secret Pants: Gareth Barbarrow’s Barrowland

Philly Comedy Round-Up, Vol. 54

The first semi-final of Helium Comedy Club’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest was held on Sunday night with Darryl Charles, Pat House, Sean Jackson, Vince Patterson, and Tommy Highland moving on to Wednesday night’s finals. The second semi-final round will be tonight at 8pm at the club.

This Friday, The Sidshow will celebrate it’s one year anniversary with a show at The Arts Parlor (Broad and Federal St.) featuring Malone, Martha Cooney, Hate Speech Sub-Committee, Asteroid!, Mani Pedi, Iron Lung, and The Amie and Kristen Show. The show starts at 8:30 and will be followed by a party in the Arts Parlor space.

Mani Pedi will be hosting another ManiParty on Saturday, September 1 to help cover their travel costs to the upcoming Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Joining them on the show (at L’etage, 624 S. 6th St.) will be fellow BCAF performers Camp Woods and The Feeko Brothers.

Tuesday, August 28 will be the next ComedyDreamz show at The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave.) The show will feature performances by: Body Dreamz, Aaron Hertzog, Carolyn Busa, Steve Miller-Miller, The Feeko Brothers, Alejandro Morales and more. Cover is $5 with the doors opening at 9, show starting at 10, and as always, a dance party following.

Breakdown of a Bad Improv Workshop, Set to Run From Noon – 2:30

By: Matt Holmes

11:40:
The overly eager and overly early arrive to find a locked building with no signage. They wait.

11:50:
The regularly early arrive. Everyone meets everyone else and discusses the situation. They wait.

11:53:
Somebody arrives to open the door.

11:56:
The workshop instructor arrives, says hi to everybody and goes to the bathroom.

12:03:
The instructor tells everybody that they’ll start in five minutes and give people a little more time.

12:11:
“Well, I guess we’ll get started.”

12:11 – 12:13:
Roll call with three people not present

12:13 – 12:17:
Sitting in a circle as the first three people briefly introduce themselves, their complete improv background, an attempt at a joke, and a self-deprecating comment

12:17 – 12:19:
The fourth person in the circle goes into every last detail of her life leading up to this point.

12:19 – 12:20:
The rest of the people introduce themselves briefly.

12:20 – 12:25:
Instructor explains the plan for the workshop, now for the first time really thinking about it.

12:25 – 12:40:
A basic warm-up that’s overly simplistic for all but two participants who can’t grasp the mechanics or have like absolutely no rhythm or just can’t think of anything or have a really bad memory, so sorry everybody

12:33:
A late student arrives, complaining about traffic and parking, while carrying a coffee.

12:41 – 12:53:
Instructor explains in complete detail how the first exercise will work and how we’re pressed for time because most real workshops are at least three hours and this one, for some strange reason, is only two and a half, which really is not enough time.

12-53 – 1:10:
3-Line Scenes, alternating between jokey punchlines and confused arguments

1:10 – 1:17:
An open discussion about the previous exercise, trying to remember what happened, while highlighting problems and explaining rules of what never to do and what always to do

1:18 – 1:30:
An exercise focused on loose organic transitions and freeing yourself up to follow wherever it goes and being open

1:30 – 1:40:
An open discussion about the previous exercise, trying to remember what happened while highlighting problems and explaining rules of what never to do and what always to do

1:40 – 1:45:
Instructor asks everyone how they’re feeling about the work, everyone shrugs their shoulders and says they feel okay but wish they were doing better, and one student speaks at length about confusions and specific examples of “just not getting it”

1:45:
“Let’s take a ten-minute break to hit the bathroom, feed the meter, take a smoke break, etc.”

1:46:
One student has to leave early and thanks the instructor.

1:59:
“Okay, I guess we should get back to it. Let’s circle up and get warmed up again.”

2:00 – 2:04:
A children’s game with vague connections to theatricality

2:04 – 2:07:
Two students improvise a patient, engaging scene with an interesting point to it.

2:07 – 2:09:
Instructor points out that we didn’t know the characters’ names, if they were sisters or just friends, and that it wasn’t clear if they were in a restaurant or in somebody’s kitchen.

2:09 – 2:17:
Four more improvised scenes struggling to be coherent and interesting

2:17 – 2:22:
Instructor shifts gears into a series of scenes where students tag each other out.

2:22 – 2:25:
Students discuss the scenes, most citing that they were just about to do something good before they got tagged out.

2:25 – 2:34:
Another round of scenes with tag-outs; students now make quicker punchlines

2:34:
“Well, we’re a little over the time when we were supposed to end. Does anybody mind if we go a little longer?”

2:34 – 2:41:
Another round of scenes with tag-outs; instructor pauses each scene to discuss how truthful the scenes feel and then having them continue

2:43:
Instructor thanks everybody for coming and ends the workshop

2:43 – 2:50:
Casual discussion among students and instructor

2:45:
An overly eager student arrives for a workshop scheduled to start at 3.

Creator Spotlight: Polygon

By: Alison Zeidman

Back in July at Joe Gates’s apartment, I met with the producers of Polygon (Joe Gates, Marc Reber, Milkshake and Rick Horner via phone) to talk about how they got started, how they’ve blown up, and what’s next for their beloved monthly variety show.  During our chat, Joe offered me cherries he’d received in the mail from his mother, Rick was interrupted several times, Milkshake shared his views on circumcision, and I learned that  the men of Polygon have a…special…place in their hearts for my own improv team, Malone.
Alison Zeidman:Can you guys tell me how Polygon started?

Joe Gates: My group Rintersplit, which is Marc Reber, myself and Matt Akana, and Rick Horner with Claire Halberstadt as Suggestical, a little over a year ago had a show out at Milkboy in Bryn Mawr, and then we went out to a diner afterward and we were talking and it was like hey, it would be really great to start something up for people coming out of classes who really want to perform and really want to form a group, but aren’t finding spaces.

AZ: Is that still the primary goal, or mission, for Polygon? To be a place for new groups, or groups that struggle to get shows elsewhere?

Rick Horner: I might say our purpose is to encourage new comedic technique and encourage the performances of groups that are in the Philadelphia area at a pretty professional level, and focus on group dynamics as opposed to individual abilities, and really kind of provide a framework for the administrative operational side to encourage the integrity of the folks that are performing to perform in a professional way.

JG: We’ve actually been doing the Polygon show for over a year now; our birthday was back in April. We started out at another venue and ever since we’ve moved to L’etage we’ve just sort of upped the ante. I have more of a theater background [and at L’etage] we can just run it like a theater show.

AZ: Where were you guys before, and why did you move to L’etage?

JG: We were at Tabu before, a sports bar, and it was more of a…it was difficult to work with the sound of the bar behind us and it was a converted area that was sort of a stage but not quite, and we thought well we could get a place with an actual stage, and that’s where L’etage came in. We have a tech booth there, and we can do lighting, so instead of waving a phone madly at somebody to be like you have five minutes left, we can actually dim the lights and make it very professional. Originally we were only improv, but we saw a lot of things like storytelling really growing, and sketch, so we thought let’s include everybody.

AZ: Do you do most of the outreach to find those performers and groups, or do they come to you?

JG: Originally it was more of us doing the outreach, but we started to post on Facebook and just kind of put the word out there. So some of it’s kind of coming from the community now, now that we’ve kind of established ourselves a little bit.

AZ: So it’s new groups, developing teams, and also people trying to test things out a little bit.

JG: Yeah. I mean we’re not an open mic [laughs]. It’s different from an open mic in that you don’t get just three minutes and then somebody cuts you out. Again it’s more professional; we’re trying to make this like an actual show.

AZ: And where does the name come from?

RH: I think there was a strong push to make it Voltron because of the idea that Voltron is a bunch of pieces that get pushed together, but I thought that was just a little bit too straight on the money, so we kept discussing it until we came up with Polygon, which is just many different facets of something that’s all one thing.

AZ: Rick, you’re involved with so many different projects, your own groups, and F Harold, too. What do you feel sets Polygon apart, or what’s different about it for you as a producer?

RH: I think Polygon is just another piece of the puzzle. I would say that these things, whether it be Incubator or F Harold or Polygon, these are all levers that are designed to provide growth, whether it be with a mentor, or a venue. Whatever type of thing is needed. And I think for Polygon it’s really switching the lever of connecting folks and exchanging ideas and information with a bunch of people who are actively involved in the sketch community and the improv community and the stand-up community. So it’s a meeting point, and some of our shows have been really fluid like that, but it hasn’t always been that way. Thus far we have sought people out; it’s just now that folks are realizing that we’re more than just a monthly show, and they’re starting to seek us out.

AZ: And it seems like as much as it is for the community, the Polygon shows that I’ve been to usually have a lot of non-performers in the audience, so I’m curious about how you guys go about marketing your shows.

RH: Marketing is definitely a big focus for us. It’s fun to perform, and it’s more fun to perform for an audience, but given a choice between an audience of your peers, who are also doing it, and people who have never seen you before, it’s more fun and yet more challenging to perform for people when they have really no idea what to expect.

JG: I think the last Polygon we had maybe thirty people who were non-performers.

AZ: And why do you think that is? I work for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and I know from communicating with Marc that you guys are advertising on Phillyfunguide. Has that been successful for you guys?  Or maybe it’s not just that, but do you know how these outside people are finding out about you?

Marc Reber: We had a bunch of people mention that they’d seen us online, and Phillyfunguide does come up high when you search on Google.

RH: I think we are working on market research and figuring out who’s coming to our show and who our target audience is, but we’re kind of locked in on what we feel like people might be willing to pay, and frankly I think that it’s less than what is being charged at other theaters. I feel better about having a well-attended show that costs less, as opposed to a medium-sized show that costs more.

MR: And I think the last three months, we’ve tried to branch out our marketing, and I think it has improved things because we’ve definitely seen more and more people, who aren’t just improvisers.

AZ: So besides Facebook and Phillyfunguide, if you were going to make a recommendation for somebody else trying to market their show, could you say more about what’s worked for you guys?

MR: I think the next step is seeing what actual advertisement does. The online stuff is very voluntary–like someone has to actually be looking to go to an event to happen to be on Phillyfunguide, as opposed to seeing an advertisement as they’re reading a newspaper or something.  But either one of those, the online or the advertising, is just a way to expand your audiences.

JG: I think opening up Polygon to more than just improv has helped the numbers, too. I spoke to a couple at the last show and they said we’re just here to have a good time. We have no idea what’s going to happen, we just like to get out of the house. And I was like, this is the perfect place for you.

MR: And I want to second that to the extent that opening up to all forms of comedy in Philadelphia has made it easier to find acts, and that leaves more time for things like marketing.

AZ: Do you think the venue has anything to do with it?

MR: Yeah, it’s just a really great venue. It’s hard to deny that. And the bar is right there, it’s a very nice bar, it’s just a pleasant…it’s a total experience. And that venue has always been very popular, so we’re very lucky to be in that space.

AZ: Can we get into the specifics of what it takes to put on your own show? What are some of the technical challenges of just producing the show the night of, or leading up to it?

JG: Getting a variety of acts to come in, that’s the main challenge I think.  And I think one thing that people talk about often on the Philly Comedy Network on Facebook is getting the shows to start on time, so curtain is always at 8:05 just as a courtesy, but performers have to be there ahead of time. So call time is at 7, and then doors open at 7:30, and you let people in and really I think the call time for the performers was the most difficult thing, but it was also the best thing for the show in terms of structure. Because they have time to warm up, sort of situate themselves, look at the stage instead of coming in maybe five minutes after one group has already started and seeing oh that stage isn’t going to work for us, or the lighting is wrong, or we need more chairs. So getting everybody there ahead of time, it just makes everything work kind of like clockwork. And definitely getting a space that you love and other people love coming to and love performing at, that’s pretty important.  And I guess just kind of organizing the groups is kind of fun too. You want something really powerful and awesome, you want something that people have never seen before but will really make them think about coming back, and you want new people too. We love new people, we love their lovely faces. And I think [your team] Malone is an excellent example of that; you guys are kind of really climbing the ladder.

RH: Yeah don’t forget to mention Malone, say something about how great they are.

JG: Malone is one of the most attractive…

Milkshake: They’re really good looking, is the thing. It’s hard to compete. No matter how good your team is, you have to compete with the fact that Malone is a very, very fuckable team.

MR: And there are more than five of them, so.

Milkshake: There’s more to choose. As if you needed to choose. Any one of them, male or female, they’re all..

AZ: One of our members is under 18…I’ll just point that out.

Milkshake: I don’t care! I don’t discriminate!

MR: Let’s say very kissable.

Milkshake: Very kissable!

JG: I would hold hands with any member of that team, on a date, in a meadow.

AZ: Let’s talk about what upcoming things you guys have planned.

JG: Well I’m really looking forward to the October show. October is one of my favorite months. I grew up with ghost stories and things like that, so I want to get Rintersplit to perform in October because we’re kind of more ghost-oriented, and there are a couple of storytellers I would really like to get in and tell some gnarly ghost story stuff.

AZ: Do you usually try to do themed shows?

JG: I’m getting more into it. Like our last show we had at Tabu, it was all ladies’ night, lady-oriented, and it was Mani Pedi’s first show and they are fantastic.

MR:  But that’s not really our point, our point is more just to have a show that everyone can enjoy, that performers can enjoy, and an opportunity for us to perform, because we are among the independent comedy community. So if the theme works out great, and if there are opportunities like October and Halloween, then it’s like hey, why not go for it.

AZ: Can you guys talk a little bit more about some of the new components of the show, like Philly Secrets?

MR: Well Milkshake is the director and he had the idea of doing something along the lines of Post ecret, where the idea is that people send in their secrets and essentially they’re shared but still secret because they’re anonymous. And to the extent that these are very moving pieces, they provide a lot of emotion and a lot of background, things that are all in improv.

Milkshake: I think just one nice thing about the Secrets show is that the source material itself, the secrets that we use, particularly when they come from PostSecret it’s a very visual experience, it’s a quick snapshot of somebody’s situation that they’re having difficulty dealing with. So they create this anonymous art, and they send it to Frank Warren in Baltimore and they get it off their chest and they share it with other people.  Just those in and of themselves are so interesting that to do theatrical work that’s inspired by that, wow, you’ve got a great diving board into a beautiful swimming pool to kick off from.

AZ: Are you using the secrets from PostSecret, or are you soliciting your own?

Milkshake: We’re soliciting secrets from Philadelphia, however the method by which I had chosen to do that was insufficient and I wasn’t getting the responses that I need. We’re still working on acquiring more, but yeah, the first two performances were entirely reliant on secrets from the PostSecret website. And I have no beef with that, but I want to do the show about secrets of people from Philadelphia. And the scenes that we see can be usually funny but not necessarily, especially with somebody like Kristen Schier on the team, who loves any opportunity to do improvised dramatic work. And a nice thing that was pointed out to me is when you take a secret that’s difficult to deal with, like one that’s about abuse or addiction, that usually won’t be a funny scene, but the scene after that, as long as it’s remotely funny, the audience is so ready to laugh that the response is usually pretty explosive.

AZ: How was it determined that Phily Secrets would be a good feature for Polygon?

JG: It’s so fresh, and so new, and it’s a very rich format and it’s laden with dramatic scenes.

Mlikshake: And there’s a lot of sexual ones.  There are a lot about penises.

JG: [whispering] This is going in the paper!

Mlikshake: Well, she’ll snip and cut. Edit.

AZ: I don’t want to snip and cut any penises…

Milkshake: Don’t, no! Don’t do that, it’s not necessary. It has no medical benefit. But I was going to say, I would like to do an entire Secrets performance where we’re free to  choose the sexual material if we want to, but not have it foisted upon us. And that’s kind of my job as host and curator, to choose the secrets that we’ll work from. But then I think to myself, it would also be cool to have a show where every scene is of a sexual nature.

JG: I’m going to go back and try to answer the question that you asked. I think another one of the reasons that we picked Secrets as kind of a Polygon mainstay is because there’s so many different things that come out of it that we don’t really see in improv, and that’s kind of what we’re all about, the new stuff, the fresh stuff.

AZ: And it sounds like Secrets also has this level of built-in theatricality and drama, and sort of that elevated level of theater that you’re trying to present with Polygon.

JG: When I was a student of dramaturgy, three of the questions that we always asked ourselves of a play where why this play, why now, and why this audience?

Milkshake: We did go over those questions. Did I answer them well?

RH: You answered them. I don’t know how well.

Milkshake: Were you dissatisfied, Rick, with my answers? Do you remember dissatisfaction?

RH: Well you seemed dodgy and unconfident, that’s all.

Milkshake: OK, that sounds like me.

JG: You mentioned at many times during your presentation that people are fascinated by real people’s lives.  But also these people are opening themselves up to us. And kind of trusting us with a secret.

Milkshake: And in turn I feel like the work the cast is doing by improvising a scene is kind of metaphorically putting their arm around that person and embracing them. We’re exploring it and experiencing it with them, sort of, to the best of our ability, through theatre.

AZ: So just to wrap up, Polygon is once a month at L’etage, and the best way to book a show is to…

JG: Contact Joe or Mark.

AZ: And if you have a secret that you want to see explored in Philly Secrets?

Milkshake: The best way is to go to formspring.me/phillysecrets.

MR: And Polygon is once a month, at L’etage, but we’ll also be part of Fringe again this year, and I’ll let Rick talk a little bit about that.

RH: We’re finalizing the venue, but I expect that this year there’s going to be some good surprises, which I’m not certain I’m ready to divulge quite yet. I might describe the Fringe this year as more opportunities for people to get involved. And there’s likely to be some sort of a process specifically to submit to the Fringe shows which will be coming out pretty soon, so people will have slightly more control over their involvement.

JG: So look for updates online, and if you have something new and beautiful and need a space to do it, we’d love to check you out.

The next Polygon show is Tuesday, August 14th at 8 pm at L’etage (624 S. 6th Street). Tickets are $5.

Podcast Pickins with Intern Lisa

This week’s podcast is Comedy Film Nerds!

The podcast Comedy Film Nerds, hosted by comedians and film connoisseurs Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini, combines two of my favorite things: comedy and movies. The only thing better than hearing funny people talk about movies, is hearing funny people who know their shit talk about movies. Guests, such as Marc Maron, Jimmy Pardo and Chris Hardwick, come into the Nerd garage and talk about their favorite movies and movies currently out. This fun podcast doesn’t just stick to the classics, they review the good and the bad (yeah, and I mean Step Up Revolution). What’s awesome about the podcast is that their completely aware that movies are subjective (what a new idea)!  Although I disagree with some of their reviews (this is ‘Merica after all), Chris and Graham give thoughtful and poignant explanations about what they do and do not like about these movies. So instead of talking to your Transformers loving friends, listen to a few episodes and your sure to get your Netflix Queue full.

My top 5 Comedy Film Nerds Pickins

5. Ric Meyers

I’ve never really watched Kung Fu movies so I was pleasantly surprised about how interested I was to watch them after listening to this episode. Kung Fu film expert, Ric Meyers, sits down with Chris and Graham to talk about how you don’t want to fight someone who knows Kung Fu, The Dark Night martial arts aren’t so accurate, and the extravagance of Comic-Con. This episode will surely get you interested in the art of martial arts and kung-fu movies.

4. Jackie Kashian

This episode is just fun. Jackie Kashian, host of The Dork Forest, brings in her “DVD closet.” What I love about this episode is that it covers an array of  different movies and genres such as superhero movies, classics, comedies, and guilty pleasures. What’s great is that this episode makes you feel better about the randomness of your DVD collection; it’s OKAY to have a copy of Mr. Magoo and Robin Hood: Men In Tights and not have The Jerk, we won’t judge (okay maybe a little).

3. TJ Miller

TJ Miller is a hilarious human being. Fact. The episode covers a little bit of the 2012 Oscar nominations and holds some great rifs about movies that were currently out such as The Grey and Man on a Ledge. Also, TJ Miller has perhaps the best, and only firsthand Tom Cruise story I have ever heard. The story itself is enough to listen to the episode.

2. Doug Benson

The king of comedy and movies, Doug Benson, drops on by the garage to talk about holiday movies. The episode is full of Christmas movie bashing, victims include movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. It’s an interesting conversation because you don’t often hear reviews about movies you’ve watched and enjoyed every year since you were a child. The guys also play the ridiculously hard Leonard Maltin game, which leaves me feeling incredibly stupid or young.

1.  Dark Knight Rises

OKAY, feel free to judge me, but yes I have chosen an episode fully dedicated to the Dark Knight Rises and #1! Here me out reader, this is a good one. I love this episode because podcasts don’t usually go into detail about movies or television shows because they don’t want to spoil it for any of the listeners, but this episode is full of spoiler awesomeness! Since Dark Knight Rises was perhaps the best movie of the year (don’t you dare deny that) the guys with guest Mike Schmidt go into detail about their likes and dislikes about the movie. What I also love about the episode is that you can really hear how much these three grown men love the Batman universe and what this trilogy has sincerely meant to them. Movies are so much more than moving image on a screen, they can really hold great importance in our lives. Great episode, great conversation.

If you to check out more, visit their website or buy their book The Comedy Film Nerds Guide to Movies.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 53

Last night, the seventh annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued at Helium Comedy Club with Jim Grammond, Jim Ginty, and Andy Hudak moving on to the semi-finals. The competition continues Sunday, August 12 and Monday, August 13 with the semi-final rounds being held on Sunday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 21.

This week continues Philly Improv Theater‘s two week run of shows for July/August at The Shubin Theater. Last night, things kicked off with Fibber, tonight improv groups Hey Rube and  Hot Dish take the stage at 7:30 in a fundraiser show for the Women’s Charity Center followed by Harold Night featuring ZaoGao and Mayor Karen. The full schedule for PHIT shows is available online.

Also tonight, Free Improv at Connie’s Ric Rac celebrates its one year anniversary with a show featuring Deleted Scenes, Bad James, Cock Hat, Sleep Walking, Kait and Andrew, Medic, The Amie and Kristen Show. Doors open at 8 and the show starts at 9.

This Wednesday, Accidents Will Happen returns to Adobe Cafe for a night of comedy featuring Alex Pearlman, Darryl Charles, Jenn Tisdale, Joe Murdock, Mariya Alexander, with sketches by ManiPedi, and story from Guy Guy. As always, an open mic follows the show at 11pm.

The lineup for the next Camp Woods Plus has been announced. Wednesday, August 15 will mark the return of the sketch group’s monthly show at L’etage and will feature performances by The Feeko Brothers and Reformed Whores.