Oh hi, everyone! It’s me, Andrea! You probably haven’t seen me much lately because, well, I haven’t been to many shows, nor have I been standing awkwardly outside of the Shubin hoping to tell you how great you are. (Trust me, I STILL think you are the bee’s knees!) But here’s what I am here telling you. Don’t give up on your dreams.
Here are 4 ways to keep your budding comedy writing career blossoming after, you know, you’ve got important diapers to change:
1. Work-share options: And by this I mean, share your work! Get an amazingly funny and responsible sketch partner! Make her learn all the hard lines so you don’t have to. Bonus points if she’s toddler-friendly, and also can tolerate your unique quirks! (Like, for example, losing your costumes the day before your show. How were you supposed to know they looked exactly like your “donate immediately” pile?)
2. Flexible Scheduling: Ok, if you are lucky enough to have the option to be Stay At Home, as we say in the business – you’re in luck! You no doubt have a short roster of creative un/under-employeed folks to keep you company at the playground. Pitch these people your ideas, and take advantage of their after-dusk freedoms! This is how you find out what’s really happening in Comedy World, when you are home wrestling certain people into a slumber.
3. Affordable Child Care: What’s that? You are shooting a video and your only trustworthy babysitter has bailed? No problem! Your pride-and-joy is now in your sketch. Rejoice. Your YouTube videos now stand a chance at getting tens of viewers.
4. Utilize your audience: Lastly, don’t forget that being a family-person means you have a built-in audience. What more could a budding comedian ask for? Tell them your jokes, recite your hilarious monologues, polish your stand-up routine! Chances are, your family could ignore you completely, and go right on loading Elmo into the dishwasher. But you should get used to that kind of thing. After all, you want to be a comedy writer right? Silent rejection is just part of the territory.
Description: Join us Sunday November 11th (Veterans Day Weekend) as X-Rated Fusion Liqueur and Rebel Entertainment Group in conjunction with Rich Salter, Sean Clay, and I’m So Philly Entertainment presents a dinner theater styled night of comedy at The Diamond Club, a beautiful restaurant and lounge located on Temple University Campus directly on Broad Street (Broad and Polette Walk). Starring: Damon Rozier, Matt Black, Pretty Smiles, Shogun, Stax, and I’m So Philly, Hosted by Rich Salter & Sean Clay
Style: Stand-up Dinner Comedy Show with some Theater Seating as well
Date: Sunday November 11th
Time: Early Show 7pm-9pm, Late Show 9pm-12am
Admission: $20 in advance, More at the door.
Location: The Diamond Club at Temple University’s Mitten Hall Lower Level, 1913 N Broad St (Broad & Polett Walk)
New York comic/Philly native Dan Goodman’sSkinja began as a joke in his stand-up act. After a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project – it is now a fully realized short film in the style of a movie trailer with animation work from former Philly/current New York comedian Pete Kuempel. The mini movie has since been featured on Heavy and Co Ed Magazine. Goodman is trying to raise awareness of the film in hopes to create a full-length version of the movie.
This Saturday, October 27, the Grey Lodge (6235 Frankford Avenue) will present The Hardy-Har-Harvest, a free show featuring stand-up from James Hesky, John Kensil, Benny Michaels, Erin Mulville, and Nicole Yates. The show will also highlight a selection of seasonal beers for purchase. In the spirit of the show, we thought we’d ask the comedians to tell us a little bit about their favorite seasonal (adult) beverages. Here’s what they had to say:
Erin Mulville: Fall is the best time to get a beer at the Grey Lodge. My favorite seasonal beer is Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. It’s delicious and reminds me of my best friends, who gave it out as favors at their Halloween wedding. Also, like Darryl Charles, I’m excited by the creation of Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka.
Benny Michaels: I got into Victory Summer Love this past year. I’ve always been fond of Victory and drinking their seasonal beer during my favorite time of the year was badder and deffer than old school LL. Especially when I didn’t have to pay for it. Wish I had put some aside for the winter but I lack self-control.
John Kensil: I always liked Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale. This past weekend, I was in Chicago for an appearance and my cousin bought a six-pack of it. (We have a family tradition of finishing a six-pack then going up to our hotel roof and throwing fluorescent light bulbs down at morons on the street and pretending to be the Greek god Zeus nailing them with lightning bolts.) But this weekend the Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale tasted really thick and filling (like syrup and air fresheners mixed together) so I went out and had a local brew at the Half Acre Beer Company called Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. It was really good. Oh, and today I had a Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale on Tap at Smegma’s Bar and it was really good. I guess the six I had was earlier was skunky.
James Hesky: I definitely like Fall beers as well. Flying Fish Octoberfish is one of my favorites, plus there are a lot of great pumpkin beers. I also like Winter beers, but I don’t know if that’s because I prefer hoppy beers or because I always feel like it’s more socially acceptable to just sit at home and get drunk when it’s cold outside.
Nicole Yates: I’m a huge beer fan, no doubt. I look forward to the Dogfish Punkin Ale as well and, frankly, I wish they made more of it so I could try and hoard some for the coming colder weather. Pyramid Brewing, out of Northern California, has a nice Oktoberfest (I wish they could sell their wares here in PA, I think they are still dealing with our wacky liquor laws) too. There is just something about hoppy beers that are like the grownup version of comfort food and then when you add in the lovely aromas of caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, it’s like a drunken trip down holiday lane (without the DUI conviction).
The Dive is an aptly-named hole-in-the-wall bar on 7th Street and Passyunk Avenue. It’s one of the few bars in the city where smoking is still allowed, and references to Futurama, obscure punk bands, and pictures of naked breasts line the walls. If you enter The Dive at 9 pm on the third Friday of any month, and ascend the narrow, dingy staircase to the second floor, you will find Something Witty, a stand-up showcase. It’s extremely fun, loose, and equally as entertaining to a comedy new-comer as to the cluster of comics gathered in the back of the room by the bar.
The show is held in a small, intimate room, and this past Friday I had the pleasure of sitting in and watching eight solid comics including John Nunn, Alejandro Morales, Mikey Garcia, and Brendan Kennedy work their craft from the space of the floor between the tables and the bathroom referred to as “the stage.” All comics get about 7-10 minutes of “stage” time, paced by the continuous hosting of the show’s creator and booker, Alex Pearlman.
After the show, I caught up with Alex to talk about what it takes to make Something Witty:
Matt Aukamp: So tell me about your show. What’s this thing about?
Alex Pearlman: Basically, it’s a simple comedy Friday night showcase, and you can smoke at it. It’s the comics that I want to see do more time—do longer sets.
MA: How long has it been running?
AP: Since last November.
MA: What sort of acts and features do you look for?
AP: I look for people that make me laugh. People who don’t do hack material. People who, when I watch them, I don’t go, “Oh, I see what you’re doing.” I look for people I enjoy, people I want to see, and I try to find a good balance for what I think the crowd will be on that night. I want to give the crowd a good show, and also make it a show that I would want to be at. I’ve done shows in the past where, as a smoker, I’ve been able to walk out during acts to “get a smoke”—and I’ve never walked out on an act here, ever. I always make sure that I stay in the room because I want to enjoy them as much as anyone else. Again, these are the comics I want to see have 10-12 minutes. Guys who I see get 4-5, I want to see get 10-12. So I want to see their best set times 3.
MA: What sets it apart from other shows?
AP: It’s on a Friday. [Pause] Next question. No, just kidding. Basically, it’s the booked first half of your favorite open mic. I book Philadelphia acts. Occasionally I’ll do a favor and bring in a New York act that I’ve at least been able to watch YouTube videos of, but I don’t go out of my way to book New York acts.
MA: What, ultimately, would you like this show to become? Where would you like this thing to go?
AP: I would just like this show to be fun. And I would like it to be a showcase of the best talent in Philly. Not alternative. Not club. Just the best talent. I don’t like the terms “alternative” or “club.” I feel like some people think I run an alternative show, but the club comics do just as well as the alternative comics. As you saw tonight. Robert X was amazing, and he did just as well as John Nunn, who does clubs all over New York, and just as well as Doogie Horner, or Omar [Scruggs], or Jack Martin, John McKeever… I like the guys who can cross that line. They can play a club, or they can play a coffee shop at 6 o’clock in the evening. This show is for the NPR listener who switches over to MMR when NPR asks for money. And it’s also for the guy who likes to eat a Tofu Cheesesteak Whiz Wit.
MA: Are there any stand-out moments that occur to you from the show’s run so far?
AP: Well, let’s see…a couple comics actually getting laid from this show. And getting hammered after a show with people and just hearing what they like and what they don’t like [is great]. I’ve had more [positive] feedback from this show than any other show I’ve ever done. And just seeing comics who I know don’t get booked often, where sometimes it’s these comics’ first bookings, and seeing that light when they’re done, like, “Oh my God. I had a good show. I was booked. They counted on me doing well. They put me in a position in the line-up where I could knock it out of the park and I did. Oh my God, that’s amazing.” Also, no one’s ever run my light. And by no one, I mean Brendan Kennedy did on the first show, but it was great—we sang “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” at the end of his set.
MA: Any horrible moments?
AP: The best line-ups I’ve had have had the worst attendance. The comics where I was like, “These are comics I grew up with and have been waiting to book for my whole life” have performed for no one. And other comics where I’m like, “This guy’s been doing this for 3 months and I enjoy him [so I just want to try him on the show” have had a great night.
MA: Anything else?
AP: I hate promoting this show because I feel like it’s a good show and I wish people would just trust me on who I book. And I’m actually surprised by who I get sometimes—I mean, I haven’t gotten anybody who’s been on Marc Maron’s podcast, but I’ve gotten the top names in Philly because I’ve been in Philly for 10 years and I know who’s good. And always…at least three quarters of the show is going to be awesome and the other quarter of the show is going to be people you’ve never heard of, but you’re still going to want to stay in the room. Case in point: Young Guns 3 and Robert X, who are newer comics. It’s a weird mix of people who have never been booked and guys who get booked everywhere. And yeah, you gotta sit through a lot of people, but every single one of them is going to give you a different perspective, and they’re comfortable, because I booked them. They’re comfortable because they go, “Well, if you’re gonna fuck around, I’m gonna fuck around,” or they’re like, “Oh, this is Pearlman. We wanna do a good show.” It’s loose, but professional.
Something Witty at The Dive (947 E. Passayunk Avenue) occurs on the third Friday of every month at 9 pm, and will be celebrating its 1-Year Anniversary Show on November 16th. Admission is free.
Matt Aukamp is a writer, performer, and occasional improviser (The Win Show). You can usually find him bothering the world on Twitter at @mattaukamp.
This Tuesday, Comedy Dreamz at The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave.) returns for a night of comedy featuring Body Dreamz, Chris Cotton, Malwina, ManiPedi, Sharkee Katz, Bradley Beck, Nercorsexual, Joe Bell and more. With videos from Joe Stakun, Jared Dyer, and Down the Show. Doors open at 9, show starts at 10.
Myq Kaplan returns to Philadelphia this Wednesday to headline one night at Helium Comedy Club. Kaplan has appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and has since gone on to appear on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson and in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents... Tickets can be purchased online.
Tickets are still available to see Jim Norton at Helium on Thursday and Sunday night. Friday and Saturday shows are sold out. The comedian is known as the “third mic” on The Opie and Anthony Show as well as from his own HBO specials One Night Stand, Monster Rain, Lucky Louie, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
ManiPedi is debuting a new show this week at Philly Improv Theater. The sketch group will perform on Thursday and Friday night at 8:30 at PHIT (407 Bainbridge Street), with American Breakfast joining them on the first night and Local Holiday Miracle on the second. Next week they’ll be at it again with a second show, No More Wire Wangers (a remix of old sketches in preparation for their submission to Spank’d at UCB) on Thursday (7:30) and Friday (8:30). Tickets can be purchased online.
Philly Improv Theater will be holding open-call auditions in search of actors for their next Sketch Revue—written by PHIT Sketch Team Codename RZA—on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Sign-ups begin immediately. To secure an audition time please email your name, phone number, and a preferred time (if any) to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found online.