Upcoming Shows

  • September 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 5, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 6, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 6, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 6, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 11, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 11, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 12, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 12, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 12, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 12, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 12, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 13, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 13, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 13, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 13, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 13, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 18, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Comedy Love Letter – From Aaron Hertzog to Philadelphia Comedy

Dear Philadelphia Comedy,

All of it. Every open mic that lasted for two weeks in a bar I’d never want to step foot in unless they let me talk at half-listening strangers. Every fire hall gig in the middle of nowhere booked by a gravelly disembodied voice on the phone with a promise of pay I wasn’t sure I’d really receive. Every awkward improv scene where I wasn’t sure what to do so I just got louder, repeated what I’d already been saying, and tried to be a bigger, sillier, goofier fool. Every line of every sketch where I’ve agonized over details that don’t even matter, like the full first and last name of a character whose name is never even said.

All of it. Every time a new joke does well at an open mic and gives promise of a new few minutes added onto the act. Every set in front of a crowd that just “gets it” and lets me go where I want to go and follows me there with no judgement, just acceptance…and of course, laughter. Every improv scene where I’m still not sure what to do but it just clicks into place and makes sense and flows together and builds (and I still become a bigger, sillier, goofier fool). That time when the crowd laughed just because we wrote that my character’s name was “Meredith.”

Six years ago I stepped onto a stage at an open mic for the first time with a page full of jokes about dicks and how college was more like an episode of I Love the ’80s (“do you guys remember this thing from our childhood?”) than any wild and crazy party time portrayal of college from any TV show or movie. Six years later and I’m still getting on stages, still talking about dumb stuff, and still loving every single minute of it.

I love the laughter. I love the struggle. I love the people. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll ever make doing this. People I have every single thing in the world in common with. People I have absolutely nothing in common with besides the fact that we do this. But just that one single thing means that I could talk to them for hours. There’s nothing I feel more comfortable talking about or gushing over or heatedly debating than comedy.

This city put that in me. Running around to multiple mics in one night with a group of friends. Staying late after a show to do karaoke and drink until the law says we have to leave. Packing as many people as we can into a park on Memorial Day for a picnic. Giving each other awards that only matter because we say they do.

Doing comedy is certainly difficult, but it is definitely worth it. Getting to say whatever you want to say and making people laugh is the absolute best feeling in the world. It is freeing. It is powerful. But it would be nothing without the people I’ve met along the way. When I say this letter is to “Philadelphia Comedy” that means that it is to you. Have we talked a few times at open mics about nothing? Then this is to you. Did you think I was a dick before you met me because when I first started I was too shy to talk to people? Then I’m sorry, and this is to you. Are you someone that knows me well enough that you’re going to make fun of me mercilessly after reading this? Then this is definitely to you.

I have to be leaving you soon. But you will never leave me.

#Friendship.

 

Aaron Hertzog is an L.A.-bound Philadelphia comedian. He is the host of ‘Hey Everybody!’ at Philly Improv Theater (final show Nov. 26th), until recently a member of PHIT House Team Hey Rube and a founding member of  The Holding Court Podcast.  He leaves Philly on Nov. 28th; be sure to say hi to him one last time before then.

Improvising Tragedy – What Happens When a Comedy Show Gets Surprisingly Intimate?

Last Saturday, I encountered an improv show that radically expanded what I believe the form is capable of.

At the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea, New York, an improv team called Grandma’s Ashes has a Saturday night show titled Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark. In lieu of getting a one-word suggestion for inspiration, the team invites an audience member to share the story of the worst moment of his or her life.

That’s right. Grandma’s Ashes starts its improv comedy show by asking the audience to think of the most painful thing that’s ever happened to them.

While asking for volunteers, an improviser offers up some past stories as examples—somebody nearly severing her leg in an accident and calling her dad thinking that she might be telling him she loved him for the last time, a person who lost his job, got kicked out of his apartment, and found out his mom died—and the examples are extreme, but have a certain, could-have-happened-in-a-movie quality, a survived-the-storm distance that allows us to laugh.

A young woman volunteers, and improviser Abra Tabak sits down with her for the interview, asking what moment in her life she’d like to talk about. The woman takes a breath and answers:

“It’s when I realized that my dad had been raping my sister for 18 years… and then I remembered that it had happened to me too.”

 

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