Upcoming Shows

  • April 24, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 24, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • April 24, 2014 9:00 pmCHEAT CODE W. SPECIAL GUESTS @ PHIT
  • April 24, 2014 10:30 pmHOUSE OF BLACK @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 25, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 25, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • April 25, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 25, 2014 9:00 pmCHEAT CODE W. SPECIAL GUESTS @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 10:30 pmSTORY UP! AFTER DARK @ PHIT
  • April 25, 2014 11:00 pmIRON SKETCH @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 26, 2014 7:30 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • April 26, 2014 8:00 pmBye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play
  • April 26, 2014 9:00 pmMEN WITH FACES + BIG BABY @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • April 26, 2014 9:30 pmSarcasm Comedy Club
  • April 26, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • April 26, 2014 10:30 pmTHE FUTURE + MAYOR KAREN @ PHIT
  • April 26, 2014 11:00 pmIRON SKETCH @ PHIT
  • April 27, 2014 4:00 pmPHIT PRESENTS: MILLENNIUM QUEST: WARP JAWN
  • April 27, 2014 7:00 pmTHE BUTTERED NIBLETS + THE DEAN’S LIST @ PHIT
  • April 27, 2014 8:30 pmGOON + THE SHAM @ PHIT
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Top 5 of 2012: Vegas Lancaster’s Top Five Awesome Reasons to be a Comedian in Philadelphia

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December, and slightly beyond, if we deem it necessary–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

1. Opportunities for Performance and Growth
OH MAN have you seen how many opportunities for performance and growth that you, the Philly comedian, have?! If you’re a stand-up there’s a pretty great open mic somewhere almost every night of the week (Helium‘s Tuesday night show is uber-polished, and Monday night’s Laughs on Fairmount r0x0rs my b0x0rs). If you’re an independent comedy act then Polygon is ALL ABOUT giving you an opportunity to perform in a well-put together show (that is literally what they are ALL ABOUT). If you want to beef up your improv chops, cool dudes and ladies want to practice with you at Incubator on Sunday nights, or jam with you late nights at Philly Improv Theater. If you want to beef up your improv chops AND PAY FOR IT (who doesn’t?), PHIT has been pumping out talented improvisers through their apparently well-taught classes faster than I pump out…Well, I’ll let you finish that sentence. Also, for those of you like me who love paying for things but hate committing to more than one day of a thing, PHIT’s been offering some pretty sweet workshops (Kristen Schier’s clowning workshop and Jill Bernard’s Fireball Theory taught me a lot this year, there I said it!). In conclusion, Philadelphia has many opportunities for performance and growth, hooray!

2. Consistently Good Performances Across the City
OH MAN have you noticed all the consistently good performances across the city? If you like comic theater, 1812 Productions puts on great stuff! If you like stand-up, our professional clubs are always hosting great acts! If you like long-form improv, PHIT hosts fun shows most nights of the week! And if you like short-form ComedySportz and The N Crowd have been putting on great shows every week for YEARS!

3. Innovative Shows!
Did you see Asteroid!‘s B-Movie? It was a great idea and really well executed! Did you see Myths & Monsters? It was a great idea and really well executed! ALSO OTHERS. Look I don’t get out as much as you guys, whatever.

4. Sweet Dudes and Ladies 
OH MAN have you noticed all the sweet dudes and ladies in the Philadelphia comedy community?! Here I am using the definitions of “sweet” that connotate niceness AND awesomeness AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT UP?! My crippling social anxiety and poor hygiene typically make me reclusive (not unlike the Brown Recluse, which does not typically reside in Philadelphia, this is bonus awesome thing about Philly number six), and yet I still feel welcome in the community! That’s pretty SWEET of you, dudes and ladies!

5. New York Stinks
Seriously, it is the stinkiest!

Vegas Lancaster is a stand-up comedian and a member of The N Crowd.  His opinions about New York City are his own, and should not be taken as an endorsement of anti-New York sentiment by WitOut.  WitOut has no beef with you, New York City.

Interview with Luke Cunningham, Member of Bird Text and New Writer for ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’

Luke Cunningham is back in town to help Carl Boccuti, Chip Chantry and Johnny Goodtimes ring in the new year TONIGHT for A Motown New Year’s Eve at La Stanza (2001 W. Oregon Avenue).  After that, he’s off to his new job writing for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he’ll be hanging out with The Roots, writing his ass off, and—fortunately for Philadelphia comedy—living in closer proximity to his sketch group Bird Text, which means we can expect a lot from them in 2013.  Luke chatted with WitOut a bit about what’s gotten him to this point in his career, and what advice he has for comedy writers coming up in Philly.

WitOut: What was the process like for getting hired on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?

Luke Cunningham: The process is long but simple. You submit by invitation. The producers reached out to my agent and asked if they had any writers who would like to submit. My agent asked if I’d like to do it again—this was the third time I had submitted for Fallon—and I was put into the packet pool. For the next four days, I had to submit my ten best jokes every day by 5PM EST, 2PM for me because I was living in LA. The previous times I had submitted, I only participated in the initial four days. This time, I submitted for a total of twelve consecutive show days. It was like The Hunger Games but for jokes. People were getting eliminated while I got to stay. After twelve days, they flew me in for an interview. I flew in Sunday, interviewed Monday and was back out on a flight that night.

The interview was cool because I was in a room with Jimmy and  the producers. When I said, “I’m from Philadelphia,” that got a round of applause. They love hiring people from Philadelphia because The Roots love having people from our hometown on the staff. Though after my interview, I was convinced I did not get the job. I had spent most of the time in the room listening to A.D. Miles and Jimmy riff on the Lakers.

I’ve gotten to the “In the room…” interview a few times. At that point, they want to make sure you’re not crazy, unwashed, violent, etc. Tina Fey described it as “Hire who you want to see in a hallway at 3AM.” Luckily, I am at my peak in hallways at 3AM.

CONTINUE READING…

Meet Your Nominees for the 2013 WitOut Awards: Best Improv Group

It’s almost time for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy!  As we get closer to the show, we’ll be rolling out a series of posts to help you get more acquainted with this year’s nominees. Read all about ‘em, and then be sure to get your tickets for the big event on January 13th at World Cafe Live!

The nominees for Best Improv Group are:

Davenger
A mix of improv veterans and fresh faces, Philly Improv Theater House Team Davenger likes its improv lean and gamey. Performing the classic Harold format, they attack the stage with emotion, intellect, and a strong sense of mischief.

Director:
Maggy Keegan

Cast:
Dan Corkery
Hilary Kissinger
Nicholas Mirra
Alex Newman
Cait O’Driscoll
Kevin Pettit
Jessica Snow
Max Sittenfield
Brian Rumble

The Amie & Kristen Show/Kristen & Amie Show
Best friends, total babes, and improvisers Amie Roe and Kristen Schier perform an organic and fluid improv comedy show that’s been featured in theater festivals throughout the United States and Canada (eh!). These West Philadelphia natives deliver improvised comedy that is part best girlfriend, part social commentary, and mostly id.

Cast:
Kristen Schier
Amie Roe

Asteroid!
Asteroid! are the nerdy-sexy Philly Improv Theater House Team who perform the grand-daddy of all improv forms: The Harold. Aided by their great hair, pop-culture references, and excellent fashion sense, they create aerobic, quick-paced shows where you’re all but guaranteed to see a funeral–or at least a death–and one terrible celebrity impression.

Director:
Mike Marbach

Cast:
Bert Archer
Luke Field
AJ Horan
Brent Knobloch
Lora Magaldi
Jessica Ross
Aaron Unice
Caitlin Weigel

Kait & Andrew
Kait and Andrew have been performing improv comedy together as a duo since the first Duofest in 2010, when they performed a premise-based show called Mr. and Mrs. After discovering how well they worked together, they decided to carry on as a two-person team under the much simpler, way less imaganative moniker, Kait & Andrew.

Cast:
Kaitlin Thompson
Andrew Stanton

Hey Rube
Hey Rube is a PHIT House Team. They take one word from the audience as inspiration for a flurry of improvised craziness. Formed in 2011, Hey Rube appeared in the NYC Improv Festival and 2012 Del Close Marathon, was a Philadelphia Weekly Pick, and won last year’s WitOut Award for Best New Group.

Director:
Matt Holmes

Cast:
Aaron Hertzog
Alex Gross
Dennis Trafny
Jen Curcio
Lizzie Spellman
Mark Leopold
Rob Cutler
Tara Demmy

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 71

Still looking for plans for New Year’s Eve? Last week we gave you this round-up of comedy shows around Philadelphia tonight.

Chip Chantry wrote this piece about his ten most awkward moments of 2012 for Philly.com.

In case you missed it (or if you want to see it again) Emily and Micah McGraw‘s set from Secret Pants‘ Christmas show A Banner Year at the Ol’ Bender House has made its way online.

Pick up a copy of this month’s Philadelphia Magazine to check out an article on comedian and storyteller Juliet Hope Wayne. The article also talks about the comedy scene here in Philly and mentions a certain website that reports on it (it’s us!).

The Sideshow: Happy New Year! show will take place this Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.). The show will feature performances from improv groups Gross Butler and Malone and sketch group Daring Daulton plus more!

This Friday will mark the first of three shows of The New Dreamz Experimental Residency Performance Art Program. The New Dreamz is the comedy performance duo of artists Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Rose Luardo. During the residency, the audience can expect to engage with material that will never be performed again and material that will be indoctrinated into The New Dreamz fat folds. Each of the three performances will be unique. The residency will be held at Space 1026 (1026 Arch Street) a Philadelphia collective art community and institution that was established in 1997.

Top 5 of 2012: Paul Triggiani’s Best Sketches by New Sketch Groups in 2012

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December, and slightly beyond, if we deem it necessary–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

In past years, I made it a goal to see every sketch comedy show that went up in Philly at least once. I considered it a duty to support the other sketch groups in town, but I also benefited from seeing what my peers were doing. Often times, they inspired me to write and perform better.

In 2012, it became impossible to see every sketch show in town. I would have had to give up my life and become a full-time sketch comedy audience member, and I don’t think that would have been very lucrative for me. I still make it to most of the shows, and I am still regularly inspired by the talent and brilliance of the people I’m privileged to watch (and sometimes collaborate with).

Here is a list of my favorite sketches by groups that started performing in 2012.

5. American Breakfast – “Prank My Tween”

A TV prank show where parents “prank” their tweens while a camera rolls on their reaction. Only, in this case, all of the pranks are just normal parenting behaviors; the tweens react with disgust because they’re tweens and that’s how tweens act when their patents do anything. I’m a sucker for a simple premise with a truthful observation at the core. This is that.

4. The Specific Jawns – “Rape & Murder Mystery Party”

This sketch was one of many very strong offerings during this year’s Dirtiest Sketch In Philadelphia competition. Specific Jawn Carl Boccuti “hosts” a rape & murder mystery party where he selects a handful of audience members who read aloud from evidence envelopes that they have been given. One by one, each participant reveals further gory (and hilarious) details about the crime, themselves and the song “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors.

Putting up a sketch that relies on the audience or non-performers to carry the scene can be risky and outside of our comfort zone, but when it works, it can pay out major dividends. Even if it doesn’t win a competition.

3. The Flat Earth – “Sexy Telegraph”

We know that the first message ever sent by telegraph was “What hath god wrought.” We could assume that the second message sent by telegraph was “What are you wearing,” since at the advent of any major technological breakthrough, our first question is “How can we use this to jerk off better?” That was the underlying assumption of “Sexy Telegraph,” where a man and woman engage in erotic telegraphy across the Atlantic (and it escalates over the course of the scene).  Physical comedy without dialogue is a rare thing to see on stage in Philly, and it’s rare because it’s hard (and one might argue that it’s hard because we rarely attempt it). Seeing a totally physical/visual sketch done and done well was, for me, delightful.

2. Daring Daulton – “Hammer Store”

Joe Paolucci enters a store to rob the joint with his weapon of choice, a hammer. We eventually learn that the store he is attempting to rob is a hammer store and the man behind the counter (Trevor Cunnion) has a seemingly endless supply of hammers at his disposal. Despite this, Trevor does not immediately do away with the robber but instead attempts to remedy the robber’s insecurities. It gets weird, but in a way that should stand as an example of how to breathe life into what feels like it could be a one-note premise.

1. Dog Mountain – “No More Birthdays”

This is making my list as the best sketch by a new group in 2012, but a case could be made for “No More Birthdays” being the best local sketch of 2012. A man (Dennis Trafny) throws a birthday party for his significant other, but at the stroke of midnight, he demands that both the party and her birthday are over (to a frightening degree). This sketch sticks with me and makes number one on my list because it has almost everything that I look for in a sketch. The performance by Dennis is paramount; he plays a funnier “terrifying” than any human I can think of. Mike Marbach is also a great asset; he may have been born to play a guy being emotionally dismantled.

 

I performed in my first live sketch comedy show with Secret Pants in 2005. At the time, there was one other sketch group in town (that we knew of), and we never saw or crossed paths with them. Now, almost 2013, there are too many sketch shows to see, five or six new groups in one year, a sketch open mic that is envied in Los Angeles and New York alike, and a sketch comedy community that is growing at a rate that none of us ever imagined. When I sat down to write this list today, I was excited. When I realized that I could write it, I was thrilled. Let’s all raise a glass to more lists.