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 Female Improviser are:
Jess Ross (Asteroid!, Hot Dog)
Kristen Schier (The Kristen & Amie/Amie & Kristen Show, Director of ZaoGao)
Emily Davis (Hot Dish, Soiree)
Maggy Keegan (Soiree, Whisper, Director of Davenger)
Amie Roe (The Kristen & Amie/Amie & Kristen Show)
Kristen Schier on Jess Ross:
“Jess Ross is a force. Her wild-eyed hilarity is as strange and intense as her beauty. Her unfettered goofiness paired with the deeper commitment of a talented actor is an unstoppable and delightful combination.
Allow me to brag: I have had the good fortune to work with Jess on a few improv projects over the years. I used to watch her shine in the N Crowd. We called her Moonbeam ’cause she was one. I also coached Jessica Tandy on occasion (and by coach I mean sit on Andy’s couch and laugh) and I most recently worked with her in Myths and Monsters. You can trust her to bring the funny. What I am saying is, I know this improviser very well and she is good. Damn good.
It is no accident that other projects Jess Ross is involved in, like The Flat Earth, the aforementioned Myths and Monsters and Asteroid! are nominated too. Jess Ross is a fantastic ensemble member and she raises the caliber of the performers she works with—also, she is funny. Damn funny.
She said once that her comedic inspirations were the Muppets. Well, cheers to the closest human embodiment of Muppetry I have ever seen.”
Maggy Keegan on Kristen Schier:
“I’ve been a huge fan of Kristen Schier since before I moved back to Philadelphia. Kristen’s connection to her character’s emotional truth, her sense of play, her use of the stage, and how she uses her whole body and soul to create is inspiring to watch. I mean, have you seen the Kristen and Amie Show? I could watch that every week. And her clowning? There has rarely been a time in my thirties where I have giggled like a schoolgirl in an audience out of pure delight and watching her as a clown is a joyful experience.
Not only is she a great improviser, she is also huge creative force in Philadelphia. She has taught and nurtured hundreds of Philadelphia improvisers through classes, directing, and through her innovative group ZaoGao. She has taken this scene to a whole new level.
I think we can also all feel Kristen’s positive spirit whenever she enters the room. We are very lucky that she calls Philadelphia home because as she continues to create we are all the better for it.”
Jess Ross on Emily Davis:
“Emily is always able to be surprising and exciting when she performs because she is amazing when it comes to really listening to her scene partner and responding from an honest place. She can pick up on things most people would fly past and sees what other people don’t in offers that are given to her. She’s already naturally such a witty and clever person, but the way she plays is what I think makes her so special and a stand out. She’s the perfect combination of being really well educated on improv (she knows the structure of scenes, the piece as a whole, how to set things up, make people look good) and she is also able to be completely in the moment and organic. She’s not forcing anything, she’s using everything that’s out there, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and making it look really easy and fun while she does it. And that is why I love Emily!”
Emily Davis on Amie Roe:
“The first time I met Amie was in a diner. She came to meet some improvisers that I was with, and she scared the crap out of me with how funny she was. I can’t remember why, but she was making lists of five things in various categories on her fingers, and I was completely intimidated. Each thing that she said was funnier than the last. I was pretty psyched when, later, she accepted my friend request.
Amie is a rare bird. She’s an amazing improviser with a high reference level and an equal love of the low brow. She’s really smart and naturally funny, and she puts herself completely out there on stage. She’s a robot, a ninja, and a pirate. She’s got great hair, an awesome wardrobe (I love her sweaters), and she’s gorgeous. She’s a freak.
So, here are a few lists of five to honor Amie’s awesomeness and accomplishments:
Amie is an incredible performer, director, coach, teacher, and producer. Over the last few years, Amie has put together ambitious projects, made a lot of t-shirts, saved kids’ lives, been a good friend, and acquired a nemesis. Amie has made improv better through her performances in The Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show and Brick, as one of the masterminds behind Duofest, through her level of commitment to everything she does, through the generosity and support that she offers to others, and by keeping everything fun, charming, and weird. Thanks for everything, and love you, Amie!”
Amie Roe on Maggy Keegan:
“What can you say about Maggy Keegan that isn’t obvious from her radiant smile? A lot. Because in addition to having a beautiful smile, Maggy is also a really talented comedienne, and you cannot tell if a person is a great comedian from their smile.
Maggy has great teeth, beautiful facial structure, and extensive performance experience in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Maggy has studied improv and sketch at iO West, the Groundlings, and Second City, and she has been a patient of Dr. Andrew Agnew, DDS, for roughly 9 years. Dr. Agnew says of Maggy, “I have treated Maggy for 5 cavities and seen 3 of her improv shows. i filled her cavities with hilarity, jokes, and talent. Just kidding, she is funny and talented enough on her own.”
While in Los Angeles, Maggy performed regularly with Pretty Bird, Popular Science, Days of Passion, The Hortons, and Spirit Fingers, and she brushed her teeth every morning and also before she went to bed, even if she was really tired and didn’t feel like it. Upon moving to Philadelphia, Maggy performed on Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) house team King Friday, cast and began directing acclaimed PHIT house team Davenger, and also began performing with improv duo Whisper and a three-person group, Soiree. Through all of this, she found the time to floss and avoid sugary drinks.
Maggy drinks coffee and red wine, but not too much, because it can leave stains.”
by Pat Reber
The Sideshow is a real gem. It’s the epitome of the local, DIY, low production/high entertainment experimental variety shows that we comedy nerds go crazy for. I attended last Friday’s The Sideshow: Happy New Year featuring Malone, Gross Butler and Daring Daulton. The show was already packed when I arrived, with audience members filling every seat and standing against the walls of the cozy studio. More impressive than the audience’s number, though, was how truly engaged we all were from start to finish. Our laughter rolled consistently throughout the entire two-hour show, and turned from chuckles to outright squeals during each set. We were treated to seamless and hilarious improv from Malone and Gross Butler, awkwardly brilliant sketch comedy from Daring Daulton, and a fantastic reading by host Luke Field of a rambling 12-page apology letter to Claritin written by Sideshow creator Mike Marbach.
Marbach is clearly very passionate about this show, and with good reason. After the show, I caught up with him to find out what exciting plans he has for The Sideshow in 2013:
Spellbound (January 12th)
“The twelfth is going to be pretty different. Kristen Schier is going to be doing clowning. There’s an improv trio that formed out of the Sideshow Troika last year, called Chaperone. Lizzie Spellman, who is a local improviser but also sings and plays ukulele, is going to be the host/musical guest of the show, so she’ll be doing different songs throughout the show, in between the other acts. And then the Necrosexual, which is Jimmy Viola’s thing. I’ve never seen it, I really don’t know what it is, which just goes to show I’ll allow people to do whatever the hell they want to do. I’m sure it’s going to be a good time.”
The 2013 Improv Oscars Jam (February 22nd):
“This will be the third year we’ve done the Improv Oscars Jam, which takes place the weekend of the Oscars. People get dressed up and come out. They have the opportunity to play a bunch of movie-related short-form improv games, some with different multimedia connections. We’ll show a 30-second clip of a movie that came out in 2012, and then people do scenes inspired by that clip. We’ll do live sketches that are movie-inspired. People are encouraged to film different parodies of films that came out in 2012, and we’ll show those on the [projection] screen. There’s food, there’s drinks. This will be the third year, and each one has gotten bigger, and better attended, and it’s always a really good time.”
Freaky Friday (March 15th)
“There is one coming up in March, which I’m calling Sideshow: Freaky Friday, where a bunch of improvisers who haven’t done stand-up before, that’s their chance to do it. And then I want to grab a bunch of stand-ups who haven’t improvised before, and have them do that. So people will get a better appreciation of each other’s art, and how difficult it can actually be, and fun at the same time. So that could be really funny. Or it could be terrible, which is okay. Like I said, I allow people to experiment and do whatever the hell they want to do.”
Musical Revue (Date TBD)
“March or April will be probably one of the biggest things we’ve done with Sideshow. We’ve done one-acts, we’ve done the Oscars Jam, we hosted the Troika last year, but this is going to be a musical revue. It’s going to be a love/hate theme, where it’s going to mix Broadway songs, popular songs, and some original stuff thrown in there as well. It’s going to be all tied together through different stories, and personal things like that. The idea is to be funny, but there will be a lot of vulnerability in there, too. The cast is made up, so far—it’s not official yet, so I don’t want to say just who—but there’s stand-ups in the show, there’s sketch comedians in the show, there’s improvisers in the show. People will get to see them do things that they’ve done in the past, but may not have the opportunity to do now, being involved in the arts that they are. They can show off their singing, or their dancing, or anything like that. It’s going to be a good time.”
The next January dates for ‘The Sideshow’ are the 12th, 18th and 25th. For more information, check out The Sideshow on Facebook.
Pat Reber performs sketch comedy with the Win Show, and also has his hands in a constantly shifting menagerie of other projects. He’ll be on twitter @patreberyeah and he thinks you’re nice.
Local comedy website It’s Always Funny In Philadelphia, with some help from some favorite local comedians, released their list of Comedians to Watch in 2013.
Philebrity is starting an Ask Juliet Hope Wayne advice column in which you can anonymously ask for the guidance of the comedian and storyteller.
Space 1026 Comedy Nightz Presents Martin & Lawrence and Others this Tuesday at Space 1026 (1026 Arch St. 2nd floor). The show will feature comedy from Martin & Lawrence, Joey Dougherty, Aaron Nevins, JP Boudwin, and The New Dreamz.
Also this Tuesday you can check out Polygon Comedy: The Perfect New Year at 8pm at L’etage (6th and Bainbridge) featuring stand-up from David Piccolomini and Vegas Lancaster and improv from Nielsen, Steve Rogers is Dead, and Grimacchio. Or you can go to Free Improv at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) at 9pm to see improv from Deleted Scenes, Those Two Nice Ladies, Bad James, The Five “Best” Male Improvisers, Gross Butler, Angry People Building Things, Cock Hat, and Vertical Scream.
This Wednesday a new Open Mic at Liberties Restaurant & Bar (705 N. 2nd St.) will debut. The mic will be produced by Sonny Vellozzi and Michael O’Donnell and promises to be “a room with a lot of potential” as well as having “beer specials and other benefits in the coming weeks.”
Philadelphia’s own Big Jay Oakerson will headline Helium Comedy Club this week. The comedian will perform six shows from Wednesday to Saturday at the club. Tickets can be purchased online.
The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) this Friday with a night of variety comedy from Lizzie Spellman, Chaperone, The Necrosexual, Kristen Schier, and more!
The Humor Has It Comedy Show (Maximillian’s Restaurant, 3001 Naaman’s Creek Road, Boothwyn, PA) this Saturday will feature performances by: Bradley Beck, Fastball Pitcher Gob Gutierrez, Mike Rainey, John McKeever, and headliner Tommy Pope. Reservations can be made by calling 610-485-3500.
Don’t forget The 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy are this Sunday at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St.) Tickets can be purchased online.
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org