Description: In 2011 four attorneys with backgrounds in government, politics, private practice and business got together to form a business that relied on their collective expertise. But when Strippers-At-Law was a miserable failure they realized, fortunately, that they were also all stand-up comedians. With that realization, Comedians at Law was born. C-section. Because four grown men would have been a very difficult natural birth. Combining their diverse and intelligent brand of humor with a desperate desire not to practice law, Comedians at Law has travelled the country entertaining law schools, comedy clubs and anywhere else with someone willing to cut a check towards five sets of student loans. The group’s four members represent a cross section of law and comedy, but what they all share in common is an unbreakable bond of having disappointed all of their parents. Members of Comedians at Law have appeared on CBS, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Fox and CNN. They are: • Alex Barnett • J-L Cauvin • Kevin Israel • Matt Ritter With over 40 years of combined comedy experience and over 175 disappointed former employers, Comedians at Law always delivers comedy so good it should be illegal. Except for that last line. That was awful. Comedians at Law. Bad at Law. Good at Comedy.
The Introduction!! A great showcase of comedians new to the Philadelphia market!!
Starring: from Newark, NJ, as seen on “Showtime at the Apollo”… Foster “the Genius” Nicholson!! from Chicago, IL. Second City Alum & Just For Laughs TBS…Erica Nicole Clark!! and from Atlanta, GA. featured on MTV’s “Wilding Out 2″ & Bounce TV… Karlous Miller!! The Introduction is hosted & produced by TuRae!! Philadelphia’s favorite comedian from HBO, Comedy Central, & Sirius XM Radio
Description: This weekend to kick off the month with comedy that will have you in stitches, from NYC, the Laff House presents Jason Andors! Having appeared on Showtime at the Apollo, HBO’s P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Showtime’s White Boyz in the Hood, Comics Unleashed and more, his enthralling stlye of comedy is perfect for any crowd type and is guaranteed to have you talking about him at work on Monday! Now back at the Laff House Comedy Club for 4 shows to crack you up! Featuring Corey Fernandez. Hosted by Pretty Smilez!
On a chilly Saturday night I made my way to the Conshohocken Café on Fayette Street to spend a few minutes talking with Sidney Gantt – Philadelphia comedian, founder and co-host of the Captain Action Comedy Show. Gantt was busy prepping the intimate room well before the 8pm showtime. Over the course of a ten-minute interview, he highlighted the uniqueness of the Captain Action format, shared some love for fellow Philly comics Mary Radzinski and Dave Terruso, and talked about a unique physical trait shared by multiple Philly stand-ups.
Chris Dolan: The name Captain Action Comedy Show kind of begs the question: are you “Captain Action”?
Sidney Gantt: Yeah, I am Captain Action … Captain Action is a comic book character that a few people say I remind them of. He’s a comic book character from the ’70s, and all he does is punch bad guys in the face and bang chicks. That’s his whole M.O. He’s more of a vigilante, like Batman, so he has no rules.
CD: So talk about the show’s format. Where it started, how it’s come along…
SG: What we do is bring up a stand-up comedian, they perform, and afterward we interview that comedian in a game show format, where they present two lies and a truth. The audience has to guess which of the multiple choice answers is correct…so [the audience ] gets to yell out, and they use lifelines, and it’s fun. And the reason for the format, honestly, is that as a stand-up one of my favorite things to do is crowd work. But crowd work unfortunately isn’t the craft of stand-up comedy, it’s just a tool. So this gives me an opportunity to do that. I usually start off my opening set by talking to the crowd…go up cold and talk to the crowd, then do four or five minutes of material. Then I bring up my co-host which is usually Dave Terruso, and then he does some time, and he gets to come back with me later on in the show and do some improv stuff with some of the interview questions. It gets pretty crazy, it’s a pretty wild show.
CD:It strikes me that the format you just described might be fun for comedians that don’t have a lot of experience doing crowd work…this would let them evolve toward it in a more structured sense.
SG: It definitely does ’cause it’s a very controlled environment for them to do crowd work…and it might not really even be considered crowd work, what they’re doing, usually I have them give me something personal, that people can’t tell just by looking at you. And when people are talking about their personal things they kind of just loosen up a little bit. Nobody has done badly in the interview portion yet.
CD: Has the show always been that way? Or did it start as like a straight-up show and kind of evolve?
SG: No, it started out as that sort of variety show right up front, the only thing that has changed is once Dave Terruso came on, about five or six months in, his skill set just gave me the opportunity to do so much more with the questions…like, sometimes we have him do a one-man play about what you just heard about.
CD: What’s an example of one of the questions, the “two lies and a truth”?
SG: A big one, with some of the comedians – you’d be surprised — is a lot of comedians have more than two nipples. So, tonight the guy who has more than two nipples, [Note: I didn’t ask who this was] his multiple choices are a) 4 nipples; b) 3 nipples; c) 0 nipples.
CD: How long have you been doing the show?
SG: A year and two months. This is the first time the show is going to be on a Saturday. Traditionally it had been the last Wednesday of every month. But we’ve been doing well, we’ve been filling the house, and [Conshohocken Café] is looking to serve dinner more consistently, and right now the only outlet for their dinner is this show.
CD: Any memorably great shows?
SG: Every show really has been better than the last, but if I had to say one stood out I’d have to say it was when Mary Radzinski was here…’cause that was the first time Dave Terruso, his value to the show, was absolutely obvious and I was glad that I had him come along. Mary gave her answers to her question, and each answer seemed like it was just a ridiculous fact that Mary wouldn’t want to reveal about herself. So what I had Dave do, is respond to that fact, as if it were the only fact in her online dating profile…so he had to, on the spot, come up with a response email about that fact and each one was brilliant. It was pretty amazing.
CD: And Dave comes from improv, sketch and stand-up?
SG: He does; and he just gives such a different flavor to the show ’cause even when he does his [stand-up] set…the vibe of performance that he gives off is just so different that it complements the entire show. You never know what’s gonna happen at the show. I don’t know if you get this but I love Dave Terruso.
CD: Anyone that you’re looking forward to having on the show that you haven’t had on yet?
SG: Anton Shuford…I think he was 2009 Philly’s Phunniest…originally I didn’t have him on right away because he’s my closest friend and I want to avoid the idea of just putting your friends on. But we’re gonna have him for the February show. He gave me the verbal okay in between arguing about whether or not the Sixers would be good this year.
CD: Any closing thoughts?
SG: I just hope people find this type of show intriguing enough to come out, and if they want to see not only comedians that they wouldn’t expect to see on a bill together, but comedians that have something to share that you would never think they had to share, [this is the show].
Love wings, crowds and competitive gorging but not so keen on the Wing Bowl? Or are you just a big fan of alternative comedians eating way too much and talking trash on each other as they do it? Man oh man, have Hillary Rea and Thunderfoot Larry got a show for you.
WitOut: Who came up with this amazing thing?
Thunderfoot Larry: Hillary Rea has had a burning urge ever since she was a young lass to be a competitive eater. Unfortunately, she does not eat the flesh of the beasts therefore she was shunned from many eating competitions as a youngster. Then the revived vegetarian movement of the late 1990s came along enabling many militant veggie groups to start their very own binge eating competitions. Within the last year, the burning urge has returned to her. She voiced her desire to train for competitive eating on the social network. Whenever someone says they want to try something challenging my first instinct is to personally challenge them in whatever it may be. I really don’t know why, I’m an idiot. I once burnt my eyebrows off because my friend wanted to be a sword-swallower/fire-breather for the circus… So I challenged Hillary to an “eating duel.” She accepted—well at first she didn’t reply, then I cornered her at a gallery art auction. I spat out all the weird (Double Dare game show influenced) daydream ideas I had for if we were to put together our own eating competition. We both love comedy and eating stuff so much and we wanted to make our Veggie Wing Bowl event the complete opposite of the original stadium stripper Wing Bowl in South Philly. So after some emails and Facespace messages we had a meeting at this awesome place that sells coffee and beer at the same time. As we both left the meeting a beautiful sparrow flew over our heads in a figure-eight formation. At that point we both made eye contact and simultaneously blurted out “1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular!” Then we held hands and skipped down the street (to the tune of the Perfect Strangers theme song) to Adobe Cafe and booked the muthafuckin’ show! That’s the long answer.
Short answer: Hillary secretly always wanted to be a competitive eater; I secretly have a weight problem and love food. We both are involved in and love comedy. Put ’em together and what do ya get!?…Sprinkle in a Man-Pageant, Alagazambo! The Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular. HOLLA!
Hillary Rea: The 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular started as a bit of a joke. I am not jokingly obsessed with the real Wing Bowl and this year tickets went on sale and sold out in the same day. I was so upset. I missed it last year because I was performing at the NCCAF. But the previous two years I went and was horrified/amazed/excited/impressed/obsessed with what I saw. Larry joked about doing a veggie wing-off one day on Facebook and then I contacted Adobe Cafe on a whim (they have wonderful seitan wings) and the owner was super agreeable to our idea.
WO: Why veggie wings? Is real chicken too expensive?
TL: If we went with real chicken wings there might have been a strong concern there for a minute.
Hilla is a vegetarian person and I wanted to be able to eat the same thing she is in the competition. Good news, no bones to worry about. Plus it goes with being the total opposite of the original Wing Bowl ,which uses real chicken wings. It does not bother me; I’ll eat anything as long as it will not kill me. Can’t eat strawberries, I am allergic; if I were to eat strawberries my throat would close up and I would get plate-sized welts on my body. That sucks. Other than that I’ll eat anything: vegetables, unknown aquatic life, bugs, cow eyes, duck hearts, pussy, pig intestines, exotic fruits, the list goes on.
HR: According to the owner of Adobe Cafe, Mariano, seitan is actually incredibly expensive. He was concerned initially with the number of wings we were going to eat.
WO: This show has a lot going on—rounds of competitive eating, stand-up sets, hecklers, a beauty(?) competition…how do you plan to bring all these things together for one beautiful, continuous flow of delicious entertainment?
TL: A.D.D and the power of funny people.
HR: I’d like to think the event will just ebb and flow organically. But Larry and I as hosts will make sure that everything weaves together into a seamless show. Well…there might be some seams. But they will be funny seams. Seams that burst at the seams with funny.
WO: Who is judging the wing bearers for the Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition? What sort of criteria will they be using, and what do you think the individual competitors can do to make themselves stand out?
TL: You should be the judge. Mr.Wing Man should be a sophisticate, a charmer…The Man should be able to clean my pool thoroughly without fucking my wife. And the guy has gotz to have talent.
HR: The Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition will have both a talent portion and a Question and Answer portion. The individual competitors should really look to the Wing Bowl’s Wingettes for advice and inspiration.
WO: Follow-up question: Who came up with the term “wing bearers”? And why do I love it so hard?
TL: Ghostface Hilla came up with that one, she’s so smart.
HR:Ha! The term popped into my head one day and I asked Larry if he thought it was cool. And he said yes. I am glad you love it!
Description: For one night only, Dan St. Germain (Best Week Ever, Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour) headlines a show featuring hand-picked comics from Philly and Boston. With Philly’s Alex Pearlman, Alex Pezzotta, Ryan Shaner, and Boston’s Pat Barrett, Shawn Carter, and Gary Petersen. Hosted by Steve Slaughter.
Date: Monday, March 18th.
Time: Start time, 8PM. End time, 10:30 at the latest
One of the newest open mics in town, Comedy is Liberty, is expanding next week to become a full-on Saturday night stand-up showcase. Here’s creator Mike O’Donnell talking about the mic, as well as the upcoming show with headliner Tommy Pope.
WitOut: You’re heading up a new open mic and stand-up showcase, Comedy is Liberty. Can you give a brief history of how it got started?
Mike O’Donnell: I went to the Philly CAM (Community Access Media) Christmas party. I was talking to a film producer friend of mine, Sonny Vellozzi, and he told me that a local promoter wanted to get more into the comedy scene because it’s really growing. The promoter was consulting the new owners of the bar Liberties in Northern Liberties, so we scheduled a meeting to look at the room and agreed we could work with the space. Comedy is Liberty was born.
WO: What’s the philosophy behind the name of the show?
MOD: It’s one part marketing, one part philosophy. The name of the bar is Liberties (705 N 2nd Street 19123) and the section of the city is called Northern Liberties, so I figured it would be easy for people to remember if I called the show “Comedy is Liberty.” The philosophy part is based on a quote from Oscar Wilde: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” Recognizing that stand-up comedy is truly one of the purest ways to express freedom of speech is important. Comedy is liberating because it often gives the audience a brief moment to suspend all of their preconceived notions and see things from a different perspective. Plus you’ll hear better dick jokes than the censors will allow on T.V.
WO: A bunch of new Philly open mics have popped up recently. What are the advantages of dropping by Comedy is Liberty?
MOD: The room and the people. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy since 2000. I’ve seen a lot of people start rooms and not every space can make it work. I would have never started this room if I did not think the space would work. And it works. The feedback I have gotten from the comics has been positive and we’re still trying to improve. We are working with the owner to provide a “set of the night” gift certificate to the comic that has the best set. I also plan on offering interesting services down the line like recording sets and animating a comic’s bit.
Most importantly, the people that are involved with the show are why people should come down. Besides doing stand-up comedy, I have acted and worked in film, and there is still a wide margin of networking that needs to happen between sections of the Philadelphia entertainment community. I have been reaching out to my writer, actor, animator and filmmaking friends to come to shows. People like Stephanie Yuhas and Matt Conant from the Project Twenty One film festival and Loren Lepre, who runs a bi-monthly short film festival out of the Trocadero. I want everyone who is involved in the arts in Philadelphia to check out the room. You’ll enjoy a great show, and just maybe end up collaborating with someone you meet there on a future project. The fact that I started the room with a film producer and a local promoter is a perfect example of this. I look at it as continuing the road that WitOut started when you organized sketch, improv and stand-up into one site that people could look for.
WO: Who are Starman and New Jack, and why do you think they’ve taken an interest in promoting the mic? [Editor’s note: see promo video below]
MOD: New Jack and Starman are professional wrestlers and comedians. New Jack has been known as the craziest wrestler to ever step into the ring. Plus he scared kids straight on Maury Povich. New Jack has begun to run out of new wrestlers to kick the shit out of, so he is getting more into stand-up comedy. He has some epic stories and will be dropping by Comedy is Liberty to hone his jokes and tighten up the delivery of hilarious New Jack adventures.
Starman is a wrestler from spacewho was featured on one of Nintendo’s first Pro Wrestling games. Starman decided to make a comeback after seeing a movie called The Wrestler. He is getting back in shape to provoke the Amazon into a match and New Jack is his mentor. Starman knows that cutting promos is a big part of getting popular as a wrestler, so he plans to stop by Comedy is Liberty occasionally and work on his microphone techniques.
WO: The first Comedy is Liberty weekend show is next Saturday, February 9th, with headliner Tommy Pope. How did you book Tommy?
MOD: I met Tommy through comedian Mike Rainey and we hung out personally before I really saw a lot of his act. We were just having fun joking around over beers and then a week later I saw him do 30 minutes and was really blown away. Then he follows that up with the Bird Text videos, which are amazingly funny. Sonny Vellozzi loved his act too, and when we were starting the room he asked if I could reach out to see if he could headline the first weekend show. I called Tommy and luckily he was available.
WO: Give us your top 3 reasons why people shouldn’t miss the February 9th show.
The talent. Besides Tommy Pope I have booked Darryl Charles and Mary Radzinski, who are also hilarious. I am very proud of the talent I was able to put together. Everyone is a seasoned comedian and some of the best that Philadelphia has to offer.
The timing. It is the weekend after the Super Bowl, which is a notoriously blah weekend. Instead of being depressed that we are in the grips of winter and football is over, take control of your situation and see a show that will really make you laugh and get you involved in an amazingly fun experience.
The atmosphere. Liberties has on old time feel to it that I really like. Both the upstairs and downstairs bars are gorgeous and after the comedy show ends a DJ will start. It is going to be a party and we’re going to have a lot of fun.
Philly Improv Theater recently announced its new artistic team set to take over day-to-day booking and talent management. The team will be led by Ralph Andracchio as Artistic Director and will include: Emily Davis as Improv Producer, Brian Kelly as Sketch Producer, Jessica Ross as Variety Producer and Kristen Schier as Season Producer.
The Not Just Comedy Show debuts this Tuesday at The Grape Room (105 Grape St. Manayunk). The show will be hosted by Jess Carpenter and feature stand-up from Shannon Dapper, Geoff Jackson, Chip Chantry, N.a. Poe, and LaTice; improv from Bed Savage; and music from Tim Raymus.
East Coast Power Nap also makes its debut this week at the Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) on Wednesday. The show is presented by TJ Hurley and Alejandro Morales and will feature performances by Doogie Horner, Carolyn Busa, Sidney Gantt, the Necrosexual, Joe Bell and Dan King, with a “surprise appearance” by Lou Misiano.
Call on Mister Blue, a new play directed by Harry Watermeier and performed by Tara Demmy, Luke Field, Bryan Kerr, Brent Knobloch and Craig Lamm will show Thursday, January 31 and Saturday, February 2 at The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St.) The show will cost $5 at the door and will feature the comedic ukelele songs of Lizzie Spellman as an opening act.
This Saturday there are multiple shows for comedy fans to choose from including the Live, Love, Laugh Comedy Show (East Eden Catering – 5600 Germantown Ave) hosted by Kendrick Jones and Shanell Renee and featuring headliner Timmy Hall and feature act Jonas.
Also this Saturday is The 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular (The Adobe Cafe – 1919 E. Passyunk Ave). Hosted by Hillary Rea and Larry Napolitano. The show will feature stand-up from Carolyn Busa, John Nunn, TJ Hurley and Jim Ginty as well as a seitan buffalo wing eating competition and special guests throughout the evening.
Comedian Jim Jeffries will visit Philadelphia this Saturday to perform at the Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch St.) The comedian, known for his appearances at the Just for Laughs and Edinburgh Fringe festivals as well as his HBO specials will perform two shows (7:30PM, 10:00PM). Tickets are available online.
Comedian and writer Jo Pincushionsent us this video of herself and comedian Jackie Chipotle giving some tips for any Philadelphia bloggers looking to name their sites.