Description: NOT JAZZ is a mix of stand-up, sketches, music (not jazz), fun, not jazz, games, and other spontaneous insanity. And it is definitely, assuredly not jazz. This month, we’re featuring stand-up from John McKeever, Alex Pearlman, Omar Scruggs, Jon DelCollo, Caitlin Feeney, Chris O’Connor, and a special out-of-town guest we’re not allowed to announce. PLUS an amazing full set of live music from our house band, S.T.A.R.W.O.O.D.. And a ton of surprises throughout the evening from Tight Six (Joe Bell, Mikey Garcia, Aaron Nevins, Elise Thomson-Hohl, Becca Trabin, and Dan Vetrano).
Style: Stand-up, Sketch, Variety
Date: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Time: 8 PM
Admission: $10, or $5 with a student I.D.
Location: Chris’s Jazz Cafe – 1421 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Philly comedians and hosts of The Panic Hour podcast Steve Miller-Miller and N.a. Poe will be joined by frequent guest Dave Piccolomini in taking over the March edition of Bradley Beck’s Accidents Will Happen at Adobe Cafe (which will become Chaos Comedy in April, hosted by Jimmy Viola and Jon Lalu). Here’s the promo video for the show:
The waterboarding was a little much for me personally, but seeing Piccolomini gag and have to leave the room because the Bradley-Beck-jokes-as-torture was more than he could handle was pretty funny. And who doesn’t enjoy watching Alex Pearlman yell at someone?
‘False Flag: PANICxACCIDENTS‘ is Wednesday, March 6th at Adobe Cafe (1919 E. Passyunk Avenue) at 9PM. Admission is $FREE.99. An open mic will follow.
If you are a Philadelphia comedy performer that produces a podcast, web series, sketch video, humor column, or any other online content let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it!
As regular followers of WitOut may have already read, the Philly Improv Theater is currently accepting applications to their Improv Conservatory class that starts this spring. It is an intentionally small class (eight students) that takes place over eight weeks, followed by a four-show run at PHIT over the course of one month. The class will be taught by Hot Dish director and PHIT teacher Steve Kleinedler. I asked Steve a few questions about the class and how it works.
Matt Aukamp: So you came to Philly from ImprovBoston. How did you get involved with PHIT and the Improv Conservatory class?
Steve Kleinedler: The Harold team Marjean was one of many projects I was involved with at ImprovBoston. We came to Philadelphia for the fourth Philadelphia Improv Festival. There, I met a lot of people in the Philadelphia improv community. Marjean came back to three more PHIFs, and we were invited to one-off shows at the Actors Center with the N Crowd and for a special intercity Troika. Every time I came down I met more people and I’d run into them at other festivals, so when I was looking to leave Boston, Philadelphia was very appealing to me.
Right before I moved, I met with Greg Maughan and Mike Marbach, and they put me in the pipeline to teach classes at PHIT based on my experience teaching at ImprovBoston. I started teaching at PHIT shortly after I moved here in 2011. Mike started up the Conservatory last fall and was the instructor for the first one, and he’s asked me to take on the second one this spring.
MA:Could you explain how the program works and the differences there will be between last year and this year?
SK: I was teaching class during the time of [last year's] class shows so I didn’t have the opportunity [to see them.] However I’ve worked with many teams over the years to help them create a show or a format that showcases the strengths of the players as individuals and their groups as a whole. I have a lot of experience in helping groups develop unique structures.
PHIT’s improv program is designed to impart a variety of improv skills and techniques. In the Conservatory, the students use those skills to create a show of their own making. The goal isn’t to create an independent team. Rather, the goal is to give people the experience of team building and working with a coach to create a show.
Mike Marbach, as the Education Director, and I will go over the applications and discuss students with their previous teachers to see which group of students would get the most out of working together to create a show. Everyone must be available for all the classes and all the performances.
Benefits to the Conservatory include a smaller class size—seven or eight students, which means more individual attention and stage time. The shows are recorded and shared with the class so students can go over performances with their instructor.
So although each Conservatory creation is different, the underlying concept of what the Conservatory is is the same from session to session.
MA:How can performers expect this process to work? Especially performers used to learning traditional forms rather than inventing unique styles of play?
SK: In the first week, we simply have them play together and together we analyze how they play together and what their collective strengths and weaknesses are. From that we work together to develop a structure that plays into their strengths. It’s not that they are developing a unique style of play. Rather, they are using their style of play to develop a unique format.
The development is usually pretty organic, and I’m there to help the process along. Usually there are different options that can be explored, and we’ll go over all of those, and then when we have a rudimentary framework, we’ll rehearse that structure and make tweaks along the way.
MA:What qualities are you looking for in applicants? What would you say to encourage someone who fits the requirements and is considering applying to your class?
SK: Improvisers who have been through the PHIT program have been taught a variety of techniques, and I’m looking for people who are interested in putting these techniques to work to create something new. There’s no better way to learn how to build up a team and have that team make its mark than by rolling up your sleeves and actually doing it. If people are considering it, I encourage them to go ahead and submit an application, because although it’s a lot of hard word, it’s going to be a lot of fun and intensely rewarding.
MA:The conservatory runs for eight weeks, after which, the class will be doing a run of shows at the PHIT for one month. What are your hopes for this show? What do improv fans have to look forward to?
SK: My hopes are that the students will have an enjoyable, fulfilling run while discovering how all the individual skills they’ve learned fit together.
Improv fans can look forward to four solid, entertaining, funny performances. Everyone wins!!
This Friday, Mike Logan teams up with fellow local stand-ups Dan Scully, David Piccolomini and Setoiyo to present an action-packed showcase of stand-up and sketch comedy. It’s going to be just like Four Brothers, only with comedians, I assume, based partially on the fact that there are four of them involved but mostly just because I will use any opportunity I can to reference the movie Four Brothers (starring Andre Benjamin, AKA Andre 3000), a movie I have never actually seen. Has anyone else seen it? Please post your reviews and plot summaries in the comments.
Anyhoo, here’s Logan answering some questions about the show in a manner he described as “pretty douchey” but also “perfect.” Just read it—he’s a swell dude.
WitOut: What made you and your fellow producers decide to start your own show?
Mike Logan: Really simple. They just wanted to do their own thing. There aren’t many stand-up showcases going on right now, so they figured this was a prime opportunity to get one going. I haven’t been working with the show since it’s inception, though. I was brought in a little later, a sort of “out-of-retirement-but-I-never-actually-retired” type deal. Some real action hero shit. I was more than happy (after I passed through my jaded-action-hero-in-retirement phase) to come in and help these guys out. Piccolomini and Setoiyo had already been working together to put a show on, then Scully was brought in. Then everything smoothed into all four of us working together to put on a show at O’Neal’s.
WO: We Can All Change is being described (by you guys) as “a comedy revolution.” What exactly does that mean? And what is it you hope to inspire us all to change about ourselves?
ML: I honestly don’t know why it’s called that. Setoiyo made the event and just called it a comedy revolution. I think when I asked him he said something along the lines of “you Philadelphians love revolutions,” which is 100% true. More than likely, he was playing a bunch of Assassin’s Creed 3 at the time. Actually I’ll be that’s exactly what it was.
WO: There’s a lot going on in this city on Friday nights, especially around the show’s venue (O’Neals) on South Street. What are the top five reasons people shouldn’t miss We Can All Change?
ML: 5? No problem. Well, one, I’m in it. I mean, hey now. That’s reason enough.
Two, it’s gonna be a crazy show. We’ve written the show in a cool way to blend sketch and stand-up into one non-stop laugh train of, uh, laughter. Instead of “it’s a stand-up show broken up by sketches” it’s “it’s an awesome laugh-tastrophe of awesomely funny awesome.”
Third, we have 4 of the most different people working on the show, putting this together, writing it. To me, that makes it special, because it’s a really unique group of people.
Four, I’ve already seen the show, so I can tell you now, it’s good. Trust me. I know. I have insider information. Because I helped write it.
Five, the line-up. We stacked the deck here. The four stand-ups we booked (Pat Barker, Jared Rosado, Elise Thomson-Hohl, Lou Misiano) are fantastic performers and will really bring their A-game because we told them to. Not that we had to, we just needed to make sure.
WO: Rumor has it there’s a way to get a discount on admission to this show. Please explain.
ML: Allow that rumor to be fact. We’ve been handing out flyers for the show for two weeks. Mostly at O’Neals, but some other bars too. At the bottom on the flyer is a little line that says “Hey! Keep this flyer for $3 entry!” Real marketing stroke of genius, I think. And you know what, you don’t even need the real flyer. Print out the picture from our Facebook page, I don’t give a shit. Fuck it, write “We Can All Change” on a napkin with “$3 entry” scribbled on the bottom, I don’t care. Just show up.
Also if you’re a comedian and we know you it’s $3. And we probably know you.
WO: Wow! What a deal! Without giving away too many brilliant marketing secrets, what are some other creative things that you think you—and other shows in Philly—can or should be doing to reach new audiences?
ML: I think an untapped market here is actually talking to people. (What that’s crazy!) Yes. Comedians are “generally” pretty anti-stranger. I know I am. But I think if you go out and meet people, and talk to them, tell them a joke, hit on them, whatever, and hand them a flyer and say “Hey we’re doing a show here in two weeks, come hang out with us, keep this and get $3 entry,” it could go a longer way than plastering a bar with a flyer that people are going to use as a coaster instead.
Also, start a community [online] and keep them involved. Upload content, pictures, videos whatever. Anything to keep the name fresh in their heads for when it’s time to actually come out and support you.
The first ‘We Can All Change’ is this Friday, February 22nd at O’Neals Pub (611 S. Third Street) at 8PM. Admission is $5, or $3 with flyer, printout of flyer or bar napkin crudely disguised as flyer.
On the last Friday of every month, ComedySportz is bringing in original outside acts for their 8pm time slot, ahead of their 10pm adults-only TheBlue Show. This month, ComedySportz Presents features Beatbox Philly, the Philadelphia version of a Chicago-born show that combines improv scene work with improvised raps and beatboxing. The group’s players are all also ComedySportz cast members: Alli Soowal, Darryl Charles, Sue Taney, Mark Leopold and Matt Lally. Here’s Alli to tell you more about the group and this Friday’s show.
WitOut: For people who aren’t familiar with it, can you describe what happens at a Beatbox Philly show?
Alli Soowal: We hit you hard and fast with hip-hop and comedy! Our show is 45-55 minutes and it interweaves scenic improv with freestyle rapping— including improvised beats from our very own beatboxer.
WO: The members of Beatbox Philly are also all ComedySportz players, right? How did you guys decide to come together for this?
AS: We are! Well, all of us except for Matt Lally, who is our beatboxer. I’ve known Matt for years from the comedy scene, and we produced Comedy Month together, so when we were looking for a skilled beatboxer, I approached him and Dave Terruso to give me ideas of who would be good. They both replied “ummm…you know Matt has skills because you’ve seen him perform!” As for how the rest of us came together, Beatbox started in Chicago and we have had them perform at the Philly Improv Festival, plus I’m good friends with Rene Duquesnoy—one of the co-founders of Beatbox. I had wanted to put together a hip-hop show for awhile, so I talked to Rene, and he came to Philly and offered workshops through ComedySportz Philly, including one just for CSz performers. From that, I was able to gauge interest from other company members. Rene gave his blessing to use the Beatbox name (there is also a Beatbox in Minneapolis), and Beatbox Philly was born! We made our debut at last year’s Fringe Festival, and it was so well received that we wanted to keep going.
WO: Do any of you have a rapping background? How did you learn to freestyle, and what do you do to practice?
AS: Interestingly enough, Mark Leopold is a self-produced rap artist—like hardcore gangsta style! I won’t give you his stage name because it’s too dirty for the pages of WitOut. He’s the only one, though, who comes from that world. The rest of us learned to rap from ComedySportz rehearsals and classes, as well as lots of practice alone in cars. Rene teaches a “Mad Skillz” workshop each year at the ComedySportz Championships that several of us have taken. We also incorporate rapping into our shows in some games (“Kick It,” “Elimination Rap,” “Beastie Rap,” etc.), so everyone needs to be somewhat proficient in it. When we practice, we go through a series of exercises designed to gradually pull raps out of you, and to increase your confidence. Freestyling requires hella trust in your own brain to spit out words that you can make work into a cohesive song.
WO: Do you guys have rap names? If not, do you want to make some up for everyone right now?
Darryl “Salt” Charles
Sue “Peppa” Taney Mark “Misdemeanor” Leopold Kevin “Left Eye” Lopez
Alli “Lady Boo” Soowal Matt “MC Spinderella” Lally
Not performing, but also a member, is Bobbi “M.I.A.” Block.
WO: What are you most excited about for your upcoming ComedySportz Presents show? Will there be any new or special surprises for audience members who are already Beatbox Philly fans?
AS: I’m so excited to be back with this awesome crew! We had a blast with our past shows, can’t wait to do it again. As for surprises, there will likely be some special guest appearances but you will just have to come out to see it!
A Bunch of Improv at The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) will celebrate their one-year anniversary at the Manayunk venue this Tuesday with a show featuring improv from Deleted Scenes, Rosen & Milkshake, Bed Savage, and Cock Hat. The show will be hosted by Ryan Carey and will also feature a new installment of Web Cereal, their monthly sketch comedy video.
This Thursday Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage (624 South 6th St.) for their “Couples Therapy” show featuring stand-up from Chip Chantry, Chris Rich, Alison Zeidman, and Joe Bell with improv from Bed Savage and Cake Bear.
This Friday Grammy-award-winning comedian Lewis Black will bring his Running on Empty tour to the Academy of Music for a one-night-only performance. The comedian is known for his “unfiltered and frank rants about the absurdity of politics and the world around us”. Tickets can be purchased online.
We Can All Change, a new monthly show from hosts Dan Scully, Mike Logan, Setoiyo, and David Piccolomini at O’Neals Pub (611 S. 3rd St.) will debut this Friday with a show featuring performances from Jared Rosado, Elise Thompson-Hohl, Lou Misiano, and Pat Barker.
The Tough Stuff Comedy Show will also debut this Friday at Headhouse (122 Lombard St.) The show will feature stand-up performances from Alex Grubard, Mary Radzinski, John Nunn, and H. Foley. After their sets, the comedians will sit down with hosts Sidney Gantt and Kevin Ryan, where they will share “their most embarrassing and crazy stories.” Tickets are available online.
ComedySportz Philadelphia presents: BeatBox Philly this Friday at The Playground at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom St.) The show will feature some of your favorite members of the ComedySportz Philadelphia team performing a mix of improvised scenes and freestyle raps. Tickets can be purchased online.
This Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) The Sideshow presents: The 2013 Oscars Improv Jam. For the third straight year comedians from around Philadelphia will get dressed up and enjoy a night of improv, parody videos, food, and BYOB drinking. Following the jam there will also be a showing of film sensation The Room.
The Captain Action Comedy Show is this Saturday at the Conshohocken Cafe (521 Fayette St. Conshohocken). This month’s show will feature performances by Anton Shuford, Michael Donovan, and Elise Thompson-Hohl with a Captain Action Comedy Quiz Show and more from co-hosts Sidney Gantt and Dave Terruso.
Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern (901 W. Butler Pike, Ambler, PA) will feature stand-up from Andy Nolan, Jim Ginty, and Alex Pearlman with guest sets from Chris Dolan, Caitlyn Feeney, and Dave Topor. Tickets can be purchased online.
Submissions for the 15th Annual Del Close Marathon are now open. The improv festival will take place June 28-30 on multiple stages throughout New York City. The marathon is known for bringing improvisers from around the country together for a few days of performances ranging from traditional improv institutions to crazy, late-night shows. The deadline to submit is April 2.
The early application deadline for this year’s Duofest, to be held right here in Philadelphia from June 6-9, is this Friday, February 22. Interested improv duos will have until then to take advantage of the lower application fee of $22. The final deadline to submit is March 2 (at a price of $32). More information can be found online.
Philly Improv Theater is currently holding sign-ups for auditions to add three new improv teams to their roster. One team, directed by Ralph Andracchio, will be cast as a PHIT House Team and will perform on Saturday nights at the theater. The other two teams, directed by Rob Gentile and Alex Newman will be PHIT’s first Harold Teams, and will perform on Tuesday nights. Auditions will be held March 9-10 and to secure an audition you can email your name, phone number, a preferred audition time, and details of your past improv training (if you have not completed PHIT’s Improv 201) to email@example.com.
Description: Boston native. Nationally-touring comedian. Television appearances include: Comedy Central Special, iTunes Comedy Album of the Year in 2008 with “Just the Tip,” HBO’s, “Tourgasm” with Dane Cook, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comics Unleashed, “Premium Blend,” NBC’s “The Carson Daly Show,” “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” VH1’s “Awesomely Oversexed” and MTV’s “WHAT?”
Recent appearances include: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Guest starred on the ABC sitcom “The Job” with Denis Leary, and played opposite Vincent D’Onofrio on NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Appeared in more than a dozen independent films.Major motion pictures include: Good Luck Chuck, Ghost Town, What Doesn’t Kill You, and Heckler. Robert is also a popular fixture on the national comedy circuit. Performed at the South Beach Comedy Festival, HBO’s Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, and the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.