Description: Talent Harris (Def Jam, Host of Apollo), Mike Vecchione (Tonight Show), Greer Barnes (Chappelle Show, Comedy Central), Jermaine Fowler (MTV 2’s Guy Code) and Chris Cotton (Eric Andre Live Show) perform to fight for those afflicted with MS. Four of the funniest comedians around lend their talents to a city wide fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis for six weeks, ending with this May 14th performance. Comedians Talent Harris (Def Jam, Host of Apollo), Mike Vecchione (Tonight Show), Greer Barnes (Chappelle Show, Comedy Central), Jermaine Fowler (MTV 2’s Guy Code) and host Chris Cotton (Eric Andre Live Show) will share the stage, using their voices to fight for those afflicted with MS. Take advantage of this opportunity to see five outstanding comedians for the price of one while supporting a worthy cause! A portion of the proceeds will go to the Raven Lounge Bike MS team and the National MS Society. For more details on the show or how to donate, please visit the following links: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/donate/index.aspx http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/PAEBikeEvents?team_id=337240&pg=team&fr_id=20331
Description: South Jersey’s favorite improv troupe is coming over the bridge for a night of comedy. Come experience their high energy, competitive, pop culture based comedy stylings as they compete for your applause to be crowned the nights’ “Champion of Champions”. Opening the show is musical comedian extraordinaire Matt Lamson! This show is also FREE! Blow off some work week stress and have a good laugh, on the house!
Description: Laura Hargreaves, Ben Fidler, Ramon Bender, Noel “Sweets” Reyna, Trevor Cunnion, Chris Librizzi, Paul Welsh, Tommy Highland, Jasiel, Matthew Haggerty, Aaron Nevins, Chris Dolan, and Kennet Court fight for to be the South Jersey Stand Up Champ!
Style: Stand-up contest
Date: April 26th
Location: The Taproom: 427 W Crystal lake, Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033
The Exquisite Corpse Project (Audience Award: Dances With Films,Audience Award: Dances With Films, Best Director: LA NewWave), a documentary film experiment from sketch comedy group Olde English is set to screen for one night only in Philadelphia, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers on May 2nd at Landmark Ritz at the Bourse. But there’s a catch! The film will only be shown if the screening reaches their goal number of reserved tickets (and needs 16 more in the next 24 hours to reach their goal). To help the group, and have your own chance to see this award-winning film you can make a reservation online.
Here’s what group member Justin Noble had to say about their project:
The film is about five comedy writers (supahfamous sketch comedy group Olde English) writing a feature film together. They write 15 pages each, but before writing their section of the script, they’re only allowed to read the previous 5 pages. And when they finished, they produced that movie. The result is this comedy/drama/thriller/action movie/buddy picture/heist flick hybrid that somehow works, and the whole thing is interwoven with behind-the-scenes glimpses at the collaboration process. In the end, it really has powerful things to say about how to work with friends in the arts, particularly comedy. It’s a must-see for people interested in careers in comedy, screenwriting and filmmaking, but anyone who likes to laugh with enjoy it.
The N Crowd is turning 8 this year, and to celebrate they’re throwing a special anniversary show and party at Ruba Club this Friday. Read on for more details and reflections on the Crowd’s history from Executive Director B.J. Ellis.
WitOut: How did The N Crowd form?
B.J. Ellis: The N Crowd was formed after a pair of auditions held by Ray Reese and Emily Dufton in February of 2005. Mike Connor, Jessica Snow, Brandon Libby and myself were the original cast from that audition.
WO: How has the group evolved over the years?
BJE: The group has evolved in a few ways over the years. Many changes were behind the scenes. As we all gained more experience over the years and as technology changed, we found easier ways to make the show run smoother. For example, the way we sell tickets went from cash-only that week to the ability to order tickets for shows 3 month out.. I honestly can’t imagine running the show now without the benefits of technology we now use. Our show is also way funnier now than it was in 2005. We came across some old archive footage of one of our first shows. After watching it I thought to myself, “Whoa…that… isn’t…very funny. Yeesh.” I feel that the quality of our shows has really evolved. The cast has also changed a lot over the years. I believe over the 8 years nearly 40 people have been in The N Crowd.
WO: What are some of your favorite moments in N Crowd history?
BJE: That is truly a tough question to answer. I enjoy just about every week I am here. My favorite moment nowadays is coming in on a Friday and knowing we have a sold out show. In the early years of The N Crowd, we would have weeks that no one came to the show. Today…I honestly couldn’t say when the last time that happened.
WO: Do you have any new goals or plans for the N Crowd as the group enters its 8th year?
BJE: A few goals, a couple of plans. Maybe a hair-brained scheme or two.
WO: What can fans expect from the anniversary show this Friday?
BJE: We are going to be at The Ruba for our anniversary show this year. Unlike our usual shows, this venue has a cash bar. We also will have some pizza there for consumption and after the show there will be dancing. The show starts at 8:30 pm, which is alittle later then usual, just in case anyone goes to The Actors Center [our typical home] accidentally.
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 runs on two bonus days—Wednesday and Thursday—and features Friends of Alcatraz, an improvised puppet show. Here are cast members Joe Sabatino and Kelly Vrooman with details on the history of the group, the format of their show, and what it’s like to play with puppets:
WitOut: Can you give a brief history of Friends of Alcatraz? What sparked your interest in combining improv and puppetry?
Joe Sabatino: I’ve been making puppets since I was a kid, and I was always too nervous to actually put them on display or admit to anyone that I like puppets. But when Kelly and I started dating…
Kelly Vrooman: By the way, we’re dating.
JS: When we first started, I knew we shared a common interest in puppets. So, I decided to do the creepiest thing for someone you’ve only been dating for a month and I built a puppet of Kelly’s cat Alcatraz. With it came the idea to do an improvised puppet show called Friends of Alcatraz.
KV: It was a weird yet endearing gesture…but mostly weird. He put the puppet in my arms and said, “I was thinking, um, maybe… you would want to create an improv puppet show with me?” I reluctantly said yes.
JS: We gathered a group of our funniest friends, that happen to also be some of the best puppeteers in the city: Dave Jadico, Jason Stockdale and Rob Cutler. It was a fascinating group of inventive people that know how to make a puppet come alive. Thus, FoA was born.
KV: I work with puppets on TV, so I knew I wanted to have monitors for the puppeteers, which led us to want a screen the audience could watch. Once the “impropputeers” (a mind-blowingly awesome name I made up) got used to working with the monitors, the show took off. We took it to the next level by adding an a capella opening number and musical edits (Music by Liz Filios, Lyrics by Kelly and Joe). Oh, and Joe designed and made a ton of incredible puppets for us to use. That should probably be mentioned.
WO: What would you say are some of the key differences/challenges between regular improvising and improvising with a puppet?
JS: I think the world is even more infinite than human improv. The things puppets can do is borderline scary in terms of bringing imagination to life. Especially the way we present our show. The puppets can literally do anything we want them to do: fly, twist into a pretzel, enter the scene from the side of another puppet’s head, eat another puppet whole, be as big as a building… The possibilities are endless and with a camera it makes the execution of these things more real. Because of all of these different elements to play with our minds need to be a clean slate away from reality, almost. We still play grounded scenes but our “If this, then what” mentality is stretched. One or two people have questioned this project in terms of legit scene work because we never interact or make eye contact with our scene partners. When in reality it’s the exact opposite. We are in tune with one another, watching every single nuance of the puppets and reading the body language of our human scene partners. It’s also easier because we, the puppeteers, have monitors we are watching which is the same image as the projection the audience is watching. This makes it MUCH easier to really know what is going on all around the puppets, and helps us create a scene that not only makes sense, but also looks good in terms of staging, spacing and scene action. Plus… your arm gets tired.
KV: Well put Joe! In addition, improvising with puppets is one thing, improvising with puppets for the camera is another thing. And doing it well, is yet another thing! It’s kind of like singing and dancing while acting and juggling. A bunch of skills have to come together for it to be good. Sometimes a great improviser can put on a puppet and feel restricted. Sometimes, an inexperienced improviser can put on a puppet and become great.
WO: What’s the origin story of Alcatraz the Cat, the star of the show?
JS: Kelly knows how the cat got his name and what not, but I’ve always felt like Alcatraz the real cat is a little bit of a dick. I’ve NEVER been a cat guy. In fact I’m comfortable to say that before I started hanging around Kelly’s cat I hated cats. But Alcatraz always fascinated me. The defining moment for me was when I made a delicious dinner, one night. I dressed the plate nicely, set the mood and it smelled wonderful. I locked eyes with Alcatraz and he walked over to where I was sitting and eating, which was all the way on the other side of the room. He slowly walked over, climbed into my lap and put his asshole right into my food. He got up and walked away. He made a statement. So, I made a puppet of him.
KV: I adopted him off the street and held a naming competition with my family. My sister was in the lead with “The Great Catsby” or “AlCATraz”. Then, that night, the cat escaped out my second story window and got wedged in the bars of the first story window. Therefore…Alcatraz won. I really wanted Joe to perform Alcatraz the puppet because I heard Alcatraz’s voice in my head as a deep man’s voice, but Joe insisted I was the person who should do it. I reluctantly gave in. He ended up with an ambiguous European accent that hurts my throat to perform, but it’s worth it. We started to joke around about Alcatraz being a sophisticated world traveler, incredibly popular with everyone he meets, the most desired cat in the world. And if he’s that amazing, he’d totally be able to gather a group of weirdos he’s met on his travels and convince them to perform in a show, right? We discovered that he shouldn’t even perform in the show because he’s too much of a character to be able to pretend to be anyone else in a scene. So, he introduces the show, the cast of characters and gets the suggestion.
WO: Can you give some details on the format and staging of the show?
KV: Friends of Alcatraz is a long form improvised puppet show. We don’t stick to a rigid format, but we look to play out several scenes then see how those stories intersect. And spice it up with a happy dose of randomness and frivolous puppet-y fun.
One side of the stage is the “show”—a projected image of the puppets’ world. It’s like watching a puppet TV show. The other side of the stage is the behind-the-scenes creation of that show. You can watch the finished product projected on the screen while you simultaneously watch the puppeteers create the show.
JS: Our format is very catering to the puppeteers/improvisers.
JS: It was important for me that the presence of our powerhouse improvisers didn’t get upstaged by a big screen. People love to see improvisers’ minds work and the audience rarely gets to see what it’s like beneath the camera of a puppet show. We’ve really nailed it on the head in terms of being able to allow the audience to split focus. It’s great to be able to see all the work that goes into the projected image on the screen: shuffling around getting the right puppet, making a prop for a puppet to use, someone helping one puppeteer manipulate their puppet so it can do something specific…etc. Plus we are a great group of people who are really good at making each other laugh, so the audience gets to see how much fun we are having. It was important to me to really showcase the humans. It’s an experience to see our show. It’s almost like seeing five shows at once: a puppet show, a TV show, an improv show, a blooper reel and a musical.
KV: That should be our tagline.
WO: What can audiences expect from your upcoming ComedySportz Presents run of shows?
JS: They will see a group of people stretching themselves between skill sets that are difficult, yet work harmoniously with each other. We’ve found a system that works and we will keep perfecting it.
KV: This run, we have some new improvisors (Rachel Whitworth and Caitlin Weigel) who are a GREAT addition to our cast, new AMAZING puppets, and maybe Alcatraz will dance this time.
The Not Just Comedy Show brings its mix of stand-up, improv, and music to The Grape Room again this Tuesday for a show featuring performances by: Mikaela Hamje, Chris Wood, Scott Speegle, Dr. Tony, Bed Savage, and musical guest Rev. TJ McGlinchey.
This Wednesday through Saturday ComedySportz Philly Presents: Friends of Alcatraz at The Playground at The Adrienne Theater. The improvised puppet show for grown-ups returns with a cast featuring Kelly Vrooman, Dave Jadico, Joe Sabatino, Rob Cutler, Caitlin Weigel and Rachel Whitworth.
This Thursday the Lawnboys Comedy Showcase comes to Puck in Doylestown for a show featuring stand-up comedy from Aaron Hertzog, Omar Scruggs, Tim Raymus, Fady Khalil, and Matt Lips.
Figment Theater’s bimonthly Vagabond Sessions is back this Thursday; this time at The Maas Building (1325 N. Randolph St.) The show will feature improv performances by: The Chain, Half-Life, The AD Showcase with Andrew Stober and Maggy Keegan, and The Table.
Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie will play this Thursday at The Keswick Theatre. After the feature the audience can participate in a question and answer session with Jay and Silent Bob themselves, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes.
The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor this Friday to once again team up with Figment Theater for the third and final first-round match of in the annual Troika Tournament. This week will feature improv from teams comprised of: Cait O’Driscoll, Ryan Barlow, and Shannon Devido; Karen Coleman, Mike Butler, and Quinton Alexander; and Jason Grimley, Marc Reber, and Sue Jay.
ComedySportz The Blue Show returns this Friday night for the improv group’s monthly visit to a magical land where there are no penalties for being dirty.
The Captain Action Comedy Show returns to the Conshohocken Cafe this Saturday with a show hosted by Sidney Gantt and Dave Terruso featuring stand-up from: John McKeever, Ben Fidler, and Mike Logan.
The Troika Tournament comes to a conclusion this Saturday at The Sideshow when the three winners from the opening rounds battle in a head-to-head-to-head final round to determine the 2013 Troika champion.
Saturday is Jerzee’s Comedy Night at Jerzee’s Sports Bar & Pizzeria (2609 Mount Carmel Ave. Glenside, PA) with a show featuring: Pat Kelly, Dan Manhon, Darin Martinez, Lou Misiano, Bobby Lorello, Bryan Leichter, and Erik Whitcare.
The second Comedy is Liberty Weekend Show is this Saturday at Liberties Bar & Grill. This month’s show will feature comedy from Chip Chantry, Steven Bryan, and Alison Zeidman.
Baltimore’s Wham City Comedy Tour makes a stop in Philadelphia this Saturday at Goldilocks Gallery (723 Chestnut St., 2nd Floor). The show is described as “a two-hour cross-genre variety show, showcasing the very best from Baltimore’s award-winning artist collective and fabled party starters. Expect stand-up sets, videos, dramatic monologues, and ensemble sketches in a tightly-run, visionary performance.” Philly’s own The New Dreamz will also perform.
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: Actor and Comedian Sinbad arrived on the comedy scene with a ” hit’em in the face” style of comedy that has kept audiences laughing in the aisles for over the past two decades. Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time, Sinbad has built a loyal following by taking audiences’ painful trials or embarassing tribulations of day-by-day life, throwing them back in their faces, and causing an uproar of comedic hysteria. Don’t miss the laughs on September 14th!
(Suitable for all ages.)
Date: Setember 14
Time: 9pm (Doors open at 8pm)
Admission: $42.50 & $52.50
Location: The Keswick Theatre – 291 N Keswick Ave, Glenside, PA
Description: Three years ago, Bo Burnham was just another high-schooler recording YouTube videos for fun. Today, Burnham has burst on the comedy scene with a full-length LP, a Comedy Central special and a deal to write a film for Judd Apatow. Entertainment Weekly recently named Burnham one of the “12 Rising Stars of Comedy. In March, Burnham released his first full length LP “Bo Burnham” which topped Billboard’s New Artist chart and was #2 on the Billboard’s Comedy chart in its first week. Four days after his eighteenth birthday, Burnham became the youngest person to record a “Comedy Central Presents” special. The special premiered on March 27th, 2009.During the fall of his junior year in high school, Burnham started teaching himself how to play piano and guitar. Soon after, he wrote and composed autobiographical songs, such as “My Whole Family Thinks I’m Gay,” as non-fictional jokes between him and his friends. In 2006, Burnham recorded two of his songs as videos, and posted them on YouTube. Three years and fifteen videos later, Bo’s videos have been seen over 50 million times worldwide. The songs, recorded in Bo’s bedroom with a camera resting on a stack of books have been remixed, rated, and reviewed thousands of times. In 2008, Burnham signed a four-record deal with Comedy Central Records. He released his first digital-only EP “Bo Fo Sho” on iTunes in June; the album hit #1 on the iTunes comedy album chart and #6 on the overall iTunes album chart alongside the likes of Coldplay. With the growing internet buzz, Burnham was invited to the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal in 2007 where he met Judd Apatow. Apatow flipped for the, then 17-year-old, and shortly after Burnham signed a deal to write the script and songs for an “anti-high school musical” feature in which he would also star, with Apatow producing. Burnham has already started compiling film credits with roles in Apatow’s “Funny People,” and Rob Schneider’s “Virgin on Bourbon Street” both due later this year.
Date: May 14
Time: 8pm (Doors open at 7pm)
Location: The Keswick Theatre – 291 N Keswick Ave, Glenside, PA