Upcoming Shows

  • September 19, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 19, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • September 19, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 19, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 19, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 19, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 20, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 20, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 20, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 20, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 20, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 25, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 25, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 26, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmA Very Nice Comedy Show
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 26, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 26, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 27, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 27, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 27, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 27, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 27, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • October 2, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
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Alison Zeidman and Aaron Hertzog Interview Each Other about Free For All

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Editors’ note: We are the editors of WitOut.net. We are also starting a free, weekly, stand-up comedy showcase every Wednesday at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar (741 N. 23rd St. Philadelphia). So we decided to take advantage of our editorial power for shameless self-promotion. Is that okay with you? Good. Here we go.

AZ Why did we decide to start this show?

AH: You know the answer to that.

AZ: Tell me again. I like hearing the story.

AH: I think this is the type of show that Philly needs. The scene has been growing in the past few years and there are open mics practically every night of the week, and there are  a lot of comedian-run monthly showcases, and I think the next step up is a weekly show where comedians can work on longer sets. I would love to do this show every night if I could, and make it like a Philadelphia version of The Comedy Cellar in New York. But until I find a venture capitalist to back that business plan, I’m going to have to stick with once a week at a bar that will let us do it for free. Philly has a lot of great comedians, and part of the goal with the show is to expose more of the public to some of the great local comedy Philly has to offer.

What are your hopes and plans for the show?

AZ:  I’m really looking forward to having a show that gives Philly comics an opportunity to perform longer sets, and hopefully perform them in front of a crowd that’s made up of more than just other comics–of course we love seeing comics support one another, but we also want a “real audience” for these shows. Which brings me to my other hope for the show: that people will come.  So we’re working on some creative ideas for marketing and promotion, and reaching out to people who are good at getting the word out about events in the city, and hopefully we’ll be able to show a lot of new people that Philly has a really strong, talented crop of local comedians.  And if they’re introduced to them here with a free show, hopefully they’ll continue to follow and support their work elsewhere.

Can you talk a little bit more about why we wanted to keep the show free? Are we just dicks who don’t want to pay people?

AH: Well first of all, I hate that money exists and I wish I could live in a hut on an island and hunt and farm and fish for food and just be free. That sounds like a joke but I’m being serious. But, in terms of the show, since one of our goals is to raise awareness about comedy in Philly we thought a great way to do that would be to have a free show, so it’s a low-risk access point for new audiences.  Doogie Horner’s Ministry of Secret Jokes was a great free show that brought a lot of people out to Fergie’s in Center City on a monthly basis, and we want to build a consistent audience of people who know that there’s going to be a great show at Rembrandt’s every Wednesday night, and who can tell people they know that they can come to the show and it’s going to be free and it’s going to be great and they’re going to have a good time. Plus we want this to be a show that has a feel, for the audience, that it’s professional and the line-up is well put together, but is also a show where the comedians should feel free to experiment a little, and work out newer material during a longer set.  At open mics where there are more comics and therefore sets have to be shorter, one new joke might be the only material a comic gets to do that night.

Since we’re not getting fat pockets off the big stacks of cash we’d make if we charged people to come and see this show, what are you looking to get out of it, as a comedian?

AZ: I think it’ll be good for me to get more experience hosting shows, and I also want to push myself to write a lot more frequently so I can have something new every week.  I also like how much flexibility and trust the bar is giving us in running this show–I think it’s exciting that we’re building this from the ground up, and we’re going to have this challenge of making sure it’s successful.  That also makes it a little scary, and I think we’re both going to have to think really creatively and work really hard to make sure it works and really have an impact on Philly’s knowledge of and interest in its local comedy scene.

We have some of the best comics in the city on the line-up for the first show, and we’ve actually booked the rest of the month already, and that’s pretty stacked as well.  How do you think being on a show with all these really exceptional writers and performers will affect your performance?

AH: Not only do I want the show to be great top to bottom for the sake of the audience, but I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us as comedians to push each other to keep getting better.  It’s healthy competition–not that it’s a contest and we’re going out there to try to outshine each other every week, but I know that personally I’m going to have to bring it in order to keep up with the talent that we’re going to book on this show week in and week out.  I’m never going to be able to half-ass it and mail in a set if I don’t want to look like somebody who doesn’t belong on the show. That’s how you get better–when I was a kid and I played basketball, I didn’t get better by playing against kids I was already better than; I got better by playing against older kids who were a lot better than me, and having to work to keep up.  Also I’m just looking forward to being able to hang out with all of these people on a weekly basis and see them trying out new jokes, and talking about new jokes, and getting their opinion on my new material, and just all working together at getting better. #Friendship.

You and I are big supporters of the local comedy scene and we know a lot about what’s going on within it.  But at this point it’s still difficult to know about Philly comedy if you’re not IN Philly comedy in some way. What do you think we–or anyone else performing in the city–needs to do to get more of the general public aware of the local talent?

AZ: I think the main thing is that if you’re putting on a show, you should never be satisfied with just getting an audience that’s only made up of your friends and fellow performers. If you’re trying to do this seriously and not just as a hobby, you need feedback from and exposure to a real audience to be able to learn and grow.  Of course it’s great to be supportive of each other, but I don’t think any of us will consider ourselves successful if we’re just doing this for each other all the time.  So we should be looking for as many ways as possible to expose new people to our shows. List and promote your show on local online events calendars, send out press releases, get out on the street with flyers, whatever it takes.  Find new audiences, bring them in, win them over and keep them coming back–whether that’s coming back to Free For All, or “coming back” in that they find their favorite comedians at our show, and then go seek them out to see them do more at other shows, too.

Also: We all just have to be really, really good.  Put on a good show that’ll live up to or even exceed the hype you’re giving it when you’re promoting it.

 

The First Free For All Stand-Up Comedy Showcase is tonight at 8pm at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar (741 N. 23rd St. Philadelphia). For more information on the show as well as original and shared content you can check out Free For All on WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter.

It’s Elementary with Dave Metter: Paul Triggiani

“It’s Elementary” is a monthly column every first Wednesday that asks comedians to share funny memories from their elementary school years, or “periods” (get it?? Like moments in time, but also like in school!) from those formative years that have informed their personal and comedic identities. Or, they’ll just submit some random anecdotes. Whatever they want, really.

by Dave Metter

I have long been fascinated by what has influenced and inspired other comedy writers, especially during their youths when their comedic senses were still so nascent and less judgmental.  This month features writer/director/performer/tech man/backslash abuser Paul Triggiani.

 

Dave has kindly asked me to write about my time in elementary school for this installment of “It’s Elementary.” So, yes, I’d love to tell you about one of the darkest, most repulsive periods of my life that isn’t right now.

1st Period: The Move
When I was in third grade, my parents moved my brother and I from a private, progressive school that we had been in since kindergarten to a public school. It was the hardest, least pleasant time in my life. I’ve never spent any significant time in prison, but it was probably a lot like that (adjusted for scale of life experience and emotional preparedness).

2nd Period: From Apple Orchard-come-Commune School
The school we had up and to that point spent our entire lives at was an apple orchard-come-commune. The inhabitants of that commune didn’t want to go out and find square jobs so they just said, “Fuck it, let’s be a school.” I remember once asking a teacher how the Native Americans came to be in North America, and she just stared into the ceiling and said, “Nobody knows.” It was a really nurturing place to grow and find your emotional center, but by the time we transferred to public school in third grade, I didn’t know how to read or tie my own shoes.

3rd Period: To Public School
The next year, I transferred to public school and was immediately met with a series of sobering truths—1) the rest of the world had a shared popular culture, it extended beyond 1974, and everyone knew about it but me 2) this was not a warm and inviting place where my ideas and opinions would be welcomed by everyone; to the contrary, every word I said and every thought I decided to share would be judged and used against me by some juvenile scumbag and 3) the other students were sometimes just as bad. It was an emotionally rocky time for me, and I spent a lot of time rolling around on the ground with a jacket over my head. Not sure why.

4th Period: Kids Corner
I can’t remember much about grade school that was positive, except for Kids Corner. If you’re from the area, it’s possible that you’re familiar with the long-running children’s call-in show hosted by Kathy O’Connell and produced by Robert Drake. If you listen to the show today, you’ll hear a lot of music specifically geared toward children, but in the late eighties and early nineties, it was a very different show. From what I could tell, they had maybe ten records that they cycled through—two Dr. Demento collections, a bunch of “Weird Al” Yankovic, They Might Be Giants’ Flood and The Dead Milkmen’s Beelzebubba. So this is how I managed to be exposed to almost nothing but novelty music for the better part of a decade.

5th Period: A Weirdo Unchained
But there was also an underlying message to Kids Corner, and one that I didn’t fully recognize until I was in my late teens. It came through the music they played, but also through the guests that they chose to feature—artists, musicians, nerds of every variety. The novelty music that I was exposed to through the show helped to shape my interest in comedy and show me where my sensibilities were, but the part of Kids Corner that had the biggest impact was that they managed to say “It’s okay to be a little weird. There are weird people everywhere, and they’re doing great” at a time when I needed it most.

Dave Metter is a comedy writer, and member of sketch comedy collective Iron Potato. See Dave’s show “Your News, Philadelphia!” at the Shubin Theater today, June 5th, in the finals of PHIT’s Variety Sweeps Week. Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveMetter.

James Hesky’s Top Ten CheaPodcast Moments

by: James Hesky

As a lot of you know, Darryl Charles and I decided to bring CheaPodcast to a close this week after 125 episodes. A lot of people (Mostly just superfan Chris Curtis) have been asking us questions like “Why?” or “How could you do this to me?” or “Oh, that’s cool, you have a podcast? I don’t really listen to podcasts, but congrats man. Or I’m sorry. I don’t really know what to say in this situation. Everything cool between you guys?”

We started the podcast as a way to promote our monthly show “Cheap Laughs” at the Raven Lounge. Unfortunately, that show died a sudden death when it became clear that we had no clue how to run a show and the bar found out that we weren’t nearly as lucrative as bachelorette parties. Still, we decided to keep rolling with the podcast, putting out an episode once a week because we had nothing else to do and it made us feel like we were real comedians.

Now everything is different. Darryl is in ComedySportz, got married and has a house (I think I’m putting that in order of importance, but you’d have to check with Darryl), I’m the phunniest person in the city, and we both get booked enough that we don’t need a podcast to cover up whatever darkness we have deep down inside of us that makes us force strangers to listen to our thoughts.

It was a good run, but all good things must come to an end. And so must mediocre things that were kind of fun but starting to get tiring.

We’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of great guests from the Philly comedy community (And some of the headliners and features at Helium), so here are my ten favorite moments from our two-and-a-half year run.

10. I pass out mid-episode

Episode 13—“Episode 8”

At this point in the podcast, I was working a 60-hour-a-week job that I hated. We recorded on a Friday after I had worked closer to 80 hours in five days. I was exhausted and looking to get liquored up. So I got myself a bottle of iced tea vodka and a 2-liter of lemonade and made some drunk Arnold Palmers. All was going reasonable well for the first 30 minutes or so, but then that fourth drink and the entire week hit me and I started to fade. Darryl did a great job of leading the podcast, and I did my best to hang in there, but I came up just short. As we were closing, Darryl looks over at me and sees that I’m asleep and calls me out on it. I say the only thing that I can think of which was “I feel bad.” It was true in every sense of the phrase.

I told Darryl I wasn’t comfortable putting that up, so we re-recorded the episode later that weekend. Five weeks later, Darryl and a respiratory infection and I was working so I couldn’t record with anyone else, and Darryl posted the original episode 8 for the week.

9. Little Cat ends the first episode

Episode 1— “A Series of Tubes”

As much as I would like to say that we had a plan for the first episode, we didn’t. We knew we wanted to do a podcast and we were going to tie in weird news stories with a theme. That’s it. And we definitely didn’t know the danger of letting my roommate’s cat sit on my leg for the last few minutes of the podcast. I forgot that if I moved slightly or there was any noise louder than a light breeze, he did this thing where he buried his claws deep into my flesh. So our first podcast ends with me just screaming in pain, trying to detach a cat from my thigh muscle.

8. Joe Doc deals with joint custody

Episode 36— “I’m Sorry You Have to See This”

As some of you may remember, Darryl and I got into a little bit of a fight following a series of articles on Witout called “The Great Debate” (Round One, Round Two, Round Three)Looking back on it, it’s so silly that it almost looks completely staged. But it totally wasn’t. It’s not like we got into a fake fight then had no idea how to end it so we just went deeper into the argument to see just how much yes anding we could do.

It all came to a head when we had on Joey Dougherty and decided that we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other, so we did the first half with me, and the second half with Darryl hosting and forced Joe to decide who he liked better. It was a shameful moment for both of us.

7. The worst transition of all time

Episode 54—“TWENTY NINE and a half MEN” 

Oh boy. This one was pretty bad.

If you’ve ever listened to our show, you know that we like to come up with transitions between the articles. Usually it’s a giant stretch and we just make fun of the other person for failing, but if it goes well, it’s usually our favorite part of the podcast. Well we had H. Foley, Chris Cotton, Conrad Roth and Tom Cassidy (All from Center City Comedy) on for the show, and the theme for the episode was roommates. We were wrapping up an article about a motel with a shitload of registered sex offenders, and the next article had something to do with kids. So in my brilliance, I decide to go for the transition without telling anyone, so in the middle of a conversation about pedophiles I chime in with “Well, kids love attention…”

I know now that I was wrong, and I’m sorry. Let’s just move on.

6. Finding out that we suck at recording

If you listen to our first 50 episodes or so, you may notice that the sound quality sucks. Anyone who spoke too loudly would max out the mics and everything sounded a bit grainy. We did everything we could to mess with the sound. We adjusted the mixer, we put the mics in different places, we downloaded new recording software. It didn’t matter, we couldn’t fix it.

It turns out that’s because we were recording directly into Darryl’s computer mic, not the mics hooked up to the mixer. After that, we just started recording directly into my digital recorder, because we suck at trying things that are difficult.

5. Brendan Kennedy gets blackout drunk then does the podcast

Episode 28—“I’m Sorry I Broke The Internet, Computer”

For a brief period, Darryl and I (Along with our good buddy Mykal Carter-Jackson) ran a Sunday open mic at Connie’s Ric Rac (Among other places), which was right across from the famed Hate Speech Hall. Somewhere along the way, Brendan Kennedy found a bottle of whiskey and a jar of pickle juice and drank all of both, then did our podcast.

I love this entire episode, but some favorite moments include:

• Starting off by talking about how hot dogs are from heaven

• Having to delete an entire five-minute chunk because Brendan kept talking about Darryl’s job

• Brendan wanting to rename C-sections “Don’t block my shine, shorty.”

Give it a listen.

4. Getting John Oliver and Kurt Metzger to do our podcast

Episode 52— “I think I’m Sad Again with John Oliver and Kurt Metzger”

We had already had some great local comics on (Chip Chanty, Mykal Carter-Jackon, Sue Taney, and Luke Giordano just to name a few), but we realized we were being idiots for not including some of the headliners who we were opening for at Helium. I remember being nervous to ask Jeff (One of the managers at Helium) if it would be okay to ask the headliners to do the podcast. He said it was fine, but he was curious to see how it went because no one’s ever asked before. I could easily imagine this turning into a conversation where I was told that I was suspended from Helium for a year and a new “Hesky Rule” would be put in place where no one could ask the headliners to do a podcast without going through their agent first.

Luckily the first week we had the opportunity was with Kurt Metzger and John Oliver: Two of the nicest dudes in comedy. We spoke way too fast while doing it, and the interviews are practically unlistenable, but at the end of the John Oliver one, you can tell that Darryl and I are both celebrating the fact that we will probably get to do this again sometime because it went just well enough.

3. Watching the Cleveland Bus Driver video on repeat for 10 minutes

Episode 92— “You Goin to Jail Now!”

I remember in 10th grade getting so high one time with a friend, that he made a dumb observation about milk cartons and we laughed so hard and for so long that I legitimately started to worry that I would never be able to stop laughing. I thought I would have to just go through the rest of my life laughing. It would be going on at school, during graduation, whenever I met people at college, and while I was getting married.

This is the only time I’ve laughed harder than that. For a solid ten minutes we watched the video of a bus driver uppercutting a woman who refused to pay her fare then pushed the driver. It’s the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbRYTLzkd04

You’re welcome.

2. The Hangovercasts

Episode 3 – “Say It loud”

Episode 51 – “Hangovercast”

Episode 103 – “The Internet is Better Back Here”

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I know that at some point we decided that it would be a brilliant idea to record on New Year’s Day 2011. My roommate and I had gotten a quarter keg of Miller Lite and needed help finishing it, so we invited Darryl and Lori over to help us drink beer (And bloody marys). The podcast was a bit of a clusterfuck, as you would expect it to be, but it was fun.

So the next year, we decided to do it again. This time we invited a bunch of comedians and some fans of the show to take part. We were in just as much pain, and I had to leave in the middle to go help Johnny Goodtimes move a keg that was responsible for breaking his rear window the night before.

Then this year, we had big plans, but it all went to shit until our good buddy Pat Barker came through and helped guide us through a particularly rough hangover (For me, at least.) It was a great tradition, and now I have to find out what else I’m supposed to do to nurse my New Year’s Day hangover.

1. Todd Glass and Geoff Tate get Brendan Kennedy-level drunk and do the podcast

Episode 95 – “We’ll be Right Back With Todd Glass and Geoff Tate”

I opened up for Todd Glass out in Phoenixville for a one-nighter at PJ Ryan’s. After the show, Todd had a fair amount of whiskey but had already agreed to do my podcast. We ended up at Helium and ran into Geoff Tate (Who was featuring that week) who was just as drunk, and they both decided to jump in and do the podcast. It turned into one of the greatest moments of my life. I’d add to that, but just listen to the first 15 minutes, and if you don’t start crying at the 8:50 mark, you have no soul. Don’t turn it off there either, just keep listening and Todd keeps being Todd. It’s the best.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You see? I was right. And you’re welcome.

James Hesky is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian and reigning winner of Helium Comedy Club’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest. He asks that you follow CheaPodcast on Twitter for more updates in the upcoming week’s on the show’s favorite guests and episodes. You can listen to the final episode of CheaPodcast online.

Comedy Show Round-Up: June 5, 2013

Shows

PHIT Sweeps Weeks – 7:00pm at Philly Improv Theater

Jon Dore – 8:00pm at Helium Comedy Club

Free For All – 8:00pm at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar

Conklin’s Comedy Night – 8:00pm at Parx Casino

Guilty Pleasures – 8:30pm at Philly Improv Theater

Chaos Comedy – 9:00pm at Adobe Cafe

TV Party! – 10:00pm at Philly Improv Theater

Open Mics

Rogues Gallery – 7:30pm (signups at 7:00) at Rogues Gallery, 11 S. 21st St., Philadelphia

Northeast Comedy Cabaret - 8:00pm (signups at 7:30) at The Comedy Caberet, 11580 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia

High Note Humor - 8:00pm (signups at 7:30) at The Taproom Grill, 427 W Crystal Lake Ave., Haddonfield, NJ

Comedy is Liberty – 7:30pm (signups at 7:30) at Liberties Bar & Grill, 705 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia

If you run a Philadelphia-area comedy show or open mic let us know so we can share it on our calendar and in our daily show round-ups by sending us the information from our submit a show page to contact@witout.net.