Upcoming Shows

  • February 7, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • November 27, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 27, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 28, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 28, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 28, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 29, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 29, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 29, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • December 3, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • December 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • December 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 5, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Comedy Show Round-Up: June 4, 2013

Shows

Ball and Chain + Kelly and Joe- 7:00pm at Philly Improv Theater

PHIT House Team Harold Night – 8:30pm at Philly Improv Theater

PHIT Improv Jam – 9:30pm at Philly Improv Theater

Open Mics

Helium Comedy Club – 8:00pm (online signups) at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., Philadelphia

The Headhouse Cafe – 8:00pm (signups at 7:30) at The Headhouse Cafe, 122 Lombard St., Philadelphia

No.2 (#2)(Number 2) – 8:00pm (signups at 7:30) at St. Stephen’s Green, 1701 Green St., Philadelphia

LawnBoys Comedy – 8:00pm (signups at 7:00) at Puck, 1 Printers Alley Doylestown, PA

The M Room – 9:00pm (signups at 8:30) at The M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., 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.

Philly Improv Theater Moving to New, Permanent Home

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Philly Improv Theater Executive Director Greg Maughan announced publicly today that beginning in January, 2014 PHIT will call The Second Stage at The Adrienne Theater its new home. This means all PHIT shows, classes, rehearsals, and office space will be together in one location finally giving them a permanent place to call their own. The announcement comes almost three years after a Kickstarter campaign helped PHIT raise over $15,000 to find a permanent home for Philadelphia’s “exploding alternative comedy scene”. The move will increase PHIT’s presence, giving them a stage they can produce shows on every week of the year. More information will be available soon and we plan to sit down to talk with Greg about his plans for the future of the expanding comedy theater.

For the Love of the Duo: A Tribute to Duofest (June 6-9)

by Kristen Schier

Roughly four years ago an idea was dreamed up by me and my best friend and duo partner Amie Roe that found not only tremendous support but a home with the Philly Improv Theater. This year Duofest has talent coming from Austin, LA, Vancouver, Toronto, DC, London, Detroit, Boston, NYC and also SCOTT ADSIT! It has grown to be a truly exciting international event and I am proud that its home is in Philadelphia.

You might wonder what is so wonderful about improv duos that we need to go ahead and make a whole festival about it.

First, I think most duos may experience difficulty getting into festivals. It is often the case that some festivals have performer fees attached to participation that sometimes skew there taste towards, well, groups with more performers. We wanted to give duos a place to play.

Second, a duo is an amazing way to power-boost your improv skillz and work your improv muscles. When Duofest first started there were only a handful of two-person teams to speak of in Philly.  It makes my heart happy that a ton of duos have since formed because it can put improvisers on a fast-track to growth and maturation. A small part of this is that when there are only two of you to wrangle you find that organizing rehearsals and shows is easier, and by virtue of that you find yourself practicing and playing more than you might if you had to rally a larger team. Furthermore, in a duo you learn very quickly that you are not just onstage all the time, you are also in every scene. Talk about scene reps, man o man. You learn by duo-ing. Ha.

A two-person show also forces you to recognize and refine your style as an improviser.

First, there is the task of choosing who you’re going to play with. When selecting a partner you probably consider folks whose work you admire. That requires a certain level of understanding and reflection. In addition to determining on a partner, you also are 50 percent of every show. Having far more responsibility and influence over the direction of a show exposes what you bring to the table. Gaining that type of insight can be invaluable to one’s evolution.

Let’s take a moment and say that even deciding to form a duo in the first place takes balls.  You’re all like “We can make up a show on the spot that will be worth seeing, just me and my friend.” Yeah, that is undeniably ballsy— and a big part of improvising is, well, having the balls, or tubes (holla atcha ladies) to step out there in the first place.

Thirdly, a duo exemplifies key elements of improvisation—collaboration and, of course, the two-person scene.  The boundlessness of what you can create as an improviser never ceases to amaze me. It is part of the magic of live performance. This really comes to the forefront in a duo in a way that is different from team, or even solo performance. It has some of the “limitations” that give a thrill to solo performance while maintaining the collaborative element that makes a larger team so enjoyable to play on. In short, you can do anything a larger improv team can do with fewer people and all while having a more intimate feel to your creative process. In this way the duo embodies trust and challenges the possible.

Besides all that, at the heart of all good improv shows is one thing: the two-person scene.  No matter what the form, the playing style, the philosophy – if you can do an amazing two-person scene, you have got me hooked.  I don’t care what you call it; every improv form is like a showcase for a great two-person scene. A form is a house for funny engaging dynamic two-person scenes to live in. A great duo is the necessary, or a most essential version of this house. In that way a great duo is like a great poem. There is only what you need, but there is everything you need.

Duofest is June 6th-9th at The Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge Street). Click here for tickets for individual shows in Duofest 2013 and here for Weekend All-Access Passes.

Comedy Show Round-Up: June 3, 2013

Shows

Monday Evening Raw – 8:00pm at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar

Open Mics

Laughs on Fairmount - 8:00pm (signups at 7:15) at The Urban Saloon, 2120 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia

The Irish Times – 7:30pm (signups at 7:00) at The Irish Times, 629 S 2nd St., Philadelphia

Joe Murdock Has Created an Event – 9:00pm (signups at 8:30) at Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S. 9th St., Philadelphia

RP McMurphy’s – 8:00pm (signups at 7:45) at RP McMurphy’s, 2623 MacDade Blvd., Ridley,PA

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.

Comedy Show Round-Up: June 1, 2013

Shows

ComedySportz – 7:30 & 10:00pm at The Playground at The Adrienne Theater

Sarcasm Comedy Club – 7:30 & 9:30pm at The Crowne Plaza Hotel

Kevin Pollack– 7:30 & 10:00pm at Helium Comedy Club

Derek Gaines– 7:30 & 9:45pm at The Laff House

PHIT House Team Night – 8:30 & 10:00pm at Philly Improv Theater

Northeast Comedy Cabaret – 9:00pm at The Ramada Northeast

Doylestown Comedy Cabaret - 9:00pm at Poco’s

The Comedy Works – 9:30pm at Georgine’s Restaurant

Cagematch – 11:00pm at Philly Improv Theater

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.

Discussing a Bit with Matt Holmes – Kill Your Darlings, but for improv

by Matt Holmes

Writers are advised with the axiom “Kill Your Darlings,” which should be traced back to Sir Arthur Quiller-Crouch. The idea is that writers should not to be too precious about their creations.

If you craft something that you love, you might shun any criticism or advice. Even if it’s perfect and beautiful, you might include it where it doesn’t belong. You might like it, but will your audience get what you mean? Your terrific turn of phrase might be one word too long for your limit; what can you do?

Maybe you don’t hit delete and instead save it to be used elsewhere (Will and Grace started as traditional wacky neighbors until they became the main focus). Whatever you do with your work, you must not coddle it.

Writers usually work in private and alone; they spend time on their work and don’t know what the readers think until long after publishing. Improv, in contrast, is usually a group effort done in the moment with a public, immediate response.

In improv, the equivalent of this concept might be “Love Your Garbage.”

Sometimes, you’re blessed with good stuff that magically, automatically falls into place. That stuff takes care of itself. If you know what you’re doing, even the mediocre stuff gets heightened and used. The tricky part is the bad stuff.

Make the mistakes part of the pattern. You can’t edit anything out, so you have to make it so you wanted it to happen for some reason. Make it seem on purpose.

If you’re embarrassed that those words came out of your mouth, make them important and meaningful in retrospect. Make the beginning work because of the ending. Now is the time to make your partner look good. Make their dumb move into a brilliant choice. If you do something stupid, do it again and figure out why.

When we watch improv, we want to see your brilliance, but we also like to see the  tightrope wiggle a bit. Let it wiggle, let us see the process of you using your skills. Then make something good out of it.

 

Matt Holmes is an improviser in Philly. He performs a full improv comedy set with a complete stranger from the audience in Matt& (“playful and winning” –TimeOut Chicago). He also teaches improv, coaches improv groups, and co-founded Rare Bird Show (“Top Shelf Improv” –The Apiary, “arguably the best improv group Philly has ever produced” –AV Club).

Look for the next installment of “Discussing a Bit,” Matt’s monthly WitOut column, on July 1st.

Have a comedy issue or theory you’d like Matt to examine? Email alison@witout.net.