Tonight is Polygon’s Holiday Spectacular at L’Etage (624 S 6th Street). Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door. There will be ample parking and booze available. That’s right folks, booze. If that doesn’t motivate you to put on your scarf and gloves and come out to a comedy show, I don’t know what will!
WitOut: Can you tell us about the formation and history of Polygon?
Rick Horner: Sure! I would say it is a collection of people more interested in comedy than their egos. We are promoting comedy acts with members that have a passion for comedy. A few years ago, Improv duo Rosen and Milkshake did a show and the audience loved it. The audience asked for cards, but they didn’t have any. They reached out to me and we got this idea to not only make cards, but start a website to promote comedy. We have been doing monthly comedy shows at L’Etage ever since.
WitOut: That is a unique way to start a….comedy group? If you could describe Polygon in one or two sentences, what would it be?
Horner: A passion driven machine of comedic talent; an optimus prime built out of sketch, improv and stand-up. It is a collective, like a bee-hive where all bees go but there is no Queen Bee.
WitOut: Can you tell us more about tonight’s show and the line-up?
Horner: Sure. The show will be hosted by Rosen and Milkshake. The line-up includes Cecily Chapman, Bill Parks and Demonikus Rex. So, improv, stand-up, improv, improv [laughs].
WitOut: Anything else you would like our audience to know about Polygon?
Horner: Look forward to 2014, because Polygon comedy has a lot of big plans on the horizon. We had a terrific year in 2013, and I feel lucky to work with people that are funny and talented. We have had most major Philly comedy groups perform at our shows such as The N Crowd, PHIT house teams, ComedySportz and Figment. However, if we haven’t had you, we would love to have you. Improv is like a team sport, you don’t have to be Babe Ruth, you just have to swing the bat.
WitOut: Is Polygon involved with any other regular events?
Horner: In addition to monthly shows at L’Etage, Polygon runs and improv incubator in West Philly at the Community Education Center on 35th and Lancaster. Whether you want to try it for the first time, get back into it or practice it more, they would love to have you. They simply ask for a small donation to pay for the room.
**Small chance of cancellation due to weather conditions. Please check polygoncomedy.com for updates.
Last night, Matt Aukamp and Pat Reber hosted Hey We’re Cool, a hilariously weird variety show featuring sketch comedy by Free Candy and The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie–as well as games, music and an impromptu twitter war. (Check out tweets @GreenDayFans with #notabit).
Matt Aucamp (left) and Pat Reber (right) host.
A reliable but nosy mail-man reads people’s mail.
Free Candy — Husband and wife discuss their pet Roomba.
Members of the crew and audience battle in a rotten-pumkin-carving contest.
The audience votes on with whom to start a Twitter-war.
Audience members join cast and crew members to play “The Newly-Met” game.
Big props to the show-stealingly hilarious Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie. The duo–who won Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia last month–has dynamic, loud energy and twisted premises reminiscent of Philly classics Meg & Rob.
The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie — Husband wakes up from a coma and longs to return to “Coma Kingdom”.
A principal’s valedictorian and javelin champ had a terrible accident.
She wants to go ahead with her speech anyway.
Valedictorian’s pre-written speech contains too many Javelin metaphors.
The principal never saw this coming!
A time-traveling, interior-decorating home-owner goes back to rid her German great-grandfather of his unfortunate mustache.
…she’s willing to use force.
…physical altercation ensues…
[Spoiler!] Success. Although the mustache might have been his only way to woo her great-grandmother…
Hey We’re Cool will be returning monthly, check back at WitOut for dates.
Who needs news? You need news? Then “Your News, Philadelphia” has you covered. This fully scripted half hour news program complete with anchors and correspondents, the show runs along the vein of similar programs such as Onion News Network. Started by Philadelphia writer and comedian Dave Metter, he plays one of program’s anchors also conveniently named “Dave Metter.” Described as a newsman who is now in the twilight of his career and seems to be phoning it in at the very least, Dave is placed alongside a young go-getter with a bit of a grating personality anchor “Allison Allison,” who is played by Jacquie Baker.
What originally started as an idea for a short web series, a “pilot” episode of YNP (Your News, Philadelphia) originally premiered during a run of PHIT’s “Sweeps Week” last May; it’s now in its third run the show has found a home at the Shubin Theate. While he focuses mainly on writing, Metter does have a few long term projects in the works and if you’re a local footwear aficionado you may even recognize him as the creator of “Soup Boots.”
Dave also writes his own monthly column on Free For All Comedy titled “It’s Elementary!” where he asks fellow comics to share grade school-era memories that may or may not have helped influence their potential comedic sensibilities at a young age. Metter credits shows such as the BBC’s “The Day Today” as one of his own early influences, in addition to Steve Martin, and his Uncle Tim. You can catch him and the rest of “Your News, Philadelphia” Thursday December 5th at 7:30 PM and Friday December 6th at 8:30 PM, both at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147.) For tickets, visit www.PhillyImprovTheater.com.
Those are words of caution– or, perhaps, enticement?–from Ryan Barlow, host of People Of Interest, an improv show that puts a whole new spin ont he NPR-style interview. People Of Interest is a parody show in the spirit of the ’2000 Year Old Man’, a sketch made famous by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner in which Reiner asked Brooks, the ‘Oldest Man In The World’, the burning questions.
During the show, Barlow, a Philadelphia native, will welcome various ‘persons of interest’ onto the stage. Of course, none of his guests will have the slightest clue as to what kind of ‘person’ they are or what exactly it is that makes them so ‘interesting’. That is, not until Barlow, equipped with his notecards, fills us all in. To give an idea of what to expect: At a recent performance of People Of Interest, Barlow interviewed comedian Corin Wells, whose character turned out to be a child-doctor; one who graduated medschool at the ripe age of eight. What followed was Barlow’s hard-hitting interview, in which he asked the Doctor to expound on the ever-worsening epidemic of ageism against preteen doctors in today’s medical world.
Adding authenticity to the show are the visuals– prominently displayed on an overhead projector throughout every interview. This was put to particularly stimulating use in a show involving comedian Kate Banford. While Barlow interviewed Banford’s character, a ‘Sex Columnist Who Gives Horrible Advice’, the projector displayed a series of photos of couples in impossibly awkward sex positions. After each photo, Our Columnist was asked to offer her unmatched expertise.
This Wednesday’s People of Interest will include Joel Thomas of PHIT House Team Big Baby, Quinton Alexander from improv crime show Reasonable Doubt, Chris Calletta, formerly of PHIT House Team Hot Dish, and Rick Helpa of Indie Team Demoniküs Rex.
Why go? Barlow, our trusty host, sums it up best: “People Of Interest is the only quality, live, NPR interview parody show that also highlights the amazing comedic talents of Philly’s best and brightest. And if it really takes off, maybe I’ll get to meet Terry Gross.”
People of interest runs Wednesday, December 4th @ 8:30 pm at the Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge Street). For tickets, visit www.PhillyImprovTheater.com
You can vote for Chip Chantry, Mary Radzinski. Rachel Fogletto, New Dreamz, Alison Zeidman at this year’s Philebrity Awards. Also nominated was Alejandro Morales [for general fabulousness]. Head over there and vote. (Also, keep an eye out for WitOut Award nomination forms, coming soon!)
Here are some photos from recent comedy shows around town… Do you produce or perform in a show from which you can send us photos? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Aaron Nevins Hosts Hang On (w/ Aaron Nevins).
Aaron chats with audience wrangler Dan Vetrano.
The panel lays down some Dude Rules. (L to R: Tim Butterly, Mike Alloy, Aaron Nevins, Kevin Ryan).
Aaron sits down with guests Kevin Allison and Dave Hill.
And from Wednesday’s East Coast Power Nap…
Alejandro Morales and TJ Hurley share the theme of the night: Christmas. [photo by Ben Miller.]
Aaron Hertzog offers life-hacks for running out of pizza. [photo by Ben Miller]
Elise explains how her dad got a good deal on a flight to Disneyland for the family after 9/11. [photo by Ben Miller.]
Jim discusses the science of why butt-holes are tight. [photo by Ben Miller]
Mike Logan on how his dad doesn’t need to hear about his nights out. [Photo by Ben Miller]
Natalie Levant’s search for gray hairs moves south. [Photo by Ben Miller]
Setoiyo never had fun doing recreational drugs. (Ritalin made him actually do his homework.) [photo by Ben Miller]
And because we didn’t have anybody reliable to take photographs last night at Free For All, Philly Comedy fashionista Joe Moore reports on what everybody was wearing:
Alison Zeidman - White and black checkered shirt, all buttons buttoned, 3/4′s length sleeves, folded once just above the elbow. Black jeans. Brown moccasins with no socks.
Dave Topor - White knit hat. Grey hooded sweatshirt with 3 horizontal black stripes running from shoulder to shoulder, split by a white vertical zipper running the length of the shirt zipped approximately half way, the letters “A D I D A S” in white below a white “Adidas logo” on the left breast, a small white zippered pocket on the bottom left of the sweatshirt. Black undershirt. Blue jeans. All white sneakers.
Brian Finnell - Grey hoodied sweatshirt unzipped, white zipper, sleeves rolled to the elbows. navy blue t-shirt with a dark blue quadrangle and a light blue quadrangle separated by a white line. Grey jeans. Black shoes, black laces, white swoosh, and white soles.
Chris Dolan - Black sweater over a white-with-thin-grey-lines dress shirt, the collar over the sweater and the cuffs over the sweater. White undershirt under the dress shirt. Off-white pants. Off-white canvas shoes with white soles and white laces.
Pat Kelly - Black button down short sleeve shirt, white t-shirt, blue jeans. Grey canvas shoes with white soles and white laces.
Sidney Gantt - Grey sweatshirt, hoodless, zipped 3/4ths of the way, sleeves rolled up tot he elbows over a purple t-shirt. Grey jeans. Grey shoes, with white soles, and white, light green, and black vertical stripes.
Ahamed Weinberg - Blue sweatshirt, faded black/grey jeans, tan canvas shoes, white souls, dark grey laces.
Tyler Rothrock - Midnight-Wine t-shirt untucked. Blue jeans with a small fleck of white paint on the left knee. Black shoes with lime green laces and white soles. Purple wrist band on the right wrist.
Alex Grubard - Dark blue buttonless Henley sweater over a black t-shirt just showing at the neck. Black jeans. Black sneakers with black laves and white soles.
Frequent late-night guest and Last Comic Standing alum Gary Gulman, headlines at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom Street) tonight through Saturday. Gulman is stopping in Philadelphia during a six week tour and promoting his new special, This Economy. He takes a unique approach to long-format jokes in the clever articulation of entertaining (and often handy) storytelling.
We caught up with Gulman to talk about his particular brand of comedy and stand-up life.
Witout: You’ve been on tour for some time now. Where are you now?
Gary Gulman: I’m on the road for the next six weeks. I’m in Boston right now, doing a show at Boston University with Denis Leary and Jimmy Fallon. It’s for the [Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care]. It’s a tradition in Boston, I’ve done it the past 18 years. Originally–I think–it was just comedians from Boston. Now, they bring in famous comedians. Anyway, it’s very well attended. There were probably like 10,000 people there. It’s an honor to do it.
WitOut: Where are you headed over the next few weeks?
Gulman: After Philadelphia, I’ll be in New Brunswick for the following weekend and then I’m going to Atlanta and San Francisco. There is another stop somewhere–maybe Houston. But, I’m very busy the rest of the year.
WitOut: That’s a good thing. Are you going to be making anymore television appearances?
Gulman: Sure. I was also just in a movie that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival called Lucky Them with Toni Collette. But yeah, I usually do the late-night shows every six months or so. And then I usually do a Comedy Central special every year or two. The most recent is on Netflix, called This Economy.
WitOut: Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Gulman: Sure. It was basically inspired by the recession in 2008, which I was affected by. Not so much by the economy as I was affected by bad choices in my love life. I bought a house for this woman I was engaged to and it didn’t work out. I was stuck with the house by myself so I was broke. Money was a real issue. It sort of happened at the same time that everyone else in the country was struggling so I was able to find a lot of common ground with the audience on the effects of money and keeping [money] in perspective–and also some of my favorite ways to save money, which involved a lot of cutting back and some stealing.
Well, not bad stealing. When I went to the movies, I would always put in the senior discount. I also once stole a muffin from Whole Foods when the line was really backed up. Nothing the way of major crime but I did save some money.
WitOut: What is up next for you in terms of the comedy that you’re delivering?
Gulman: I don’t talk about [money] as much anymore, probably because I’ve weathered the storm and I’m financially stable again. I still talk about certain aspects of the economy, mostly the ridiculous disparity between the wealthy and the rest of us. I would say that I turned more on my personal life than my financial life. I mostly just tell really long stories about things that have happened to me. That’s sort of my style–making really long stories with digressions and stories within stories. That’s my niche. It’s unique but it’s not like I invented anything. There just aren’t too many people who sound like me.
WitOut: Do you think this type of anecdotal comedy is gaining traction these days?
Gulman: I don’t think that’s the case. I think there are more one-liners and topical jokes out there. It’s because the shows are giving comedians five minutes to perform and you can’t really build a long story in five minutes. I’ve found that to be the case.
WitOut: So what is it that draws you to that long format, then?
Gulman: Uhm. I’m great at it.
WitOut: Fair enough.
Gulman: Yeah, and the audience loves it. If the audience was turned off by it, I’d probably shy away from it but I’ve been able to pull it off.
WitOut: Are you ever planning on slowing down your stand-up schedule for TV?
Gulman: No! I love it so much. I really resent having to occasionally do an audition or a meeting because it takes away from stand-up. It was fun to be in a movie but it was 16 hours of standing around to do about a half an hour of work. I prefer stand-up. It’s just so much fun and the audience is great.
I’m at a point where I’m performing in front of good audiences at good venues. [Stand-up] was hard for a long time but now I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.
WitOut: That’s awesome to hear. I think a lot of comedians are moving onto so many other things.
Gulman: [Laughs] I appreciate that because the more time they spend making TV and movies, the more room there is for me to take their shows.
WitOut: Why do you prefer live performance?
Gulman: It’s instant feedback. You’re creative. You feel like you’re a creator and a performer. It’s ideal. I don’t know how people stop doing it after they get TV shows. The only reason that I would want a TV show is to get more people at my shows.
WitOut: So, your show in Philadelphia… Are you excited to come visit us?
Gulman: I love Philadelphia. I’ve been coming down there since about 2005-2006 to perform at Helium. They are some of my best shows. I have a big crowd there. It’s perfect. If I could find a theater there to do my next special in, I would do it. I love it.
Appearing on tonight’s East Coast Power Nap is Natalie Levant, Brian Six, Setoiyo, Elise Thompson-Hohl, Aaron Hertzog, Jim Ginty, Mike Logan and a guest appearance by Dan Vetrano. There will be an overarching sketch performed by hosts Alejandro Morales and TJ Hurley between the sets.
East Coast Power Nap is upstairs at the balcony at The Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch Street) at 8:30 (doors @ 8:00). Tickets are $5.00. To get excited for the show, check out their “Leaked Outtakes” video. The sketch imagines what you would say about your friend behind their back while you were being asked questions “off camera.”