Secret Pants and friends packed it in upstairs at Johnny Brenda’s for their fifth annual holiday variety special. [click to enlarge]
Get ready for a super important, big-annual comedy-scene award show not to be missed or taken seriously by anybody! Members of the Philadelphia comedy community will vote for and against their peers in a cut-throat pagent deciding once and for all: Who were the most talented funny people in Philly during the 2014 fiscal cycle??
On Sunday evening, January 25th, various comedians will take the stage downstairs at World Cafe Live to honor fellow pavement-chasers in pursuit of their hopes and dreams in the comedy farm-league community of Philadelphia! Nomination forms can be found here. Start thinking about who made you laugh this year, and whether they’re well-meaning purveyors of banana-peel pratfalls or a genuine threat to your own rising star-power!
Toronto’s 2 Humans kicked off the 10:30 block of Friday night’s 7th Annual Sketchfest. Natalie and Michael are graduates of Second City Conservatory and performed last year along-side Philly’s Alley of Nightmares at the 10th Anniversary Torronto Sketch Comedy Festival, headlined by Kids in the Hall.
They got one of the biggest laughs of the night with a 15-second sketch where in Michael plays with Natalie’s chest for about ten seconds and then turns to the crowd and says, “Oh, I wrote this sketch.” (Props to the tech team for a perfectly timed blackout on that one!)
2 Humans showcased great sketches for the big, receptive crowd. Two nuns relocating to NYC (one to spread the Good News, the other to spread her legs)… A lady alone in the supermarket gets wooed by a stock clerk on the p.a. system…
NYC’s Unisex — featuring Jason Messina and Tabitha Vidaurri of defunct Philly Favorite 6th Borough pedigree — brought funny and dark sketches about scary campfire stories, unreasonable burglary victims, and a disgruntled Walmart employee addressing the Black Friday mob with a megaphone.
One of their most memorable sketches showed the dangers of visiting houses haunted by Michael McDonald. The smooth sounds possess the husband while the wife tries to talk some sense into him.
As usual, The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie fucking destroyed. Their opening skit showed a couple of flappers from the 20’s struggling to win the dance marathon while the rigors of a 24 hours straight of doing the Charlston takes hilarious tolls on their mind and body. This was one of the funniest skits I’ve ever seen from them. It helps that Matt and Jacquie are both such weird looking human beings — the physicality alone of their ridiculous dancing would have been hysterical even without a written context. They crushed.
Another hilarious sketch that was new to me was their twisted depiction of hopelessly stranded astronauts floating into oblivion. Really dark. The sketch ended with an exaggeratedly slow fade-out of the lights, which added to the tone of pure gallow’s humor.
They ended their show with a weird reunion between a father and daughter, as she acts out his birthday speech with her hands in the style of Who’s Line is it Anyway. Dark secrets are revealed, contrasting the slap-stick. Belly laughs were had. Joe Moore helped play the sheriff.
Welcome to the land of too many options. This is a good problem, to be certain. But at some point, you will be forced to choose which myriad entertainers will drown out your work week like you’re some kind of super-temporary Roman emperor. And I’m only getting around to SOME of the hilarious shows I KNOW ABOUT.
Here are some key listings to sync up your dopamine pathways with the Philadelphia city-limits.
Dog Mountain and DTF with Darrel Charles & Dr. Timaree @ Phit
The Prince, Unstoppable Failure, Brick Penguin, 2 Humans, Unisex and [the two time Dirtiest Sketch in Philly winners] The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie @ Philly Sketchfest
Brian Posehn @ Helium
Chip Chantry @ Helium
The Tony Awards hosted by Maggy Keegan and Tripple Double @ Figment Theater
Black Friday Comedy Marathon 2014 @ Phit
Todd Glass @ Helium
Tom Green @ Helium
John Mulaney @ The Trocadero
WitOut: How and why did you get into comedy?
Joe Sib: I got into comedy via spoken word. I wrote a spoken word show called California Calling that I performed for about two years all over the United States. It was about how one day of my life put me on the path I’d follow for the next 30 years. I know that sounds heavy — it isn’t.
Doing that show for two years got me into standup because I performed the show at the Hollywood Improv, the Largo in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Punchline. I just loved the vibe of those rooms and it made me want to get into stand-up.
WitOut: How would you describe your style as a comedian?
Joe Sib – I’m a storyteller. At first, I shied away from that and tried to write jokes. It didn’t work. At one point, I just started talking about what’s going on with me in my life right now. I’m a dad, a husband and just trying to figure it out one day at a time. In that process, there are some pretty funny stories. It’s my first time doing any of those things so there’s a ton of room for error and that’s where the comedy comes from.
As far as influence goes, I come from a different perspective because my whole background has been in music for 30 years. I was either a singer in a band, managing a band, putting records out, signing bands, etc. My whole life has been around musicians so my approach to comedy is directly influenced by that.
WitOut: What’s your writing process like?
Joe Sib: My process for writing is this. I get up in the morning, drink 2 cups of coffee (maybe 3– depends on where I’m at that day) and then I go for a 3-4 mile run. Mostly 3. While I’m running, I’m totally jacked up on caffeine and I start thinking of bits and ideas. It’s almost like the combination of the caffeine and the adrenaline is the perfect storm for me to come up with my material. I’m constantly stopping my runs to write down ideas. If you saw me, you’d wonder what’s up with the crazy guy who keeps stoping to scribble in this tiny notebook!
WitOut: What is it about stand-up that draws you to it?
Joe Sib: I just love being on stage! I love a good show. I love seeing the people walk into the venue, hearing the music they’re playing, talking to the other comics, etc. I feel really honored that I’m able to jump up on the stage at this point in my life. I’m not some young 22 year old – I’m a middle aged man. I’m just so grateful that I can entertain people in some capacity and it feels like they’re enjoying it!
WitOut: Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
Joe Sib: Which one do you wanna hear? The time I bombed in Portland, OR and it ended up in a print review the week after? Or the time I bombed in San Francisco, CA and then 300 people walked past me after the set and none of them could even make eye contact with me because it was so bad? I made an awkward situation even more awkward as I stood by the door trying to inflate my ego as they walked by. But the good shows outweigh the bad at this point, thankfully. It’s never as bad as I think it is.
WitOut: Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
Joe Sib: My goals are realistic. I want to continue writing, touring and of course, become the best comedian that I possibly can. Coming from a musical background, my main goal is to be perceived as a comedian who can entertain people but at the same time, has something real to say.
WitOut: Tell us everything we need to know about the Nov 5th show!
Joe Sib: The thing that’s crazy about the show at MilkBoy on November 5 is that it’s a true homecoming for me. I was actually born in Philadelphia but have never spent any of my life there! All of my mom’s family still lives there so there will be a ton of Italian slash red-headed Irish people there. To top it off, I’m doing the show with my best friend, Jesse Malin. He was the best man at my wedding, we’ve been so many adventures and tours together. He’ll be playing music and telling some stories while I do some standup. It’s gonna be a great night!
Tickets are available online, visit MilkBoyPhilly.com