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Written and directed by Jimmy Darby; starring Jason Singer, Josh Wolf, and Orin Belinsky; filmed and edited by Curt Riedy.
The funny folks on PHIT’s Sketch House-Teams Dog Mountain and The Flat Earth delighted last night with their weird-ass sketches.
First let’s take a look at the Dog Mountain show entitled, “Gory Hole”.
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The Flat Earth presents “Scrambled Porn”
[Coming soon… An important and insanely funny video — Joe Moore’s Best Day Ever….]
A lot of Philadelphia comedians got their start at the Wednesday-night open mic at the Laff House on South Street. For many a young Philly comic, The Legendary Wid — long-time emcee of the Wednesday mic — was the first face they saw.
Many continue on to “the grind” or “the trenches” where they run into Wid again, witnessing his manic yard-sale pun-a-thon at suburban clubs or fire-halls. He’s induced his fair share of groans, but if you give him a chance to make you laugh, he’ll always get you with something.
Here are some tidbits about Jersey native Michael Baldwin, aka The Legendary Wid, Philly’s prop-savant comedian extraordinaire…
Ronaldo Spettacolare, of PHIT’s house team Outside Voices, will be performing his character based/musical/performance art act Yung Creamed Currency Panty Dropper Billionaires this Thursday at the independent comedy-showcase-who-could Hey, We’re Cool.
WitOut: What exactly is the YCCPDB?
Ronaldo Spettacolare: The Yung Creamed Currency Panty Dropper Billionaires, is a one person, eight member rap group starring myself as Uncle Jungle, Hustle Sproutz, Fifi Dundutta, Pup E. Luv, Spettacoloco, Rapeshaun Biermot, Drapes, and Jozay Pesos. Makes sense, right?
So, basically, I’m all eight members of the group whether they’re live on stage on in the studio.
WitOut: Did you start doing YCCPDB before you started Improv or vice versa?
Spettacolare: The YCCPDB came into fruition roughly a year before I started taking Improv classes at the Philly Improv Theater, but it/they were created within a manner consistent with Improv. It started out with my buddy making beats on a beat machine and me rapping in different voices. We recorded it on my phone, and after laughing at the song, I decided to create names for the members and for the group.
WitOut: How does one medium inform the other?
Spettacolare: Improv and the YCCPDB have been able to complement each other immensely, both behind the scenes and live on stage.
Every YCCPDB song, since their inception, has been made up on the spot. It’s safe to say you won’t find any real handwritten YCCPDB lyrics on eBay in fifteen years going for a whopping sum of money. The entire first album (and the soon-to-be-released-because-it-isn’t-finished-yet second album) consist of songs that are all Freestyle, or “off the top of the head” if you will.
Although the songs performed at their shows are the ones you’ll find on the album, everything about the show, from the dialogue between members on stage between songs to the dance moves during them is all improvised. Being an improviser has made being on stage an even more comfortable thing, and it shows in every performance.
WitOut: How would you classify YCCPDB? Is it parody? Is it homage?
Spettacolare: The YCCPDB is pure satire. Each member is basically poking fun at the real “rappers” you’d find in mainstream music today. For example, upon seeing and hearing Fifi Dundutta first time, you’ll see he clearly spoofs Lil Wayne with his high pitched whiny voice and braided hair whereas Drapes just straight up makes fun of Drake.
Honestly, I feel as if the music that you’ll find out there today is absolutely terrible. So, the idea with the YCCPDB was to make something worse, ultimately making it so that the only option the world would have left after the YCCPDB makes their mark is to try to and make things better.
WitOut: YCCPBD is getting a reputation for larger than life performances. What should people expect when they come to see you perform live?
Spettacolare: There’s only one thing to expect at a YCCPDB live performance: ANYTHING. Yes, anything goes at a YCCPDB show, and that’s usually made apparent within the first thirty seconds. The goal for the live shows is to create a feast for both the eyes and the ears that’ll have you leaving fully satisfied with what you just witnessed.
Matt McCusker: Hey thank you! The plan was to just try to focus on having fun and being as present as possible on stage and not be all in my head trying to remember all my jokes. As far as prior experience with the contest, I made it to the finals some years ago and ultimately lost. After my initial defeat my father brought me into our room of ancestors (the place where we keep marble busts of all of our male predecessors) and spoke to me about the importance of bringing glory to the house of McCusker. That was all I needed to see.
WitOut: What will you be doing with the thousand dollars?
McCusker: It’s been dipped into a bit. Depending on how much it costs to replace the shocks on my car I might buy myself a new pair of jeans. Anything left over will just go toward the rent.
WitOut: Tell us about your day-job. Also, a/s/l?
McCusker: My a/s/l is super secret. However, I will tell you that I currently work as a cook in a pizza shop and write for a few websites on a freelance basis. I also get permits for construction companies from time to time. I believe its called expediting.
WitOut: Who are the Philly scene comedians you looked up to, getting your start in this area, and what was your general process of getting into comedy?
McCusker: I always looked up to the Center City Comedy guys (H Foley, Cotton, Cassidy) as well as Anton Shuford and a bunch of other guys as well. I got into comedy by doing an open mic at Helium. The first joke I ever told was how I thought Chris Hanson was a glorified cock-block and snitch. I like to think that I’ve evolved a bit since then. After releasing that gem upon the citizens of Philadelphia, I started hitting a bunch of different mics all over town. After a while I got pulled into the fold of the notoriously sinister Raven Lounge open mic. For about a year I lived and died by the first half line up of that place and eventually became a regular there. The whole time I was very off and on, and I used to be known to take very long “breaks.” The longest break I took was 2 years after getting married when I was 26 and after realizing that I suck at every possible job there is I came back to comedy. That was just last year and have been loving it ever since.
WitOut: Biggest and/or best gig yet?
McCusker: Opened up for Dustin Diamond once. He was kinda a dick, but pretty cool to me which was exciting.
WitOut: Who are your favorite comedians?
McCusker: Hmm. I’ve never been big on “favorites” really. What happens to me is I find a comedian and obsess over them. I watch every clip of them on a camera ever, and then move on to another and do the same. In the past some of the comedians have been Louis CK, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Patrice O’ Neil, and lately I’ve been liking a lot of Rob Delaney’s stuff.
WitOut: Are there any movies from this past year that you’ve enjoyed?
McCusker: I haven’t been seeing a lot of movies lately but would have to say Place Beyond The Pines was pretty tight. I can say without a doubt that my favorite move is Easy Rider.
WitOut: What musicians do you like?
McCusker: I listen to a wide array, but I can say without a doubt that my hands down favorite artist of all time would be the godfather of grunge Neil Young. Second place would be the 90’s British R&B sensation Craig David. I also like the Grateful Dead, but kinda hate their core fans
WitOut: How would you solve the current Gaza strip Ukranian conflicts?
McCusker: Honestly haven’t been following it that much. From what I think I know about Gaza you just have groups of people who have been hating each other for centuries over territory disputes. Then after so many people are killed on each side it just becomes a never ending game of “one-upmanship” which is really kind of sad. It also doesn’t help that you have major super powers like Britain and the US who have been popping in and out over there and messing with the situation to gain access to their natural resources.
The Russia and Ukraine thing, from what I’ve skimmed, is about Russia wants Ukrainians to be Russian(?) and apparently some Ukrainians do want to be Russian and some don’t so they’re all fighting now, which I’m sure is a very oversimplified explanation, but honestly I think a great deal of these conflicts (if not all) stem from one person or group trying to dominate another and the other group pushing back against said domination.
For some reason there’s a majority of people who think battles over land and resources are a thing of the past that only medieval kings did, but I think that stuff still goes on today. Only now the leaders of aggressive countries have learned to cloak their base agenda in all kinds of high minded concepts and spirituality. Like when we go into other countries and kill people so they can have democracy…
I really hope this doesn’t all sound like a crazy youtube comment.
Roger Weaver is a veteran of the Philly Comedy Scene, and this will be his umpteenth year of not winning Philly’s Phunniest. Here’s his run-down of what to expect!
Tonight is the finals of the 2014 Philly’s Phunniest Contest at Helium Comedy Club (showtime 7:30pm). Before I break down this year’s finalists, here’s a little bit about me (btw, “about me” was the working title of this article). I’ve been in every Philly’s Phunniest since we took this contest over from the Indians.
Have I had any success in the Helium contest? I’m glad you asked (what took you so long?). A long time ago I did pretty well and even occasionally advanced in the contest—back when I used to have a soul. I went to the finals the first year and finished 6th, although I always tell people I finished 4th, because—like our Founding Fathers—I don’t recognize women or blacks.
I’ve been back to finals once and made some semis, but have had my share of 1st round flameouts, as well. Let the record show I am in no way obsessed with this contest. I don’t have the lineups and results of previous contests covering the walls and windows of my apartment or anything. Please don’t view this analysis of this year’s finalists as the ramblings of a broken bitter man. (It is, but please don’t view it that way.)
Remember this is the best breakdown I could do without actually leaving the house, so I clearly know more about some finalists than others. My research (reading random Facebook posts) is complete and here is my expert breakdown of the finalists in even more expert alphabetical order:
Patrick Graves: Don’t know him very well, but he’s really funny on social media which has to count for something these days. My sources (the dissonant voices in my head) tell me it’s his first time in the contest so this is a very impressive debut.
Tommy Highland: Success in this contest is nothing new for Tommy Highland, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. He’s not even originally from Philadelphia! If he wins, I’m calling for an investigation from any Philadelphia City Council members not currently under investigation themselves.
Jake Mattera: Don’t know him, but I bet he’s got great Mattera-ial. Note: this is why I don’t advance in this contest anymore.
Matt McCusker: Is it just me or is Matt McCusker too good looking to be a really funny comedian. At his age and with his looks he should be playing a high school kid on Saved by the Bell. Saved by the Bell is still on, right?
Lou Misiano: I’d tabbed Lou Misiano to be a force in this contest a few years ago after seeing him destroy at some pretty tough open mic venues. Note: I don’t usually use the term “destroy” in a comedy context, I save it for serious things like Hamas missile strikes or Godzilla rampages but I’m trying to sound relevant.
A while back I heard Lou Misiano tell a topical joke that was almost exactly like one I’d written so naturally I think he’s brilliant.
Anthony Moore: Not personally familiar with his work, but I’ve heard some really good things about him. That also pretty much sums up my relationship with God.
Alex Pearlman: I’m an Alex Pearlman fan from way back. He once helped me during a performance with an inspired piece of improv involving Axe Body Spray (“improv” is anything you don’t rehearse, right?), so whenever I walk by a high school boy’s locker room I think of him. Alex Pearlman with a microphone is a force of nature. You know, like erosion. He’ll get to you eventually. And he just keeps getting better. Hey, just what is he trying to prove anyway?
Mary Radzinski: Mary Radzinski was just named Philly’s Best Comedian by Philadelphia Magazine which, I suppose is a good thing if you’re still into awards given by print media. On a personal note, Mary is the only finalist (besides Pearlman) that I’ve pleasured myself to. From the first time I saw her do stand-up I thought she sounded and had the presence of a professional female comedian. (Yes, I just put “female” in there because I’m a douche.)
Female comics haven’t had a great deal of success in the contest since Robin Fox placed second in its inaugural year, but if anyone can break that trend, it’s Mary.
Mike Rainey: Host of Helium’s Dirty Dozen Show and veteran of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon—full disclosure—Rainey and I once kissed during a performance at the bachelor party for a Phormer Philly’s Phunniest winner. At that moment and for the first time in my life I felt truly alive. Rainey is the Jeff Ross of Philly comedy, and I don’t just say that because he’s a doughy white guy, he’s simply the best comedian I’ve heard at roasting other comics.
I stumbled upon his setlist for the Ed McGonigal roast and to this day treat it as an archeological artifact. Many times I’ve been the victim of Rainey’s hilarious barbs, and—if you’re at all familiar my appearance—you can imagine how difficult it is to come up with anything on me.
Ryan Shaner: He was on my night of the contest last year and didn’t advance either. Pretty much confirms what I’ve said about that audience to anyone that would listen—and also to people that cover their ears and walk away singing to themselves for that matter. Ryan is very funny and, more importantly, don’t underestimate the power of the mustache. It worked for Kent Haines.
Chris Stenta: Don’t think I know him, but we’re friends on Facebook so he must be hysterical.
Erik Terrell: This guy sounds more like a defensive back than a comic to me. I don’t know him, but I’m guessing he’s one of the Helium contest’s most dangerous entrants… the non-threatening black guy. Note: If Erik Terrell isn’t a black guy (or especially if he is, threatening or otherwise) please excuse this as the crazy rantings of a racist old man and for God’s sake stay off of my lawn.
OK, that’s enough highbrow analytics for now. I have to start crafting my set list for next year’s contest. Remember, they say those that are ignorant of George Santayana quotes are doomed to repeat them. Good luck to all the finalists tonight!
LaughSpin has the list of this year’s New Faces of Comedy showcase at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival. Two Philly faces — Monroe Martin and John McKeever — will be telling jokes at the industry showcase notorious for attracting talent scouts, agents, network executives and French Canadians.
We wish them the best of luck. Break legs, but don’t get all “move out of towny” on us, ya jerks!