In keeping with their seemingly intentional practice of incorporating Philly’s very funniest female sketch and improv comedians into their troupe, the mammary mammoth ManiPedi has absorbed three ladies who are so funny in their own right, we simply presumed they’ve been MPs for a while and are ashamed of our prejudiciously lazy attitude.
We asked the three sketch comedians–rumored to have been on the verge of starting their own rival all-gal comedy troupe, before being bought-out by ManiPedi (the New York Yankees of Philly lady-comedy)–what it feels like to be a member of the WitOut.net Sketch Comedy Group of the Year™.
If you’re not already planning on seeing their show tonight at 9:00 @ Phit, Philly Weekly has said “Marked by razor-sharp writing and an almost insane attention to details, ManiPedi’s particular brand of humor often teeters freely between dark and silly.”
Go see their show! Don’t be sexist! (Unless you operate with the variety of sexism that would bias you towards an all-female sketch comedy troupe, then by all means, your worldview is entirely jutified, in this instance!)
“School edition”–of which they recently did a rendition of Rent–means that the material is softened just enough so as not to be wildly inappropriate for the teens participating in their theater education program.
According to Project Arts–“Although this version has been edited to take out some of the racier elements, the irreverence and the content remain mostly intact. We also choose theater pieces that incorporates issues of the lives of real teens such as gender, class, drink-ing, diversity, LGBT issues, etc.”
Avenue Q, was created by Robert Lopez, co-creater of Book Of Mormon. If you haven’t seen it, think Sesame Street but hilariously inappropriate (again, in this instance, just appropriate enough for teens to participate, but not much more!).
Tickets are $15.00 and the cause is good. Project Arts operates as an after-school program offering a variety of theater training services to local youth at no charge. For tickets, visit http://projectartsavenueqschooledition.bpt.me/
A particularly funny Free For All is going down tomorrow night at 8:00pm @ Growler’s Pub. The show is followed by an open-mic for you to try out all those hilarious Malaysian airliner jokes you’ve been tastefully crafting!
Check out Tim Butterly, Mike Rainey, Alex Grubard and Bobby Lorello–as well as funny-ass hosts Aaron Hertzog and Allison Zeidman. If you’re trying to tell jokes after the show, sign up at 7:30.
The concept of Note To Self revolves around the characters’ inner monologues, delivered in real-time from improvisers right off-stage. Rumble discusses his vision for the show, which ends up being as poignant as often as it is funny.
WitOut: What types of moments do you hope Note To Self will explore that aren’t funny but simply profound/cathartic? How do you hope to package these moments in a way that suits the context of comedy theater?
Brian Rumble: It’s tough to say. For me, I’d be thrilled if the Note to Self world closes in a far different place than it opened. One of the key elements to this show is the fact that, in a persistent world, every choice has consequences. I want to see these characters struggle with these choices and come out changed on the other side. And these don’t have to be monumental changes. Just human ones, ones that build and maybe even fester over ten shows.
The comedy part of this show has been the least of my concerns because I think the concept is inherently funny and the cast are some of the funniest and smartest people I’ve ever met. The voyeurism in the show gives us a lot of tools to play with and even in the more profound or challenging scenes there’s the comic relief of the internal monologue. Hearing what someone wishes he could say against what they should or have to say is pretty great, even in some of the tougher moments.
WitOut: In an improvised show of this kind, lasting several nights, is there any concern about finding themes or beats and gravitating back towards them over the course of the run? Is the show entirely improvised?
Rumble: Events on the stage are entirely improvised. Each show starts with a “note to self” written by the audience to which the cast is not privy and the show builds from there. However, we do have a lot of structure created from this persistent world. So we have guidance on how characters will react to certain situations and how they’e expected to behave in different facets of their lives (work versus home, for example).
Finding the best themes is really just a matter of finding the most important ones. What do these characters care about most? Or, better yet, what do they want the most? Those themes will be so prevalent throughout the run of shows because we will hear the characters obsessing over them, even if they’re not able to act on them. The fun thing, of course, is that the entire cast can hear these wants and needs, too, and they can make achieving them as difficult as possible.
WitOut: Which of these performers are you particularly excited about directing, and why?
Rumble: I am so thrilled to be working with this entire group. Most of them are performers with whom I’d never worked before and I think all of them are among the best improvisers in the city. They’re a special group who came together instantly during auditions and they’ve not only brought this concept to life but they’ve been vital to helping me figure out all the moving pieces of what is, to be honest, a very challenging project. They’re the best co-directors I could have asked for and their enthusiasm for this whole thing has made the process so much easier.
For more on Note To Self, visit Figment Theater. Note To Self runs Thursday through Saturday @ 8:00pm and Sunday @ 3:00pm. Figment Theater is located at the Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.
A cultural satire about modern America, Eating My Garbage brings one-man’s existential quest to validate contemporary living. Garbage is directed by PHIT instructor Steve Kleinedler, who has worked extensively with Mogolov in the past:
“This is the fifth solo show I’ve worked on with David. I also directed him and another playwright in a 2-person show that was mostly interweaving monologues. I was the director and he was the head writer for the Ruckus, a house sketch team at ImprovBoston. We worked on 12 shows together. They all stand out in their own way; however, one that really stands out is when the Ruckus wrote the 8th Annual ImprovBoston Christmas Extravaganza — it was a very cohesive, slick, fun show that played to packed audiences when it wasn’t being cancelled by blizzards.”
We asked the Boston-based Mogolov–a 35 year old web design consultant and copywriter–if his show and its worldview are essentially pessimistic…
“The whole show really does revolve around a question of worldview, and my own struggle to maintain positivity in the face of a default pessimism. I very much like to paint things at their most dire and hopeless, but I don’t think any audience has left yet thinking it’s anything other than a very hopeful show. Against my better judgement, I am, ultimately, probably an optimist.”
Eating My Garbage runs Wednesday night at 8:00pm. Doors are 7:30. $5.00. PhilaMOCA is located at 531 N. 12th Street, a block north of Spring Garden. For more information, visit mogolov.com.
Executive director Matt Nelson had a few words about the transition from vagabond to improv establishment.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received over the past year. Our goal has been to create a permanent space to nurture and showcase artistic talent, with a foundation of risk, innovation and collaboration. Tonight marks a modest but big step forward in bringing that idea to fruition.”
Sessions at Studio C opens tonight with The Chain w/ Becca Trabin & Guests, and Night of 10 Minute Shows w/ Maggy Keegan and Caitlin Weigel. Maggy and Caitlin talk more about Night of 10 Minute Shows in this interview on Figment Theater’s website.–“We’re doing 5 different ten minute shows, each with an absurdly specific and bizarre premise. I’m a sucker for theme parties and that’s what these feel like to me – the improv version of ten minute theme parties.” Also appearing on the show will be Corin Wells, Dan Corkery, Dave Piccinetti, Derrick Hackett, and Frank Farrell.
For more Figment Theater shows, visit http://figmenttheater.org/events/
If you haven’t seen the Her parody “Burr” by Philly Improv Theater’s sketch house-team Flat Earth, here it is…
And in case you wanna hear Burr’s appearance on Opie & Anthony…
An announcement on HeliumComedy.com describes the comedy club’s new sign-up policy for its award-winning open-mic happening every Tuesday night.
Starting March 5th, online signups will start at Noon on Wednesday, and remain open for 24 hours. There will also be an old-fashioned in-person signup on Tuesdays from 6-7 before the mic.
Proprietary algorithms on loan from U-Penn will still decide the composition of the final list (duh) but hopefully this method will give more people an opportunity to sign-up for stage-time.