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.
We sent a comedy newbie to her first live comedy show this past weekend to give/get a fresh perspective. Know anyone who you think would love live comedy, but has never been to a club or theater show? Tweet them this article with #PhlComedy, @WitOutDotNet and they could win tickets to a comedy show in Philly!
Ok, let me start off by saying if you want to see a show-and-a-half then stop on by Helium Comedy Club. Tonight was probably the best experience I could be a part of. It started with seeing David James. Let me first say that he was hilarious.
He opened up the show with a wonderful question we can all relate to, “Have you ever dated someone and didn’t know if they were retarded or not?” That started the conversation for the show. He then went through the show with charisma and poise. He was going from topic to topic with no problems whatsoever. He was wonderful. He put everything that society hates to talk about, every grey area, and made it very easy to talk about it. I honestly thought he was hilarious. He included his audience in his act and let me tell you it was like a breath of fresh air compared to most comedians on TV. He was suave and sure of himself and was ready for any topic he put out there.
The headliner was, from In Living Color and Comedy Central, Mr. Tommy Davison.
Tommy Davidson [photo by Frances Paris]
He started off the show full of life and energy. He came out dancing and getting the crowed worked up. The first few jokes were just openers, like most people would do if they were coming to a party or something. The best thing about his performance was his attitude. He was so secure. He made sure he kept eye contact with everyone and just kept with the act. He was great with his facial expressions and changed his voice several times to keep up with the characters he was playing.
It was something that most people would really enjoy. I highly suggest that people go see him. He took topics like politics, race and genre and turned them into pleasant topics that we can all relate to. Honestly if you are looking for a great time and a place to spend your time go on down to Helium and enjoy the show. -Frances Paris
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.”
Bunch of Improv is at the Grape Room (105 Grape Street) in Manayunk tonight @ 8pm. See what creator Sam Fran Scavuzzo has to say about his group, Cock Hat, his thoughts on improv comedy and memorable guests from the show.
WitOut:Would you mind telling us about the history and comedic style of your former group, Cock Hat?
Scavuzzo: I performed short-form improv during college. Once I came back to Philly, we (college friends and I) formed a long-chain group, Cock Hat. Stylistically we are high energy, and use a “shooting from the hip” approach. We don’t mind being raunchy or gutsy. Oh, and we are not too sensitive or politically correct either (laughs). Improv is a lot about breaking out of your comfort zone, sometimes you surprise yourself with your true feelings on something or say something you don’t expect yourself to say. You are an actor in a scene, you have to say what is logical, not necessarily something you would say in real life.
WitOut:What has Cock Hat been up to since you all went your separate ways?
Scavuzzo: We performed together for two years, which is a considerably long time. We still perform together from time to time. Tonight’s show is called “A bunch of improv at the Graperoom,” [Cock Hat member] Frank and I are performing alongside four other improv teams and a stand-up comedian.
WitOut: Who are the other acts on the show tonight?
Scavuzzo: Kid Twist is a silly team with very smart improvisers. All members are involved with the Philadelphia Improv Theater (PHIT). Demonikus Rex is a relatively newer team. Also performing are Bill Parks, Gross Reber and stand-up comedian Pat Dohony.
WitOut: Who are some memorable groups you have had on the show over the years?
Scavuzzo: Matt Holmes has an improv act called Matt &. He brings an audience member up and does an entire show with them. He is an absolute master at what he does. Stand-up comedian Dave Terruso is another one. Dave is a polished professional. He tours, he’s an author and he opens at the Helium for national headliners. He is really smart. The way he uses language is unique. Dave knows the English language very well; there is no wasted word in his set. How do I explain it? He knows exactly how to emphasize a word. He knows his stuff.
Cock Hat members demonstrate their name-sake.
Sam Fran Scavuzzo will be performing with Cock Hat alum Frank Farrell at tonight’s show. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.00 and event details can be seen at Graperoommusic.com.
The final show of Philly Improv Fest had the crowd laughing along to dynamic scenes from duos Hot Dog (Jessica Ross and Luke Field), Billy Hawk (Brian O’Connell and Jeff Hawkins), The Amie and Kristen Show (Amie Roe and Kristen Schier) and Vox Pop (Karen Lange and Jordan Hirsch). Each of the groups jumped from scene to scene and kept the audeince laughing at everything from the perception of white Jesus to the marital problems between a blind husband and his wife.
At some point, you don’t even know what you’re laughing at anymore… but you’re cracking up!
Hot Dog’s comedic timing and chemistry kept crowds in hysterics as they created funny scenarios on marriage, employment opportunities and awkward dates. Whether it was playing a blind husband or a jovial employee, Luke Field can change the scene faster than you can count to two. Complementing his comedic timing was Jess Ross, whose ability to adapt to her partner’s theatrics is equally impressive.
Speaking of awkward couples, who can deny the charm of a male duo that can convince you that they are an opposite sex couple. Billy Hawk’s ability to transform into characters and bridge gaps of physicality is truly amazing. Whether it was playing a husband and wife, God and his son, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Billy Hawk had the audience on the edge of their seats waiting to see what characters they would play next.
Perhaps the most animated act of the night was The Amie and Kristen Show. It’s no secret that they are one of Philly’s best comedy duos. Best friends and improv masters, their chemistry is evident as they put on a parody of a frog-prince and princess. “It’s a shirt with muscles sewn into it, now you look like the other princes!” says Amie to her (British) frog-prince Kristen. The scene changes in less than a millisecond from a mother trying to control her son who is throwing a temper tantrum to a couple cuddling and talking about the future. This girl-power duo consistently reminded us that the beauty of comedy lies in the power of words and how you say them.
Jordan Hirsch and Karen Lange of Vox Pop ended the night with their musical act consisting of parodies of work culture and every-day married couple problems. The musicality, the duo’s awesome facial expressions and comedic timing made the comedy and music flow together to provide a highly entertaining ending to a night full of laughter.
Phif9 features heavy-hitters this weekend including shows from CityBeatz Philly, ComedySportz Philadelphia and the final show ever by legendary Philly improv trio, Rare Bird Show.
Check out the schedule, and take note of the venues–some shows will be at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street) and some shows will be across the street at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, (2111 Sansom Street). Also, take special notice of the 10:00pm Saturdayshow, which boasts Hot Dog, L.A. visitors BillyHawk, The Amie & Kristen Show [!!], and the music-improv comedy of special guests Vox Pop.
CollegeHumor’s Streeter Seidell seems like the kind of upfront, no bullshit type of comic Philadelphia can appreciate. However, he admitted he’s a little nervous about making his City of Brotherly Love debut when we talked about his upcoming show at the Trocadero Theatre this Friday. The White Wine author is part of the CollegeHumor Live tour alongside Jake Hurwitz & Amir Blumenfeld–stars of the long-running CollegeHumor.com web series Jake and Amir.
WitOut: Will it be the first time performing in Philly for all three of you?
Streeter Seidell: I think Jake and Amir did a college show in Philly once. But I haven’t even been there until about a month ago, which was a great embarrassment for me. I was totally ashamed because I grew up in Connecticut and I’m a massive history buff and Ben Franklin fan. And I like eating fattening food so I was like, how have I not been to this city? But I thought it was a great city. I’m a little nervous because I’ve never performed in Philly and you do hear this terrible rumors about audiences in Philly being crazy mean.
WitOut: Yeah, it’s nonsense. Just don’t suck.
Seidell: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been banking on. The problem is though, that I suck.
WitOut: So how did you get in at CollegeHumor?
Seidell: I was writing articles for the site when I was in college and just got on their radar and got hired right out of school.
WitOut: According to Wikipedia you were studying communications, did you have any idea what you would’ve done after college with that?
Seidell: Uh, I guess I would’ve worked at a talent agency which is where I had been an intern for a while. But thank god CollegeHumor hired me because I would’ve been a terrible agent.
WitOut: What was the experience like when CollegeHumor had a show on MTV, The CollegeHumor Show?
Seidell: It was so much fun. We were probably all 25, 26 and, it was a blast. I grew up watching MTV so the thought of having a show on MTV that I was acting in and helping write was extremely exciting. If only anyone watched it! Maybe I’d still be excited. But it was exhausting, frustrating, and extremely fun.
WitOut I saw you recently got a puppy? Will you be leaving it while you’re on tour?
Seidell: Aw, I wish you didn’t put it like that but yes I am.
WitOut: What can we expect at the show? What’s the format?
Seidell: Well, I’m not all the way sure yet. Usually Jake and Amir come out and do their thing, I come out and do my thing. Then we’ll do something together at the end. What exactly those things will be is yet to be determined. I’ll do stand-up, which, if I can see the crowd, might involve making fun of a kid in the front row. But, I will guarantee you it will be very funny.
WitOut: Despite you sucking?
Seidell: I might suck, but the three of us together, our powers combined, can make one funny show!
WitOut: The Voltron principle.
Seidell: Exactly, or the Captain Planet principle.
WitOut: You’ve co-written some books but you recently published your first book White Whine (http://whitewhine.com, available in stores and online now) on your own, what was that like?
Seidell: Do you remember writing essays or papers for college? Imagine doing that 250 times. And that was kinda like what writing a book was like, except you can say whatever you want and someone will give you money for it. So it was pretty fun!
WitOut: You’ve done sketch, stand-up, television, books, is there a form you haven’t done yet but would like to?
Seidell: Yeah, I guess, a movie right? Like, a major motion picture? Or, I’d really like to explore what I can do on Pinterest. That’s a form I really have yet to conquer. It’s really impressive, in a nine year career I’ve failed in almost every medium, which, not a lot of people can say. I’ll try anything really.
WitOut: Right, like me pretending to be a journalist here. I just write dick jokes in Philly but, I’m talking to you now.
Seidell: Are you the Philadelphia Dick Jokesmith?
WitOut: You’ve heard of me.
Seidell: Dude, how did you get that job I applied for that, I sent in a packet and everything.
WitOut: Well I apprenticed under the previous Dick Jokesmith.
Seidell: Ah, nepotism.
WitOut: What advice would you give someone who is trying to find a way to a career writing comedy?
Seidell: There is no place to go to apply for that job so anyone who wants to be a comedy writer can just start being a comedy writer. I’ve always had kids ask me “I really want to do stand-up” or “I want to write videos” or “I want to make things on YouTube”, well you shouldn’t have to want that cause you can just do that. There’s really no excuse to not just start doing it and, you’ll be pretty terrible for a while but then, hopefully, you’ll get a little better. And maybe one day I can be threatened by you and do everything in my power to stop your rise to fame.
WitOut: If you could be any animal, what would it be?
Seidell: Besides “better human”?
WitOut: That’s fine.
Seidell: Otherwise I was gonna say “Swedish person.”
WitOut: That’s basically the same thing. Anyway, thanks Streeter!
See Streeter Seidell, along with Jake & Amir, when CollegeHumor Live hits the Trocadero Theatre (1003 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA), this Friday November 15th and 8:00pm. Get tickets here.
Dave Metter is a Philly comedian, check him out on Twitter @DaveMetter, and check out his fake local news show Your News, Philadelphia Friday December 6th at the Shubin Theatre.
We sometimes like to have a good laugh at the expense of our favs, but Pat House is a really nice guy who loves comedy–and more importantly he’s good at it. He’s a staple of the Philadelphia comedy scene, so swing by the 7pm early show at Philadelphia Improv Fest and then skip right across the street at 8 to make a borderline problematic amount of noise on Pat’s first album.
Then check back at WitOut tomorrow for photos from the opening night of Philly Improv Fest as well as previews of the rest of the great comedy shows happening this (and every) week in Philadelphia.