Upcoming Shows

  • February 7, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • November 26, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • November 27, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 27, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 28, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 28, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 28, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 29, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 29, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 29, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • December 3, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • December 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Another WitOut EXCLUSIVE: The Making of Tweets of the Week – Featuring Luke Field & Judd Apatow

 

Luke Field is a Philly Improv Theater instructor, a member of PHIT House Teams Asteroid! (improv) and The Flat Earth (sketch), and one half of the improv duo Hot Dog.

Judd Apatow is The Judd Apatow.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 66

In case you missed it, sketch group ManiPedi was featured as the cover story for last week’s Philadelphia Weekly. Pick up a copy while they are still in newsstands around the city and read the article online.

Tonight begins another run of shows at Philly Improv Theater (at The Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia). Their run kicks off at 9pm tonight with The Monthly Hour with James Hesky and following it will be the final edition of Aaron Hertzog’s stand-up comedy showcase Hey Everybody, with shows continuing for the next two weeks. You can find their full schedule and purchase tickets online.

A new open mic will begin this Thursday night at Roosevelt’s Pub (2220 Walnut St. Philadelphia). The new open mic promises that it takes place in a private room at Roosevelt’s with a real stage, no loud TVs and drink specials every week! Sign ups begin at 7:30 with the mic starting at 8.

The next Camp Woods Plus at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) will be next Thursday, December 6th and will feature sketch comedy from New York group We’re Matt Weir as well as Philly groups Daring Daulton and American Breakfast. As always, the show will be headlined with a set of brand new sketches by Camp Woods.

Nominations are now open for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia ComedyPerformers may nominate up to three choices in 13 different categories for the awards, which will be held on January 13, 2013 at World Cafe Live. Nominations will be open until November 30.

WitOut is now accepting submissions from performers and comedy fans for our Top Five of 2012 list series. We are encouraging anyone to write about their favorite moments, shows, performers, sketches, quotes, or anything at all to help us recap and remember the past year in Philadelphia comedy. You can pitch your Top Five of 2012 idea to contact@witout.net

If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to contact@witout.net

Another WitOut EXCLUSIVE: The Making of Tweets of the Week – 30th Street Station Edition

Comedy Love Letter – From Aaron Hertzog to Philadelphia Comedy

Dear Philadelphia Comedy,

All of it. Every open mic that lasted for two weeks in a bar I’d never want to step foot in unless they let me talk at half-listening strangers. Every fire hall gig in the middle of nowhere booked by a gravelly disembodied voice on the phone with a promise of pay I wasn’t sure I’d really receive. Every awkward improv scene where I wasn’t sure what to do so I just got louder, repeated what I’d already been saying, and tried to be a bigger, sillier, goofier fool. Every line of every sketch where I’ve agonized over details that don’t even matter, like the full first and last name of a character whose name is never even said.

All of it. Every time a new joke does well at an open mic and gives promise of a new few minutes added onto the act. Every set in front of a crowd that just “gets it” and lets me go where I want to go and follows me there with no judgement, just acceptance…and of course, laughter. Every improv scene where I’m still not sure what to do but it just clicks into place and makes sense and flows together and builds (and I still become a bigger, sillier, goofier fool). That time when the crowd laughed just because we wrote that my character’s name was “Meredith.”

Six years ago I stepped onto a stage at an open mic for the first time with a page full of jokes about dicks and how college was more like an episode of I Love the ’80s (“do you guys remember this thing from our childhood?”) than any wild and crazy party time portrayal of college from any TV show or movie. Six years later and I’m still getting on stages, still talking about dumb stuff, and still loving every single minute of it.

I love the laughter. I love the struggle. I love the people. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll ever make doing this. People I have every single thing in the world in common with. People I have absolutely nothing in common with besides the fact that we do this. But just that one single thing means that I could talk to them for hours. There’s nothing I feel more comfortable talking about or gushing over or heatedly debating than comedy.

This city put that in me. Running around to multiple mics in one night with a group of friends. Staying late after a show to do karaoke and drink until the law says we have to leave. Packing as many people as we can into a park on Memorial Day for a picnic. Giving each other awards that only matter because we say they do.

Doing comedy is certainly difficult, but it is definitely worth it. Getting to say whatever you want to say and making people laugh is the absolute best feeling in the world. It is freeing. It is powerful. But it would be nothing without the people I’ve met along the way. When I say this letter is to “Philadelphia Comedy” that means that it is to you. Have we talked a few times at open mics about nothing? Then this is to you. Did you think I was a dick before you met me because when I first started I was too shy to talk to people? Then I’m sorry, and this is to you. Are you someone that knows me well enough that you’re going to make fun of me mercilessly after reading this? Then this is definitely to you.

I have to be leaving you soon. But you will never leave me.

#Friendship.

 

Aaron Hertzog is an L.A.-bound Philadelphia comedian. He is the host of ‘Hey Everybody!’ at Philly Improv Theater (final show Nov. 26th), until recently a member of PHIT House Team Hey Rube and a founding member of  The Holding Court Podcast.  He leaves Philly on Nov. 28th; be sure to say hi to him one last time before then.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 65

Comedian LaTice was a guest on The View last week, where she was featured in their “Hilarious Housewives” stand-up competition. You can see her set from the show online.

You can read reviews of night three and five of last week’s Philly Sketchfest from Philadelphia Weekly online.

Philadelphia’s own Dom Irrera will be headlining at Helium Comedy Club this week. The home-grown comedian is known for his many stand-up specials, television and film work, and is a fixture at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.

The Laff House’s Thanksgiving Weekend line-up will feature headliner Alex Thomas, known for his appearances in films such as Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Just Married, and Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. The show will feature 2011 Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest winner Tommy Pope and will be hosted by TuRae.

The final Hey Everybody! at PHIT will take place one week from today at 10pm at The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia). Host of the show Aaron Hertzog is moving to Los Angeles and will be sending his show off in style with performaces by: Chip Chantry, Brendan Kennedy, Joe Dougherty, Mary Radzinski, Jim Grammond, Christian Alsis, Alison Zeidman, and Rob Baniewicz.

Nominations are now open for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy. Performers may nominate up to three choices in 13 different categories for the awards, which will be held on January 13, 2013 at World Cafe Live. Nominations will be open until November 30.

WitOut is now accepting submissions from performers and comedy fans for our Top Five of 2012 list series. We are encouraging anyone to write about their favorite moments, shows, performers, sketches, quotes, or anything at all to help us recap and remember the past year in Philadelphia comedy. You can pitch your Top Five of 2012 idea to contact@witout.net

Awkward Moments with Hilary Kissinger – “I Don’t Get the Reference”

“Awkward Moments” is a monthly column that asks comedians, “What do you do when…” In this installment we talk about references and improv.

Improvisers are often expected to keep a lot of stuff in their heads, all while being encouraged not to think. Some of this stuff has been put there by the process of learning improv, and “rules” that we’ve learned or had to unlearn. (Read a great piece about these so-called rules in Matt Holmes’ new column, “Discussing a Bit.”) The rest of this stuff is what all of us have in our heads all the time—the accumulated scraps of information, trivia, observations, etc. that comprise our knowledge of the world. And dipping our little improviser bucket into that well of references can lead to wonderfully specific and idiosyncratic choices in scenes, like making a movie that’s a literal blockbuster, or the development of the progressive metal concept album Operation: Mindcrime II. (Wikipedia -> Random Article is your friend.) But what do improvisers do when their reference well doesn’t match up with their scene partner’s?

Most improvisers will find themselves in this situation at some point. Your partner has just endowed you with a character trait, maybe even a name, and you hear titters from the crowd. Your Spidey sense is tingling (that’s from Spider-Man) and you realize that they’re in on a joke that’s left you in the dust. You realize it’s because your scene partner is making a reference, and the little editor inside your brain is screaming “Why didn’t you watch more Inside Edition?!” How does an improviser move forward when they feel left behind?

First off, it’s important to mention that it’s good to be informed. Everybody won’t understand everyone’s references all of the time (I think Lincoln said that  while he was slaying the undead), but improvisers should cultivate a hunger for information and insight that they can bring to the stage, and that includes participating in an intertextual world (I learned that in college). Here’s what Alex Newman, member of PHIT house team Davenger and known referencephile, has to say about arming oneself with knowledge:

“If you are an improviser, I think it’s super important to be a diligent consumer of pop culture, even if you feel like it’s killing you inside. Read everything, browse Wikipedia, and watch an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey (one is definitely enough). Even a basic working knowledge of pop culture will arm you with enough references to survive. That being said, if you don’t get a reference: fake it. Play it real, agree, commit and even if you get it wrong you’ve just created something that’s true within the scene. If you think Hunger Games is a competitive eating tournament then in the world of your scene, that’s what it is. The worst thing you can do is ignore it or try to make it not important.”

I think Alex enters most scenes as if going into battle.

Most of the performers I talked to agree that sticking with and exploring what you’ve created is essential. Aaron Hertzog, of Hey Rube fame and soon-to-be-famous L.A. comedian, describes how having “your own deal” is an asset when dealing with reference:

“Hold on to whatever idea you came into the scene with. Lets say  you come into the scene as somebody who LOVES kitty cats, but your scene partner wants to make you Superman. They are dropping hints that you are Superman but you’re just not picking it up. Don’t worry about trying to find out the specific reference—just play the scene with your love of kitty cats! Eventually you (or maybe just the audience, but that’s ok) will get that you are Superman, and now, you’re a Superman that loves kitty cats—which has much more depth and comedic hook than just plain old Superman.”

Michael Tomasetti, of Mayor Karen and now of the great city of Los Angeles (really guys? L.A. is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Season 5 Big Bad Glory and Philadelphia is her brain-sucking victim…wait I have to go cry about Tara now), also uses strong character choices in response to an unknown:

“I usually get away with it by playing someone foreign. I like to use accents and whenever someone drops a Dr. Who, Star Trek, or sports reference I usually play someone not from this country or an alien.  Or if I can get away with it, I play something literally.  One time Alan Kaufmann and I were in a scene and he mentioned me playing Super Mario 3. I played the game once or twice, but knew enough to go along with the scene. At one point in the scene he said something like, “Get the frog suit and wear it.” I stood up and reached under my chair, and mimed putting on a full length frog suit. Everyone started laughing hysterically, and I just figured it was because it was so bizarre.  It was only after we got off stage that Alan was like, “the frog suit is what Mario wears in Super Mario 3.”

THIS JUST IN: MARIO IS A FRENCHMAN.

Greg Maughan, Executive Director at the Philly Improv Theater and all-around comedy fiend, has a couple alternatives when dealing with reference:

“I’ve handled this situation in two different ways. In the first, I play a character who would never get the reference and just breezes past it innocently. In the second, I address the problem head on, admit I don’t get it and make a lame joke at my own expense: ‘Wait, are we both talking about the same Young Jeezy? I was thinking of Teddy Roosevelt’s puppy.’”

Silly Greg. We all know TR’s dog was named Slick Pulla.

No matter what, remember that you know everything you need to know to have a successful scene. As long as we listen, play and communicate, reference doesn’t need to be scary. Kristen Schier, clown, comedian, and improv goddess who can be seen in The N Crowd and The Kristen & Amie/The Amie & Kristen Show, reminds improvisers to keep having fun:

“First off, I would keep doing what I have been doing trusting that [my scene partners] noticed something about what I was doing that made them go that direction in the first place. That having failed, within the context of the scene, I might try the following:

  • Let them know I have no idea what they are talking about
  • Have fun guessing what they might mean
  • Give them the title of an obscure person or pop culture reference myself

What I would NOT do is start to worry or change up my character… Its perfectly okay to show your ignorance or stupidity onstage.”

Referencing the obscure or the trendy can be immensely satisfying whether or not everyone on stage “gets it.” As an audience member, it’s really gratifying to watch performers who imbue their scenes with the specific—if you see a lot of improv, you see a lot of the same scenes over and over again. But when improvisers come together and gift each other with their idiosyncratic knowledge, unique things happen. Of course, reference initiators should do so in service of the scene, not for the sake of dropping some sweet Reddit-curated knowledge for their own fame and glory (save that for political debates around the Thanksgiving table!) And reference receivers should do their best to listen to what was offered and honestly join their scene partner in whatever they’re playing, rather than fight against it or judge themselves.

So tell us in the comments below: have you had an awkward moment of not getting the reference on stage? What do you do when something’s over your head? (Like the legendary HGTV series hosted by Eric Stromer???)

Hilary Kissinger is a writer and improviser splitting time between New York and Philadelphia. She performs with Philly Improv Theater house team Davenger and writes about movies for FilmMisery.com. Chat with her on Twitter @HilaryKissinger.

What Awkward Moment in comedy would you like to see Philly’s comedians tackle? Ask “what do you do when…” by emailing alison@witout.net.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 64

David Ray Agyekum has been named one of Comedy Centrals Comics to Watch (page available at 4pm today) for 2012. David and the other comics on the list will be live tweeting about the show today at 4pm. You can follow David on Twitter for more.

This week, Comedy Month Philadelphia continues with the 5th Annual Philly Sketchfest. The festival kicks off tonight at 8:00 at The Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut St.) and continues through Saturday night. Tickets are available online.

The Philadelphia Citypaper ran a cover story last week on comedian Corey Cohen. The article covers Cohen’s background in comedy and current work as a promoter and host of The Big Show at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.)

This Sunday, Gregg Gethard‘s comedy-show-based-around-a-theme Bedtime Stories will make its return to Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) This month, the theme of the show will be Revenge and will feature performances from many Philly comedy favorites. The show will also feature the final episode of The Holding Court Podcast, a comedy and basketball show co-hosted by Gethard and Aaron Hertzog.

Nominations are now open for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy. Performers may nominate up to three choices in 13 different categories for the awards, which will be held on January 13, 2013 at World Cafe Live. Nominations will be open until November 30.

WitOut is now accepting submissions from performers and comedy fans for our Top Five of 2012 list series. We are encouraging anyone to write about their favorite moments, shows, performers, sketches, quotes, or anything at all to help us recap and remember the past year in Philadelphia comedy.

WitOut EXCLUSIVE: The Making of Tweets of the Week

It may look effortless, but keeping WitOut running takes hours of focus, concentration, and sitting.  Our editors and writers put their cold little hearts and dark, empty, unfeeling souls into everything they do for the site, in the hopes that readers like you will laugh at, learn from, and/or passive aggressively comment on their work.  The rewards are few and far between, but the false sense of importance that comes with being part of the WitOut team is certainly worth it!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one our most popular new features, “Tweets of the Week,” curated by editor Aaron Hertzog:

Featuring Aaron Hertzog
Professionally Filmed by Alison Zeidman
Musical Score by Greg Maughan

Whoa! Eye-opening!

And wait a minute, don’t you wish that could be YOU? Wait…yeah…hey wait, yeah, you do! Email alison@witout.net to pitch your own WitOut feature or column, or to start receiving weekly emails of assignment opportunities.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 52

Last night, the seventh annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued at Helium Comedy Club with Aaron Hertzog, Joey Dougherty, and Paul Easton moving on to the semi-finals. The competition continues Sunday, July 29 and the opening round continues until August 13 (full schedule here).

Submissions for Philadelphia’s Comedy Month are now open. Interested groups can apply for the 8th annual Philadelphia Improv Festival (November 7-11, 2012) and the 5th annual Philly Sketchfest (November 12-17,  2012) online. More details on the month-long City Spotlight will be available later. Early submission ($20) for groups is open until until August 17 and the final deadline ($30) is August 31.

This Wednesday, Camp Woods Plus returns for another show at L’etage (624 South 6th St. Philadelphia) This month’s show will feature the debut of Philadelphia sketch duo Tap City along with New York group Listen, Kid! As always, the show will feature brand new material from Camp Woods.

Also this Wednesday, comedy variety show Accidents Will Happen returns to Adobe Cafe (1919 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia) for a night of stand-up from Jim Grammond, Omar Scruggs, John Nunn, Rachel Bensen, Lisa Yost, storytelling from Jamie Fountaine, sketch comedy from The New Dreamz and “Black Metal Legend” Necrosexual. The show is free and begins at 9pm and is followed by an open mic at 11.

This Saturday, The Sideshow makes another appearance at The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St. Philadelphia). The show will feature improv from Chaperone, Hot Dog, and Iron Lung as well as clowning from Kristen Schier. The show begins at 8pm and is $5.

Wet Behind the Ears: Talkin’ ‘Bout Debutin’ with Tap City

Tap City is a brand new sketch project from stand-up comic/improviser Aaron Hertzog and improviser Luke Field, two of the most modest fellas you’ll ever meet.  They have zero confidence in their abilities as sketch writers (or possibly all the confidence in the world, and this entire interview was a sham).  Their debut show is this Wednesday at Camp Woods Plus, and there’s a strong chance that anyone, everyone or no one who comes and laughs will get a big fat kiss from Luke.  

Alison Zeidman: How did Tap City start?

Aaron Hertzog: I started doing stand-up as a way to get into sketch, because I thought I would like sketch more. That’s kind of backwards I guess, instead of just starting a sketch group. I was like, I’ll do this, and then meet people to do sketch groups with, and then it got away from me. I liked stand-up more than I thought I would. And then eventually I wanted to do a sketch group, and Luke was the first person that I thought of that I wanted to work with and who wasn’t already in a group.

Luke Field: I come from a pretty strictly improv background, and I wanted to…expand my horizons…comedically. We were originally working with a few other people, a lot of busy people, and it kind of petered out.  Then we just found that we were writing some things that were almost exactly similar in tone and style, so we just started meeting together.

AZ: How did you come up with the name Tap City?

LF: We went to a website of old hobo slang.

AH: We went to a bunch of websites.  That wasn’t the first one we went to.

AZ: OK, what was the step before the hobo website?

AH: We were kicking around ideas, things that we liked, words, phrases, random things, just trying to keep together a short list of ideas. And I think we both liked the ring of the word “city,” but never went back to it, and when we finally had to come up with a name we were looking up old slang websites—

LF: I like old people.

AH:  Yeah, we both like old-timey slang and stuff like that. So we found one that was old-timey hobo slang.

AZ: And what does it mean?

LF: It means you’re broke. It’s a really thrilling story of discovery and excitement.

AZ: Through Google.

LF: Which is modern day Indiana Jones.

AZ: Can you talk about what sketch does for you in terms of creative fulfillment that you don’t get out of stand-up or improv?

AH: I like working with other people, and bouncing ideas back and forth. I love the writing process in sketch. Like if I come up with an idea and I write a first draft, and then Luke will read it and give me ideas and jokes, and things to tighten up. I love the collaborative creative process of coming up with something together.  Some of my ideas come from improv scenes that I want to make better. It’s like the core of it was good, and now I want to strengthen it.

LF: I’m doing improv 3 or 4 times a week, and it’s sort of disposable, but you’re generating a lot of material.  And I just wanted to challenge myself, too, because I had never really done any writing. Also it’s just a really good way for us to just beat ourselves up emotionally, and hate the work that we’re doing.

AH: It’s good pressure to put on yourself…

AZ: What kind of pressure do you feel with doing sketch?

LF: In improv, the audience gives you some leeway to fail, I feel. Even though you don’t want to. You want to get up onstage and put on a great show. And ultimately a great improv show will feel and sound like a sketch show. You’re basically writing a sketch on your feet. I feel like if we’re presenting this material that we’ve been working on for months and months and months, though, an audience is going to scrutinize it a lot more. So that makes for me an added level of anxiety.

AZ:  Do you feel those expectations from an audience when you’re doing sketch, when you’re actually performing?   Can you get a sense of that with the laughs or whatever feedback you’re getting from a sketch audience, versus an improv audience?

AH:  I think so.  It’s gotta be a lot tighter than an improv scene.

LF: I know for stand-up and especially for me for improv, we’re trained to just hear that laugh and follow it. Well I know it’s not like part of the training, but for me the first thing that I hear a laugh from, I think that’s probably something interesting that can be repeated and done over again, explored more. And even with stand-up it becomes a rhythm—I guess. I don’t know anything about stand- up.  But it’s a little bit tougher when we’re just sitting together by ourselves.

AH: Yeah, to know what’s funny. Stuff that makes us laugh might not make a crowd laugh and that’s something that I’ve learned through doing stand-up for almost six years, that everything that I think is funny a lot of people aren’t going to think is funny. And it’s just trying to figure it out before you get onstage, and also doing stuff onstage that fails, too.

LF: That’s why Sketch Up [at Philly Improv Theater] is so great.

AH: Yeah, for stand-up I have open mics. I can go to open mics almost any night a week if I have a new joke and try it out, and it’s less pressure because it’s just an open mic and if it doesn’t go well it’s probably just for other comedians. But with sketch, other than Sketch Up there’s no real way to test stuff. We have a sketch in the show on Wednesday that we just did at Sketch Up because we wanted to see how a crowd would react to it, and it was good because we were able to cut the sketch down and tighten it up.

AZ:  When do you feel like a sketch is finished, or in a finished enough state to be presented for your show? Do you feel like a crucial step is getting feedback from an audience and then going back and editing?

AH: Just from watching sketch and being around it, you know the beats of it and you know like an outline…you know where you want the sketch to go and how you kind of want it to end, but I don’t know, as far as knowing when something is completely ready, I never feel like something is completely ready. I hate everything I do [laughs] and I work on it forever.

LF: I feel like a total fraud giving this interview.

AZ: If you hate everything you do, what drives you to keep doing it?

LF: Just a lot of self-hate.

AH: Yeah, I need the self-hate to keep going. Because I need something to hate myself about.

LF: It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect. People who feel they’re really good at something are usually going to be the worst at it, and then the people who [are actually good at something] will never be totally satisfied because they also [know enough about it to know] how much better it can be.

AH: So what we’re trying to say is that we’re really good because we don’t think we’re good. Right?

LF: We’re determined…and it’s nice to have some great sketch comedy in the city to kind of look to. and is something to strive for.

AZ: Are there specific goals that you guys want to reach as Tap City? Or is there just a general sense of always striving to be better?

AH: I don’t know, I don’t think we set any goals other than to just have good shows.

LF: Yeah, the goal was July 25th. And then after that it was kind of…we’ll see what happens. But for me I want to just get stronger as a writer. Get in the habit of writing every day, or more than I already do, and maybe find a style.  I feel like every sketch group in the city, the ones that have been around for awhile, all have their own style and voice.

AZ: And you feel like you guys are still working on yours?

LF:  Yeah, we have nothing.

AH: We have things that we wrote that we thought were kind of funny, but I don’t feel like there’s a coherent voice yet.  And like Luke said, I also want to use it as an opportunity to just make myself write all the time, every day, and to put stuff out in front of people even if it’s just Luke. Even if it’s just sending it to Luke and getting notes and rewriting. I’m not a good rewriter, so that’s something I want to work on. I write something and then I get stuck in it and it’s hard for me to change it.

AZ: This might be a really weird question and might not make any sense, but I’m going to go for it.  Is it important that you know a sketch is funny when you’re writing it? I feel like in improv you’re told “don’t chase the laugh,” and  just commit to your character and commit to the relationship in the scene, and the humor will come out; you’ll discover the humor or the audience will discover things that they find humorous just because you’re committed and you’re playing the scene. With sketch, do you feel like you could just write a scene, and not necessarily write jokes, and still have it be funny? Or is it more deliberate, that it has to be funny?

AH: I think it deliberately has to be funny. I’ve seen some sketches from groups where it’s like there’s a character sketch and the joke to the audience is supposed to be either you know a person like this or it’s a crazy person and look at how crazy they are, and there’s not a lot of hard jokes in it, and it falls flat. I think for sketch, it has to have jokes in it and it has to be more than just—because there are a lot of funny ideas, but translating it to sketch has to have the jokes. I think I have a lot of funny ideas and premises in my head, but turning them into sketches that are actually funny is the hardest part.

LF: In improv, you might start from a real place and you can get away with that in improv, but I think in sketch you have to heighten it.  Yeah, you know somebody like this, but we want to push it to the max.

AH: Yeah, I think in improv you get away with it more, or it’s more acceptable, because you’re making it up. But in sketch, all of the things you’re supposed to be thinking of in improv, like heightening things, or “if this is true, then what else is true,” since you have the time to write that out and actually think of it and prepare, you have to do it. If you don’t necessarily do those things in an improv scene you can get away with being a funny character or working the relationship or the situation and it can be kind of stagnant and not go anywhere and still be funny, but in sketch if you try to do that it’s just…yeah.

LF: I’ve seen a lot of improv shows and been like, “oh that was interesting.” But if I’m seeing sketch I don’t want it to be interesting, I want to think, “oh that was fucking funny.”

AZ: So you can have a good improv scene that isn’t necessarily funny but with sketch it has to be funny.

LF: Ultimately I think the goal in most improv–and I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me–but you’re trying to make the audience laugh. And with sketch it’s even more of that. At least with sketch comedy–I don’t know if sketch really lends itself to tragedy.

AZ: Maybe that could be the niche you guys are looking for.

AH: It’d probably be a lot easier. And we might get more laughs, too. If we’re just being serious, deadpan…I think you just helped us develop our voice.

AZ: So without revealing too much, what kind of things can people expect from you on Wednesday?

LF: You’re going to see two charming, gee whiz, aw shucks fellas do their best, even though they’re green…

AH: Don’t sell us short, Luke!

LF: I think it’s going to be…OK…

AH: Well, what do we expect or what should other people expect? Other people will expect to see a good show from Camp Woods, and a first show from Tap City.

LF: Tap City: We’re first.

AH: Tap City: the openers.  But no, I’m excited, I like all of the sketches that we’re doing. They’re all things that we have sort of tested at Sketch Up or other open mics or things that we’ve both taken into the sketch writing classes at PHIT, but a lot of them [aren’t things we’ve performed] with each other, which will be interesting.

LF: I’m just ready to have fun. And until that moment when we get onstage, I’m going to be tearing my hair out in agony, and self doubt, and…

AH: I’m not going to eat, between now and the show.

LF: I just ate my last piece of food, a brownie from Cosi. By the way, plug for Cosi: The brownies are great, you should get the one with cheesecake in it.

AZ: Cosi brownies: the official dessert of Luke Field from Tap City.

LF: I have a lot of official desserts.

AZ: Just send me a list, and we can run it alongside the interview.

See Tap City this Wednesday, July 25th at CAMP WOODS PLUS!, 8:30 pm at L’etage.  Tickets are $10 at the door.