Upcoming Shows

  • September 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 5, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 6, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 6, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 6, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 11, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 11, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 12, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 12, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 12, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 12, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 12, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 13, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 13, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 13, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 13, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 13, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 18, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Aubrie Williams Has Coffee With…Abigail Bruley

For my latest Coffee With Comedians, or CWC if you prefer abbr.’s, I sat down with Abigail Bruley, who is a member of improv group Nielsen and the creator and head writer of Down The Show.

Aubrie: When did you first get into comedy? Was there a specific moment? Cause you do improv and sketch.

Abigail: Comedy, always was there. I did impressions of all the priests from my elementary school. Improv is a very new venture for me. I did it because I thought that it was a great way to come up with ideas for sketches. And I do. I find it a great way to come up with ideas for everything.

Aubrie: Did you take a class through PHIT?

Abigail: My first improv class was at the UCB in New York, and then much later on, I decided to sign up for a class here with Andy Moskowitz, and he was amazing and adorable. My troupe formed out of that class!

Aubrie: Did you notice any differences between New York and Philly Improv-wise?

Abigail: Yes, sure, of course. My classmates were very different. Philly is more laid back and fun and experimental, New York is more traditional, everyone had an end goal in mind of being famous or whatever.

Aubrie: How did “Down The Show” come about?

Abigail: I was working for NBC in Philadelphia when I was asked to come up with some content ideas for one of their local shows. So, I came up with a comedy segment where we would bring local stand-ups into the studio and tape them doing a two minute bit. That went well, so I pushed a bit further for it to include original sketch. Ultimately, it didn’t work out with NBC, but I kept running with it on my own and Down the Show was born!

Aubrie: Do you do a lot of the writing per show?

Abigail: Well, I’ve taken a lot of stuff that was already produced like “Booty Shorts for Men” by Secret Pants. But, I do do a lot of the writing for other sketches in the show. I also try to collaborate with people that write stuff specifically for the show, just so I have a chance to get different perspectives on it from outside observers.

Aubrie: Have you always done this, or did you start it recently?

Abigail: I’ve done it since the beginning of Down The Show. I mean it’s so subjective. How do you know if it’s only funny to you and your friends, right? I don’t want to alienate people.

Aubrie: Are you inspired by anything in particular while writing or before an improv show? Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Abigail: I try to get lost and go on walks in the city and just be alert to things. I get a lot of great ideas that way.

Aubrie: What was the weirdest place you found inspiration?

Abigail: The most recent was probably a guy walking in front of me dry brushing with a tooth brush and he kept spitting, and I came up with a character based around that guy dry brushing.

Aubrie: Do you have a favorite comedy moment?

Abigail: I saw Louis CK when he played the Academy of Music and he had this bit that is about how he doesn’t drink that much or smoke or do drugs, and his one big vice is being able to sleep, And he was like, “You know what sleep is like to me?” and he went into really great detail about what it might feel like to get a really deep blow job from a tribal woman with devil tongues, and I was hyperventilating, I was laughing so hard. That is the hardest I’ve ever laughed. I love that guy so much.

Aubrie: Me too.

Abigail: And the show Louie – I think about that when I’m writing. The thing I admire most about the writing on that show is the slow simmer type of humor and the retching honesty. I don’t necessarily need something to be knee-slappingly funny. The first time I realized sketch comedy could be non-Saturday Night Live was The State and I was obsessed with it. A great deal of The State wasn’t funny, it was just bizarre and weird. And, that made me love it even more.

Aubrie: The State had a lot of recurring characters. Do you have a recurring characters or a through-line, or hope to have a through-line eventually?

Abigail: This episode I wrote a skit that I hope comes back in the next episodes. That’s the first one. Other than that the only thing that the first two have in common, and that I think I’m going to continue on with, is that they have stand- up comedy mixed with sketch mixed with original music and artwork. That’s going to be the standard.

Aubrie: Do you film live music or use recorded music in the show?

Abigail: My husband is a musician so he does all of the music. I’m going to have a new theme song every episode, and he always does the theme song. In the first episode the theme song is me and him singing in our closet. And for this theme song I wanted it to sound like a bunch of drunk sailors screaming at a bar so he got a bunch of his friends into this space to sing lyrics that he wrote- which are amazing- and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s gonna be awesome!

Aubrie: Do you have a favorite Philly stage moment?

Abigail: Asteroid is great! And The Kristen & Amie Show. They are just so good. They amaze me. The arsenal of characters they pull out is awe inspiring.

Aubrie: Were there particular moments from each show that blew you away?

Abigail: Asteroid’s edits in themselves are hilarious, and they are just so goofy and fun with each other. What I do remember was that every moment that blew me away in that show in particular were done by chicks, and I thought that was really interesting. I mean, how can chicks not be naturally funny? We are an absolutely ridiculous gender.

Aubrie: And outside of comedy, what are your hobbies and interests?

Abigail: Hmmm, I am at Fairmount Park almost every single day, so I guess you could say I’m the outdoorsy type. I like noodles. I eat noodles a lot.

Aubre: What kind of outdoorsy stuff?

Abigail: I used to be big into biking but I don’t do that anymore. I’m tired of trying to ride a bike because my bikes keep getting stolen. I don’t know, I guess I’m just a super girl- I’m really into skating.I go to the River Rink. I am also into logic puzzles.

Aubrie: ME TOO! I never meet anyone who is, and that is why I am so excited. Any other hobbies?

Abigail: My husband and I have a little music project we do. And I’m also a freelance illustrator.

Aubrie: Have they been published anywhere around here?

Abigail: The most recent was published in the City Paper.

Aubrie: Is the music project with your husband recorded in the closet?

Abigail: Yes! I stand in there with headphones on and a stocking over the microphone!

You can catch the screening of the 3rd episode of Down The Show on May 4th at Underground Arts with Dan St. Germain, and see past episodes at www.youtube.com/user/downtheshow.

Aubrie Williams Has Coffee With…Corin Wells

For my second Coffee with Comedians, I chose to get to know Corin Wells. Oddly enough, and in spite of being in the same room as each other probably somewhere over 50 times, we had not exchanged more than “hellos” and congratulatory remarks after shows. We even went to see ” My Week With Marilyn” together, but since you have to be quiet in movie theaters and also since I got there right as the movie started, I did not get a chance to start a friendship beyond that of the facebook and twitter realm there, either. So, Corin agreed to sit down with me at the Broad Street Diner, and thus, a friendship beyond the world wide web was born!

Aubrie: You have been performing with Iron Lung for a year now in Philly! Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to pursue comedy? Was it always something you were interested in, or was there a distinct moment where you realized that this what you wanted to do?

Corin: I think it’s something I always wanted to do, I just didn’t know how I wanted to do it. Cause I love stand up so much but I don’t have the nads to do it, so when I came across improv I was like “Ahhhh, yeah. This is it.” And I tried it and I fell in love with it and I got addicted. Now improv is what I love.

Aubrie: That’s awesome! Did you do theater or anything before?

Corin: Yeah, I did. I did theater in school. After high school I kind of stopped doing acting and started focusing on dancing- because when I was younger I did a bit of everything only cause my mom made me do it. And I was like, “I wanna be a hip-hop dancer!” So I did that in college, and then I was like, “This is not lucrative!”

Aubrie: Maybe not lucrative, but it is awesome! If I didn’t think I’d fail immediately, I probably would’ve majored in hip-hop dancing! Where did you go to college?

Corin: Hampton University in Virginia.

Aubrie: And what initially drew you to improv? Did you find it in or after college?

Corin: After. I had finished taking regular acting classes at Mike Lemon Casting and I was like, “OK, I need to do something else and I want to try comedy.” And I had been looking at PHIT for awhile, but for some reason I was like- I think it was money reasons- that I was like, “I can’t take two classes at one time.” So right after I was done with those acting classes, I was like, “It’s time.” And I ended up taking my 1st class with Nick Gillette, which was great. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

Aubrie: What is the best comedy advice you’ve ever gotten?

Corin: There’s a lot, cause I hang out with Marbach and he’s full of comedy advice. I guess as far as improv goes, just make sure you’re having fun. That’s the best advice. Cause if you’re not having fun onstage, then why are you up there? There’s no point.

Aubrie: Any general life advice that has been helpful to you, non-comedy related?

Corin: Do what you love, and fuck the rest. Yeah, my mom has always told me that- not necessarily “fuck” the rest, but she’s like “if you’re not doing something that you love to do then really what’s the point.” She doesn’t necessarily get the comedy thing, but she supports it. She’s great.

Aubrie: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Corin: Lately, I’ve been listening to Beyonce’s “Love on Top” because it’s such a hype song, it’s such a feel-good song. But I just try to get to get in a fund mind-set, like for Iron Lung, so when we start our ritual I’m ready to jump on board. And it’s always something different, something I can dance to. Sometimes it’s gangster rap. I don’t know, depending on my mood.

Aubrie: Sweet! Do you do silly dances, or choreographed dances?

Corin: For Beyonce I do real choreography.

Aubrie: Nice. Do you do them at home or at the venue before a show?

Corin: Anywhere. If I’m walking, if I’m driving, I’ll be dancing. I’ll do it while walking down the street…it’s great when people start dancing with you!

Aubrie: What was your favorite comedy moment to witness, Philly or otherwise? This is a tough one, cause I made it so broad, but it could be anything- a TV or film moment, or something you saw onstage or that your friends did…

Corin: I think the most recent one I can remember because it was a few weeks ago was Medic had this show and they were on a bus and AJ had to crawl outside the bus for some reason and ended up getting hit by this giant bus. And Luke kept running over him with a bunch of chairs. He just kept doing it- it was so funny! It was this really giant bus and that illusion was created, and it was so great. And Emily was like, “It’s a mix between Les Mis and Speed” and it cut back to AJ crawling outside of this bus and getting hit by it. Yeah, that was a great moment. I love Medic.

Aubrie: Me too!! They do a lot of cool physical stuff. Iron Lung also does a lot of cool physical stuff.

Corin: Yeah, I love those guys.

Aubrie: On that note, do you have a favorite stage moment that you were a part of? It can be anything-dance, theater, improv…

Corin: It’s probably gonna be improv.

Aubrie: Nice! I didn’t want to box you in.

Corin: It’s hard because there are a lot coming to my head. But there was one show where we ended up doing the whole block at PHIT and we didn’t know that we were going to, but Kevin, prior to the show spilled Malt Vinegar on his pants. So the whole first half became about Kevin smelling like shit. And he had the nerve to sit on my lap. I think that’s why I loved it so much, because we were all fucking with each other, and that’s when you have the most fun. There was also one show where we had Pinocchio running an underground railroad for puppets. That was great.

Aubrie: And what’s your favorite part about improv? Is there a specific thing about it that you really love?

Corin: I think just the concept of improv. I mean, when you strip all of the rules away, you are just a bunch of adults pretending on-stage- that’s all it is. And it’s like, “I do this. I’m playing around- I’m a kid again, just smarter.”

Aubrie: If you could create a comedy dream team of anyone in the world, who’d be on it? It could be just Philly people too, to make this super-difficult on-the-spot question easier.

Corin: Oh man, that’s tough. I’m gonna do Philly comedians and say my
fantasy improv draft is Matt Holmes(QB), Amie Roe(WR), Billy Bob Thompson(RB), Andrew Stanton(TE), Emily Davis(S), Jess Ross(OL), Dan Jaquette(DL), & Tara Demy(K).

Aubrie: I hope that team one day happens, and that they all play those positions- like a football/improv mash-up! And my final question is…drumroll…are you a dog or a cat person? I ended the last interview on this note, So I’m gonna stick with it.

Corin: I am a dog person, but I like cats. Which is a new development, cause my roommates brought home a stray, and I love her. I curse her out a lot, but I love her. We had miniature collies growing up. My parents have one named Teacup. I hate that name. My dad named her that, and I was like, “Man up, daddy!” He named her that because he wanted us to get a teacup yorkie, and we got a miniature collie. So he was like, I’m calling it Teacup anyway. My other dog’s name, we called her”Puppy.” We adopted her from a shelter and her name was “Mandy,” and my mom was like, “I don’t like that name.” So she named her Puppy.

You can currently catch Corin on stage with Iron Lung and as half of the duo Ebony & Ivory, and in May she will premiere with PHIT Houseteam (Codename) Strider.

Aubrie Williams has Coffee with Comedians: Tommy Pope

I am not, nor have I ever been a New Year’s Resolution person. Of course, every year I make an excuse to eat and drink more and call it a resolution, but this year is different. You see, at about the same time one would make a resolution, I realized how many comedians in the city I’ve never met (or at least never had an in-depth conversation with). So here, in front of you all, I state my 2012 resolution: to have coffee with comedians and get to know them better. I love coffee, and comedians, and forging friendships. Some comedians I will meet for the 1st time, and some I’ll know to say hello to and get to know them better.

My first cup of coffee (not ever…just for this project) was with Philly’s Phunniest 2011 Winner Tommy Pope. I had seen Tommy in video and on stage numerous times, but had never met him until now. We are both from good old Delco, so this interview may include a lot of “dudes”, “mans”, and “yous guys”es. Yous guys have been warned.

Aubrie: You’ve been doing comedy for awhile now, do you or did you ever have pre-show rituals?

Tommy: I remember someone telling me-I started around four years ago- and someone noted that I had all of my jokes written out. So the way my process works is I’ll bullet point some ideas in a notebook or my phone or I’ll voice record it the way it comes out naturally in the car or onstage and then I’ll put it on paper. So my pre show ritual is to blindly look at the words- if it’s a big show like Helium or something I think I’m trying to regurgitate information but it never really sinks in. So I guess it’s like nervously reading jokes that I’m not actually reading. Actually, Hesky had a good point to that- right before when Helium plays that terrible music, that sadistic jingle- I kinda black out right before I go onstage. And I always look at my set-list, and he pointed out the same exact thing- that you keep just looking at the words but you’re not reading them and nothing’s hitting. You just keep thinking about walking onstage and getting hit with the lights.

Aubrie: So it’s the same for all comedians then. I often have a moment where I forget all lines backstage, but once I step on, they come right back to me.

Tommy: Yeah, it should be.

Aubrie: So, BirdText- how long has that been going on? Because I’ve heard your name and seen your videos for awhile now.

Tommy: Luke Cunningham and I started a show about three years ago where we used to tour Delco actually and it was called Philly Pub Crawl. We went around to all the popular Delco spots because at that time I didn’t really know anyone in Philadelphia- I was getting on Helium once every three or six months so I wasn’t really entrenched in the comedy community, so the best venue option was to go towards home where you know  people would show up for shows. Luke would invite some great New york comedians to come down cause he had been in New York for five years and I would bring some people in from Philly, and that went on for two years. And then I met John McKeever at the Raven Lounge’s open mic a little over a year and half ago. From there we joined forces and changed it to BirdText because Luke went back to LA and New York to do some cool stuff like writing for Norm Macdonald, and John and I took the reins with setting up some shows around here. Luke would still help us from wherever he was at the time. So it’s been about a year and half for BirdText. Now we have Darryl- he’s been in it for the past three months. He was a really good friend of ours and he started out at Helium the same time as I did, and he was great at acting and helping us out with a lot of our videos, so it was just natural fit.  We’re going to kick him out next week so this is the last BirdText interview before he’s done.

Aubrie: His head is getting too big for him after all of those WitOut award wins.

(Hey, guess what yous guys!! Darryl isn’t kicked out, those were just some JOKES!! Hahaha.)

Aubrie: So how did you guys come up with the name BirdText?

Tommy: So once we decided we were gonna rebrand our “Philly Pub Crawl”, we liked that there were a lot of popular shows with two uncommon names that are just memorable and something that stands out- simple terms that I always liked and admired. We wanted to come up with something that really didn’t matter and didn’t have too much connotation to comedy or anything specific to Philadelphia or New York so it’s pretty universal and people will remember it. So, John and I do a lot of g-chats at 3 or 4 in the morning. He texted me and he has that magnum condom joke, and he said, “If I had a magnum condom on I’d have to put my cell phone in with it so that it would fit better.” And in response I said, “Yeah, but your dick would still be texting me.” And his response was, “That’s it. BirdText.” I think it was a day or two after we said it were gonna change our name that we came up with that. And now there’s a connection now with the name and our videos and our faces,  and it’s working. And it’s only been a year and a half or so since we came up with that.

Aubrie: Impressive! And speaking of impressive, I wondered if any of you studied film? Your videos are great.

Tommy: No,  I went to Drexel and studied IT and engineering. But me and John have very similar tastes and we just mesh. It just works, so when it comes down to  the shoot day, I’d say 85% of our work is improv. We’ll see angles and then it’s almost like we speak words without saying them- we just know. And we have the same appeal of the shooting style. Sometimes when you don’t have an education in it you just create a style that works for you. I don’t want to compare it to scumbags in sales- and I know this cause I worked with a lot of them and probably was one at some point- you know, when they hired you for a new position they didn’t really care about that cause they would have to untrain you and then retrain you the way they thought was the necessary way to sell. So we came in crisp and uneducated and do it our own way. That’s also why I like stand-up- like, I never knew forms of stand-up existed til after college. I never knew about comedy clubs and all of that stuff. But you can’t mock or emulate someone’s style because you don’t have any previous exposure to it.  Someone once said “You can’t worry about being too much like another comedian if you just go up there and be yourself. Always do what you find is funny.”

Aubrie: Nice, I was going to ask you the best advice anyone ever gave you next, and that seems to be pretty great advice.

Tommy: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It was just like, do what you think is funny. Eventually it’ll be funny- you’ll work it to make it better. And you gravitate towards people who are like your style and like your humor, and that’s important to gain some confidence. You get easily kicked down but you’ve got to group up with some people that’ll support you. I’m mean, you’re still gonna beat yourself up. I’m still going to be puking in a toilet over those 3 jokes I shouldn’t have told tonight.

Aubrie: We are our own worst critics. But that is the good thing about Philly- it is such a supportive community.

Tommy: Yeah, they all pick you up.

Aubrie: And to end this interview: a note completely unrelated to comedy. Facebook tells me you just got a dog.

Tommy: I did, I just got a dog! I’ve had a couple growing up- I had a pug which isn’t a dog, it’s a toy with a heartbeat. But I loved it cause I wasn’t a human- I was like six. It worked out for both of us. Then my dad talked my mother into getting a real dog- half Lab, half Irish Setter, and she was wonderful. But the dog we got is a Vizsla- it’s a Hungarian hunting bird dog. It’s like a  weimaraner, but it’s auburn. Or like a rhodesian ridgeback, but without the reversal of hair up the spine. You know, I’m not done- I have other dog associations that will bore the fuck out of you. He’s 8 weeks. Just got him. We got him from a breeder, so they take it seriously. She interviewed us- we had to pass a series of interviews. But you get a real dog. She asked if we were going to show him, and I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to show him.” To my neighbors, when I take him outside to use the bathroom.

You can find more info and videos from Tommy Pope online at Bird Text.com

Aubrie Williams is a member of improv group King Friday as well as sketch groups Mani Pedi and Local Holiday Miracle.