Philly Improv Theater’s run of shows at The Shubin continues this week with a full schedule of shows. This Wednesday, at 10pm you can catch a preview of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky, the new variety show taking over for Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) which ended its run last week. The Monthly Hour promises sketch and stand-up comedy from some of the city’s best performers, as well as a topical monologue from Hesky, and sketches produced by the show’s team of writers (which include Jim Grammond, Pat House, Mary Radzinski, Darryl Charles, and Mike Gleason).
The second annual March Madness Comedy Competition kicks off at the open mic at Drinker’s West on Sunday March 11. This year 72 comedians will compete at Drinker’s West, Laughs on Fairmount, Noche, and The Raven Lounge to be named champion of the tournament style competition.
My name is Joe Moore and I go to comedy shows in Philadelphia.
At a good deal of those shows, I like to drink beer. When I drink beer, I like to take pictures with my iPhone. People who drink beer and have an iPhone know that most often, these pictures are awful – upside-downer’s, close up’s of one of my fingers, and most of all, BLURRY’s!
I just spent a good deal of time going through all of the pictures (some shows have one or two shots, and a few notable cases where I have close to 100!) and have selected my 5 favorite photos.
Out of the approximately 80 shows I went to and the many many shots, I’ve narrowed those down to my top 5:
In no order, here they are:
#1: “Changing of the Guard” Sketch Up or Shut Up – 3/4-5/2011
I think I killed most of a 6-pack (shared the rest) during “Meg and Rob – Quality Value Convenience: The Final Meg & Rob Show.” I know that I went to BOTH the Friday and the Saturday shows. I remember getting my shirt signed by BOTH Rob and Meg after one of the shows. I DO NOT remember putting the shirt in the washing machine that stole the signatures. And I just barely remember sticking around in front of the Shubin Theater after the Friday Show long enough to catch my second Sketch Up or Shut Up. A free show, Sketch-Up is just as nice at twice the price and one of my favorite shows each month.
This photo depicts Meg passing the proverbial torch to Brian.
#2:Bird Text Comedy Showcase – 4/1/2011
The first Bird Text Show! This was one of my favorite nights of comedy all year, for 3 reasons: 1 – It was my first time seeing The Feeko Brother’s Jay PeeBee’s PB+J. / 2 – It was my first posted submission to WitOut.Net. / 3 – It was an incredible night of brilliant comedy. Easily the best line up I’ve ever seen on stage at Helium.
A packed crowd got to see a killer line up of comedy and I drank a lot of beer.
Close readers of WitOut.net will note: I totally called the outcome of Philly’s Funniest and lit the match that became the Tommy Pope wild fire when I reported: ” 9:02 – Tommy Pope takes the stage. Is funny.”
#3: The Theme Show – 7/29/2011
The First Theme show was a really fun night for me as well as a funny night for Philly Comedy. After taking the reigns of the fabled Bed Time Stories, an amazing legacy which I unfortunately didn’t drink enough to take pictures of, I’m sure both performers and audience were expecting some hiccups. Rob Banewicz had Gregg Gethard’s funny shoes to fill, and filled them well with an entertaining show that went off without a hitch.
#4: Hate Speech Hall’s Jesus is Really Galactus - 5/20-21/11
I took this picture at 2:35 AM. I have no idea what is going on here.
My sustained adoration for Luke Giordano is VERY WELL documented on WitOut.Net. That being said, I was on stage this night which means it was probably the best night to be an audience member of anything ever. This was a photo I took from the stage, something I normally shouldn’t be able to do, but did anyway.
DISQUALIFIED #5A: TV PARTY - 3/30/2011
Once a month, The Shubin hosts what I believe to be the most fun a person can ever have – Guilty Pleasures w/ Brendan Kennedy and Roger C. Snair followed by TV Party Paul Trigg and Rob Baniwicz. Hands down the best $10 I’ve ever spent, and the best $1,010 I plan on spending for the next 101 months.
They have an old hollowed out TV they use as a cooler… which also can sometimes be a hat.
Disqualified because I didn’t take the picture, but me wearing the TV/Cooler from TV Party on my head is pretty cool.
This sketch just debuted at Keep The Change Ya Filthy Animal: A Yuletide Variety Show – Secret Pants’ now annual holiday sketch show at Johnny Brenda’s. I stood in a room full of laughing audience members and fellow comedians who were amazed at the consistent, fresh, hilarious concepts and execution Secret Pants always brings to the table. This sketch is a prime example of that. Do yourself a favor and just enjoy this sketch, don’t do as I did and sit there wondering who plays the back of Paul Triggiani’s head (my guess is Brian Kelly).
Bird Text - The Real Househusbands of Philadelphia Occupy Philly
The Bird Text fellas combine their breakout characters with the hot-button-issue-of-the-later-half-of-the-year-that-disappeared-as-soon-as-the-cops-chased-everybody-out to make for some great moments in man-on-the-street comedy. This was the perfect third act for the Househusbands characters, a great way to keep the idea fresh and branch out to new territory.
Camp Woods – Detective Berry
Camp Woods has been killing it lately. Every show is packed with tightly written sketches that start with strong premises and are full of fearless performances from each of their members. I probably spend too much time over-analyzing comedy, and lately I’ve been thinking about Camp Woods and their group dynamic. The group is full of versatile performers who know how to write for each other and where they all fit in. They also know how to take a great premise and squeeze every laugh out of it with a combination of big, balls-out performances, and small nuanced hilarious moments. This sketch is a great example of that. The idea it self is laugh-out-loud silly, but the sketch is jam packed with little moments that make it great. From Billy Bob Thompson’s facial expressions to Brendan Kennedy’s reaction shots to JP Boudwin’s bewilderment to Sam Narisi’s great delivery of the line “it all makes so much sense”. Even the way Billy says the word “cum” makes me laugh.
I’m sort of cheating here by including The Feeko’s entire set from this year’s Philly Sketch Fest. Only “sort of” because the entire show ran together and was connected beautifully so it seemed like one complete sketch. The show started with a “body switch” premise, so I was hooked from the start. The set continued with a mix of new and previously seen ideas blended together to take us on a trip to see the Feeko Brothers’ British counterparts, watch Billy as he became possessed by a Demon hell bent on getting some marijuana, and watch as Billy and Christian frantically tried to return to their own bodies. Plus, the whole thing was sponsored by a quaint little restaurant on the corner of Market and Fifth.
In case you haven’t heard it yet, Doogie Horner was a featured guest on the Used Wigs Radio podcast recently. Listen to hear him talk about America’s Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, designing book covers, and other pop culture fun.
Comedians Derek Gaines, Chris Cotton and Monroe Martin have started their own podcast, CDM’s Midday Talk. Their first episode features guest Conrad Roth as the four talk about the death of Amy Winehouse, Captain America, and racism.
Last night the first round of Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued at Helium Comedy Club with Dave Terruso, Jim McGinty and Darnell Williams moving on the the semi-finals.
There is a new casting call out for Down the Show. The Philly-themed sketch show is looking for two men and one woman who can play “older” as well as one younger man and one younger woman. Interested actors can contact Abigail Bruley.
This friday Philly Improv Theater will debut their two new house teams, currently codenamed Brandybuck and Shadowfax. The two teams will reveal their names and perform with Upright Citizen’s Brigade Harold Team Grandma’s Ashes at 8:30pm and 10:00pm Friday night. When the teams were first formed, we told you who made it - and all this week we will be featuring the new house team members in their own 10 Questions With…interviews.
This week at the Shubin Theater, Philly Improv Theater continues its two-week run of shows. PHIT has recently changed their schedule, shifting showtimes to 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00PM. You can check out their full schedule here.
Monday night open mic Comedy XChange has gone through a bit of a facelift, and will now be known as Comedy on the Corner. Not letting the closing of their venue, Bar Xchange, stop them from putting on a show, hosts Chris McGrail and Dan Vetrano have decided to go guerrilla and hold their open mic on the street, at the corner of 20th and Ludlow.
Tuesday night Philly will say good-bye to Luke Giordano, who is departing for Los Angeles, where he will continue his comedy career as a writer for the sitcom Two and a Half Men. Luke will not go quietly into the night, as he is being sent off with a “Trashing” [Facebook event] – which is similar to a roast, but from the mind of Brendan Kennedy.
The Theme Show will make its debut at 10:00PM this Friday night at PHIT. Hosted by Rob Baniewicz, The Theme Show continues in the tradition of Gregg Gethard’s Bedtime Stories as a monthly variety show where all the acts are based around a common theme. This months theme is, fittingly, “The First Time.”
Submissions are currently open for the 7th annual Philadelphia Improv Festival, being held October 3rd – 9th, kicking off the second annual Comedy Month. Applications forms are available on their website, and the deadline to submit is Sunday, July 17th.
Auditions will be held this week for two Fringe Festival shows being produced by Philly Improv Theater. Twenty-four is a show that will unfold in real-time and is described as “a twenty-four minute window on the realistic relationship dynamics of six individuals.” Twenty-four is being directed by Steve Kleinedler and will hold auditions on Tuesday, July 5th and Saturday, July 9th. Dark Comedy is PHIT’s take on the famous Chicago format “The Bat” an improvised show that takes place completely in the dark. Dark Comedy is directed by Jason Grimley and will hold auditions on Sunday, July 10th.
The first round of Helium‘s Philly’s Phunniest Person Competition was this past Thursday. Moving on to the semi-finals from that round were Chip Chantry, Blake Wexler, and Noah Houlihan. Next round takes place this Sunday. And we’ll be sure to cover it this time. [Tickets]
Starting tomorrow night begins the very first ever F Harold Comedy Festival. Taking place over six nights at the Walnut Street Theatre, the festival will showcase improv, sketch, and stand-up performers from around the city. Tickets are $10 for a night’s worth of performances and $25 for the whole festival. [Show Schedule]
H. Foley and the fellas at Center City Comedy made a video for the Around Philly blog. You’ll just have to see it for yourself. [Around Philly]
H. Foley of Center City Comedy held a big Philly comedy meeting last night at the X-Change Bar. We were there and it was a bit like the meeting of the Five Families from The Godfather, but at least it wasn’t like meeting Al Capone calls in The Untouchables. Everyone introduced themselves, talked about what they did, and then there was a pow wow on how the Philly comedy scene could be made stronger. If you want to reach out to Foley, check out Center City Comedy on Facebook. [Facebook Page]
Bird Text is the talk of the town with their new video, The Real Househusbands of Philadelphia. The video has over 20,000 views on YouTube. [YouTube]
Chip Chantry is promising that his show at Helium Comedy Club tonight, Face Time with Chip Chantry is gonna be a good one. He also promises a secret mystery guest from Los Angeles. Ooooh. [Facebook Event]
The improvised Alfred Hitchcock show, Stage Fright wraps up its run this weekend. Conceived by Matt Nelson and put on by the Philadelphia Joke Initiative, the show recreates the drama and suspense of a Hitchock film, completely made up on the spot. [Event Info and Ticketing]