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Follow Witout on Twitter for updates from our site, as well as retweets of more of the best 140-character-or-less jokes from Philly comics.
Chip Chantry has one of the most impressive resumes of any Philadelphia comedian. He tours the country as a feature act, has been a finalist in Helium Comedy Club’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest every year, and won last year’s Best Stand-Up Comedian at our very own Witout Awards for Philadelphia Comedy. Now he, along with Mary Radzinski, plans to share some of their knowledge about the art of stand-up comedy by teaching a class at Philly Improv Theater. We asked Chip some questions about his class, and what he plans to share with his students.
WITOUT: It may be a little known fact that your comedy career got started with help from a comedy class, do you hope to create some future Chip Chantrys with your class (and what, in your own opinion, would that mean)?
CHIP CHANTRY: Yes, it did. And it may be a little known fact that your full name is Aaron Gregory Jamiroquai Hertzog. But no. The world does not need any more Chip Chantrys- insecure, yet totally lovable and sexy comedians.
WO: There are some that say “funny can’t be taught”. Do you agree with this statement? If so, what are you going to teach in your class?
CC: Absolutely. Being funny (on purpose) is something that I feel you either have or you don’t. I’m just trying to help people hone the craft of stand up comedy. But I can’t MAKE someone funny. I can just give them some tools and encouragement. And people generally get out of a class what they put into it. Some aspire to be famous comedians and writers. Others might take the class for fun, or to conquer a fear of public speaking. To put it in terms that you would relate to, Aaron, it’s like teaching the craft of crocheting, or pottery. I’m never going to be great at those things, because I have the fine motor skills of a frightened goat. But I can learn some of the ins and outs and have some fun with it.
WO: How do you think your experience as an elementary school teacher will help you with teaching fresh-faced, hopeful, stand-up comedians?
CC: The classroom has given me some patience. It’s also taught me to break more complicated concepts down into simpler terms, and convey them in a more basic way at first, and then build up to the complicated mess of stand up comedy.
WO: Say some nice things about your co-teacher, Mary Radzinski? How do you plan on splitting up your teaching duties? Good cop/bad copy style, perhaps? Which one of you is which?
CC: Mary is one of my favorite comedy writers in this here town. Her joke crafting (as seen onstage and on the twitters) have a word economy and voice that are top-notch. Her tweets are like jazz. But, like, not the shitty kind of jazz that everyone’s mom has programmed on station #5 in her 2006 Hyundai Sonata. But we are splitting it down the middle. We are each trying to be good cops. I was thinking more Good Cop/Hot Cop, because I just bought myself a new pair of break-away pants.
WO: What have you learned in your years as a stand-up that you hope to share with your students? Are there some things you think it would be better for them to learn on their own through experience?
CC: I think I’ve learned just as much what NOT to do, than what to do. So hopefully I can help people avoid pitfalls, and take the right steps on their path… to GREATNESS. But, you also have to fail sometimes to learn, so some lessons can’t be taught by me. They’ll have to learn them on their own.
WO: Can you give some free stand-up advice here as a teaser for those on the fence about taking your class?
CC: Yes. BABY STEPS. I still tell myself this to this day. Write five minutes of new material. Try it out at an open mic. If everything bombs, except for ONE joke, you have succeeded. Do the same thing the next week. If everything bombs except for ONE joke? Great! Now you have TWO jokes. BABY STEPS.
Last night, in front of a packed crowd at Helium Comedy Club, ten comedians performed for the rights to be the seventh person named Philly’s Phunniest Person. When the laughter cleared, James Hesky’s name would be the one added to that list. Hesky, host of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at Philly Improv Theater, and co-host (with fellow finalist Darryl Charles) of CheaPodcast, has been an active member of the Philly comedy community for years and the announcement of his name as winner was met with cheers of joy and chants of his name from his fellow comedians. Second place in the contest went to Pat House, and the third place finisher was Chip Chantry.
Here’s what everyone wore last night at Aaron Hertzog’s Hey Everybody at Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin Theater 5/21/12. Spoiler alert – Hey Everybody! Summer is here to stay, so break out those Baby Blue Jeans!
Aaron Hertzog – Grey Henley, untucked, with a rounded neck, sleeves rolled up to the elbows and a pocket on the left breast, white shoes with white laces and blue jeans.
Sam Narisi – Blue hoodie with a white un-zipped zipper, white draw strings, a plaid shirt, untucked, with a beige base with teal/purple vertical stripes and thin red/pink horizontal stripes buttoned to the top with 2 collar buttons buttoned, black shoes with white laces and white soles and grey pants.
Juliet Hope Wayne – Dark brown shirt with a white lamb with pink ears, black eyes, and black nose and mouth, over a light blue t-shirt poking out at the waist, black shoes with white laces, white sole and white wavy lines on the sides, and blue jeans.
Darryl Charles – Dark navy blue polo shirt with thin white stripes, a golden crest over the left breast, over a white t-shirt visible over the collar, white shoes with white laces and grey soles, and blue jeans.
Chip Chantry – Grey t-shirt with the letters “pants.” in black, over a white undershirt visible over the collar, dark navy blue shoes with a white letter “N”, black digital wrist watch on the left hand and blue jeans.
It is the start of another two-week Philly Improv Theater run at The Shubin Theater (full schedule online). Tonight, we say farewell to Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests). The final show before Chip passes the torch to James Hesky will feature comedy from some of Chip’s favorite comedians including: The Legendary Wid, John Kensil, Andy Nolan, Eric Todd, Steve Rees, Don Montrey (who passed the torch to Chip from his show Die Actor Die) and Secret Pants. The show will also feature popular segments The Feed with Jim Grammond and Story Time with Mike Rainey along with some surprises. City Paper talked about the event in their weekly comedy column LOL With It last Friday, you can read the story online.
Sketch group Camp Woods recently announced the lineup for their next Camp Woods Plus. The group will be joined on stage at L’etage (624 S. 6th St. Philadelphia) by Philly duo Animosity Pierre and New York’s Pink Axe. The next Camp Woods Plus will be Wednesday March 14th at 8:00PM.
The Groundswell Players are throwing a fundraising event to help with the efforts for their 2012 Fringe Festival Show. A Chili Bonanza will be held at Quig’s Pub, upstairs at Plays and Players Theater on Saturday, April 21st at 8:00pm. For a $15 (or more, if you’re feeling generous) donation, you can participate in an evening of cabaret, food and drink in support of their upcoming show. You can pay for admission to the event online.
Local filmmakers are looking for help in funding a new comedy project through Kickstarter. Their mission statement from creator Derrick Metellus: “Our television project Quarter Life Crisis is on Kickstarter. We’re shooting in April, and from now to then will be releasing some pretty funny material. This is no student project, we’re aiming for cable. If you dont mind laughing, keep up with our updates. I promise not to beat you over the head with it. If you like it, you like it. If not, that’s cool. Thanks.”
Comedian Clint Coley is a native of Philadelphia currently living in Los Angeles. He began his comedy career in Philadelphia and currently runs his Chill…It’s Just Jokes series of shows once per month at Helium Comedy Club. He is also working on a documentary about his life in comedy called Clint Coley – Behind the Jokes. You can check out the preview for the film online.
The 2011 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy were last night at World Cafe Live. The Philadelphia comedy community gathered together to hand out the awards which they themselves nominated and voted for. In case you missed it, here’s a full rundown of the winners in each category.
Best Host: Chip Chantry – host of Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) and Facetime with Chip Chantry
Best Venue: Philly Improv Theater
Best Podcast: CheaPodcast
Best One Time Show: The Roast of Meg Favreau
Best New Group: Hey Rube (Alex Gross, Dennis Trafny, Jen Curcio, Lizzie Spellman, Mark Leopold, Rob Cutler, Scott Shepherd, Tara Demmy, Aaron Hertzog, director: Matt Holmes)
Best Improv Group (1-3 members): The Kristen & Amie Show (Kristen Schier and Amie Roe)
Best Improv Group (4+ members): Hate Speech Committee (Brendan Kennedy, JP Boudwin, Rob Baniewicz, Darryl Charles, Sue Taney, Christian Alsis, Billy Bob Thompson, Aaron Hertzog)
Best Stand-up Bit: Darryl Charles – Hatchet
Best Sketch Group: The Feeko Brothers
Best Stand-up Comedian: Chip Chantry
Special thanks to World Cafe Live for allowing us to have our “clown friend clubhouse goofball jerkoff party” in their establishment. Also thanks to everyone who helped produce the show. The writers: Aaron Hertzog, Chip Chantry, Doogie Horner, Rob Baniewicz, Mary Radzinski, Jim Grammond, Becca Trabin, Joe Moore, Luke Giordano, Billy Bob Thompson, Greg Maughan. The video spots were put together by Rob Baniewicz and Shannon Devido. Also thanks to all the presenters and of course, the host of the evening Joe Moore.
5. Everything John Kensil does/says.
4. When Fastball Bob dressed like a baby angel or something.
3. Some Peanut Butter bullshit song.
2. When Secret Pants killed Snoopy or whatever.
1. WHEN BENNY MICHAELS PULLED THE CHAIR OUT FROM UNDER MR. TARTAGLIA AT CONNIE’S RIC RAC. This was seriously the most funny/immature/base humor/brilliant moment in my life. Rainey and Mayo were doing a benefit show at the Ric Rac a couple of months ago. From what I remember, those two, Benny Michaels, me, the Feekos, and I’m sure some other funny folks were on the show- it was a fun time. At one point, Mayo was onstage. I was sitting in the back row of folding chairs, at the end of the aisle. Christian Feeko was sitting a few seats down from me. Benny walked over from the bar, and naturally wanted to sit next to me, because I am awesome. I was at the end of the row, so Benny decided to pull back the chair from the end of the row in front of us. As he does this, he goes to whisper something to me. He is so focused on whatever the contents of that whispered message are, that he does not see/realized that Mr. Tartaglia, a man in his 70’s, I’d assume, was attempting to sit down in the chair that Benny was now pulling out from under him. Christian and I both saw it happen in slow motion, but were powerless (according to us) to do anything to stop it. Mr. Tartaglia went down hard. Benny was shocked and horrified at what he had just done. Mr. Tartaglia then pops right up and yells, “WHAT IS THIS, SOME KINDA MAGIC SHOW???” Benny grabs the chair, sits the gentleman down, and makes sure he is OK, which, thank God, he was. Meanwhile, Christian and I were in tears, hyperventilating, like a couple of 12 year olds. We both had to leave the room. Benny Michaels, as many of you know, is one of the sweetest, kindest human beings you will ever meet, and funny as hell besides. And he felt AWFUL for what he inadvertently had done. But in doing that, he gave Christian Feeko and I the greatest gift you could ever give another person. Besides your virginity. Or a Lexus. Or a kidney. Speaking of kidneys and body parts, it should be noted that Mr. Tartaglia had undergone heart surgery just two weeks prior to the incident. As of this post, he is in wonderful health, and is, as many of you know, a great man with a great big heart.
Thank you, Benny Michaels, for all you have done, in this, 2011, the year of our LORD.
For the rest of the year, we are going to run lists from you, our readers (and some that we wrote ourselves) of our Top 5 of 2011. You’ll hear from many Philadelphia comedians, as well as some fans of comedy about their favorite sketches, bits, shows, and moments of the past year. If you’d like to write a list – go ahead, do it! and send it to us at email@example.com
Our first list comes from Executive Director of the Philly Improv Theater, Greg Maughan, and includes his favorite $5 passwords for PHIT shows from the past year.
5. “Everything You Like Is Stupid Dot Com”: I can’t say this password was really all that funny, but I do read Luke Giordano’s website as a result of having it’s domain merciless pounded into my brain every time I went to his show. (By the way Luke, I’ll be sending you an invoice for this product placement).
4. “Meatspin”: Alex Gross‘ passwords for The Gross Show have taught me more about obscure – and in the eyes of religious conservatives, deviant – sexual practices than anything else since Steve Babcock’s asides in my 8th Grade Health class. For the love of God, please don’t say I didn’t warn if you decide to Google this one and end up offended.
3. “I am the Dread Pirate Roberts, there will be no survivors.”: I think there were actually people who came to TV Party‘s show dedicated to Fairy Tales just for the privilege of getting to say this line and then give us $5.
2. “Boehner? I hardly know her!”: It was hard picking my favorite Chip Chantry pun-based password, but the political junkie in me won out on this one (even if it does require you to mispronounce the House Speaker’s last name). A close second was August’s “So IRENE’S Over, and I Says to Him…” the day after the hurricane hit Philly.
1. “Friendship”: Aaron Hertzog completely ignored my rule that the $5 password had to be different each show all year long, but he was so friendly about it I didn’t have the heart to tell him he needed to stop. Now I’ve told him so publicly though, so if I had money to bet I would say that his next show will have a different word… but the root will still be “friend”.
2011 Witout Awards: Best Host Nominees
Rob Baniewicz and Paul Triggiani
Rob and Paul get together on stage at Philly Improv Theater every month and have a TV Party. They find the best worst television from the past available and present it to a crowd full of often drunk and always eager fans waiting to laugh – both at the shows and with the hilarious commentary provided by the two.
Every Monday night Carolyn and Mary turn the back room at The Urban Saloon into one of the best open mics in the city, Laughs on Fairmount. The two take turns introducing acts and keep the show moving with their own charm and sense of humor. They often start the show with a short sketch that highlights the chemistry they have with each other and gets the audience ready for a night of great comedy.
Chip Chantry is a busy man. He is the host of two monthly shows at major Philadelphia comedy venues. Facetime with Chip Chantry is a talk show at Helium Comedy Club that features Chip performing sketches, jokes about the news, and conducting interviews with each of his guests. Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) moved to Philly Improv Theater after its’ successful run at The Khyber and features Chip hosting for many of the best acts Philly Comedy has to offer.
Twice per month on Friday nights Aaron Hertzog hosts Hey Everybody! an evening of stand-up comedy at Philly Improv Theater. The showcase features many of the best stand-ups in Philadelphia and the occasional visitor from out of town. Aaron is known for yelling “Hey Everybody” at the top of his sets, and getting audiences ready for the show with his jovial invitations of friendship.
Doogie’s monthly Ministry of Secret Jokes has been one of the best nights of comedy Philadelphia has to offer for years. Doogie packs the show with not only great stand-up and sketch comedy but games, contests, and audience participation. The show is run like a meeting of a secret society, and Doogie often opens his shows by having the audience recite an oath that they will not reveal what they see to anyone. Judging by the packed in crowds upstairs at Fergie’s every month, many people have been breaking that oath.