Former Philly/current LA comedians Brendan Kennedy, Luke Giordano, and Mike Weinstein have started a new podcast, Remember Remember the Titans. The show says to be “the only podcast dedicated specifically to discussing the Disney high school football movie, Remember the Titans.” Actually, the guys tell stories, do bits, and have fun based on the topics, themes, and actors from the movie. In the first episode they are joined by former-former Philly comedian Aaron Hertzog.
Philly Improv Theater has announced the cast for their new Spring theatrical run, The Bat. The show runs from on Tuesday, April 30th through Sunday, May 19th. For a full schedule and tickets check the PHIT website show calendar or visit the TicketLeap page for the run.
This Tuesday Polygon Comedy returns to L’etage for their monthly variety show. This month, the show will feature stand-up from Christian Alsis, sketch from ManiPedi, musical improv from Interrobang, and music from Iliana Inocencio.
A Bunch of Improv at the Grape Room returns this Tuesday to The Grape Room in Manayunk.
The High Five Comedy Showcase debuts at Voltage this Wednesday. The show will be hosted by Jay West and will feature stand-up comedy from Aaron Hertzog, Dan Scully, Andre Johnson, Mikaela Hamje, and Joe Bell.
Stand-up/Improv show Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage this Thursday with a show featuring improv from Bed Savage and stand-up from Howard Algeo, Dave Temple, Geoff Jackson, Kerryn Feehan, and Frank Liotti.
The second round of Figment Theater’s Troika Tournament continues this Friday night at The Sideshow. The show will feature teams comprised of: Becca Trabin, Charles Rosen, Sean Landis; Alex Newman, Andrew Stanton, Nicole Labrecque; and Jim Burns, Maggy Keegan, Rachel Whitworth.
Something Witty at The Dive returns to the East Passyunk Ave. bar this Friday for a stand-up comedy showcase hosted by Alex Pearlman.
Tongue & Groove’s “That Time” will play this Saturday and Sunday at The Kimmel Center. The show will ask the audience “If you could go back in time to any moment in your own life’s story, where would you go and why?” to inspire “a collage of improvised theater, dance, and music.”
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve been paying attention to Philly’s improv scene in the last few years, by now you’ve probably heard of Bed Savage. Starting out as an independent team coached by Kristen Schier (The Amie & Kristen Show/The Kristen & Amie Show; Director of ZaoGao; Artistic Director of The N Crowd), they’re now the house team for two shows produced by stand-up and improviser Jess Carpenter: Comedian Deconstruction and The Not Just Comedy Show. If you want to learn more about the team, their form, and recent additions Claire Halberstadt and Jeff Kremzier, read on.
WitOut: How did Bed Savage come together?
Bed Savage: A bunch of us met in PHIT classes together (Grimley 101 and Edmondson 201). We included Dan Jaquette before he got all famous with Beirdo and Mayor Karen then retired like Jordan at the top of his game to become an adult, get married, and start a family (lame). RJ Payne was into it because he just broke up with his girlfriend, and everyone knows chicks dig comedians. Steve Klarich (retired) was into it because it was an excuse not to hang out with his girlfriend at the time. Anthony Fedele (retired) planted the seed, along with Sean Landis and Caroline Rhoads. They helped secure a great coach and consummate professional in Kristen Schier. Kristen’s experience and insight as a coach made the group easy to launch. Although some of the original cast retired/furloughed due to personal commitments, we have had the good fortune of bringing in other talented performers (Claire and Jeff). The team is now a 6-person totem pole consisting of Sean Landis, Caroline Rhoads, Nick George, R.J. Payne, Jeff Kremzier and Claire Halberstadt.
WO: You guys are the house team for both Comedian Deconstruction and The Not Just Comedy Show. How’d you land those gigs?
BS: Jess invited us to do Comedian Deconstruction and we absolutely loved it. Then we deconstructed him for the F Harold festival last year. It was around that time Jess decided to put a ring on it, and make Bed Savage the house team. Jess was initially looking to form a house team for the Not Just Comedy Show, and asked us to fill in until he did that. We did the first show, loved it again, and Jess and Bed Savage got married for a second time! Jess Carpenter is the mastermind behind these gigs. His energy and effort to find local comedy legends and get buns in the seats make the shows work.
WO: For those shows, you deconstruct a stand-up comic’s and a musician’s set, respectively. When you’re not deconstructing, do you have a regular improv form that you use, like a Harold or Armando? If so, how did you choose that form, and which do you prefer—that form, or deconstructing?
BS: When we’re not deconstructing we perform a Leonardo, which is a loose Armando mixed with some Harold. So that entails a monologue from one of us to start the show, then some follow-up questions on the monologue (mostly just to make fun of whoever told the story), some scenes, some games, some more scenes, some more games then a blackout.
Every one of us really likes deconstructions. It’s probably because our parents never let us take apart our Legos after we’d built something. If you wasted a set on some stupid block tower, oh well, you had to live with that forever. Now we’re making up for all that pent-up aggression to break things down by deconstructing amazing comedians such as Chip Chantry and Mary Radzinski. Doing the deconstructing is really fun because you have the advantage of seeing the audiences’ reaction to different jokes and you have the freedom to put your own spin on the scene and incorporate the stand-ups’ punchline or premise. It also allows for some great callbacks to jokes that the audience may have overlooked or didn’t quite catch. Oh—and our deconstructions are not “classical” deconstructions as known by many in the improv world.
WO: Claire (of Suggestical and previously ZaoGao) is the most recent addition to the team, correct? How was she recruited, and how has it been working with her so far? What do you think she brings to the team?
BS: We don’t know how we landed Claire. We kinda fell ass-backwards into that one. It was like wait, she’s into it? Really? Why?? She brings so much to the team though, like a creepy basement with a mattress in it, or huge bags of snacks that have both salty snacks like chips AND sweet snacks like chocolate, or bags of wine for us to slap. Oh, and she’s an amazingly talented improviser and performer who brings energy, creativity and general awesomeness to the team. She provides a great level of intensity onstage and really commits to each character and scene. She brings her “A” game every night and it’s fun trying to keep up with her.
Jeff Krezmier is also a recent addition to the team. Jeff has some great characters and voices that often end up sounding like Kermit the Frog. Sometimes things get a little weird on stage.
WO: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming your name has something to do with Ben Savage. So…Can each of you describe either your favorite episode of Boy Meets World, or the influence the show/Ben Savage has had on the team or its members personally, spiritually and/or comedically?
BS: Our name is a play on the duality of man, reflecting our animalistic origins, while commenting on our addiction to materialistic comforts and predetermined departure from nature. Who the hell is Ben Savage?
But Jeff is definitely a Fred Savage fan. He’s still trying to unlock the secret of how Fred landed Winnie Cooper.
You can see Bed Savage next at ‘The Not Just Comedy Show’ TONIGHT at The Grape Room (105 Grape Street, Manyunk) at 8pm. Admission is $5.
A Bunch of Improv at The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) will celebrate their one-year anniversary at the Manayunk venue this Tuesday with a show featuring improv from Deleted Scenes, Rosen & Milkshake, Bed Savage, and Cock Hat. The show will be hosted by Ryan Carey and will also feature a new installment of Web Cereal, their monthly sketch comedy video.
This Thursday Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage (624 South 6th St.) for their “Couples Therapy” show featuring stand-up from Chip Chantry, Chris Rich, Alison Zeidman, and Joe Bell with improv from Bed Savage and Cake Bear.
This Friday Grammy-award-winning comedian Lewis Black will bring his Running on Empty tour to the Academy of Music for a one-night-only performance. The comedian is known for his “unfiltered and frank rants about the absurdity of politics and the world around us”. Tickets can be purchased online.
We Can All Change, a new monthly show from hosts Dan Scully, Mike Logan, Setoiyo, and David Piccolomini at O’Neals Pub (611 S. 3rd St.) will debut this Friday with a show featuring performances from Jared Rosado, Elise Thompson-Hohl, Lou Misiano, and Pat Barker.
The Tough Stuff Comedy Show will also debut this Friday at Headhouse (122 Lombard St.) The show will feature stand-up performances from Alex Grubard, Mary Radzinski, John Nunn, and H. Foley. After their sets, the comedians will sit down with hosts Sidney Gantt and Kevin Ryan, where they will share “their most embarrassing and crazy stories.” Tickets are available online.
ComedySportz Philadelphia presents: BeatBox Philly this Friday at The Playground at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom St.) The show will feature some of your favorite members of the ComedySportz Philadelphia team performing a mix of improvised scenes and freestyle raps. Tickets can be purchased online.
This Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) The Sideshow presents: The 2013 Oscars Improv Jam. For the third straight year comedians from around Philadelphia will get dressed up and enjoy a night of improv, parody videos, food, and BYOB drinking. Following the jam there will also be a showing of film sensation The Room.
The Captain Action Comedy Show is this Saturday at the Conshohocken Cafe (521 Fayette St. Conshohocken). This month’s show will feature performances by Anton Shuford, Michael Donovan, and Elise Thompson-Hohl with a Captain Action Comedy Quiz Show and more from co-hosts Sidney Gantt and Dave Terruso.
Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern (901 W. Butler Pike, Ambler, PA) will feature stand-up from Andy Nolan, Jim Ginty, and Alex Pearlman with guest sets from Chris Dolan, Caitlyn Feeney, and Dave Topor. Tickets can be purchased online.
This Sunday Chase N’ Laughs presents: A Night of Comedy at Jollie’s Live (822 N. Broad St.) The show will feature stand-up from Miles Green (BET’s Comic View) and Philly’s own Craig McLaren. More information can be found online.
The crew from the Comedy Food Sports podcast were given press passes to Wing Bowl 21 and used their access to create this video of the goings on from the event.
Submissions for the 15th Annual Del Close Marathon are now open. The improv festival will take place June 28-30 on multiple stages throughout New York City. The marathon is known for bringing improvisers from around the country together for a few days of performances ranging from traditional improv institutions to crazy, late-night shows. The deadline to submit is April 2.
The early application deadline for this year’s Duofest, to be held right here in Philadelphia from June 6-9, is this Friday, February 22. Interested improv duos will have until then to take advantage of the lower application fee of $22. The final deadline to submit is March 2 (at a price of $32). More information can be found online.
Philly Improv Theater is currently holding sign-ups for auditions to add three new improv teams to their roster. One team, directed by Ralph Andracchio, will be cast as a PHIT House Team and will perform on Saturday nights at the theater. The other two teams, directed by Rob Gentile and Alex Newman will be PHIT’s first Harold Teams, and will perform on Tuesday nights. Auditions will be held March 9-10 and to secure an audition you can email your name, phone number, a preferred audition time, and details of your past improv training (if you have not completed PHIT’s Improv 201) to email@example.com.
Remember we told you to check out the latest issue of Philadelphia Magazine for an article on Juliet Hope Wayne and the Philly comedy scene? Well, now that article is available online.
Philadelphia will have three chances to see Louis CK at the Merriam Theater (250 South Broad St.) this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage this Thursday with their annual Dirty Show. This month stand-up comedians Dave Terruso and Kricket Lee will be deconstructed by improv groups Cock Hat and Bed Savage.
This Friday Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show) will perform at The Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch St.) Tickets are available online.
The Day Drinking Americans Comedy Tour will make a stop at The Raven Lounge (1718 Sansom St.) for a show featuring John Tole and Ian Stuart with locals: Ryan Shaner, John Nunn, and Tim Butterly.
The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St.) this Friday with a show featuring stand-up comedy from Trevor Cunnion, improv from Cake Bear and Whisper, and necrosexuality from The Necrosexual.
Saturday is Durty Comedy Night at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub (701 E Macdade Blvd Folsom, PA) with a show featuring stand-up from: Kricket Lee, Mike Rainey, Rick Mirarchi, James Hesky, John McKeever, and Mike Jansen.
Philly’s Comedy Underground comes to Circa 1212 (1212 South St.) this Saturday for a show featuring comics Mikey Garcia, Lou Misiano, Alejandro Morales, Pete Steele, and Caitlin Feeney.
This Sunday comedian Todd Barry brings his Crowdwork Tour to The Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Ave.) for two entire shows of riffing and bantering with the audience. The 8pm show is already sold out, but tickets are still available online for the 10pm show.
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at email@example.com!
I started losing my hair in high school. All of the fun things I got to do in the 1980s with hair dye are long gone. On top of that, I never had to shave regularly until I was in my late 30s. In the late 1980s all I wanted was cool sideburns, and I had to wait until the trend came back around a couple years ago to almost be able to take advantage of it. I didn’t even have armpit hair until I was in my 20s. I spent most of my teen years too mortified to wear a tank top. I view most men with hair and the ability to grow facial hair wistfully. They have something I’ll never have.
Whenever I see these five guys, I can’t help but think about their hair. And how much I want to possess it.
5. Vegas Lancaster (improv team The N Crowd)
His hair has super powers that I cannot begin to comprehend. If you encounter Vegas in a dark alley, you are simultaneously frightened and awed.
4. Jp Boudwin (sketch group Camp Woods)
He can go from full-on French Canadian couch-surfing drifter to slightly more respectable French Canadian couch-surfing drifter simply by getting a hair cut. Also, when he gets his hair cut, he loses ten pounds in one whack.
3. Jess Carpenter (improv team Iron Lung, Comedian Deconstruction)
If I had the ability to rock full-on Wolverine facial hair like Jess does, I would be an unstoppable sex machine. I would do so much with that superpower, but it remains unattainable.
2. Dennis Trafny (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hey Rube)
Dennis gets the nod over his [improv team] Bierdo brethren because with his bald head and piercing eyes, his head shots make for the best meme generation.
1. Chris Calletta (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hot Dish)
Chris has the perfect hair of every actor in every hair product commercial and/or Francis Ford Coppola film from the early 1970s. Chris, you probably think I’m constantly cruising you, but really, when I’m staring vacantly at you, I’m for real just coveting your hair.
Steve Kleinedler started doing improv in 1982 and studied and performed off and on in the 1980s and 1990s. He began performing at ImprovBoston in 2001 and teaching and directing there in 2004. He performed with IB’s Harold Team Marjean for three years. Steve directed numerous improv troupes and shows at IB, including The Family Show (2004-2007), Backstory (a ‘Memento’-inspired improv show, which he reprised with Hot Dish for the Philly Fringe festival in 2012), and IB’s sketch ensemble The Ruckus (2007-2010). He’s directed numerous one-person shows and scripted plays. At PHIT he currently directs PHIT house team Hot Dish and has appeared onstage in numerous guises, including Half-Life with Nathan Edmondson. He is also a founding member of Shattered Globe Theatre in Chicago.
by Chris Dolan
For just over a year, Jess Carpenter has been producing a unique, multi-format comedy experience at L’Etage (6th & Bainbridge): Comedian Deconstruction. The monthly show—each one built around a theme—is a merging of stand-up and improv. Rather than use audience suggestions for the improv segments, the improv troupes construct scenes utilizing the material from the stand-ups’ sets. Each show also features the debut of a “comedy virgin” to kick off the evening’s roster.
This is a love letter to Philadelphia, and by extension, to the comedy scene that you have all created here and welcomed me into.
Philadelphia is where I actively chose to live after considering a wide array of options. Performing as a vistor in PHIFs, a Troika, some N Crowd shows, and several one-off shows exposed me to what Philadelphia has to offer. Inexpensive rehearsal and performance spaces mean that anyone with an idea and the drive can start a production. In addition to the established companies, numerous successfully produced shows in bars, empty store fronts, galleries, and the like, make Philadelphia’s scene reminiscent of the theatre scene in Chicago in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Discussions with Mary Carpenter, Greg Maughan, Matt Nelson, Alexis Simpson, Alli Soowal, Kristen Schier, and Jason Stockdale spurred me to move to Philadelphia 16 months ahead of schedule, and I’m glad I did.
The creative spark here is very strong. Across numerous companies and troupes, hundreds of people perform regularly. Groups of like-minded friends can form troupes (like Iron Lung, Malone, and Nielsen did) and what’s more important, they can get gigs. The structural framework of PHIT, ComedySportz, the N Crowd, and other existing companies in combination with the opportunities provided by the producers of Polygon, Comedian Deconstruction, Sideshow, and the Grape Room, to name just a few, means anyone with an idea or drive can get stage time. There aren’t that many cities that allow for this kind of opportunity—space is just too expensive in most cities—and people who take advantage of everything there is to offer have helped create a comedy calendar where something is happening almost every day of the month.
Chip Chantry’s debut comedy album Across From the Adonis is now available on iTunes. The album was recorded live in front of a packed crowd at Helium Comedy Club and can now be downloaded and enjoyed from the comfort of your own home for $9.99.
On Tuesday A Bunch of Improv at The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) returns with a show featuring improv from Nielsen, No Wait, Matt&, and Cock Hat and will be hosted by Rob Gentile. Doors open at 8pm with the show starting at 8:20.
This Thursday Comedian Deconstruction presents Girls Girls Girls (and Bed Savage) at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) This month’s show will feature stand-up comedy from Mary Radzinski, Cecily Chapman, Erin Mullville, and Nicole Yates and improv sets from The Amie and Kristen Show and Bed Savage.
This Friday The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) will host The Sideshow: Short Attention Span Theater. The show will feature shorter acts (no longer than 15 minutes) and will hosts a mix of magic, stand-up, improv, sketch, storytelling, music, and more.
Secret Pants’ annual Christmas show at Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) is this Sunday, December 23 at 9:00pm. A Banner Year at the Ol’ Bender Household: A Yuletide Holiday Extravaganza will be hosted by Chip Chantry and will feature sketch performances by: Camp Woods, ManiPedi, Specific Jawns, and Secret Pants as well as music by Emily and Micah McGraw and a burlesque showcase with Randi Warhol. Tickets are available online.
Just another reminder that the WitOut Caption Contest for this month is live. To enter submit a caption in the comments section on the caption contest post. The winner (as chosen by the editors of WitOut) will receive two free tickets to a ComedySportz show of their choice.
Last night, the seventh annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued at Helium Comedy Club with Tommy Highland, Dave Temple, and Kevin Hurley moving on to the semi-finals. The competition continues Monday, July 23 and the opening round continues on Sunday and Monday nights until August 13 (full schedule here).
Tonight – the new weekly show Jokepile returns for its third show at XChange (10 South 20th St. Philadelphia). This week is their Superhero Showcase featuring Comic Comic Darin Martinez, the superhero of comedy Captain Action himself Sidney Gantt, hosted by Kids with Rickets, and more.
Center City Comedy released this sketch, a parody of the Mentos commercials popular in the 1990s last week - and due to its content – and proximity to the Daniel Tosh controversy has received some backlash online. The debate between the sides continued online (you can read some of the back and forth here and here). What do you think?
This Thursday, Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage where improv groups will base their shows around the sets of some of Philly’s funniest stand-up comedians. This month will feature opening stand-up from Phyllis Voren and TJ Hurley while Paul Eason and Joey Dougherty’s sets will be deconstructed by Whisper and Bed Savage.
This Friday, comedian Sean Green (The Green Room podcast) returns to Philadelphia for a night of stand-up comedy at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) Tickets for the show are available online.
The second annual March Madness Comedy Competition kicked off last night at The Famous International Variety Show at Drinker’s West. Moving on to the second round of the competition are: David Ray Ageykum, Josh Guarino, David Primiano, Rachel Bensen, Erik Whitacre, John Deal, David Terruso, Mike Logan. The first round continues tonight at Laughs on Fairmount (The Urban Saloon, 2120 Fairmount Ave. Philadelphia).
Last Friday at The Sideshow this year’s Troika competition kicked off with a show pitting The Mother Truckers (Jessica Snow, Mandy Dollar, Sue Taney) against Rogue (Alan Williams, Corin Wells, Mike Butler) and WKKM Channel 17 Action News (Karen Coleman, Katherine Banford, Maureen Costello). The Mother Truckers emerged victorious moving on to compete for the 2012 Troika championship. Round two of Troika this Friday at The Sideshow will feature Operators Standing By (Bert Archer, Michael Hochman, Steve Cohen) 3/9 (Alli Soowal, BJ Ellis, Katie Monaco) and 3AM (Jason Stockdale, Maggy Keegan, Rob Baniewicz)
This Wednesday brings a pair of great independent comedy shows for you to enjoy. Camp Wood Plus returns to L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) and will feature Camp Woods along with Animosity Pierre and Pink Axe. Doogie Horner’s Ministry of Secret Jokes takes its’ usual spot at Fergie’s Pub (1214 Sansom St.) and promises more of the same comedy, games, and ritual.
This Thursday at L’etage Comedian Deconstruction’s March Madness will feature improv groups Grimacchio and Nielsen performing sets based off the stand-up of Sidney Gantt and Pat Barker.
This Friday marks the premiere of a new regular show from Philly Improv Theater House Team Mayor Karen upstairs at Plays and Players Theater (1714 Delancey St.). The show will feature James Hesky, Medic and music from Friends with Murder. The show will cost $10 and proceeds will go to a Mayor Karen festival travel fund.