On the last Friday of every month, ComedySportz is bringing in original outside acts to perform ahead of their 10pm adults-only Blue Show. This month, ComedySportz Presents features Adrift, a nationally-touring show created by Philadelphia Improv Festival producer Matt Nelson. Matt performs with a rotating cast, improvising scenes that take place over several days of being stranded together on a life raft. In this edition, Adrift will be kept afloat by Eoin O’ Shea, Todd Rodenhiser, Sue Taney, Daryll Charles, Danna Young and Mary Carpenter of ComedySportz.
Adrift at at NCCAF. Photo by Kevin Thom.
WitOut: Can you give a brief overview of the origins of Adrift?
Matt Nelson: Adrift was created four years ago for the Philadelphia Improv Festival. I’d just ended several-year runs with a couple groups, and wanted to still do a longform set in my own festival. I figured I’d rope in a bunch of amazing people that my co-producers couldn’t possibly say no to. I made a short list, and that first show included locals Kristen Schier and Kelly Vrooman, as well as Brian O’Connell from iO West and Steve Kleinedler (at that time, still a Bostonian). I looked at the list and thought to myself, “Hey these people would be amazing to be shipwrecked with.” And that’s when the show concept was born. It was so much fun that I decided to keep at it. It became my own personal all-star show, giving me a chance to work with incredibly talented people I might otherwise never get to play with. Joe Bill, Jeff Griggs, Jill Bernard, Dave Sawyer, Topher Bellavia, Tara DeFrancisco, Rachel Klein—people who make your comedy heart swoon. After I locked down Emo Philips for my NCCAF show two years ago, I became pretty fearless about asking anyone whose work I really admire.
WO: What brought Adrift to ComedySportz?
MN: ComedySportz actually approached me to do the show. Adrift is a show that doesn’t play all the time, and with my format their cast can get really involved. Between the two, I think it’s a nice fit for their Final Fridays format, and I suppose they must have thought the same. I’ve had quite a few of their cast members in various rafts, and they’ve always been a blast to play with… so it was pretty much a “yes” from the word go. Then I was told I could pick from anyone in the cast, and it was like being a kid in a candy store. I decided to opt for mostly new players—because aside from doing a few local gigs and festivals, Adrift is a road show, and I only bring 1-2 Philly improvisers with me to those.
WO: You have some really amazing ComedySportz players in the cast for this show. What are some skills they bring, either as individuals or a group, that you’re looking forward to having for this performance?
MN: I’m so excited about this cast. Overall, ComedySportz players bring a style of play that comes only from a strong connection built over time doing weekly shows. It’s a family—a very generous, playful family with tons of heart. Let me see if I can highlight a few things though…
Eoin O’shea: Eoin approaches things with a sort of tempered chaos, bubbling just under the surface. No matter how methodical a scene is, there’s always something dangerous and exciting potentially lurking around the next corner.
Todd Rodenhiser: Todd is a menagerie of big, bold, beautiful characters. They’re born from a whole other plane of existence, and it’s always thrilling when they come out to play.
Danna Young: Danna is a quirky, vibrant player than can play the duality of what you think is a light character, only to surprise you with strong choices and emotional reactions that can turn on a dime.
Darryl Charles: Darryl understands comedy like few others I know. The way he processes every little gift, it’s like he took an evolutionary step somewhere— always working out the best possible arcs for relationships, but always in the flash of a moment.
Sue Taney: Sue is a powerhouse player who just exhales hilarity. She’s like one of those storage saver bags where they shrink down all the fluffy stuff —she could take three minutes of silence and not have a moment of dead air.
Mary Carpenter: Mary is the crown jewel of Philly comedy, and I wish more comedians saw her more often. I don’t think I could run out of things to say. I have never, and I genuinely mean never, seen anyone on stage as generous as her. She can communicate so effectively with her face alone, it’s scary. If a show were a knife fight, you’d never have to check your six, because Mary’s got your back without fail.
Catch Adrift at ComedySportz (2030 Sansom Street) this Friday, January 25th at 8pm. Tickets are $12.
This Wednesday at Chris’ Jazz Cafe (1421 Sansom St.) the Tight Six crew will host Not Jazz 2, an evening of stand-up comedy featuring John Nunn, Mary Radzinski, Dan Scully, Trevor Cunnion, Gregg Gethard, and Keane Cobb.
The Sideshow Presents: Iron Lung’s 2 Year Anniversary Show/Party this Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St). The show will feature improv from Iron Lung, Kid Twist, Cock Hat, and Bed Savage as well as sketch from The Flat Earth and stand-up from Sidney Gantt.
Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will bring his array of characters to perform at the Wells Fargo Center (3601 S. Broad St.) this Friday. Tickets are available online.
In addition to their regular, weekly shows ComedySportz Presents: Adrift and ComedySportz’ The Blue Show will be held this Friday at The Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom St.) ComedySportz Presents is “an ongoing series of fun, new comedy shows featuring your favorite CSz Players and Philadelphia comedians.” Always on the last Friday of every month The Blue Show promises to feature “your favorite players doing stuff no Brown Bag could ever rectify.”
The Center Square Fire Company (1298 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell PA) is celebrating their 100th anniversary this Saturday with a comedy show featuring stand-up from The Legendary WID, Mike Morse, Robin Fox, and Grover Silcox. Tickets for the show can be purchased online and include a souvenir cup, beer, soda, and snacks.
Jim Gaffigan visits Philadelphia for a show at the Tower Theater (69th and Ludlow) this Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online.
The Captain Action Comedy Show makes its Saturday debut this week at the Conshohocken Cafe (521 Fayette St. Conshohocken) with a show featuring Jim Ginty, Jon DelCollo, Aaron Nevins, Dave Terruso, and Dan Vetrano.
This Sunday Bedtime Stories Presents: Behind the Scenes at a Soft Rock Radio Station in Nahua, NH at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.). The show will feature comedians telling the stories behind WHFMTOWNDZ-FM (The Breeze On Top of the Mountain Near Nashua) — the number two rated soft rock/adult contemporary radio station in New Hampshire’s second biggest radio market.
ComedySportz for Kids — a “fun-sized version of our long-running comedy show only shorter, sillier and kiddy-er” will be this Sunday at The Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom St.) The monthly comedy show for children will take place at 11 am. Tickets can be purchased online.
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe are looking for new artists. Live Arts will select up to 5 artists through an audition process. If selected, artists will be presented in a showcase format for two nights, will receive a stipend of $500 and 5 hours of rehearsal time in the LAB in preparation for their performance. Live Arts is seeking work which demonstrates a commitment to forward thinking ideas and aesthetics. Any live performance genre is acceptable including theater, dance, music and performance art. Visit www.livearts-fringe.org/jumpstart to sign up and read the guidelines, eligibility, and FAQs.
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditionally comedy shows are a popular choice among those looking to make plans for a New Year’s Eve out on the town. What better way to ring in a new year than with friends, food, drinks, and laughter? We decided to round up all the New Year’s Eve comedy options we could find in the Philadelphia area to help you make your decision on where you’ll be starting 2013.
The Northeast Comedy Cabaret (11580 Roosevelt Blvd) will hold two shows (8pm, 10:30pm) featuring comedians Sudsy, John Kensil, Steve Golassa, and Darin Martinez. The 10:30 show will feature a champagne toast and party favors. Reservations can be made online or by calling 215-676-5653.
The Doylestown Comedy Cabaret (625 N. Main St. Doylestown, PA) will feature an 8:30 show with performances by Julia Scotti, Amir Gollan, Bill Chiang, and Bob Marsdale. Tickets are only available through online presale. For any questions call 215-322-6642.
The South Jersey Comedy Cabaret (200 North Route 73 Marlton, NJ) will host two shows (8pm, 10:30pm) with comedians Patrick O’Donnell, Simply Dee, Vince Valentine, and Mike Casey. The 10:30 show will feature a champagne toast and party favors. Tickets are available through online presale. For any questions call 215-322-6642.
ComedySportz New Year’s Improvin’ Eve (2030 Sansom St.) will feature two shows (7:30pm, 10:30pm) with “hilarious new games, free pizza and drinks for fans, Auld Lang Syne in gibberish and yes, even Baby New Year.” Tickets can be purchased online.
New Year’s Eve with Gary Gulman at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St.) will have two shows, the 8pm will include appetizers from 6:00PM – 7:30PM and a ticket to a future show while the 10:30pm show includes a champagne toast at midnight, dessert, and a ticket to a future show. Tickets can be purchased online.
New Year’s Eve with Mike Bonner at The Laff House (221 South St.) will also have an 8pm and 10:30 show with tickets to the late show including “butlered hors d’ouvres, champagne toast at midnight and more!” The show will also feature comedy from Philly’s own Keith from Up Da Block. Tickets can be purchased online.
Chip Chantry, Carl Boccuti, and Johnny Goodtimes will be hosting A Motown New Year’s Eve at La Stanza (2001 W. Oregon Ave.) The show will feature performances by Doogie Horner, Tommy Pope, Luke Cunningham, John McKeever, Mary Radzinski, and Pat House. After the comedy show there will be a “Motown/Funk/Soul dance party” with DJ Honkeytron. Admission includes the show and dance party along with food and alcohol. Tickets can be purchased in advance via PayPal by sending $50 to email@example.com (PLEASE choose “Personal” as the transaction type).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
#5 – Sue Taney in Mother Truckers at Troika
03.09.2012 | Sideshow at the Arts Parlor
The concept for this Troika trio was pretty clear: Square Meg, Sweet n’ Sassy Cassidy & Star-Spangled Sharlene were three truck-driving, sass-talking long haulers who conversed via CB radio. The characters were great, and the costumes were a sight to behold. But what really made this show something for the books was Sue’s character and her obsession with snack foods. Planting herself in the bucket seat of her trusty big rig, Sue had packed a ridiculous number of munchies into a bag, which she proceeded to chow down on, dialogue be damned. This series of side-bits heightened to the point that Sue genuinely got her hand stuck in a tube of Pringles while diving for the last chip. A good part of the show was spent with a can shaped nub, and the resounding and so-satisfying pop that came with the eventual release of her hand was then instantly topped once more by Sue licking the Pringles seasoning off her arm.
#4 – Davenger at PHIF8
11.07.2012 | Prince Music Theater
As one of the newest house teams from PHIT, at this point I’d only had occasion to see Davenger a handful of times. Having been a fan of their coach Maggy Keegan for years, I knew this team was going to have “Harold” drilled deep into them, but I was hardly prepared for what would happen on the opening night of PHIF8. Shows like this remind me why the term “beats” is so spot on. Constructing their piece, they had a rhythm, pitch and level of synchronicity that is normally reserved for groups that have been playing together for years. All of these disparate moments became anchored to and eventually informed by a fantastic group game. Every cast member was leaning so far into every moment, that it felt like they couldn’t even be bothered with gravity.
#3 – Aaron Hertzog at BCCAF
09.09.2012 | ImprovBoston Mainstage
Admittedly, this one may be a bit of a cheat, as it took place in Boston; but it featured (then-Philly resident) Aaron Hertzog, and to be honest, this moment transcended any particular place we might have been, because we were no longer in this world. The night before, Aaron had featured at The Brattle (the largest venue of BCCAF). I was in the All-Star set right after and got to take in most of his current act. It was a great set, and he lived up to the stage. But this wouldn’t be his crowning moment. The following night IB had a showcase of comics featured throughout the week. Good stuff from Mary Radzinski, Pete Kuempel and many others. And they had to earn every bit of it… this was the last show on the last night of what had been a long festival. Even the locals had mostly bailed, and we were left with a few die-hards, staff, other comedians and a few randoms. Anyone who was feeling zapped and pulled thin was about to unknowingly receive a comedy face slap courtesy of Mr. Hertzog. Aaron came out and from the top injected more energy than I’ve ever seen from a comic not fueled by coke and living in the ’70s. It’s hard to describe what I heard and saw that night, but he went totally through the roof and off the rails in all the best, most captivating ways. I’ve never before or since seen a comic jump start and hold firm dominance over a room like Aaron did that quiet little Sunday night in Cambridge.
#2 – Kristin Finger’s Ref debut at ComedySportz
10.13.2012 | Playground at the Adrienne
This entry is great example of what can happen when an improviser and an audience member create a perfect storm that you wish could be bottled (then hidden in a trunk and locked away forever). Kristin has been a ComedySportz player for years now, but made her debut as a Ref only two short months ago. The night had gone well… player challengers, ref challenges, 5-things… the teams had battled and laughs were flowing. As you might imagine, many family, friends and fans were in attendance on this particular night—but fortunately, so was a random man. A random man with a random suggestion. At one point towards the end of the show, she asks the audience for a noun, and this man shouts, “black!” Now, granted this fell more into the adjective category, but Kristin shrugged it off and took it, for a game called 185. Which she had already announced as the next game. For those unfamiliar with the game, this means nothing to you. For those that do, and most of the audience in attendance that night, what almost came to pass is quite clear. You see, the setup of 185 is a groaner-style punchline game where improvisers take a suggestion, and fit it to a pre-established formula: 185 suggestions walk into a bar. The bartender says “we don’t serve suggestions in this bar,” so the suggestions reply “pun punchline.” Now go back and fill the blanks with that man’s suggestion. The whole place lost it, especially as we saw the full scope of pending doom and shocked reaction crawl across Kristin’s face. It was a show-stopper. After about two minutes of trying to gain the composure of eye-tearing laughter from everyone in the place, Kristin decided to get a new suggestion.
#1 – Kait & Andrew at PHIT
12.02.2012 | Shubin Theatre
My top spot goes to a show that probably had the smallest audience of any on my list. A few short weeks ago Kait & Andrew did a 7PM show at the Shubin, sharing a bill with Matt&. Kait & Andrew had a pretty decent show, punctuated by their classic fourth wall-breaking banter that makes them so endearing and honest. It was fun, but not exceedingly stand-out—until the last scene, where everything changed. Kaitlin started the scene off by coming unglued at Andrew… startlingly so. Andrew came right back at her. The scope of the argument was that he had spent 8 years training to be a hide-and-seek champion, meanwhile she’d felt completely neglected in their relationship. In turn, he felt she wasn’t supporting his training, which he was doing for the betterment of their relationship. Over the course of the next few minutes, the two would spew accusations at one another, managing to pull out callback after callback of damn near every element of the show up until then. From fantastical gifts like Mayan Bee Fighting to seemingly insignificant expressions and sighs, everything was ammo. And during this escalating vitriol volley, neither forgot for a moment to ground everything to the characters, their shared relationship and raw emotions. It was like the first 20 minutes were merely a set up to this moment of explosion. The slow fade to black as Andrew moved to cover his dog’s eyes left me with shivering excitement and disbelief at the high-stake magic I’d just been witness to.
Matt Nelson is Executive Producer of the Philadelphia Improv Festival and Managing Director of Figment Theater. In addition to running the annual improv competition Troika, Matt can be seen performing in the touring show Adrift. You can follow him on Twitter at @ma77nelson.
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.
This weekend the Arts Parlor will host the first in The Sideshows series of one act plays. The Sideshow: Hidden in This Picture features the one act originally written in the late 80′s by screenwriter extraodinaire, Aaron Sorkin. It’s a single scene focusing on a first time director dealing with an egotistical writer a penny pinching producer, a dim witted assistant and an invasion of cows that arrived to ruin his oscar winning shot. The show stars Nathan Edmondson, Bert Archer, Matt Nelson and Daniel Jaquette and is directed by Mike Marbach. The show will play Friday February 24 at 10:30pm, Saturday February 25 at 8:30pm, and Sunday February 26 at 3:00pm.
Last week in a show at Temple University the team of comedians was chosen to represent the school in this year’s National College Comedy Competition. The first round of competition will be held at Helium Comedy Clubon Sunday, March 18 at 7:30pm and will showcase the Temple team facing off against a team of comics from Penn State. The comedians representing each school are Temple: Tyler Wolf, Alex Grubard, Matt Kase, Paul Kenton, Steve Lipman, Jordana Lipsitz, Tim Ryan, Chris Whitehair Penn State: Kyle Dodson, Bill Hood, Stephanie Wain, Sean Becker, Dave Porter, Tom Wong, Spencer Frank, Kevin Gallagher.
Last week, for his Newsmakers Podcast, comedian Luke Giordano sat down to interview his childhood hero George Lucas. To see how things turned out for Luke you can listen to the episode on his website Everything You Like is Stupid.
Last week comedian Ted Alexandro headlined at Helium Comedy Club. If you missed it, that’s a shame, because he’s great, but at least you can still read this interview with him from CityPaper.
Sign-ups for ComedySportz Philly’s spring classes have begun. The company is offering three levels of classes each at the early registration price of $179 (until March 7). You can sign up for classes online.
This weekend, as part of their Final Fridays series which features new shows on the final two weekends of every month, ComedySports Philly will host Stage Fright: An Improvised Homage to Hitchcock. The show, which was recently nominated for Best in Long Form at the 2012 INNY Awards will play Thursday, February 16 at 8:00PM, Friday, February 17 at 10:00PM, and Saturday, February 18 at 3:00PM at The Playground at The Adrienne (2030 Sansom St. Philadelphia). Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Stage Fright is conceived and directed by Philadelphia Improv Festival co-creator Matt Nelson and it’s cast features local improv talents Alli Soowal, Jason Stockdale, Jessica Ross, Joe Sabatino, Kristin Finger, Mary Carpenter, Nathan Edmondson and Rob Cutler. The show explores the dark corners of the world through tension and levity, while bringing to life Hitchcockian characters that are delightfully definitive of his style.
Mark Leopold is a Philadelphia improviser, sketch comedian, employee, an uncomfortable-complimenter-when-the-other-person-has-complimented-him-first-because-it-feels-like-the-only-reason-he’s-complimenting-them-is-to-make-them-even-no-matter-how-sincere-his-compliment-may-or-may-not-be, and a friend. He is a member of the PHIT house team Hey Rube as well as a new addition to the cast of Comedysportz and he does sketch comedy with his group The Hold-up. When he isn’t doing one of these things he is busy doing other things, like working and laundry, and so while he sincerely wishes he was able to be a real interviewer, the best he is able to do is interview people in his head while he drives different places. Today, while on his way to work, Mark took some time to sit down in an interrogation room in his head with Philadelphia improviser and Comedysportz teammate/teacher Jason Stockdale.
MARK LEOPOLD: Hey Jason, it’s me Mark!
JASON STOCKDALE: Hey man!
ML: Good times! Stockdale!
ML: Okay, shut up, let’s do this. Greatest fear?
ML: Greatest strength?
JS: Left shoulder.
ML: Best way to get into your apartment without a key?
JS: You go through the large window in my bedroom. It doesn’t latch and there’s no way to lock it.
JS: Full disclosure, there is a pit full of spikes directly inside and below the window.
ML: Home Alone style.
JS: That would have been a very different movie if Kevin had ended up killing the burglars with his first couples of traps.
ML: I’d like to see that movie. It probably just becomes a courtroom drama.
JS: And the creepy neighbor testifies against him.
ML: That neighbor…man. It sucks that he got a bad rap just for carrying a snow shovel around…in winter…after it had recently snowed.
JS: But he also had a beard, and he squinted quite a bit.
ML: Now who’s testifying against who? Who? Whom?
ML: I thought whom had something to do with having a direct object.
JS: Yep, but we should move on. I’m sure your readers aren’t that interested in the finer points of grammar.
ML: Ouch. I’ll have you know that I cater to a very high-end readership.
JS: Even so, this is pretty dry stuff. They can just buy a grammar book.
ML: Favorite grammar book?
JS: Strunk and White, okay moving on!
ML: Favorite chapter of Strunk and White?
JS: Chapter 13: Colons and Semicolons. Okay! So…Mark, what do you like most about Philadelphia?
ML: It’s proximity to my house.
JS: You’re being a real asshole.
ML: It was a joke Jason. This whole thing is a joke.
JS: Don’t do that. Don’t write it to make me seem like the jerk here.
ML: Jason, just calm down. Be reasonable.
JS: (standing up and overturning the table) I’ll be as unreasonable as I want damn it!
ML: (hands out, placating) Jason…easy.
JS: (…and here comes Jason’s famous switchblade) Shut up!
ML: Jason come on…put down the knife.
JS: (grabbing Brooks and putting the knife to his throat) No!
ML: Jason. Jason. Look at his neck Jason. Look at his neck. He’s bleeding Jason.
JS: (breaking down into tears and dropping the knife) I’m…I’m sorry…I just…
ML: I understand.
JS: I can’t go back.
ML: I know.
JS: I’m sorry.
ML: (turning to Brooks) Brooks, get out of here. (…but Brooks is already gone) Brooks?
JS: (sniffing) Brooks?
Mark and Jason look at each other with unspoken realization. The camera slowly pans up to the wooden beam overhead where there is an inscription carved into the wood. The inscription reads, “Brooks was here…but got really bored when they started talking about grammar.”
Mark Leopold is a Philadelphia improviser, sketch comedian, employee, someone-who-sleeps-laying-directly-on-his-back-with-his-arms-down-at-his-sides-and-with-his-legs-straight-and-slightly-set-apart-on-top-of-a-memory-form-mattress-which-makes-him-feel-as-though-he-is-an-action-figure-in-it’s-original-packaging, and a friend. He is a member of the PHIT house team Hey Rube as well as a new addition to the cast of Comedysportz and he does sketch comedy with his group The Hold-up. When he isn’t doing one of these things he is busy doing other things,like working and laundry, and so while he sincerely wishes he was able to be a real interviewer,the best he is able to do is interview people in his head while he drives different places. Today,while driving down route 1 on his way to the shore, Mark took some time to sit down on the beach in his head with Philadelphia improviser and Comedysportz teammate Alan Williams.
MARK LEOPOLD: Hey Alan, it’s me Mark!
ALAN WILLIAMS: Hey Mark.
Mark and Alan sit quietly together, watching the waves roll in. The sun directly overhead beats down upon them. Alan reapplies sunscreen. Mark checks over at Alan to see if it seems like he wants to talk. It doesn’t seem like he wants to. Mark reaches into his bag and in brings out the book he brought to the beach, mostly because the beach seems like one of those places you’re supposed to bring books. He opens up the first page and begins reading.
Mark looks over at Alan, unsure if he said something or not. He mentally weighs his options and determines that if Alan has said something it’s far ruder to seem like he’s ignoring it.
Now it seems like Alan hasn’t heard him. A wave was coming in just as Mark was saying it, so it’s entirely possible that Alan just didn’t hear him.
ML: Did you say something?
Alan, still looking at the waves, now notices that Mark is looking over at him and seems to be saying something. Alan takes his earbuds out.
AW: Did you say something?
ML: Yeah, I asked if you said something.
ML: A few seconds ago.
AW: …I don’t think so. Was I saying something?
ML: That’s what I’m asking.
AW: I was listening to a book on tape…
ML: Right…but did you say something?
AW: I don’t know.
ML: Never mind then.
Mark and Alan both turn back to the waves, rolling inexorably in to the beach. Mark returns to his book. Alan, checking to see if Mark seems like he wants to talk and ascertaining that he doesn’t, moves to put his earbuds back in.
ML: It is really hot.
AW: (abruptly stopping putting his earbuds back in) Hm? Oh…yeah.
ML: You want to go?
AW: What? Already?
ML: Yeah man, it’s terrible here.
AW: Terrible? We’re sitting on a beautiful beach, watching the waves come crashing in on a gorgeous day.
ML: It’s just way too hot.
AW: Go in the water and cool off then.
ML: What? Ew. No. Do you know how polluted that water is?
AW: It’s fine, don’t be a wimp.
ML: Ugh, all I can imagine is all the tiny microscopic things living in that water and finding their way into my body.
AW: I never knew you were such a germaphobe.
ML: It’s not just germs in there man. There are tiny fish and plankton. It’s just gross. The water is actually opaque with the density of non-water material in it.
AW: So you’re too hot, but instead of going and cooling off in the OCEAN of water directly in front of you, you think it makes more sense to drive two hours home?
ML: It would be different if the water was clear, like if we were at one of those beaches you see in rum commercials.
AW: You should have put us on one of those then.
ML: I’ve never been to one of them, I’ve only been to beaches in New Jersey and I’m serious man, it is boiling lava hot out here. Can we just go?
AW: You go, I’m going to stay.
ML: How are you going to get home?
AW: I’ll figure it out.
ML: Don’t be crazy, just ride with me.
AW: Mark, it’s fine, I’ll grab a cab or something.
ML: A cab from the shore? Do you have any idea how expensive that’s going to be?
AW: Not really.
ML: Me neither, but I’d imagine it’s probably super expensive.
AW: I’ll rent a car then.
ML: Just ride with me!
AW: We just got here. I wanted to come to the beach. You said you did too. Now we’re here and I want to actually spend a little time here before I go back.
ML: It’s too hot!
AW: What did you think it would be like on the beach?
ML: I don’t know okay? I didn’t think it out very clearly. It’s summertime and I know people talk about going to the beach and seem excited about the prospect so I thought it wouldn’t be this terrible.
AW: It’s not terrible! It’s just warm.
ML: Not warm, hot. And it’s also really sandy.
AW: So you’re complaints about the beach are that it’s hot and sandy? Congratulations, you just described what a beach is.
ML: Fine, we’ll compromise.
Mark and Alan stay at the beach, but now it’s not as hot, it’s maybe 77 degrees and the humidity is really low and there’s a nice breeze coming in. Not a strong breeze, because then that would kick sand up onto Mark and Alan and since they’re still sweating a little bit (I’m a really easy sweater okay?) if any sand got blown onto them it would stick to their skin and make it really gritty and that would be super uncomfortable. So a nice, soft, gentle breeze. And you know what, screw it, the water is clear and nice like the water in those Corona commercials. That sounds good too. Alan and Mark sit in two beach chairs facing out to the water as the waves come gently lapping onto the shore, they clink their Coronas together over a bucket full of ice and more Coronas.
ML: Now this is miles away from ordinary.
AW: Ugh, you’re the worst.