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Crazy Carol the Kenzo Mom with stand-up Carolyn Busa
If you weren’t at the 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular this past Saturday, you missed one hell of an event. In addition to a great line-up of stand-ups and excellent hosting by Hillary Rea and Thunderfoot Larry, the Veggie Wing Bowl also showcased some brand new and recently created characters that have popped up in the Philly comedy scene, like Faberge Gregg (Gregg Gethard), The Necrosexual (Jimmy Viola), Some Penn Douche (Paul Easton), Andre (Andrew Jeffrey Wright), Despiria (Rose Luardo) and Crazy Carol the Kenzo Mom (Nicole Yates), who took home the competitive-seitain-wing-eating championship belt. Here’s Carol reflecting on her victory:
WitOut: You won the 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular! How does it feel? And what are you going to do with your belt?
CCTKM: When GhostfaceHilla asked me to be in her eatin’ thing, there were two things I had to think out: 1. If my lucky pajama pants were clean and 2. If my boyfriend Frankie has weekend DUI jail that weekend because then who would watch the kids. The DHS lady says I can’t just leave them in the laundry room anymore with an electronic football game from 1981 anymore.
But it all worked out, my neighbor had time to kill before his methadone wore off and he crashed out and my lucky pajama pants were clean! The good feeling from that was nothing like the RUSH I felt when I won! It was like the day I drank 9 Arctic Splash iced teas. I couldn’t slow down!
I will be starting my parade of winning down Kensington Avenue starting Monday at 2pm (as soon as I get up) at K&A and walk down to my home at F and Allegheny where the short bus drops off my kids. From then on it is viewing by appointment.
WO: How did you train for the competition?
CCTKM: It was real easy ta train. My man Frankie has a hookup at the dollar store and I’ve been eating my weight in expired hot dogs for months. I recommend it to anyone who is attempting this. The date on that package ain’t worth shit.
WO: Would you like to comment on the efforts of your fellow competitors?
CCTKM: That Necrosexual guy needs to let me know where he gets his makeup. I like that he shows restraint with it. My competitor Some Penn Douche was a good eater, but that Thunderfoot Larry guy would have eaten me out of house and Access card if he lived with me. Ghostface Hilla really chowed down for a tiny girl. Girl got a hollow leg or some shit. That New Dreamz couple was some big thinkin’ smart people, Channel 12 stuff. Everyone tried their best but they ain’t gettin’ a piece o’ me!
Oh, also, I wanna give a shout-out to that Fastball Pitcher guy. That’s one hot mustache that he can rub on me anytime! Rock those shorts, baby!
WO You look just stunning in the photos from the match. Who were you wearing? Do I recognize that housecoat from the Alexander McQueen show at Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week?
CCTKM: Actually, the housecoat was from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection at Forman Mills. The pajama pants were my lucky ones (purchased at the big clearance sale at the Delaware Avenue Walmart). Three out of four of my kids were a result of the luckiness (the fourth one was due to a bottle of Old Crow Whiskey and a hockey strike). I always said, Lucky got me into that mess and Luckys got me through the pregnancies.
WO: What’s next for Carol the Kenzo Mom? Do you have any comedy shows or eating competitions coming up?
CCTKM: I will be participating in the Kensington 9th Annual Soft Pretzel and Arctic Splash Chow Down on Valentine’s Day. I will also be in the Taste Of America Wawa 20-Foot Hoagie Eating Contest on the 4th Of July. That’s a one-person contest, where I sneak in after they close the tent and I go to town until Carl the Burly Security dude catches me and tries to throw me out. But, every year, my lucky pajama pants save me. Well, that and my flair for lunch meat seduction. And extra mayo. ALWAYS. EXTRA. MAYO.
We were also able to grab some post-game quotes from some of Carol’s competition:
Some Penn Douche. Photo by Gretchen Schwegler.
“It was difficult losing to Carol, but you just can’t compete with someone that has that kind of focus and desperation. I congratulate her for winning the Veggie Wing Bowl championship and becoming the most accomplished person to ever come out of Temple.” — Some Penn Douche
Andre and Despiria of The New Dreamz. Photo by Gretchen Schwegler.
“Art is subjective. How do you judge an art of eating contest? I do not know. It’s like trying to judge a wet legs contest, it cannot be judged, nor should it. It is simply meant to be appreciated, like a tea cup lined with animal fur.” — Despiria
And from Alejandro Morales, who won the Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition by appearing as his more voluptuous, buxom self:
L to R: Thunderfoot Larry, Alejandro Morales, Hillary Rea. Photo by Gretchen Schwegler.
“Going into the Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition, I knew that I’d be up against the sly brilliance of Robert X, the handsomeness of Todd Shaeffer, and the sly brilliance AND handsomeness of Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez. The only way to come out on top was to do the Wingmanliest thing possible, and that thought process naturally led me to wear a dress and sing the Star Spangled Banner. Next year’s Wing Man has some pretty big shoes to fill now, especially if he’s trying to find them in a woman’s size.”
Yep, it was quite a night! See y’all there next year!
Are you producing a comedy show in Philadelphia? Bedtime Stories creator Gregg Gethard has some ideas he’d like to try to make Philly comedy more attractive to new audiences, and he’d like to see the rest of us trying ‘em out, too. Read below, and feel free to add your own opinions and suggestions in the comments.
by Gregg Gethard
The Holiday Inn in East Somerville, MA is located in the absolute ass end of greater Boston. Do you know where the car rental return places are down near the airport? That’s essentially where this Holiday Inn is located.
However, this past weekend, it was the home of a joint comedy show between The Union Square Roundtable and The Chris Gethard Show. Over 80 intrepid comedy nerds made the trip to a part of the area that is a vortex of nothing. And while both the USRT (which is to Boston comedy what Bedtime Stories and The Theme Show are to Philly) and The Chris Gethard Show have their followings, the main selling point for the show was the swimming pool.
The USRT folks rented out the hotel’s pool area, which also has wall-climbing, ping-pong, foosball and a basketball hoop. It also had space for a video projector and for a band to play. It was a comedy show in one of the most bizarre venues imaginable.
It also taught me a valuable lesson: We need to do a ton better in marketing our product to the Philadelphia audience. And one of the ways to do so is in our choice of venues.
We often complain in Philly comedy about our audiences, which are in most cases other performers and family and friends. We’ve complained at length about a lack of media attention (although that has gotten a LOT better) but we really need to do a lot on ourselves to market our shows beyond “Facebook invites/e-mails/press releases.”
Here are some thoughts. I plan on doing a lot of these with Bedtime Stories but feel free to steal them (or give me ideas to steal) because it’s for the greater good:
Continue reading Gregg Gethard Has Some Ideas
by Brandon Ryan
“Imagine every comic in Philadelphia is a marble, and all of us together make up a bag of marbles. My mentality is, if all the marbles in the bag are black, what can I do to be the white marble? I don’t want to just be up on stage telling jokes, I don’t want to just be up there in a sketch. What I want to do is mess with, tinker with, the format of stand-up.” —Gregg Gethard
On Sunday evening Philadelphia’s Italian Market is a beast laid to rest. The produce stands that dot the length of Ninth Street are silent and still, bound over with tarpaulin and tattered sheets of plastic. Bags of garbage line the alleys tucked between shuttered storefronts. They rustle in the night’s gusts. The gutters blossom odors rich and reeking: spoiling flowers and meats, industrial grade sanitizers a macabre imitation of lemon, the unmistakable fetor of urine. Neon light puddles on the sidewalk in front of what few restaurants and bars, most advertising deeply discounted cervezas and food, remain open. It is here, to the sidewalk, to the street, that Gregg Gethard, or, perhaps, more accurately, his alter-ego, Jaykob Strange, has led the whole of Connie’s Ric-Rac.
“Do you like magic?!”
Gregg/Jaykob’s voice is tremulous. On a night where the air’s chill hovered just below menacing, he stands in nothing more than boxer shorts and a kimono, a golden sash loosely knotted at his waist.
“I was once the official street magician of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels!”
Gregg/Jaykob raises his staff skyward. Had I not mentioned his staff? The one topped with a skull and whose length is meant to resemble a human spinal column. The staff is plastic, be assured, the kind sold by the dozens in Halloween costume outlets. He alternates between waving it at the crowd and the traffic passing just inches behind him. At one point he stops his act entirely to kindly direct traffic down a one-way street.
“Tonight I am here to declare my revenge on Auntie Anne’s!”
Revenge is the theme of tonight’s Bedtime Stories, a monthly show that Gethard originally started in 2007 and is, after a nine-month hiatus, now relaunching. He and I, along with his wife, Ilana, at the show’s close walked to Underdogs to talk about Bedtimes Stories’ development and evolution, why it disappeared, and why he’s ready to bring it back.
Brandon Ryan: How did Bedtime Stories come about?
Gregg Gethard: When I originally started Bedtime Stories there was this explosion of… There were always a lot of people doing stand-up, there weren’t really a lot of people in sketch, but even that was starting to pick up, and a lot of people started improv, but what happened more than anything were those worlds, those disciplines started combining.
BR: Is that why the show has such an eclectic feel to it?
GG: That is exactly why the show has such an eclectic feel to it. I initially wanted it to be just comedy storytelling, but there weren’t enough performers to support that or who could do it, and so I opened it up which worked out in a major way because then a lot of interesting, cool, smart, and funny people all started doing the show.
BR: What made you decide to end Bedtime Stories when you did in 2011?
GG: It went away for a few reasons. The main reason was that at the time I was commuting to New York for work, and there was the stress not only of organizing a show, but then also of writing my own material to perform. But another reason, and maybe the more important one to me was that the show got stale. I mean, a lot of people took the show seriously and did really well, but then there were also people who just kind of like, like it was just there for them and they took it for granted. See, the show was a lot of fun and a lot of magic when we were getting to know one another, but more importantly when everyone was working to discover their voice, and how they were going to perform.
BR: So you liked, when the show first started, how vibrant and different and kind of disparate the acts were?
GG: Exactly. And so a couple of month’s ago I performed in the Philly Improv Theater’s PRO-MANIA 2K12 at the Adrienne, and I had such a blast working on this show, and it was great and it was so much fun, I met so many new people. And then I also started working in Philadelphia again and started going to open mics, meeting all these new comics and they were trying to find… They were in that phase, trying to find their voice.
BR: And you felt like you wanted to give these new voices a chance to develop?
GG: Well since there’s this new crop of kids coming up, they are having a lot of fun with it, I feel like since I’ve organized and held shows before that I can help them, can kind of give them a structure to work within. I want to help people who don’t have a chance to perform their stuff elsewhere, to have a spot for them. And even tonight, my friend Kevin, that was the first time he ever performed comedy. He lives up in the Lehigh Valley, there’s not a ton of places to perform comedy up there… So I thought he was a funny dude, I wanted him to do it. And there’s this other thing that I used to do with Bedtime Stories and then I stopped doing and I’m going to hold myself to it this time, is I want to get as many new people to do it as possible. I want people to see how great comedy can be in Philadelphia, I don’t want people to get tied into this whole contest that it can a lot of times be. I want people to see that you know, “I can do comedy. It can be as weird as I want it to be. And I don’t have to worry about impressing So&So to try to get X-stage time at Y-venue.”
BR: Was there something that kind of spurred this sentiment? That you wanted to help new comics?
GG: Well, I was at this open mic. And it was this kid’s first night. And it was big for him. And so he performed, did his stuff, he started to stumble and stammer, he took out his phone to see his notes. He’s, for all intents and purposes, having your average first performance. This is nothing new. We’ve all been there. But then the kid leaves the stage, and one of the guys who was hosting the open mic just starts ripping on him. And I thought, like, how would this help this kid at all? So I want to do the opposite of that. I want new comics to feel safe, and like they’re supported. And I mean, there’s this thing that the veteran comics do, and I’m guilty of it to, where they kind of exclude the newcomers, but I feel like it’s our job, kind of, to help these new kids, to help them step up to the table and talk with them and help them figure things out and give pointers and advice. And that’s one of the reasons I want to do Bedtime Stories. To give them that.
BR: What do you have slated for Bedtime Stories?
GG: There’s one Bedtime Stories I’m really excited for. It’s going to be in February and it’s going to be called “The Feral Millionaire.” And so what it is is I came up with this idea of…
Ilana Gethard: Um, No.
IG: You had been researching feral pets!
GG: I’m really into feral animals and feral pets.
IG: And then I would come home and he would explain to me what you would have to do to have a pet raccoon.
GG: Or like a pet ocelot. Like the licenses you need.
BR: And this brought you to “The Feral Millionaire.”
GG: Yes! So what it is is from there I came up with this idea… I’m kind of obsessed with rich people, rich people come up in my comedy a lot. I kind of own a monopoly on faberge egg-related comedy. So we came up with this story of this boy who was abandoned by his mom, who had a dream of becoming an Assistant Human Relations Manager for a regional supermarket chain. And he was adopted by owls. He receives this kind of genteel, owl upbringing. And so one day his owl brother goes to retrieve an egg, which turns out to be a faberge egg, and so the family goes to find this faberge egg and finds this Owl-Boy. And so now he’s torn between two worlds. But what really excites me is that what I’m going to do is outline the plot and every Bedtime Story or sketch or video will be a plot point. And I’m pairing with a group in town called Mighty Writers, and we’re going to raise money for them, but we were also talking about having come of the kids write some of the stories and performing. I think it’ll be great for the kids and I’m excited to see what the other comedians and writers bring to the show.
The next ‘Bedtime Stories’ (“A Christmas Eve at a Delco WaWa”) will be on December 16th at 7pm at Connie’s Ric-Rac (1132 S. Ninth Street, Philadelphia). Admission is $5.
David Ray Agyekum has been named one of Comedy Centrals Comics to Watch (page available at 4pm today) for 2012. David and the other comics on the list will be live tweeting about the show today at 4pm. You can follow David on Twitter for more.
This week, Comedy Month Philadelphia continues with the 5th Annual Philly Sketchfest. The festival kicks off tonight at 8:00 at The Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut St.) and continues through Saturday night. Tickets are available online.
The Philadelphia Citypaper ran a cover story last week on comedian Corey Cohen. The article covers Cohen’s background in comedy and current work as a promoter and host of The Big Show at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.)
This Sunday, Gregg Gethard‘s comedy-show-based-around-a-theme Bedtime Stories will make its return to Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) This month, the theme of the show will be Revenge and will feature performances from many Philly comedy favorites. The show will also feature the final episode of The Holding Court Podcast, a comedy and basketball show co-hosted by Gethard and Aaron Hertzog.
Nominations are now open for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy. Performers may nominate up to three choices in 13 different categories for the awards, which will be held on January 13, 2013 at World Cafe Live. Nominations will be open until November 30.
WitOut is now accepting submissions from performers and comedy fans for our Top Five of 2012 list series. We are encouraging anyone to write about their favorite moments, shows, performers, sketches, quotes, or anything at all to help us recap and remember the past year in Philadelphia comedy.
The Philly Improv Theater will be holding auditions to cast two new House Teams on Saturday, February 4, 2012 from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM at The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia). To secure an audition time please email your name, phone number, and a preferred time (if any) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found on Facebook.
Last week’s episode of CheaPodcast featured special guests John Oliver (The Daily Show) and Kurt Metzger (Ugly Americans). Darryl Charles and James Hesky found time to talk with the headliners after their shows at Helium Comedy Club and, in true CheaPodcast form, asked them their thoughts on bizzarre news stories from the past week. You can check out the episode at the link above, and also Like CheaPodcast on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe on iTunes.
Gregg Gethard of The Holding Court Podcast was featured as a guest on last week’s Best Show on WFMU. Gethard, a regular caller to the show, was in the studio along with his brother Chris who talked with host Tom Scharpling about Chris’ new book A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and fielded some calls from some regulars who are not exactly fond of the Greggulator’s antics on the show. You can listen to the episode online.
Keeping with the podcast theme we have going, Luke Giordano has started a new podcast through his website, Everything You Like is Stupid. The Newsmakers Podcast will feature weekly interviews between Giordano, and some of the most famous and influential people in the world. You can listen on his website, or subscribe in iTunes.
Camp Woods + returns for its’ second show at L’etage (624 South 6th St. Philadelphia) on Tuesday, January 31. This time, Camp Woods teams up with Secret Pants for a not-to-be-missed sketch comedy show. More details can be found on Facebook.
STANDUP COMEDY: Juliet Hope Wayne, Josh Rabinowitz, Mike Rainey, and Animosity Pierre (although Animosity will be sketch, not stand-up. Or maybe they’re doing an inspirational speech? Unsure.)
THE RUBY HATS OF DEATH: Chip Chantry, Pat Barker, and Daryll Charles dip their hands into the blood red hats and see what jokes they must tell. Can they survive the ordeal?!
ALSO: A man wearing a red carnation will tell you a secret joke if you tell him the correct password.
OMNIANA BATTLE: Reigning champion Brendan Kennedy battles Gregg Gethard, in a very special appearance as himself instead of a weird character, for once.
The show begins at 8:00PM at is held upstair’s at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St. Philadelphia.
Gregg Gethard sent us this:
Rob Baniewicz will be the new producer of Bedtime Stories once my tenure ends at the April show.
Rob was my first choice to take on the show. Meg & Rob were one of the core members of the show since it pretty much started — it wouldn’t be what it became without them. Rob also helped out a ton behind the scenes with giving advice through the years. He and Paul Triggiani have been the backstage forces who really helped me keep it together for as long as I was able to. They both deserve a huge public thanks for everything.
I’m really excited that Rob is going to continue the show. On top of being ridiculously talented, he’s also one of my closest friends. I’m glad to pass the torch to him and to keep it in the family.
He has his own ideas for how he wants the show to progress. All of that will be figured out in due time. But I’m excited to see how it grows.
I also know that it’s going to continue to be what I’ve always thought it was — the best comedy show in the city.
More on what Rob plans on doing with the show to come.
Gregg Gethard has hosted Bedtime Stories, a mainstay of Philadelphia’s sketch scene, for four and a half years. Many sketch groups and comedians have met, collaborated, or had their first show at Bedtime Stories. Next month, in April, Gregg has decided the show will end its run.
What influenced your decision to make April’s Bedtime Stories the final show?
The primary reason is that I’m 33 years old. My wife and I are rapidly approaching the “let’s have a baby” stage of our lives. And as soon as that happens, then your whole priorities have to change. My wife’s not pregnant or anything, but we’re both kind of transitioning into the next stage of adulthood. As a lot of people know, I work in New York but live in Philly (thank God). But because of that, I have a lot less free time than I want. And as much as I like hanging out with everyone and doing this stuff, I like hanging out with my wife and dog and watching baseball and getting ice cream with them than anything else. I also have a lot of non-comedy friends that I love who are also at a similar stage of life. I truly love a lot of people in the comedy scene but I’m just at a different place right now than a lot of performers and there’s just a whole, “I’m losing what I had in common with these people” kind of feeling I have.
But a lot of really little things have been bubbling up the past year or so with the show that has made it not fun for me anymore. The show is logistically really hard to put together — there are 10-12 “slots” on the show, and on top of it I do my own material. I have to field all kinds of questions from everyone who wants to do the show, on top of making sure things are lined up with the venue, that we have a projector, that I do the marketing/PR, etc. It’s REALLY hard to do this and after 4.5 years, it’s become too much of a chore. I used to be willing to do the administrative work because the payoff of putting on an awesome show was so great but now it’s just not there for me.
The other thing — I’m a little bitter about how people have been treating the show. I think the show has been completely taken for granted. I think the show for a while was a “must” show for those of us in the alternative comedy scene in town. And by “must” it wasn’t just “I have to perform/watch this” but it was “This is a really awesome community that I want to be a part of.” And that spirit has slowly dwindled. I think the core group of Bedtime Stories — me, Jon Goff, Meg & Rob, Secret Pants, Jaimie Fountaine and the folks who aren’t on every show but are pretty regular– have all been doing this for a while and are all at a place where the show isn’t as exciting as it was. And there are some good new people who do the show like Hillary Rea, who does these story telling things that the show was initially built around, but a bunch of the newer people just aren’t clicking with what I want the show to look like.
Continue reading THE END OF BEDTIME STORIES: An Interview with Gregg Gethard
In the age of new media, the podcast is everywhere — providing a sort of replacement for the radio show and can be on any specific or esoteric subject matter available to be talked about. There are a lot of podcasts by comedians and about comedy, but also a few around by Philadelphia comedians. Here’s the rundown of the ones we know of:
Who does it? Bird Text! (John McKeever, Tommy Pope, and Luke Cunningham)
How many episodes so far? Just one. But to be fair, they just started last week.
Could you describe it to me? Couple of dudes hanging out. Lots of fast-paced banter. They talk about anything — from inside comedy to just shooting the shit.
How would you rate it? Superb!
What’s the link? Libsyn Site
Who does it? Bosom buddies James Hesky and Darryl Charles. Sometimes Mykal Carter Jackson.
How many episodes so far? Nine and going strong!
Could you describe it to me? It’s sort of like Bird Text, in that it is a couple of friends being funny and talking about random stuff, but James and Darryl are nicer and they don’t talk as fast as Tommy Pope. But there are few who do.
How would you rate it? Fantastic!
What’s the link? Podbean Site
The Feeko Factor
Who does it? The Feeko Brothers!
How many episodes so far? Eighteen, but there hasn’t been a new one in almost a year. It is either done or just on hiatus.
Could you describe it to me? Bizarre. Lots of weird and funny bits. The Feekos eventually lose their show to irritating radio heel Josh Justice. This podcast was most likely conceived with the premise of “how much can we subject our audience to before they can’t take it anymore?” But that just makes the insanity of it all even funnier.
How would you rate it? Stupendous!
What’s the link? Libsyn Site
Good Talkin’ with Mike & Jay
Who does it? Mike Marbach and Jay Piazza
How many episodes so far? Seven — hasn’t been updated in a little while.
Could you describe it to me? Mike and Jay record their phone conversations, talking about whatever comes up naturally — just like two friends would do on the phone!
How would you rate it? Truly wonderful!
What’s the link? Podbean Site
Continue reading Guide to Philly Comedy Podcasts