All of it. Every open mic that lasted for two weeks in a bar I’d never want to step foot in unless they let me talk at half-listening strangers. Every fire hall gig in the middle of nowhere booked by a gravelly disembodied voice on the phone with a promise of pay I wasn’t sure I’d really receive. Every awkward improv scene where I wasn’t sure what to do so I just got louder, repeated what I’d already been saying, and tried to be a bigger, sillier, goofier fool. Every line of every sketch where I’ve agonized over details that don’t even matter, like the full first and last name of a character whose name is never even said.
All of it. Every time a new joke does well at an open mic and gives promise of a new few minutes added onto the act. Every set in front of a crowd that just “gets it” and lets me go where I want to go and follows me there with no judgement, just acceptance…and of course, laughter. Every improv scene where I’m still not sure what to do but it just clicks into place and makes sense and flows together and builds (and I still become a bigger, sillier, goofier fool). That time when the crowd laughed just because we wrote that my character’s name was “Meredith.”
Six years ago I stepped onto a stage at an open mic for the first time with a page full of jokes about dicks and how college was more like an episode of I Love the ’80s (“do you guys remember this thing from our childhood?”) than any wild and crazy party time portrayal of college from any TV show or movie. Six years later and I’m still getting on stages, still talking about dumb stuff, and still loving every single minute of it.
I love the laughter. I love the struggle. I love the people. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll ever make doing this. People I have every single thing in the world in common with. People I have absolutely nothing in common with besides the fact that we do this. But just that one single thing means that I could talk to them for hours. There’s nothing I feel more comfortable talking about or gushing over or heatedly debating than comedy.
This city put that in me. Running around to multiple mics in one night with a group of friends. Staying late after a show to do karaoke and drink until the law says we have to leave. Packing as many people as we can into a park on Memorial Day for a picnic. Giving each other awards that only matter because we say they do.
Doing comedy is certainly difficult, but it is definitely worth it. Getting to say whatever you want to say and making people laugh is the absolute best feeling in the world. It is freeing. It is powerful. But it would be nothing without the people I’ve met along the way. When I say this letter is to “Philadelphia Comedy” that means that it is to you. Have we talked a few times at open mics about nothing? Then this is to you. Did you think I was a dick before you met me because when I first started I was too shy to talk to people? Then I’m sorry, and this is to you. Are you someone that knows me well enough that you’re going to make fun of me mercilessly after reading this? Then this is definitely to you.
I have to be leaving you soon. But you will never leave me.
Aaron Hertzog is an L.A.-bound Philadelphia comedian. He is the host of ‘Hey Everybody!’ at Philly Improv Theater (final show Nov. 26th), until recently a member of PHIT House Team Hey Rube and a founding member of The Holding Court Podcast. He leaves Philly on Nov. 28th; be sure to say hi to him one last time before then.
Philadelphia’s own Dom Irrera will be headlining at Helium Comedy Club this week. The home-grown comedian is known for his many stand-up specials, television and film work, and is a fixture at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.
The Laff House’s Thanksgiving Weekend line-up will feature headliner Alex Thomas, known for his appearances in films such as Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Just Married, and Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. The show will feature 2011 Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest winner Tommy Pope and will be hosted by TuRae.
The final Hey Everybody! at PHIT will take place one week from today at 10pm at The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia). Host of the show Aaron Hertzog is moving to Los Angeles and will be sending his show off in style with performaces by: Chip Chantry, Brendan Kennedy, Joe Dougherty, Mary Radzinski, Jim Grammond, Christian Alsis, Alison Zeidman, and Rob Baniewicz.
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!
AaronHertzog – 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.
Tomorrow night, Camp Woods Plus returns to L’etage (6th and Bainbridge) with a night of independent sketch comedy featuring We’re Matt Weir and The Judo Range. Camp Woods Plus is Philly’s only alternative sketch comedy showcase, featuring brand new material from Camp Woods each and every month. Doors open at 8 and the show starts at 8:30.
This Friday, Eddie Pepitone returns to Philadelphia to perform at Underground Arts. “The Return of the Bitter Buddha” will feature Pepitone’s signature style described as “a force of nature on stage, switching between social rage and self-doubt. His shows are an energetic combo of calm and chaos, blue-collar angst and sardonic enlightenment.” Tickets are available online.
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.
Carolyn Busa and Mary Radzinski
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.
The end of October is traditionally a special time for themed comedy shows. The Halloween season brings out special characters, theme shows, and other spooky surprises. Here is a run down of some of the special Halloween shows Philly has to offer in the upcoming week.
Aaron Hertzog‘s stand-up comedy showcase features all characters this week with comedy from Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez, Bing Supernova, Joan Fisky, “Dad”, and more!
The Theme Show Presents: The Twilight Zone – Friday, October 28 – 10PM – Philly Improv Theater
Rob Baniewicz‘s monthly variety show pays tribute to the strange, freaky world of The Twilight Zone. Will sketches end in ironic twists? You’ll have to attend to see.
The Gross (Hallowiener) Show – Friday, October 28 – 11PM – Philly Improv Theater
Word on the street is that Alex Gross has been busy preparing buckets of (hopefully) fake blood for his trash talk show, and the Facebook event promises “pure fucking evil, more pure fucking evil” and “even more pure fucking evil.” Sounds like fun.
PHIT House Team Night of the Living Dead Improv – Saturday, October 29 – 7, 8:30, 10PM – Philly Improv Theater
PHIT House Teams Asteroid!, King Friday, and Fletcher along with special “Undead Guests” will perform special Halloween themed improv. Asteroid! plans on performing an improvised B Movie. The special guests on each show will be now defunct house teams reanimated for a special performance.
Hatespeech Committee Mischief Night Variety Show Nonsense Costume Party! – Sunday, October 30 – 7:00PM – Connie’s Ric Rac
Chip Chantry and Roger C. Snair the Vampire will co-host the evening while Otto Van Walmart serves as the house band. Costumes are manditory for all that attend, and ones will be available to rent at the door for $3 for those that don’t believe that’s true. There will be a prize given out for best costume and best Roger C. Snair impersonation. Plus Hatespeech Committee promises that they will be getting wild.
Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests) – Monday, October 31 – 8:30PM – Philly Improv Theater
Chip Chantry’s monthly spectacular has the distinct privilege of falling on Halloween night and will feature a sketch from James Hesky, Eric Todd, John Kensil and Mike Rainey along with performances from Pat House and Tom Cassidy, favorite recurring feature Storytime with Mike Rainey and movie reviews from the Westboro Baptist Church.