Later this month, Philadelphia short form improv group The N Crowd will celebrate its’ seventh anniversary. We’ve asked some members of the group to share some stories about the history of the group in celebration.
Mike Conner – Location, Location, Libation
The N Crowd is an all-star drinking team formed in April of two thousand something or other… whenever seven years ago was. We first performed short-form improv comedy in an unairconditioned building that functioned as a Karate Dojo by day and a big stuffy brick oven at night: really the ideal locale for the performing arts. After the forging of the Dufton Trail (a sticky residue of dried piss coating the venue’s sole toilet seat), the N Crowd decided it needed to branch out by moving to the Society Hill Playhouse.
The Society Hill Playhouse differed from the Karate Dojo mainly in that they didn’t appreciate the performers taking massive gravity bong rips on the premises. The core of N Crowd debauchery now migrated to a North Philly shithole known as 353 West Master (cut cut cut faster). Fueled by Captain Morgan and ginger brandy, the Master Street house became a place for N Crowders to socialize, play foosball, and incur concussions.
Over the next few years, various members of the N Crowd got jobs/had kids/got arrested/went to rehab/began abiding by the teachings of the honorable prophet Elijah Muhammad. The party times died down, then roared back, then died down again, then elevated to crazy meth-orgies, and finally leveled off to a respectable whir. Around this time, the N Crowd made a final move to the Actor’s Center in Old City, their current home base.
The Actor’s Center is a great place with a wonderful landlord (who I don’t want to piss off by writing something snarky here). It has been our home for a few years now. Our cast has never been funnier; our audiences have never smelled lovelier; and our drinking, though not as prolific, has never been honed into such an unadulterated form of turpitude.
The N Crowd performs every Friday at The Actor’s Center (257 N 3rd St. Philadelphia). Their seven year anniversary show will be held on April 27. You can purchase tickets for the event online.
In another special episode of The Witout Podcast, Mike Marbach debuts his new interview show where he sits down with Kristen Schier for an in-depth conversation about improv in Philadelphia. Listen below and and subscribe on iTunes.
Aaron is joined by Philly Improv Theater Education Director Mike Marbach to talk about the improv scene in Philadelphia. Mike talks about the PHIT core curriculum as well as their new Conservatory program. They also talk about Mike’s experience training and performing in Chicago as well as his approach to directing. Listen to this week’s episode below and subscribe on iTunes.
Philadelphia Improv group Rookie Card is on a search for new members and will be holding open auditions to add to their ranks. The group, which holds monthly shows at The Raven Lounge will hold auditions Saturday, April 7 from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Interested improvisers should email RookieCardImprov@gmail.com to be scheduled for an audition time and location.
Rookie Card’s cast currently consists of Jake Alvarez, Darryl Charles, Marc Reber, Sue Taney and Tom Whitaker. They are two-time performers at both the Del Close Marathon and North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival as well as a 2011 selection to the Philadelphia Improv Festival and invitee to the 2011 Toronto Improv Festival. Rookie Card Presents: Obsessive and Compulsive is next Monday, March 26 at 9:00 PM at The Raven Lounge (1718 Sansom St. Philadelphia).
The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is now accepting online applications from improv groups, sketch groups, and stand-up comics. The festival will take place in Austin, Texas from August 28 to September 3 and will feature comedians from all over the country. A few performers from Philadelphia attended the festival last year, one of which was Becca Trabin, who had these things to say to encourage more of our city’s finest to apply for this year’s festival.
The Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival is accepting submissions for their 2012 festival, which takes place Labor Day weekend in Austin, Texas. I attended last year as a stand-up and half of the improv duo Get A Room, and I can’t recommend this festival enough. You get lots of perks for a tiny submission fee, Southern hospitality, adventures in a kooky city, and access to legit Mexican food (get the fish tacos at Chupacabra). The people are charming and the after-parties were some of the best I’ve been to– one was a house party with a taco truck in the driveway, and another was a swanky karaoke bar with a TV next to the dance floor hooked up with Super Nintendo. We drank, danced, sang, and played Mario Kart. Great festival. Highly recommend it. And do the mini golf tournament.
Online applications are now open for the 2012 Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Submission fee is $20 until 3/27 and $30 until the 4/30 deadline.
This week, Matt Holmes joins Aaron to talk about his start and history in performing comedy, the rise of improv in Philadelphia over the past ten years, and Matt’s approach to improv from his point of view as both a performer and director. You can listen to this week’s episode below, or subscribe on iTunes.
One of the two new Philly Improv Theater House Teams, Hey Rube is made up of members Aaron Hertzog, Alex Gross, Dennis Trafny, Jen Curcio, Lizzie Spellman, Mark Leopold, Rob Cutler, Scott Shepherd, and Tara Demmy.
Also nominated for Best Improv Group (4+ Members)Iron Lung features members Corin Wells, Carly Maurer Kaufman, Kevin Pettit, Maureen Costello, Jess Carpenter, Dennis Trafny, Simon Burger, Tara Demmy, and Ellen Qualey.
Nielsen is a group that formed after taking Andy Moskowitz’s level one improv class at Philly Improv Theater featuring members Abigail Bruley, Bran Zinn, David Brookstein, Jacqueline Baker, Katie Monico, Meredith Weir, Molly Silverman and out-of-towners John McGrory and Rachel Nichols, original members of the group who join them when they can.
The second of the new Philly Improv Theater House Teams, ZaoGao is a group comprised of AJ Ortiz, Billy Thompson, Brian Ratcliffe, Claire Halberstadt, Erin Pitts, Karen Coleman, Matt Akana, Nathan Edmondson, and Scott Hinners.
The nominations are in for the 2011 Witout Awards. After a week long nomination process the ballots have been counted and each category narrowed down to their five finalists. In the upcoming week, we will post an article detailing each award and the nominees, with links, videos, and more. But for now, here are the list of nominees.
Best Stand Up Comedian
Chip Chantry – Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests) and Facetime with Chip Chantry
Rob Baniewicz and Paul Triggiani – TV Party
Doogie Horner – The Ministry of Secret Jokes
Aaron Hertzog – Hey Everybody!
Carolyn Busa and Mary Radzinski – Laughs on Fairmount
Best Stand-up Bit
Darry Charles – Hatchet
Pete Kuempel – Dolphin Rape
John McKeever – Buying a Magnum Condom
Aaron Hertzog – $30,000
Steve Gerben – Being Manly watching sports
Best Sketch Group
The Feeko Brothers
Local Holiday Miracle
Best Improv Group (4+ Members)
Hate Speech Committee
Best Improv Group (1-3 Members)
The Kristen & Amie Show
Best New Group
The Feeko Brothers – Jay Peebee’s PB&J
Secret Pants – Juggalo Sunday
Camp Woods – Eduardo the Crab
Camp Woods – Sick Door
Camp Woods – Space Shuttle Endeavor
Best Open Mic
Laughs on Fairmount at The Urban Saloon
Center City Comedy at The Raven Lounge
Rittenhouse Comedy at Noche
Helium Comedy Club
Sketch-Up or Shut-Up
Best Regular Show (due to a tie there are six nominees)
The Ministry of Secret Jokes
Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests)
We here at WitOut have decided to put together a year-end awards ceremony to celebrate comedy in Philadelphia. After some debate, we have decided to leave the voting up to the comedians of our fair city to make these a purely For Us By Us effort. The process starts now with a nominations round. Performers and show promoters are encouraged to click on the following links and nominate up to three choices for each of the awards categories. Simply fill out the box with your choices and put your name in parentheses (so we can make sure people only nomiate once.) Nominations will close one week from today on Friday, Novmeber 4th, then we will announce the official nominees for each category and open up the voting for the awards. Sound good? Ok. Let the nominations process begin!
NOTE: If your name is not put in parenthesis at the end of your nominations – we will not count your nominations. We need to make sure that people are only nominating once, and this is how we are doing it. Thank you.