It’s almost time for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy! As we get closer to the show, we’ll be rolling out a series of posts to help you get more acquainted with this year’s nominees. Read all about ’em, and then be sure to get your tickets for the big event on January 13th at World Cafe Live!
Doogie Horner on James Hesky: “James Grammond is hilarious. I can’t think of a funnier James in Philadelphia! Just kidding.
One time James Hesky and I went to the driving range. Fifty percent of my drives sliced right so hard that they landed in the creek next to the range, but James didn’t laugh at me once, not even later that night when I was on stage telling jokes.”
Aaron Hertzog on Chip Chantry:
“When I started doing stand-up in Philly a little over six years ago Chip Chantry was one of the comedians I most wanted to impress. When I heard him laugh at my jokes from the back of the room at an open mic, or he said something nice to me about one of my jokes it really meant a lot because I looked up to him so much. Years later my respect and admiration for Chip have only grown as I’ve learned more about what goes into doing comedy. Chip is constantly writing and creating new, great material. His work ethic is something every comic should try to emulate. He’s been one of the top comics in Philly for years, and plays clubs and venues all over the country and is not content to rest on his laurels. Chip can also play any type of room. He’s got material that will kill in a room full of young, city hipsters and he can wow a crowd of older suburban ‘normal people’. No matter what type of show you are putting on, you can be safe booking Chip and know he will do a fantastic job. He can write topical jokes, material about his personal life, crazy off-the-wall stuff, tell a fantastic story, and can write the heck out of a sketch. Any time I need help with a writing project I know I can count on Chip, because not only is he a great comedian and writer, he’s also a great friend.”
Darryl Charles on Doogie Horner: “Doogie is awesome, and funny. He can effortlessly switch from short one-liners to long and interweaving stories while keeping his trademark wit and mannerisms intact. That’s good, and hard to do. I like him a bunch, and I’m a fan of his writing too. If anyone was going to win this but me, I’d want it to be Doogie. Sadly, it won’t be. But I’m happy he was nominated.”
Chip Chantry on Darryl Charles:
“Most comedians are like vodka—they’ll get you drunk, sometimes they’re hard to swallow, and you can see right through them. But you pretty much know what you’re getting.
Darryl Charles, on the other hand, is like Pinnacle Vodka—there are many different varieties of Darryl. It’s no secret that Darryl is perhaps the most versatile performer in Philadelphia. Because from night to night (and many times set to set) Darryl plays a variety of hilarious roles in the Philadelphia comedy scene. Whether he’s doing stand-up, performing improv with ComedySportz or Hatespeech Committee, doing the Cheapodcast and The Monthly Hour with James Hesky, or making videos with those jerks at Bird Text, the only consistent thing about Darryl Charles is that he’s always funny.
And he’s also sweet.
And he loves Butterscotch Vodka.”
James Hesky on Aaron Hertzog:
“Aaron Hertzog used to be quite overweight, then he lost 200 pounds. But you know what he didn’t lose? His sense of humor. And also whatever sadness is buried deep within his soul that makes him have to perform stand-up comedy. That’s definitely still there.
Aside from stand-up, Aaron is also part of Hey Rube, Hate Speech Committee and the Holding Court Podcast. Or at least he was until he left Philadelphia to live in L.A. so he could pursue his dream of never having to be more than 40 feet away from Luke Giordano.”
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!
1. Tim Butterly shattering his own windshield with a mini-football using his non-throwing arm. An absolute act of God. Tim, Carl Boccuti, Jim Grammond, Darryl Charles and myself were on the set of a Bird Text sketch that was being filmed. We were passing time by throwing a mini-football around outside. During which time, Tim said something to the effect of “Let’s see what would happen if I threw this with my left hand” and he proceeded to slowly lob this stupid, half-deflated ball into the air towards Carl, yet directly into his own windshield, shattering it. Quite possible the funniest thing I have ever seen.
2. Joe Mayo simulating sex no less than 13 times during one period of hockey at the Wells Fargo Center. I had the pleasure of sitting roughly ten rows behind Joe at one of the Flyers playoff games against the Penguins. At random segments of the game, Joe would hop up, yell something about the on-ice action, then simulate various sex acts to accentuate his points. Worth the price of admission.
3. James Hesky coming over to my house to play Apples to Apples with my kids hours before he won Philly’s Phunniest. My kids love Hesky for various reasons and they had been bugging me to ask him to come over for awhile. Even though James had to prepare for the finals of the Philly’s Phunniest Competition at Helium this particular day, he made time to come to my home, treat my family to pizza and play Apples To Apples with my kids before heading home to go over his set. A class act who truly deserved the spoils of victory.
4. The Legendary Wid performing in front of my girls for their first comedy show. I was scheduled to perform on the final Chip Chantry’s One Man Show and I saw it as a great opportunity to have my girls watch me perform. They were 8 and 5 years old and hadn’t seen me perform comedy yet. They got their money’s worth.They watched me feed Chip ice cream, heard Andy Nolan’s machete rape bit, interacted with Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez and they saw The Wid at his finest. They enjoyed the whole show, but talked about Wid for some time. Every performer did a great job, but Wid gave a performance for the ages.
5. Any and all of the awkward hugs that Mary Radzinski and Lisa Yost endure.
Mike Rainey is a stand-up comic from Philadelphia. He is also a cat lover, a great friend and opinionated asshole. Follow him on twitter @mikerainey82.
In case you missed it, sketch group ManiPedi was featured as the cover story for last week’s Philadelphia Weekly. Pick up a copy while they are still in newsstands around the city and read the article online.
The next Camp Woods Plus at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) will be next Thursday, December 6th and will feature sketch comedy from New York group We’re Matt Weir as well as Philly groups Daring Daulton and American Breakfast. As always, the show will be headlined with a set of brand new sketches by Camp Woods.
This Saturday, October 27, the Grey Lodge (6235 Frankford Avenue) will present The Hardy-Har-Harvest, a free show featuring stand-up from James Hesky, John Kensil, Benny Michaels, Erin Mulville, and Nicole Yates. The show will also highlight a selection of seasonal beers for purchase. In the spirit of the show, we thought we’d ask the comedians to tell us a little bit about their favorite seasonal (adult) beverages. Here’s what they had to say:
Erin Mulville: Fall is the best time to get a beer at the Grey Lodge. My favorite seasonal beer is Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. It’s delicious and reminds me of my best friends, who gave it out as favors at their Halloween wedding. Also, like Darryl Charles, I’m excited by the creation of Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka.
Benny Michaels: I got into Victory Summer Love this past year. I’ve always been fond of Victory and drinking their seasonal beer during my favorite time of the year was badder and deffer than old school LL. Especially when I didn’t have to pay for it. Wish I had put some aside for the winter but I lack self-control.
John Kensil: I always liked Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale. This past weekend, I was in Chicago for an appearance and my cousin bought a six-pack of it. (We have a family tradition of finishing a six-pack then going up to our hotel roof and throwing fluorescent light bulbs down at morons on the street and pretending to be the Greek god Zeus nailing them with lightning bolts.) But this weekend the Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale tasted really thick and filling (like syrup and air fresheners mixed together) so I went out and had a local brew at the Half Acre Beer Company called Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. It was really good. Oh, and today I had a Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale on Tap at Smegma’s Bar and it was really good. I guess the six I had was earlier was skunky.
James Hesky: I definitely like Fall beers as well. Flying Fish Octoberfish is one of my favorites, plus there are a lot of great pumpkin beers. I also like Winter beers, but I don’t know if that’s because I prefer hoppy beers or because I always feel like it’s more socially acceptable to just sit at home and get drunk when it’s cold outside.
Nicole Yates: I’m a huge beer fan, no doubt. I look forward to the Dogfish Punkin Ale as well and, frankly, I wish they made more of it so I could try and hoard some for the coming colder weather. Pyramid Brewing, out of Northern California, has a nice Oktoberfest (I wish they could sell their wares here in PA, I think they are still dealing with our wacky liquor laws) too. There is just something about hoppy beers that are like the grownup version of comfort food and then when you add in the lovely aromas of caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, it’s like a drunken trip down holiday lane (without the DUI conviction).
Last week, James Hesky was crowned Philly’s Phunniest Person by Helium Comedy Club. We told you about it here (where you can watch his winning set from the finals). Now, you can read this interview with Hesky on CityPaper’s Critical Mass Blog. Enjoy.
Tomorrow night, Comedy Dreamz returns to The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave. Philadelphia) for a night of comedy featuring Body Dreamz, Aaron Hertzog, Carolyn Busa, Steve Miller-Miller, The Feeko Brothers, Alejandro Morales and more! Doors open at 9pm, the show starts at 10, with a dance party following.
Mani Pedi will be hosting another ManiParty on Saturday, September 1 to help cover their travel costs to the upcoming Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Joining them on the show (at L’etage, 624 S. 6th St.) will be fellow BCAF performers Camp Woods and The Feeko Brothers.
Meg & Rob have announced a new show, dubbed “The Next Final Show” set for November 1, 2012. The first show from the duo since Meg Favreau moved to Los Angeles last year. Keep your eyes out for more details about this must see reunion show in the near future.
In meta-news, Collaborate Philly did an interview with us (more specifically, with editor Aaron Hertzog) about our website and the Philadelphia comedy scene. You can read all about us here.
Last night, in front of a packed crowd at Helium Comedy Club, ten comedians performed for the rights to be the seventh person named Philly’s Phunniest Person. When the laughter cleared, James Hesky’s name would be the one added to that list. Hesky, host of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at Philly Improv Theater, and co-host (with fellow finalist Darryl Charles) of CheaPodcast, has been an active member of the Philly comedy community for years and the announcement of his name as winner was met with cheers of joy and chants of his name from his fellow comedians. Second place in the contest went to Pat House, and the third place finisher was Chip Chantry.
Last night, the seventh annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest kicked off at Helium Comedy Club. This year, over 150 comedians will compete in 11 preliminary rounds for the chance to move on to the semi-finals, and eventually the finals, where one will be named Philly’s “Phunniest”. Last night, James Hesky, Omar Scruggs, and Vince Patterson moved on to the next round. The competition continues next Monday, June 11 and the opening round continues on Sunday and Monday nights until August 13 (full schedule here).
This weekend marked the debut of two new Philly Improv Theater House Teams. Davenger (formerly Codename Westmarch) and Hot Dish (formerly Codename Strider) took the stage with UCB team Surfing Friday night to two sold out shows and returned to packed housed at PHIT again on Saturday night. If you missed it, you can read the two new teams introduce themselves to the world through Witout here (Davenger) and here (Hot Dish).
This weekend Philly Improv Theater will host the third annual Duofest, a celebration of improv duos from across the country. Shows start Thursday night and continue through until Sunday. Improv workshops taught by Jill Bernard, Joe Bill, Rachel & Dave, and Twinprov are also being held. Also – be on the lookout for more Duofest Interviews this week, here on Witout.
The lineup and date for the next Camp Woods Plus at L’etage (6th and Bainbridge) has been announced. Their next monthly show will be Wednesday, June 13th at 8:00PM and will feature brand new sketches from Camp Woods as well as guests The New Dreamz and Angel Yau.
Friday, June 15th, Mani Pedi will host their second ManiParty, this time at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) Mani Pedi will welcome guests Carolyn Busa and American Breakfast. Doors for the event open at 8:00PM and the show begins at 9, with a dance party following the comedy. Tickets for ManiParty are $10 and include free ice cream.
Also tonight, Rookie Card will have their final Monday show at the Raven Lounge before moving their monthly improv show to Saturday night. The show will feature improv from Rookie Card and Grimmachio and stand-up from Tim Butterly and all kicks off at 9pm.
Tuesday will bring another Free Improv at Connie’s Ric Rac to the venue in the Italian Market. This month, the show will feature sets from Deleted Scenes, Bed Savage, Self-esteem Motivators, Fowl Play, ApocaLips, Kait and Andrew, and Ralph Jess Jason Emily and Mike. The show starts at 9pm and is free, of course.
6ABC recently ran this story about Helium Comedy Club and their upcoming Philly’s Phunniest Person contest. The video shows many local stand-ups at a recent open mic at the club. Keep an eye out for appearances by Pat House, Alex Grubard, Ed McGonigal, Chase Wexler, David Ray Agyekum, James Hesky, and Aaron Hertzog.
Tomorrow night at The Twisted Tail (2nd and South St. Philadelephia) Comedy, Food, Sports returns for another Philadelphia show. This month’s show will feature the comedy of James Hesky along with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Jason Ashworth. Hosted by Patrick Dodd, Comedy, Food, Sports is a talk show featuring discussions on the three topics between the host and his guests. For a little taste of the comedy you’ll get check out this video from Hesky below.
Comedy, Food, Sports is FREE – tomorrow night, March 30th at 8PM at The Twisted Tail – 2nd and South St. Philadelphia.