This week, I sit down for an interview with Philadelphia comedian James Hesky. James is a cohost of the weekly CheaPodcast (with Darryl Charles) as well as a host at Helium Comedy Club and an upcoming show at Philly Improv Theater. We chat about how James got started in comedy, where he finds material, and his experiences in Philly comedy. You can listen to the podcast below, or subscribe on iTunes.
Tonight The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St) for a night of improv comedy. Tonight’s show will feature a brand new team performing for the first time, Iron Lung will be debuting a new form, and Get a Room and Fowl Play will make their Sideshow debuts.
Next Tuesday, at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) Camp Woods brings us Camp Woods Plus – an evening of sketch comedy featuring the group and two special guests. This month the show will feature Philly sketch group Local Holiday Miracle, and 2010 ECNY “Best Sketch Comedy Group in New York” award winners Murderfist.
Last week, TU Comedy, Temple University’s stand-up comedy club put on a show at Pub Webb on campus. The show featured six members of the club, plus James Hesky and Aaron Hertzog, two Temple alumni. City Paper’s Critical Mass blog wrote an article about the show here.
New York comedy/ sex show Paid or Pain is coming to Philadelphia and is looking for performers. Paid or Pain is a show where comedians perform and the crowd votes whether to pay the comedian, or have them tortured by their “house dominatrix.” The show will feature a burlesque act, sex toy giveaways, and sex therapy with a special guest comedian. Sound like fun? interested comedians can send their clips and info to email@example.com
Another reminder that voting is ongoing for The 2011 Witout Awards. Any member of the Philadelphia Comedy Community can take the survey and vote for their favorite performers, bits, and shows of the past year.
ROUND 3 – What has started as a fireside discussion has quickly spread to be a wild fire embroiling the NFL, the NBA, and the friendship of two comedians. Below, the closing arguments from both James and Darryl on who is the biggest asshole: Football players of Basketball players.
James: Darryl, you ignorant slut.
I am surprised that you actually spent the time to write your rebuttal in complete sentences. I expected you to just take one key word or phrase and repeat it over and over again.
“Roethlisberger raped a girl in a bathroom. In a bathroom. A BATHROOM. A BATHROOM!!!!!”
You want to talk about hack? Why don’t you give the audience another twelve minutes of your new material on how women like talking and dudes like sex?
And can you wrap up the joke already? If the audience wanted to see a nine minute bit that ended without a punchline they would have just gone to one of your improv shows. This is stand up. Have some respect.
I’m going to be honest with you, Darryl. There are days where I wonder why I ever thought you were funny. Doing Cheap Laughs at the Raven Lounge, doing CheaPodcast and the Famous International Variety Show, were all just a giant waste of my time. And remember, I’m unemployed right now so my time is very difficult to waste. It’s practically worthless.
Darryl, I don’t know how to say this, but I think that we should stop working together. And I don’t mean that I should stop doing any of the things I’m doing, I mean that you should go ahead and quit comedy all together and go back to your day job. Then you it won’t matter that you’re just like the vodka you drink.
Darryl: There really isn’t much to be summarized. Football players are larger and assholier than basketball players. I tried my best to state my side of the argument while making it fun, which is hard to do when you have dead weight like James Hesky pulling you down constantly.
We’re talking about a guy who ran a blog, two open mic locations and a Saturday night showcase into the ground, all with the same tired jokes about him being fat. It damn near took a congressional hearing to get him to leave poop jokes alone, and all he did was put it later in his set. People are making that face because you suck, not for your eloquent description of a wet shit in a space station.
Poop, being fat, masturbation and religion. The tried and true repertoire of a guy who will never make it out of Philadelphia. Maybe I’m being too harsh. You’ll leave Philly, but only to go back to Pittsburgh after you stop lazing it up on my tax money and crawl back to your mamas basement. There you’ll relive the joke you had that came the closest to making me laugh. That is until your mother cuts off your internet access, then you’ll be sad without having to wack it first.
Having you as my sidekick was my version of watching over an autistic kid; except I did your former job better than you ever did and I’m gonna quit this crap before I get fired. Grow up, get funny and leave me alone. If you can just do one of those I’d be proud of you, and there’s a first time for everything.
The gloves are off as the Great Debate between Darryl Charles and James Hesky continues. After having a chance to read each others opening arguments, we’ve given them a chance to respond and rebut to the question: who are bigger assholes, Football players or Basketball players. If you missed it, you can check out round one here.
James: Darryl, your opening statement was so bad that I’m wondering if you were just trying to show that it was possible to be worse at being a person than a basketball player or a football player.
If I understand your argument, basically you’re saying that football is a violent sport so football players are violent people. What better way for violent people to get out their frustrations than by running at full speed into each other? On top of that the sport requires you to be in phenomenal condition and spend hours in the weight room, which is another great release of all that pent up anger. Football is probably the best therapy for being a terrible person I could think of.
Even when football players make mistakes, they have amazing comeback stories. Michael Vick has made people forget that he ran an organization that drowned dogs because they didn’t fight well enough. He has grown as a person over the last few years, not just by becoming a better football player, but by lobbying congress for harsher penalties for people associated with dogfighting rings.
The NFL works regularly with the United Way and is working hand-in-hand with Michele Obama on here “Play 60” initiative to get reduce childhood obesity. The NBA might be more than a year away from even having any games, causing half of their lazy players to be enrolled in the “Play 60” program to prevent them from looking like retired offensive linemen.
Darryl, you’ve made a nice attempt to make football players seem like they’re worse than basketball players, but you simply chose the wrong side in this battle. Also you are an inferior comedian and debater and honestly you never stood a chance.
Darryl: Mr. Hesky, king of the hack metaphors, would have you believe that because Michael Jordan gambled and got divorced and Charles Barkley likes a road soda that all basketball players are assholes. But plenty of people gamble and cheat, and few men wouldn’t break a speed law or two for a bj. You know what plenty of people don’t do? Sign contracts prohibiting them from riding motorcycles without a helmet and do it anyway. Or get accused of rape twice. No, that was Ben Roethlisberger. Plenty of people also don’t get accused of murder and then threaten that crime rates will increase when he’s mad his 44.5 million dollar contract isn’t truly representative of his worth. Nope, that was Ray Lewis.
But I’m not saying all football players are assholes, just that they’re bigger assholes than basketball players. Playing your way through an 82 game season and shaping up along the way, like Shaq, is really nothing compared to taking a bunch of herbal supplements (aka steroids that can’t be tested for yet) so you can “Keep up with the n[common racist football talk removed]ers” like Bill Romanowski.
Plus, Isaiah Thomas is a terrible person and a terrible GM. The fact that the media decided to showcase his ineptitude at managing basketball over his terrible lusting doesn’t make him an asshole. Bill Bellicheck’s blatant cheating and the keeping of his job while the media worries about who Tom Brady happens to be having dinner with makes the NFL full of assholes from the bottom up.
That doesn’t even go into Lawrence Taylor who used his fame and fortune to end up a crack fiend and get caught years after his prime with a 16-year-old prostitute. Where’s the hacky joke to excuse that bit of assholishness?
James Hesky and Darryl Charles are two Philadelphia comedians and the founders of the deep, dark, dank cellar of the Podcast World – Cheapodcast. Darryl and James have tackled one of the biggest hot button questions of the 20th century… who are bigger assholes, Football players or Basketball players. Over the next three rounds, we’ll let them make opening statements, rebuttals, and concluding arguments. By the end, we should all be a little more enlightened:
Let the debate begin!
James Hesky: Basketball players are worse than Football players.
Being a bad person is to basketball as taking steroids is to baseball. Even the hero of the NBA, Michael Jordan, was a degenerate gambler and a philanderer who quit on his team and his sport to see if he could try another sport for another year. Hall of Famer Charles Barkley famously said “I am not a role model” and then backed it up by getting a DUI and used the excuse that he was rushing to go get a BJ. And these are the guys who are the face of the league.
Hey, remember that time all those football players got in a brawl with fans? Me neither. But it happened in the NBA because Ron Artest got a cup thrown at him.
You know what I hate? How Peyton Manning always shows up for the season 30 pounds overweight and just decides he’ll play his way into shape during the season and be ready for the playoffs. Oh wait, that’s what Shaquille O’Neal did for the entire second half of his career.
Even after they retire, NBA players can’t stop being horrible human beings. As the GM of the Knicks, Isiah Thomas used his position of power to sexually harass one of his employees. The worst part is that people in the NBA don’t even think that the fact that he’s a sexual predator is the worst thing about him, he is still most infamous for simply being a terrible GM.
Darryl Charles: Football players are worse than basketball players:
Imagine you could build the perfect asshole (person, not body part). The person would have to be arrogant, rude, obnoxious and self-centered. This person would have to be fantastic at exploiting weakness for the joy of others, awesome at hurting those weaker than him. The person should have an imposing physique, making sure intimidation happened on sight. They should be rich and famous, allowing for mindless adoration and a group of hangers on that would only feed the ego of this asshole. In short, this person should be a football player.
Football is a tough sport. It is a sport where large men dress in pads and run into each other to establish dominance on the placement and movement of a small ball. It is a game in which pain is a weapon and avoiding it will most likely lead to a loss. Physically tormenting your opponent is only surpassed by psychologically tormenting your opponent to the point their concentration is shaken and their game is rendered inept. This is going to breed an asshole.
The list of current and former players is as deep as Tiki Barber’s bank accounts, before he got divorced from his wife after leaving her while pregnant for an 20 something intern at a broadcasting job he wasn’t good at and used to ridicule the team that let him rise to enough popularity to get said job: Ray Lewis (alleged murderer!), Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino, Bill Romanowski, Ben Rothlisberger, Terrell Owens, Chad OchoCinco, Plaxico Burress, Joe Namath and even Bill Bellicheck. A list of the exploits of the aforementioned people is a thorough how-to on assholetry.
Murder, harassment, steroid abuse, finger biting, attempted rape, cheating (both in the game and in life), cockiness, erratic behavior, bullying and general assholy behavior are hallmarks of the NFL and it players and coaches.
Paul Goodman on last week’s March Madness winners: “Jamil B, Ian Fidance, Brandon Ketchup Wilson, Jon DelCollo, Sean Quinn, Brendan Kennedy, Tim Butterly, and Dan Scully will compete in the March Madness Elite 8 Finals on Wednesday, April 6 at Mad River in Manyunk. Mark your calendars — it’s going to be an awesome show.” [Facebook Event]
Meg & Rob‘s Meg Favreau is on the road to Los Angeles. Rob Baniewicz helped her drive down to Atlanta. She has a blog about it. [Blog]
Improv group Fletcher is having a “Thing of Things” contest to win a free ticket to one of their shows. Check out the rules and the contest itself on their Facebook page. [Facebook Page]
James Hesky wrote an article on It’s Always Funny in Philly about Tragedy + Time = Comedy. Or does it? [It's Always Funny in Philadelphia]
The Gross Show hosted by Alex Gross is tomorrow night at Philly Improv Theater. To get a sense of what the show will be like, check out the video preview with footage from previous shows. [YouTube]
Luke Giordano has started his list of The 100 Greatest Americans on Everything You Like Is Stupid. Number one hundred: Grover Cleveland. [Everything You Like Is Stupid]
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
Starting next month, The Famous International Variety Show, formerly at the Copabanana on 40th Street, returns to Sunday nights at Connie’s Ric Rac. This would mark another addition to the ever-expanding comedy line-up at the Ric Rac. Hosted by Darryl Charles, James Hesky, and Mykal Carter Jackson, the mic starts back up on February 13th at 7PM, 1132 S. 9th St.
Also, rumor has it that a new Monday open mic will come to the Fairmount area starting in March. This would be on top of the existing Monday open mic, Comedy on the Grille. More on that when the details come.