Philly Improv Theater’s run of shows at The Shubin continues this week with a full schedule of shows. This Wednesday, at 10pm you can catch a preview of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky, the new variety show taking over for Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) which ended its run last week. The Monthly Hour promises sketch and stand-up comedy from some of the city’s best performers, as well as a topical monologue from Hesky, and sketches produced by the show’s team of writers (which include Jim Grammond, Pat House, Mary Radzinski, Darryl Charles, and Mike Gleason).
The second annual March Madness Comedy Competition kicks off at the open mic at Drinker’s West on Sunday March 11. This year 72 comedians will compete at Drinker’s West, Laughs on Fairmount, Noche, and The Raven Lounge to be named champion of the tournament style competition.
Unfortunately, video of this bit does not exist but his exasperation at the fact that a man could murder an entire building full of people with a hatchet, complete with out-of-breath act outs was the only bit Darryl did during his run to a second place finish at this year’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest. Check him out live to see the hilarious bit in action.
It’s been almost an entire month since Helium Comedy Club crowned Tommy Pope 2011’s Philly’s Phunniest Person – and it’s already time for a reunion of some of the comedians that made the final round of this year’s contest. Tonight, the club will host the Philly’s Phunniest Reunion Show featuring sets from Pope, along with runner up Darryl Charles and third place finisher John McKeever, as well as comedy from fellow finalists Chip Chantry and Andy Nolan. The show starts tonight at 8 and you can buy tickets online or (and I would recommend this option) call the club at 215-496-9001, mention any of the performers names, and get free admission. Check out some videos from tonight’s performers below.
A packed crowd at Helium witnessed the cream-of-the-cream of Philadelphia comedy last night during the finals of the Philly’s Phunniest Competition. Beginning almost 2 and a half months ago with 165 comedians, the field had been whittled down to 10 Finalists, who took the stage in order to see who would walk away with the title. The was a true spectacle – each comedian was worthy of raucous laughter, wild applause, and probably a $1,000 prize, but there can only be one winner. Surely those who missed out on this will be kicking themselves for a long time… for those unfortunate souls, here’s a taste of what you missed:
Below are the first and last words spoken on stage by each of 2011’s Philly’s Funniest Finalists:
(Comedian – First Word // Last Word)
Host Dave Smith – Thanks // Night
Pat Barker – Thank // Thanks
John McKeever – Hey // You
Chip Chantry – So // Everybody
Gary Vider – Thanks // Evening
Andy Nolan – Alright // Much
Mike Rainey – Alright // Rainey
Tommy Pope – Hey // Thanks
Gordon Baker-Bone – Yeah // Night
Pat House – Thank // Night
Darryl Charles – Yay // Everybody
Headliner Big Jay Oakerson – Thank // Around
Congratulations to all ten finalists, but a little extra congratulations to Tommy Pope who deservedly was named winner of 2011’s Philly’s Funniest. And to everyone who missed the show – you’re welcome!
Much can be, and has been, said about the Ministry of Secret Jokes. I was present for the show on August 8th, and since there was no oath taken beforehand, I am free to reveal events of the evening.
Below are the first and last words from each comedian who appeared on stage:
Comedian : First word / Last word
Steve Gerben: Hello / Story Doogie Horner: Thank / Night Chip Chantry: Hey / You John McKeever: Give / Attention Micah McGraw: Hi / Yeah Baby Doug McGraw: Is / Ok Corey Cohen: Yeah / Phone Conrad Roth: Thanks / Horner Bing Supernova: More / Not David Terruso: Hello / Much Black Wexler: You / Mother Brendan Kennedy: Something / University
It should be noted, some of the performers appeared on stage multiple times through out the night. The words listed are their first from when they first spoke into a microphone, last words are final words spoken in the entire evening.
How and why did you get into comedy?
I started going to open mics here and there a couple of years ago but never steady. I started going all the time about a year ago because I’ve always really enjoyed the process of writing jokes and then working them out on stage for a possible laugh. I just didn’t want to get too old and regret never pursuing it full time. I also don’t think I’m fit to lead a normal 9-5 life.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I guess I would just say my style is conversational. I’m just not a great at writing one-liners, I think that’s a really unique talent. Some people can do both really well, like Chip Chantry or Luke Cunningham, which boggles my mind. I like to just get on stage with an idea and work it out with different crowds and different tags without ever committing to a permanent structure. I just make sure I get from A to B without rambling too much. I think having a loose structure keeps me, personally, from being too rigid on stage like an actor trying to remember his lines. I also have a terrible memory.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I like Helium and the Raven’s open mic is the best. Noche’s open mic is a lot of fun sometimes too but it’s more of a bar atmosphere so it’s harder to just tell people to stop talking, especially when they came to a bar to do just that. Jack and Paul do a good job with it though. The Hey Everybody show @ the Shubin is a great show because there’s always a cool crowd and great performers.
Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
There’s so many but when Aaron Hertzog said onstage at the Raven “I’m going to tickle your throat clits with my word dick”, Darryl’s “Hatchet” bit and anytime I see the Feeko’s perform are on the top of my list. There is great show almost every night in Philly, which makes it really exciting to be a part of this scene.
Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Or a sort of method that you use to develop comedic material?
I give my wife a topic, I tie her arms and feet to one of those big circus spinning wheels and as long as she gives me good tags or punchlines, I don’t fire the paintball gun.
Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
There’s so many and for so many different reasons. Like I said earlier I think Luke Cunningham and Chip Chantry are both great performers, excellent writers and really great influences to those just starting out. I love Tommy Pope & Steve Gerben’s storytelling, it’s so funny it and invites everyone in and usually gets so intense that you become scared for their well being. Hesky has a great observational style. He’s so relatable and never not funny. Then you have people like Aaron Hertzog and Brendan Kennedy who are always trying something new with total confidence and making it work for them. Sean Quinn is new to the area but he’s just a natural. Darryl’s bits are probably my favorite. His commitment is just unreal. When I tell a joke and I feel heat, I bail but when Darryl tells a joke it’s like “I’m not going anywhere and you fuckers are gonna think this is funny wether you like it or not” and then it kills. There’s so many others that I’m probably leaving out.
Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
I bombed at a show in Port Richmond one time and the whole time this guy was heckling me. At one point I made an AIDS reference and the guy yells “way too personal!”, which was weird because throughout the whole show I was hoping he had AIDS.
What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
Everybody works really well together and there is a ton of support. That’s the kind of thing that makes this comedy scene so great. If we keep supporting each other and going telling people about all the great shows in Philly, it will become a monster. It already is. Also, and I don’t like this anymore than anybody else does, but we have to make a decision between Darryl and Chris.
Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I just want to grow as a writer and a performer. My biggest goal is to become a writer who fucks stand-up on the side.