Upcoming Shows

  • February 7, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • November 21, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 21, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 21, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 21, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • November 21, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 21, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 22, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 22, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 22, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 22, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 22, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 22, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 22, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • November 26, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • November 27, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 27, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 28, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 28, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 28, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
AEC v1.0.4

Hey Rube Remembers Hey Rube

77649_369702319772818_2023223526_oHey Rube will perform for the final time as a House Team this Saturday night at Philly Improv Theater. The group made their debut in August 2011 and have since performed at venues all over the area and festivals including the New York Improv Festival, Del Close Marathon, and the Philadelphia Improv Festival. They were crowned Best New Group at the 2012 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy, and were nominated for Best Improv Group at the 2013 WitOut Awards. The members of Hey Rube and their director Matt Holmes took some time to reflect, and say some nice things about each other.

Aaron Hertzog on Dennis Trafny:
Dennis blows me away every time I see him perform. The only thing I know for sure when Dennis enters a scene is that at some point he is going to totally surprise me. He can take a seemingly everyday boring offer and come back with something that is (incredibly) completely off-the-wall but also somehow makes it easy for his scene partner to react to and build with. I don’t know if it’s a natural skill or something he’s had to work tirelessly on (or a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B) but either way I am completely impressed. He can also bring great intensity to a character (seriously, look into those eyes), and inject some much-needed energy in a show at a moment’s notice. Of course, this also makes for extra special moments when he decides to tone it down and show us his tender, soft side.”

Tara Demmy on Mark Leopold:
“Before Hey Rube, I didn’t know Mark Leopold. He was just one of those guys with a really great name. Now I know him as one of the most talented performers I’ve ever worked with. His character work is the best (Dr. Dandelion) and he is a super intelligent and creative player, knowing when to give a set that necessary plot twist. When I’m in scenes with Mark I have trouble not just hanging out and watching him work, laughing along with the audience. One of my favorite moments was when Hey Rube was doing one of our usual group scene orgies and Mark came on and just sensually untied Jen’s shoelace. The best. Catch up with Mark playing “5 Things” at ComedySportz or doing a “props made out of only cardboard” sketch show with The Hold Up or even doing a show in the Philly Fringe (his 2012 Fringe show Archdiocese of Laughter was one of the best comedy shows I’ve ever seen—he made a rap out of my favorite hymn: Gift of Finest Wheat! Genius). See you there—I’ll be the girl in the first row wearing my ‘I heart Mark Leopold’ T-shirt.”

Lizzie Spellman on Alex Gross:
The first time I really hung out with Alex, he took me to a gay club with a hot Asian chick. I’ve come to learn he is one crazy cat (and I’m not just saying that ’cause he owns way too many cat shirts). Alex is so fun to play with on stage. When he makes a choice he always fully commits to it. He can go super weird with a character, but it’s always grounded in truth. I think if Hey Rube were a rock band, Alex would be the guy smashing his guitar on an amp and flipping off the crowd. I tell him all the time and I really mean it, he’s become like a little brother to me. That’s why I forgive him for drunkenly walking in on me in the bathroom and proceeding to pee in the shower. But that’s another story…”

Mark Leopold on Aaron Hertzog:
“I first saw Aaron something like six years ago. I went to an open mic and did some terrible set where I impersonated Forrest Gump at one point, and I saw this big man with a big personality just own the crowd and receive their adoration with composure and charm. It was amazing. I then retreated to the suburbs for three years. When I got cast on Hey Rube, the only person I actually recognized was Aaron and I was immediately intimidated by the prospect of playing with him. My fears proved to be completely unfounded of course. Aaron is one of the sweetest, most open, gentle and loving people I’ve met. His ever-present playfulness is infectious and when you have the good fortune to be in a scene with him, it’s such a familiar feeling of silly frolicking that you can’t help but have fun. Fun. That’s really the best way to describe what Aaron is like. He’s just like someone who it’s always fun to be around and with. He has a gift for vulnerability. He is just so brave and so foot-forward, always ready to give himself to the show or scene. Whether it’s dark or emotional, serious or silly, Aaron commits totally and performing with him is so easy and simple because you know he is going to completely receive what you give and build with it. Some of the most satisfying moments of collaboration in my life have been with him. Aaron is wonderful and any city, town, or village that doesn’t leap at the chance to welcome him is just tragically stupid.”

Rob Cutler on Lizzie Spellman:
“Lizzie is commitment personified.  She’s an incredibly gifted performer, but the original characters she creates and maintains are nothing short of brilliant.  Whether she exhibits the child-like innocence of a three-year-old, or the decrepit bitter wisdom of a wicked crone, Lizzie will up the intensity with every passing moment.  She’s a multitalented performer, whose musical prowess is displayed often with her ukulele, singing some of the most irreverent, funny, and original songs I’ve personally ever heard.  She has a gift for character and her future on stage is limitless.  On the personal end, I’ve yet to meet a more patient and engaging personality.  She has kind words for everyone I’ve seen her interact with (even if they were complete assholes).  In short Lizzie is funny as hell, sweet as sugar, with talent oozing out of every pore.  We should all be so lucky as to have someone like Lizzie in our lives.  I’ll miss you Rubes!”

Jen Curcio on Tara Demmy:
“I will never forget the first time I met Tara.  It was at Hey Rube’s first practice. I was really jealous of her because she was prettier, cooler and funnier than me. Then I got over it. Tara is a total improv pirate and for those of you who are not familiar with the term that means she attacks the scene. She is fearless in her choices, yet fully commits to and supports her scene partners’ choices. Tara is able to play characters that have a sharp contrast in stage presence. She will support anything and add value to it. I feel so lucky to have been on a team with her, I learned a lot from watching her be an awesome improviser!”

Alex Gross on Jen Curcio:
“Oh, geez. Jen is the worst. I’m just kidding! I know that really freaked you out Jen but seriously, I’m just kidding. I swear! Jen is one of the kindest and weirdest people I know. She is always thinking of others before herself and she’s given me countless car rides home. Her paranoia and craziness are right on par with mine, which makes me feel like she’s my improv twin. I’ve done some of my favorite scenes with her and she is always a joy to work with, no matter how many times she initiates scenes with hints of a gangbang starting. Jen is an improv powerhouse who isn’t to be fucked with and I’ve had a blast working with her. Rubes for life.”

Dennis Trafny on Rob Cutler:
“Rob is the ‘Phil Hartman’ of Hey Rube: really solid in every scene and he reigns in the crazy. He never gets scared on stage and is always cooler than the other side of the pillow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him hesitate. Not once. Never. Not even for a second. No ‘uhhhh’s or ‘ummmm’s. Nothing. He’s a beast. He also plays characters smartly, and on many occasions, very cleverly ties all the preceding scenes together.  He is no one-trick pony either.  He has a gift with puppetry and is awesome in Friends of Alcatraz . (If you haven’t seen it, you should!) Good luck with your future projects Rob!”

Matt Holmes on Hey Rube:
“It’s sad to see Hey Rube end, but things that burn brightest snuff soonest.

I got more out of directing Hey Rube than I ever thought I would. First, I learned to get past your perfect idea for how things should go. It’s better to be flexible and make it work. It took us a few months to all get in the same room together at the same time, but that didn’t matter much.

Then, I learned all kinds of insights about improvising, telling a story in a visual medium, teaching people, using people’s strengths and working together on their weaknesses, building something together in small steps, and creating a show (style, format, framework) that is a signature.”

 

Hey Rube’s final show will be Saturday, February 9 at 10pm at The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St.) Tickets can be purchased online.

The Renaissance Faire and Japanese Bathhouses – Interview with Lizzie Spellman, Funny Person and Opening Act for ‘Call on Mister Blue’

Call on Mister Blue, a new play directed by Harry Watermeier and performed by Tara Demmy, Luke Field, Bryan Kerr, Brent Knobloch and Craig Lamm will show this Thursday, January 31st and Saturday, February 2nd at The Arts Parlor. The show will also feature the comedic ukulele songs of Lizzie Spellman as an opening act.  Lizzie put her ukulele down to talk about her comedic influences, musical background, and her parents hating her.


Dave Metter: What is your comedy background? Is musical comedy your first foray into comedy writing? Is your real name something garishly Eastern European and Lizzie Spellman’s your stage name?

Lizzie Spellman: Well I basically started in comedy through musical theatre. So I was always really into music and singing. I didn’t really know people sang comedy songs until my dad started playing me old comedic singers he used to listen to like Allen Sherman and Tom Lehrer. Lizzie Spellman is in fact my real name. Although my full name is Elizabeth Esther Spellman. Because my parents hate me.

DM: When and how did you end up learning to play the ukulele?

LS: I actually didn’t start ’til much, much, later in life. I was never that motivated to learn, but after I worked at the PA Renaissance Faire (I know, I know), where a lot of people played instruments, I thought I’d try to teach myself guitar. I was also unemployed and living with my parents so I had a lot of free time. I picked up the ukulele my second year at the Faire (I know, I know), in 2011.

DM: Do you ever perform sans-uke? (Note: Sansuke is the name of the help staff at a Japanese bathhouse.)

LS: I work as an actress (when I have work) in the Philadelphia area. I’m also an improv performer with the PHIT team Hey Rube and the indie team Apocalips. The Japanese bathhouse may account for those two years of my life that to this day I still can’t recollect.

DM: What was your first gig like?

LS: Frightening actually. When I first started writing songs I was so scared that they were terrible. It took me like two years to perform them. I was asked this past summer by Mike Marbach to perform in The Sideshow. I agreed and it actually went over really great but the whole time I was shitting my pants…not literally…I think.

DM: What led you to musical comedy?

LS: I had originally attempted to write “serious” music which only lasted a hot second ’cause it was awful. They were so cheesy, I might as well have written about rainbows and meadow frolicking. The first comedy song I wrote (“The Money’s on the Table”) was written as a joke that I had with a friend.  After that I wrote a song for another friend (“The Text Message Song”) and I realized writing comedy songs was just a lot easier.

DM: Who are some of your musical comedy and…atonal comedy influences?

LS: There are a lot of girls out there now writing comedy music, especially on ukuleles. I particularly like the NYC band Summer & Eve. But my favorite comedy duo is probably Flight of the Conchords. My big non-musical influences are Carol Burnett and Gilda Radner. They’re not afraid to make fools out of themselves for the sake of comedy.

DM: What comes first, the melody or the lyric? Or the joke?

LS: The joke definitely. The way I write songs, I always need the topic first before I can start writing the lyrics. A lot of my songs are just based on weird things I’ve heard other people say. Hopefully those people haven’t figured that out yet…oops.

DM: What is your dream gig?

LS: As a comedian, I have no idea. I’ve never really been in the category of stand-up before, so I’m still figuring things out. I figure if it’s a gig that pays, that’s freaking awesome!

DM: How did you end up as the opening act for Call on Mister Blue? Have you worked with any of the performers before?

LS: I was asked by my friends Tara Demmy (who is also my roommate and teammate on Hey Rube) and Harry Watermeier who is directing. They’re big supporters of my music so I was very flattered to be asked to open for their show. It’s gonna be a fun night!

 

‘Call on Mister Blue’ is TONIGHT, Thursday, January 31st and Saturday, February 2nd at 8pm at the Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad Street). Admission is $5.

Dave Metter is a comedy writer from the Philly burbs. Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveMetter.

Ten Questions With…Lizzie Spellman

Lizzie Spellman is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team Codenamed Brandybuck. They make their debut this Friday at 8:30.

How and why did you get into comedy? I was a weird ass (can I say ass?) kid. I was the one running around (in school) literally dressed in clown costumes. It wasn’t even that I wanted attention, I just wanted to have fun. My parents immediately got me into theatre, and I quickly discovered that comedy was what I liked best.

 

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I think I’m pretty character driven. When improvising, I sometimes tend to gravitate toward playing the dumb girl, old lady, or little girl characters because they just make me laugh in the real world as well. It’s also fun to come into a scene later as a big loud football player. I love seeing female comedians playing polar opposites of themselves (Tracy Ullman and Amy Poehler specifically). It makes their characters all the more surprising. I strive to be that creative.

 

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I really haven’t lived or performed in Philly long enough to have a favorite performance spot yet. There are so many different venues I wanna check out!

 

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? The first Philly show I ever did was The Gross Show, where I played a rape victim who was strangely okay with it. I like to start things off classy when I move to a new city.

 

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? When I see a person that has some sort of quirk to them, I like to write it down in a little black book I carry around. I also like to write down weird things people will randomly say. These little things can help shape an amazing character that I might not have originally came up with off the top of my head. It gives that character a little extra that might make the audience say “Oh, I totally know a person just like that!”.

 

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Honestly, I just like being funny and I like to play. It’s almost like therapy for me. Even if I’m having a crummy day, if I practice or perform improv later on I feel a million times better. There’s no way you can feel like crap after a night of laughing and making other people laugh. It’s my yoga.

 

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Discovering the comedy scene in Philly has been amazing. There are so many talented performers that have blown me away. I really enjoy the Amie and Kristen Show, as well as Jessica Tandy. Both of these duos are so smart and creative, and I am blown away every time I watch them perform.

 

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Hmmm…well I first started improvising in New Jersey with this one improv group of dudes that had been around for a while, who decided that they needed a girl in their group. Anywho, one night they decided it would be a good idea to smoke (yes children, illegal kind) before a show. I, being a silly college kid at the time, went along with it. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!! I surprised I even made complete sentences. The first short form game we did, I think I repeated the same word 10 times in a row! It was absolutely one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had on stage, and I totally learned my lesson.

 

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? What’s great is that so many people are getting out there and creating new shows and finding all kinds of ways of showcasing their comedy. I think that is the best way to continue the growth.

 

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I would love to start writing more. I would definitely want to take a stab at sketch or stand up. Eventually, I wanna know that I’ve at least tried different aspects of comedy. Who knows….I could be a genius! (but probably not).