Upcoming Shows

  • August 29, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 29, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • August 29, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 29, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 29, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • August 30, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 30, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • August 30, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • August 30, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • August 30, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 5, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 6, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 6, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 6, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 6, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • September 11, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 11, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 12, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
AEC v1.0.4

“I Allow People to Do Whatever the Hell They Want to Do” – Interview with Mike Marbach on Plans for ‘The Sideshow’ in 2013

by Pat Reber

The Sideshow is a real gem. It’s the epitome of the local, DIY, low production/high entertainment experimental variety shows that we comedy nerds go crazy for. I attended last Friday’s The Sideshow: Happy New Year featuring Malone, Gross Butler and Daring Daulton. The show was already packed when I arrived, with audience members filling every seat and standing against the walls of the cozy studio. More impressive than the audience’s number, though, was how truly engaged we all were from start to finish. Our laughter rolled consistently throughout the entire two-hour show, and turned from chuckles to outright squeals during each set. We were treated to seamless and hilarious improv from Malone and Gross Butler, awkwardly brilliant sketch comedy from Daring Daulton, and a fantastic reading by host Luke Field of a rambling 12-page apology letter to Claritin written by Sideshow creator Mike Marbach.

Marbach is clearly very passionate about this show, and with good reason.  After the show, I caught up with him to find out what exciting plans he has for The Sideshow in 2013:

Spellbound (January 12th)

“The twelfth is going to be pretty different.  Kristen Schier is going to be doing clowning.  There’s an improv trio that formed out of the Sideshow Troika last year, called Chaperone. Lizzie Spellman, who is a local improviser but also sings and plays ukulele, is going to be the host/musical guest of the show, so she’ll be doing different songs throughout the show, in between the other acts.  And then the Necrosexual, which is Jimmy Viola’s thing. I’ve never seen it, I really don’t know what it is, which just goes to show I’ll allow people to do whatever the hell they want to do. I’m sure it’s going to be a good time.”

The 2013 Improv Oscars Jam (February 22nd):

“This will be the third year we’ve done the Improv Oscars Jam, which takes place the weekend of the Oscars. People get dressed up and come out. They have the opportunity to play a bunch of movie-related short-form improv games, some with different multimedia connections. We’ll show a 30-second clip of a movie that came out in 2012, and then people do scenes inspired by that clip. We’ll do live sketches that are movie-inspired. People are encouraged to film different parodies of films that came out in 2012, and we’ll show those on the [projection] screen. There’s food, there’s drinks. This will be the third year, and each one has gotten bigger, and better attended, and it’s always a really good time.”

Freaky Friday (March 15th)

“There is one coming up in March, which I’m calling Sideshow: Freaky Friday, where a bunch of improvisers who haven’t done stand-up before, that’s their chance to do it. And then I want to grab a bunch of stand-ups who haven’t improvised before, and have them do that. So people will get a better appreciation of each other’s art, and how difficult it can actually be, and fun at the same time. So that could be really funny. Or it could be terrible, which is okay. Like I said, I allow people to experiment and do whatever the hell they want to do.”

Musical Revue (Date TBD)

“March or April will be probably one of the biggest things we’ve done with Sideshow. We’ve done one-acts, we’ve done the Oscars Jam, we hosted the Troika last year, but this is going to be a musical revue. It’s going to be a love/hate theme, where it’s going to mix Broadway songs, popular songs, and some original stuff thrown in there as well. It’s going to be all tied together through different stories, and personal things like that. The idea is to be funny, but there will be a lot of vulnerability in there, too. The cast is made up, so far—it’s not official yet, so I don’t want to say just who—but there’s stand-ups in the show, there’s sketch comedians in the show, there’s improvisers in the show. People will get to see them do things that they’ve done in the past, but may not have the opportunity to do now, being involved in the arts that they are. They can show off their singing, or their dancing, or anything like that. It’s going to be a good time.”


The next January dates for ‘The Sideshow’ are the 12th, 18th and 25th.  For more information, check out The Sideshow on Facebook.

Pat Reber performs sketch comedy with the Win Show, and also has his hands in a constantly shifting menagerie of other projects. He’ll be on twitter @patreberyeah and he thinks you’re nice.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 71

Still looking for plans for New Year’s Eve? Last week we gave you this round-up of comedy shows around Philadelphia tonight.

Chip Chantry wrote this piece about his ten most awkward moments of 2012 for Philly.com.

In case you missed it (or if you want to see it again) Emily and Micah McGraw‘s set from Secret Pants‘ Christmas show A Banner Year at the Ol’ Bender House has made its way online.

Pick up a copy of this month’s Philadelphia Magazine to check out an article on comedian and storyteller Juliet Hope Wayne. The article also talks about the comedy scene here in Philly and mentions a certain website that reports on it (it’s us!).

The Sideshow: Happy New Year! show will take place this Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.). The show will feature performances from improv groups Gross Butler and Malone and sketch group Daring Daulton plus more!

This Friday will mark the first of three shows of The New Dreamz Experimental Residency Performance Art Program. The New Dreamz is the comedy performance duo of artists Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Rose Luardo. During the residency, the audience can expect to engage with material that will never be performed again and material that will be indoctrinated into The New Dreamz fat folds. Each of the three performances will be unique. The residency will be held at Space 1026 (1026 Arch Street) a Philadelphia collective art community and institution that was established in 1997.

Comedy Love Letter – From Steve Kleinedler to the City of Philadelphia

This is a love letter to Philadelphia, and by extension, to the comedy scene that you have all created here and welcomed me into.

Philadelphia is where I actively chose to live after considering a wide array of options. Performing as a vistor in PHIFs, a Troika, some N Crowd shows, and several one-off shows exposed me to what Philadelphia has to offer. Inexpensive rehearsal and performance spaces mean that anyone with an idea and the drive can start a production. In addition to the established companies, numerous successfully produced shows in bars, empty store fronts, galleries, and the like, make Philadelphia’s scene reminiscent of the theatre scene in Chicago in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Discussions with Mary Carpenter, Greg Maughan, Matt Nelson, Alexis Simpson, Alli Soowal, Kristen Schier, and Jason Stockdale spurred me to move to Philadelphia 16 months ahead of schedule, and I’m glad I did.

The creative spark here is very strong. Across numerous companies and troupes, hundreds of people perform regularly. Groups of like-minded friends can form troupes (like Iron Lung, Malone, and Nielsen did) and what’s more important, they can get gigs. The structural framework of PHIT, ComedySportz, the N Crowd, and other existing companies in combination with the opportunities provided by the producers of Polygon, Comedian Deconstruction, Sideshow, and the Grape Room, to name just a few, means anyone with an idea or drive can get stage time. There aren’t that many cities that allow for this kind of opportunity—space is just too expensive in most cities—and people who take advantage of everything there is to offer have helped create a comedy calendar where something is happening almost every day of the month.

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Awkward Moments with Hilary Kissinger: “Your Family’s in the Audience”

“Awkward Moments” is a monthly column that asks comedians, “What do you do when…” In this installment we talk about how performance is affected by who’s in the crowd.

Do you tell your parents the same stories you tell your friends? Would you describe to your boss the intimate but hilarious details of your last sexual encounter? How would you feel if someone you admired watched you bomb on stage?

We all tailor our social interactions to the particular people we’re talking to, but performers usually can’t control who comes out to see them do their thing. Comedy often includes, and sometimes depends on, material that is personal, embarrassing, or way dirtier than anything you’d find yourself discussing around the family dinner table. So when that family shows up to support the comedian in their lives, how does it affect the person on stage?

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