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!
The results are in from the first of two semi final rounds of Helium Comedy Club’s Sixth Annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest.
Moving on the the finals, which will be held this Wednesday at 8:00 PM are:
John McKeever, Pat House, Mike Rainey, Gordon Baker Bone and Gary Vider
The second semi final round will be held tomorrow night, where 15 more comics vie for the last five spots in the finals. You can get tickets for tomorrow’s show, and Wednesday’s finals online.
Comedians love giving advice, most of the time when they’re not even asked for it! Unsolicited Advice is WitOut’s chance to give Philly comics the opportunity to do just that, without looking like a know-it-all so-and-so.
If you are thinking of making a career in comedy, don’t start a family. However, if you are an immature, reckless, simpleton who has no qualms about shunning the lifestyle of a well-adjusted adult in order to pursue your dream of becoming an entertainer, then continue reading as I will gladly show you how I’ve done it. It’s of utmost importance to decide early on in life if one would like to pursue dreams or start a family and spiral into the abyss. Thirty two years into my life, I’ve decided I’d like to have a career in comedy, but I also enjoy providing for my family so I have to teeter somewhere in the middle.
I began my career in comedy over eight years ago. Around that same time, I found out my girlfriend and I were expecting a baby. I fuckin’ love babies so I was pretty excited about the whole deal. Fortunately, once the baby came, my lovely fiance Jaime handled the brunt of the responsibilities while I caroused from open mic to open mic and performed roughly one show per weekend. This continued for about three years until my second daughter came along. I had to contribute a bit more at home, so comedy had to take a backseat now. I would wander into the occasional open mic and only do about 15-20 shows a year for the next three years. Then, Jaime and I found out we were expecting our final offspring, my son. When it comes to safe sex, Jaime and I have the planning skills of middle school rave organizers. If Jaime and I ever started a White Stripes-type band, we’d call ourselves Reckless Fuckers. So, logically, once our family starting rolling five deep, I decided it’s time to dedicate myself to comedy.
Honestly, being a comedian with a family is an absolute trainwreck. I can’t sit at the computer to write without breaking up a fight, cleaning up a mess, commenting on whether an outfit looks alright or not, changing goddam batteries on toys, answering why I’m on the computer, answering when I’m going to be off the computer, figuring out why the fuck one of the other four people or two cats in the house is crying, or just simply having someone stand over my shoulder as I type. Also, when I announce that I have to leave to do a show, the responses from the ladies of my home range from tears to anger. All in all, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. But please, if you have a dream to be a comedian and you do not have a wife or children, run with that dream. For the love of God, run like the wind! Or don’t. The world is always in need of fresh roustabouts.
If you’re a comic and want us to post your Unsolicited Advice, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Comedians Mike Rainey and Joe Mayo have been putting their talents to good use, starting the group Comedians for a Cause, booking comedy shows to raise money for various charities and people in need during the past few months. We caught up with Mayo to see what it’s all about.
How did the two of you guys start putting together shows as fundraisers?
We had been talking for well over a year now, and one night after I came from a funeral from a dear friend we went to one of Chip’s shows and wrote the gameplan on a bar napkin. After that we got our ass in gear and put on a show for Dustin Walls’ ball cancer.
Tell us a little about some of the shows you’ve already put on and have planned in the near future.
We have done I believe five to six shows already. Two for Dustin Walls’ Cancer, two for Autism, and one for my buddy’s son who passed at age 22. The next few shows we are planning are for Easter Seals, the National Kidney Foundation, another one for Dustin Walls, and the guy from Deftones who is real sick.
Are there any big picture ideas you have for grand fundraiser shows, for any specific causes?
Definitely, I would love to someday be putting on shows with national headliners support and big venues for anybody who needs our help. Nobody will be turned away.
Continue reading INTERVIEW: Joe Mayo on Comedians for a Cause
Mike Rainey has developed himself a reputation as one of Philly’s most brutal comics, as well as one of the quickest on his feet. He can be seen monthly with his segment Story Time with Mike Rainey at Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests).
How and why did you get into comedy?
I thought I was funny but didn’t have the balls to perform. Then, I saw Jim Norton and was blown away by the fact that someone could make me laugh for an hour straight. I soon after started writing jokes but still couldn’t work up the nerve to perform. I then went to see the band Tool perform and there was a moment where the lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, just spoke to the crowd while the band played softly in the background. I just remember him saying the words “take risks” and I felt like I had been punched in the chest. At that point, my mind was made up and I was finally going to do it. One of the reasons why I love performing comedy is that I always get so nervous before a show that I either throw up or have diarrhea.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I’ve been predominantly set up / punchline from day one, mostly about current events or nonsense that I made up. Lately though, I’ve been working on bits that are more personal and just trying to grow out of what I’ve relied upon up until this point.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
My favorite venue is The Shubin Theatre (Philly Improv Theater). Almost always a packed house and it is intimate enough as to where I can perform without a mic, which I prefer. As a performer, the most you can hope for out of an audience is for them to be willing to listen. The rest is up to you. The Shubin always allows that.
Continue reading TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Mike Rainey