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As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at email@example.com!
I love seeing comedy in Philly but with a day job outside of the city it’s difficult to make it to too many shows. Since I’m a writer/performer on The Monthly Hour, I usually try to make it to that show, and since it’s a variety show, I get to see a lot of different acts there. So here is my list of the top 5 guest appearances on The Monthly Hour that I’ve actually seen (I missed a couple shows—sorry, ManiPedi—and was not allowed out of the basement at the Shubin Theater for others).
5. Brendan Kennedy
Some may call it a sentimental pick, but I thought his stand-up at the November show was great. Brendan is heading to LA in January to eventually park cars for a living, but in the 2 months before his departure, he has graced us with a number of great performances. The Philly Comedy scene is going to miss Brendan Kennedy. Minus the drunken slurring, he is what funny people in this city should strive to be. A great stand-up, a member of a spectacular sketch group (Camp Woods), host of an awesome show at the PHIT (Guilty Pleasures) and a member of a crappy improv group (Hate Speech Committee—and for the record, I’m not saying all improv is crappy, just Hate Speech), Brendan embraces all things funny. Plus, he discovered Roger Snair.
4. Tommy Pope
Picking a Tommy performance seems like cheating, but I remember this one as particularly funny. Tommy had a great year in comedy and getting the chance to see people like him perform in an intimate theater like the Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin Theater is a really cool thing.
3. Omar Scruggs
When Darryl Charles couldn’t perform at Philly Sketchfest due to a hole in his neck, Omar stepped in at the last minute and performed Darryl’s part. We asked Omar to act like a warm-up comedian from Def Comedy Jam which was completely incongruous with the wholesome “Morning Show” that he was opening for. Omar came out and yelled so many profane things at the audience that he ran out of breath. Later he came back out and ended the show with an amazing ad lib, “All right, you muthaf’ers, I’m back!” The crowd went nuts. Really one of the funniest moments I saw live this year.
2. Christian Alsis
Christian came on the show and performed stand-up. If you’ve only ever seen Christian be a Feeko Brother and have never seen him do stand-up, you’re missing out. Billy Bob Thompson might be the good looking one in the duo, but Christian is definitely one of the top two funniest members of the Feeko Brothers. What made Christian’s performance even better is that he stayed onstage after his set and performed as himself in a pun-based game show sketch. He learned his lines in the 30 minutes before the show and really did a great job of “acting” confused.
1. Chip Chantry and the Chip Chantry Players
This was such a simple bit, but one that still makes me laugh. Chip and the Players (aka Carl Boccuti) came out as a new improv group. Upon taking a suggestion from the crowd, they took a few notes on paper and then promised to come back the following month to perform some “improv” based on that suggestion. So simple, but so incredibly funny.
Thanks to everybody that was a part of The Monthly Hour this year and thanks to everyone in the Philly comedy community. Keep it funny and friendly.
Mikey Gleason is a stand-up comedian, a filmmaker, and a writer/performer on The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at Philly Improv Theater. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeygleason and subscribe to his YouTube channel. It would help him cry less.
Last night, the seventh annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest kicked off at Helium Comedy Club. This year, over 150 comedians will compete in 11 preliminary rounds for the chance to move on to the semi-finals, and eventually the finals, where one will be named Philly’s “Phunniest”. Last night, James Hesky, Omar Scruggs, and Vince Patterson moved on to the next round. The competition continues next Monday, June 11 and the opening round continues on Sunday and Monday nights until August 13 (full schedule here).
This weekend marked the debut of two new Philly Improv Theater House Teams. Davenger (formerly Codename Westmarch) and Hot Dish (formerly Codename Strider) took the stage with UCB team Surfing Friday night to two sold out shows and returned to packed housed at PHIT again on Saturday night. If you missed it, you can read the two new teams introduce themselves to the world through Witout here (Davenger) and here (Hot Dish).
This weekend Philly Improv Theater will host the third annual Duofest, a celebration of improv duos from across the country. Shows start Thursday night and continue through until Sunday. Improv workshops taught by Jill Bernard, Joe Bill, Rachel & Dave, and Twinprov are also being held. Also – be on the lookout for more Duofest Interviews this week, here on Witout.
The lineup and date for the next Camp Woods Plus at L’etage (6th and Bainbridge) has been announced. Their next monthly show will be Wednesday, June 13th at 8:00PM and will feature brand new sketches from Camp Woods as well as guests The New Dreamz and Angel Yau.
Friday, June 15th, Mani Pedi will host their second ManiParty, this time at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) Mani Pedi will welcome guests Carolyn Busa and American Breakfast. Doors for the event open at 8:00PM and the show begins at 9, with a dance party following the comedy. Tickets for ManiParty are $10 and include free ice cream.