A Bunch of Improv at The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) will celebrate their one-year anniversary at the Manayunk venue this Tuesday with a show featuring improv from Deleted Scenes, Rosen & Milkshake, Bed Savage, and Cock Hat. The show will be hosted by Ryan Carey and will also feature a new installment of Web Cereal, their monthly sketch comedy video.
This Thursday Comedian Deconstruction returns to L’etage (624 South 6th St.) for their “Couples Therapy” show featuring stand-up from Chip Chantry, Chris Rich, Alison Zeidman, and Joe Bell with improv from Bed Savage and Cake Bear.
This Friday Grammy-award-winning comedian Lewis Black will bring his Running on Empty tour to the Academy of Music for a one-night-only performance. The comedian is known for his “unfiltered and frank rants about the absurdity of politics and the world around us”. Tickets can be purchased online.
We Can All Change, a new monthly show from hosts Dan Scully, Mike Logan, Setoiyo, and David Piccolomini at O’Neals Pub (611 S. 3rd St.) will debut this Friday with a show featuring performances from Jared Rosado, Elise Thompson-Hohl, Lou Misiano, and Pat Barker.
The Tough Stuff Comedy Show will also debut this Friday at Headhouse (122 Lombard St.) The show will feature stand-up performances from Alex Grubard, Mary Radzinski, John Nunn, and H. Foley. After their sets, the comedians will sit down with hosts Sidney Gantt and Kevin Ryan, where they will share “their most embarrassing and crazy stories.” Tickets are available online.
ComedySportz Philadelphia presents: BeatBox Philly this Friday at The Playground at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom St.) The show will feature some of your favorite members of the ComedySportz Philadelphia team performing a mix of improvised scenes and freestyle raps. Tickets can be purchased online.
This Friday at The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) The Sideshow presents: The 2013 Oscars Improv Jam. For the third straight year comedians from around Philadelphia will get dressed up and enjoy a night of improv, parody videos, food, and BYOB drinking. Following the jam there will also be a showing of film sensation The Room.
The Captain Action Comedy Show is this Saturday at the Conshohocken Cafe (521 Fayette St. Conshohocken). This month’s show will feature performances by Anton Shuford, Michael Donovan, and Elise Thompson-Hohl with a Captain Action Comedy Quiz Show and more from co-hosts Sidney Gantt and Dave Terruso.
Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern (901 W. Butler Pike, Ambler, PA) will feature stand-up from Andy Nolan, Jim Ginty, and Alex Pearlman with guest sets from Chris Dolan, Caitlyn Feeney, and Dave Topor. Tickets can be purchased online.
Submissions for the 15th Annual Del Close Marathon are now open. The improv festival will take place June 28-30 on multiple stages throughout New York City. The marathon is known for bringing improvisers from around the country together for a few days of performances ranging from traditional improv institutions to crazy, late-night shows. The deadline to submit is April 2.
The early application deadline for this year’s Duofest, to be held right here in Philadelphia from June 6-9, is this Friday, February 22. Interested improv duos will have until then to take advantage of the lower application fee of $22. The final deadline to submit is March 2 (at a price of $32). More information can be found online.
Philly Improv Theater is currently holding sign-ups for auditions to add three new improv teams to their roster. One team, directed by Ralph Andracchio, will be cast as a PHIT House Team and will perform on Saturday nights at the theater. The other two teams, directed by Rob Gentile and Alex Newman will be PHIT’s first Harold Teams, and will perform on Tuesday nights. Auditions will be held March 9-10 and to secure an audition you can email your name, phone number, a preferred audition time, and details of your past improv training (if you have not completed PHIT’s Improv 201) to email@example.com.
Philly Improv Theater is looking for their next monthly variety show, with new artistic direction team member Jess Ross leading the process. “PHIT already has some of the best variety shows around hosted by some Philly’s top comedians, including The Monthly Hour with James Hesky, Fibber hosted by Hillary Rea, Guilty Pleasures with Roger C. Snair and new host Joe Moore, Reasonable Discourse with Jerks hosted by Jim Grammond, and TV Party hosted by Paul Triggiani and Rob Baniewicz,” says Jess. “Now PHIT is looking for its next big variety show! Much like sweeps week on television, PHIT needs you to pitch your fresh, new, funny ideas and we will choose one to add to our already amazing variety show line-up!”
Here’s the full info on submitting:
Ever wanted to host your own show at PHIT? Have an original idea you’ve never seen at the theater before? Well we are looking for PHIT’s next big Variety Show and need your ideas!
May is going to host the first ever Sweeps Weeks at PHIT. If you have an original idea for a show you’d like to host on a monthly basis at the theater, let us know! What counts as a variety show? It can be anything you want: game show, talk show, something musical, something dancing, puppets, dressing up like baby penguins… anything you can think of (as long as it’s not strictly improv or sketch, cause we have a lot of that already)!
If you are interested in submitting, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org your name and email address and “Sweeps Weeks” in the subject line. You will then be sent a brief survey to answer some questions about your show idea. Make sure to be as detailed as possible in your description of the show – the more we know about your idea, the better! The deadline to submit is MARCH 10TH. All submissions will receive a reply by March 14th. We are accepting shows on a rolling basis, so the sooner you get your idea in the better!
Selected shows will perform a 30-minute “pilot” paired with another sweeps week show on one of the following dates: May 1st, 8th, 15th, or 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. and the audience will then rate the shows to determine which will go on to a semi-final round. The four semi-finalists will perform again on May 29th and two finalists will perform June 5th. The winning show will be decided by a panel of judges then receive a run at PHIT. Runners up may also be offered other chances to perform. If your show is not picked, you will have still have had the chance to workshop a show idea you could produce elsewhere and receive feedback to help improve it!
Hey 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.
A new open mic at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) hosted by Dan Vetrano and Joe Murdock begins tonight. The stage is open to all comedy performers and the hosts also encourage bringing a video to show on the Ric Rac’s screen. Sign ups begin at 8:30 and the mic starts at 9:00.
Philly Improv Theater is now accepting applications to their Improv Conservatory class to take place this spring. The conservatory class will accept eight students to work with director Steve Kleinedler to develop a new “style of play”. At the end of the eight-week class, the ensemble will perform a one-month run of shows at PHIT. Applications are being accepted until February 28.
This Wednesday touring show Comedians at Law will visit Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St. Philadelphia). The show will feature performances from lawyers-turned-stand-up-comedians Alex Barnett, J-L Cauvin, Kevin Israel, Matt Ritter. Tickets can be purchased online.
Also this Wednesday Accidents Will Happen returns to The Adobe Cafe (947 E. Passyunk Ave.) This month’s show will feature performances from: Rachel Fogletto, Dave Terruso, Dan Scully, Matt Monroe, Malwina, Bino Brown, and Tommie Turner as well as a Dating Game and the “1st annual WitAccidents Open Mic Awards!” The show begins at 9:00pm and is immediately followed by an open mic.
This Thursday Bird Text brings their comedy show back to Helium Comedy Club for a night featuring stand-up from Mike Lawrence, Doogie Horner, Mary Radzinski, and Tommy Pope plus brand new Bird Text sketches. Tickets can be purchased online.
Chase N’ Laughs Comedy/Karaoke/Fish Fry is this Saturday at Treasures Banquet Hall (5549 Germantown Ave). Doors open at 5:00pm with free martinis being served until 6:00 and comedy beginning at 8:00. Tickets can be purchased by calling 267-405-2025.
Joe Conklin’s 3rd Annual Comedy Showcase is also taking place this Saturday at Glen Mills Thornbury Rotary at Penn Oaks Country Club (150 Penn Oaks Dr. West Chester, PA). The night will feature a DJ, cocktail hour, dinner, and comedy from the “man of a thousand voices.”
This Sunday Propoganda!, a monthly comedy show from Denver, CO., will come to L’etage (624 South 6th St.) for a free show featuring comedy from: Alex Grubard, Alex Pearlman, Doogie Horner, Scott Sharp, Brett Hiker, and Ray DeVito.
Philly Improv Theater will also have shows all this week at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge Street). Some of their regular shows have changed days and times so make sure you check out their full schedule online.
If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to email@example.com
Philly Improv Theater recently announced its new artistic team set to take over day-to-day booking and talent management. The team will be led by Ralph Andracchio as Artistic Director and will include: Emily Davis as Improv Producer, Brian Kelly as Sketch Producer, Jessica Ross as Variety Producer and Kristen Schier as Season Producer.
The Not Just Comedy Show debuts this Tuesday at The Grape Room (105 Grape St. Manayunk). The show will be hosted by Jess Carpenter and feature stand-up from Shannon Dapper, Geoff Jackson, Chip Chantry, N.a. Poe, and LaTice; improv from Bed Savage; and music from Tim Raymus.
East Coast Power Nap also makes its debut this week at the Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) on Wednesday. The show is presented by TJ Hurley and Alejandro Morales and will feature performances by Doogie Horner, Carolyn Busa, Sidney Gantt, the Necrosexual, Joe Bell and Dan King, with a “surprise appearance” by Lou Misiano.
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 Thursday, January 31 and Saturday, February 2 at The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St.) The show will cost $5 at the door and will feature the comedic ukelele songs of Lizzie Spellman as an opening act.
This Saturday there are multiple shows for comedy fans to choose from including the Live, Love, Laugh Comedy Show (East Eden Catering – 5600 Germantown Ave) hosted by Kendrick Jones and Shanell Renee and featuring headliner Timmy Hall and feature act Jonas.
Also this Saturday is The 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular (The Adobe Cafe – 1919 E. Passyunk Ave). Hosted by Hillary Rea and Larry Napolitano. The show will feature stand-up from Carolyn Busa, John Nunn, TJ Hurley and Jim Ginty as well as a seitan buffalo wing eating competition and special guests throughout the evening.
Comedian Jim Jeffries will visit Philadelphia this Saturday to perform at the Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch St.) The comedian, known for his appearances at the Just for Laughs and Edinburgh Fringe festivals as well as his HBO specials will perform two shows (7:30PM, 10:00PM). Tickets are available online.
Comedian and writer Jo Pincushionsent us this video of herself and comedian Jackie Chipotle giving some tips for any Philadelphia bloggers looking to name their sites.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tonight at 8pm Philly Improv Theater will host The Roast of Brendan Kennedy. Kennedy has been a stand-up comedian, member of sketch group Camp Woods, improviser with Hate Speech Committee, and host of PHIT show Guilty Pleasures in Philadelphia for the past few years and is preparing to move to Los Angeles early in 2013. The roast tonight will be hosted by Benny Michaels and will feature sets from John McKeever, Rob Baniewicz, Jess Ross, Christian Alsis, Jim Grammond, Brian Craig, Mike Rainey, Shannon Brown, Doogie Horner, Roger Snair, Alex Pearlman, Greg Maughan, Joey Dougherty. One member of the dais couldn’t wait for tonight and wanted to dedicate a Top Five list to Brendan. We now present Rob Baniewicz’s Top Five Shows Sabotaged by Brendan Kennedy.
1. Bedtime Stories: Revenge!
2. Guilty Pleasures feat. Fastball Bob
3. Chicago Sketchfest 2012 Sketch Open Mic
4. Kings of Leon v. Soiree
5. Bing Supernova Cavalcade of Fools
Anyone in attendance at any of these shows is sure to know why Rob included them on his list. Do you have a favorite Brendan Kennedy moment? Share it in our comment section or feel free to explain to those who may not know why these are some of Rob’s.
This Thursday L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) will host The Final Camp Woods Plus. The monthly show produced by the sketch group has been a showcase of brand new sketches every month and will culminate with a show featuring New York’s We’re Matt Weir and Philadelphia groups American Breakfast and Daring Daulton.
This Tuesday No. 2(#2)(Number 2) will debut at St. Stephen’s Green (1701 Green St.) The open mic will be hosted by Robert X and Chris O’Conner. Signups begin at 7:30 and the show starts at 8.
Watch as quizzo master/comedian Johnny Goodtimes talks to The Legendary WID about a few of the bands and comedians he opened for in the past. The clip also showcases some highlights from one of WID’s sets at Philly Improv Theater.
In case you missed it, sketch group ManiPedi was featured as the cover story for last week’s Philadelphia Weekly. Pick up a copy while they are still in newsstands around the city and read the article online.
The next Camp Woods Plus at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) will be next Thursday, December 6th and will feature sketch comedy from New York group We’re Matt Weir as well as Philly groups Daring Daulton and American Breakfast. As always, the show will be headlined with a set of brand new sketches by Camp Woods.