Upcoming Shows

  • February 7, 2014 7:30 pmFirst Fridays w/ Interrobang
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 28, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 28, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • 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 @ Helium
  • November 29, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 29, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 29, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 29, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 29, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • December 3, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • December 4, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 4, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 5, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • December 5, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 5, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 5, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 6, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • December 6, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
AEC v1.0.4

Interview with Philly’s Phunniest 2014 Matt McCusker

Matt McCusker Philly's Phunniest 2014WitOut: First off, congratulations! What was the plan, thought-process, expectations, prior experiences with the contest, etc…

Matt McCusker: Hey thank you! The plan was to just try to focus on having fun and being as present as possible on stage and not be all in my head trying to remember all my jokes. As far as prior experience with the contest, I made it to the finals some years ago and ultimately lost. After my initial defeat my father brought me into our room of ancestors (the place where we keep marble busts of all of our male predecessors) and spoke to me about the importance of bringing glory to the house of McCusker. That was all I needed to see.

WitOut: What will you be doing with the thousand dollars?

McCusker: It’s been dipped into a bit. Depending on how much it costs to replace the shocks on my car I might buy myself a new pair of jeans. Anything left over will just go toward the rent.

WitOut: Tell us about your day-job. Also, a/s/l?

McCusker: My a/s/l is super secret. However, I will tell you that I currently work as a cook in a pizza shop and write for a few websites on a freelance basis. I also get permits for construction companies from time to time. I believe its called expediting.

WitOut: Who are the Philly scene comedians you looked up to, getting your start in this area, and what was your general process of getting into comedy?

McCusker: I always looked up to the Center City Comedy guys (H Foley, Cotton, Cassidy) as well as Anton Shuford and a bunch of other guys as well. I got into comedy by doing an open mic at Helium. The first joke I ever told was how I thought Chris Hanson was a glorified cock-block and snitch. I like to think that I’ve evolved a bit since then. After releasing that gem upon the citizens of Philadelphia, I started hitting a bunch of different mics all over town. After a while I got pulled into the fold of the notoriously sinister Raven Lounge open mic. For about a year I lived and died by the first half line up of that place and eventually became a regular there. The whole time I was very off and on, and I used to be known to take very long “breaks.” The longest break I took was 2 years after getting married when I was 26 and after realizing that I suck at every possible job there is I came back to comedy. That was just last year and have been loving it ever since.

WitOut: Biggest and/or best gig yet?

McCusker: Opened up for Dustin Diamond once. He was kinda a dick, but pretty cool to me which was exciting.

WitOut: Who are your favorite comedians?

McCusker: Hmm. I’ve never been big on “favorites” really. What happens to me is I find a comedian and obsess over them. I watch every clip of them on a camera ever, and then move on to another and do the same. In the past some of the comedians have been Louis CK, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Patrice O’ Neil, and lately I’ve been liking a lot of Rob Delaney’s stuff.

WitOut: Are there any movies from this past year that you’ve enjoyed?

McCusker: I haven’t been seeing a lot of movies lately but would have to say Place Beyond The Pines was pretty tight. I can say without a doubt that my favorite move is Easy Rider.

WitOut: What musicians do you like?

McCusker: I listen to a wide array, but I can say without a doubt that my hands down favorite artist of all time would be the godfather of grunge Neil Young. Second place would be the 90’s British R&B sensation Craig David. I also like the Grateful Dead, but kinda hate their core fans :(

WitOut: How would you solve the current Gaza strip Ukranian conflicts?

McCusker: Honestly haven’t been following it that much. From what I think I know about Gaza you just have groups of people who have been hating each other for centuries over territory disputes. Then after so many people are killed on each side it just becomes a never ending game of “one-upmanship” which is really kind of sad. It also doesn’t help that you have major super powers like Britain and the US who have been popping in and out over there and messing with the situation to gain access to their natural resources.

The Russia and Ukraine thing, from what I’ve skimmed, is about Russia wants Ukrainians to be Russian(?) and apparently some Ukrainians do want to be Russian and some don’t so they’re all fighting now, which I’m sure is a very oversimplified explanation, but honestly I think a great deal of these conflicts (if not all) stem from one person or group trying to dominate another and the other group pushing back against said domination.

For some reason there’s a majority of people who think battles over land and resources are a thing of the past that only medieval kings did, but I think that stuff still goes on today. Only now the leaders of aggressive countries have learned to cloak their base agenda in all kinds of high minded concepts and spirituality. Like when we go into other countries and kill people so they can have democracy…

I really hope this doesn’t all sound like a crazy youtube comment.
~~~~~

You can follow Matt McCusker on twitter @mattmccusker or catch his writing on ViralEyze.com

Register Now for Philly’s Phunniest

Helium PPPC

Register here for the 2014 Philly’s Phunniest Competition. Space is limited!

Interview With Tommy Pope, New Face at the 2012 Just For Laughs Festival

In case you haven’t already heard the news, 2011 Philly’s Phunniest Person Tommy Pope has been selected to perform as a New Face at the prestigious 2012 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. We caught up with Tommy to ask him some questions about his recent achievement.

WITOUT: First of all, congratulations on being selected as a New Face for the 2012 Just for Laughs Festival. What was the audition process like?

Tommy Pope: Thanks buddy. It was fun. Auditions are fun, right? Like contests! Comedy contests are fun too, right? Do you like murder? Murder is fun. So, there were 3 rounds of auditions in NY and it lasted around 6 months. The tough part is that you don’t receive any feedback after your set. You just hope to get a callback months later. But receiving the invitation is worth all the stress. And blood.

WO: How did you choose your audition set? Did you pick your favorite jokes, or try to pick a set that had a theme, or that would best represent your own specific voice? Did you change it for each callback?

TP: I learned a lot about constructing a short set from performing in Philly’s Phunniest. I’d say it’s a mixture of all those things. Its my favorite jokes that have a theme as well as represent my voice. Btw, I would never say that last sentence out loud for fear of turning into an actual asshole. Throughout the 6 months I definitely wanted to change it. I have newer bits that I enjoy telling but you know the previous round worked so I just added chunks and tags.

WO: When did you find out that you were selected? Was it hard to keep the big news a secret?

TP: I found out May 30th, 4:07 pm. Seriously, I took a screen shot. It was terrible holding it in. It’s my first credit and you can’t share it with anyone. I didn’t even tell loved ones outside of the comedy circle for fear that they would post it on my Facebook wall. The last thing I need is my Aunt Mimi fucking up my dream with a simple post like, “Your Mom told me about Canada, you should bring a girl over for cake. Neil’s cutting the lawn.”

WO: Since knowing that you’re going to Montreal, have you made any changes in the way you approach stand-up in preparation for the festival?

TP: Not a thing. If it ain’t broke…keep drinking every night till your anxiety makes you question your existence.

WO: Have you talked to any other comedians who may have been New Faces in recent years for any pointers or advice? If so, what are some of your favorite words of wisdom?

TP: I’ve spoken to a few but not about advice, just well wishing. The most memorable quote came from Mark Normand, who described Montreal as “Comedy Disneyland”.

WO: Historically, Montreal has been a place where many comedians have arrived as unknowns and left with television deals. Do you have any pitches in your brain in case they come a-knocking? 

TP: I have a pitch idea about a sitcom where John McKeever and I get married and make videos from the comfort of our own Jet-skis. It’s (loosely) based on real life.

WO: What’s next for you? Do you have any specific plans or goals for the near or long-term future?

TP: I plan on doing standup and continuing to make quality videos with BirdText. We have some great things in the pipeline. But we need money. Seriously. Do you like murder?

You can see Tommy perform at Helium Comedy Club hosting and closing the Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest. He also produces sketch comedy videos as a member of Bird Text.