Upcoming Shows

  • October 25, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • October 25, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • October 25, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • October 25, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 25, 2014 9:00 pmComedy Train Rek presents Awkward Sex and the City
  • October 25, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 25, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • October 25, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • October 29, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • October 30, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 30, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • October 31, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 31, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 31, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 1, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 1, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 1, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 1, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 1, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 1, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 1, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • November 5, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
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Black Friday Comedy Marathon – Performers and Small Businesses Wanted

black friday comedy marathonA 36 hour comedy marathon beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 28th will feature local comedy talent as part of Philly Comedy Month’s City Spotlight. The marathon will be hosted by the Hey, We’re Cool gang.

One of producer Brian Kelly’s goals for the marathon is to get many different theaters/revues/shows/performers in Philadelphia represented in the line-up so as to spread awareness about them to folks who may not know they exist.

Says Kelly, “The Black Friday Comedy Marathon is a big deal to me. I’m super excited and honored that Phit agreed to do it, that we have the hilarious Hey, We’re Cool hosting the marathon, and that I get to work on making it a reality with some truly amazing people.”

But they need performers! To submit your act for participation, visit Black Friday Comedy Marathon’s “submit your act” page.

In addition, Phit will be allying with small businesses in Philly; partnering businesses will be able to offer free admission to customers who shop at their stores beginning the Monday of Thanksgiving week (11/24), through Small Business Saturday (11/29).

If you know a local shop that would like to participate, send them to the Partner Your Business page.

Magnet Theater house team Baby Shoes performs Friday @ PHIT

Philly export Andy Moskowitz returns for a visit with his fancy Magnet Theater sketch troupe Baby Shoes. They perform Friday night at 9:00pm.

Baby Shoes Roger with text left

Here a a few videos by the NYC comedy group, known for their dark, twisted sort of humor…

You can get tickets online for $10.00 or $12.00 at the door.

Millenium Quest: Warp Jawn

Phit has put together an improvised sci-fi comedy show for all you cylons or whatever (just kidding, I totally know what those are).

Millenium Quest: Warp Jawn will be running four shows a week till May 3rd, you can find out all about it in this interview between Phit artistic director Ralph Andracchio and Warp Jawn director Kristin Schier.

Here’s the teaser trailer…

Thursday 4/24 — 7:30 pm
Friday 4/25 — 7:30 pm
Saturday 4/26 — 7:30 pm
Sunday 4/27 — 4:00 pm
Thursday 5/1 — 7:30 pm
Friday 5/2 — 7:30
Saturday 5/3 — 7:30

For tickets, visit PhillyImprovTheater.com

PHIT Officially Moves to The Adrienne!

http://www.adriennelive.org/

After years of Philly Improv Theater shows only occurring SOMETIMES… Phit is Philly’s comedy-hermit-crab, filling up the second floor of the Adrienne for a calendar-expanding all-the-time theater-space which will leave our alternative comedy scene drowning in shows!

Check out their newly buffed up all-month calendar, to which, by all reports, even more regular shows will be added as 2014 unravels.

(Oh, also, last chance to vote for Sunday’s WitOut Awards for Philly Comedy. [do it.])

Interview with New PHIT Artistic Director Ralph Andracchio

On Thursday, Philly Improv Theater announced some staffing additions: Ralph Andracchio will be heading up a new artistic direction team, along with Jessica Ross (Variety Director), Emily Davis (Improv Director), Kristen Schier (Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (Sketch Director). Here’s what Ralph had to say about his new role, and his plans for the theater.

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WitOut: You’re the new Artistic Director for PHIT! What exactly does that entail?

Ralph Andracchio: The Artistic Director’s job is to oversee the quality of the shows the theater is putting on, to ensure the theater is following its mission, and to connect with other performers and theaters to make us a bigger part of the performing arts community as a whole. My job is basically to make sure PHIT is turning out high quality shows that make us the number one spot for alternative comedy in Philadelphia.

WO: What are some of the plans you have for the theater?

RA: Hoo boy, what plans DON’T we have? The theater has grown so much since we started back in 2005, and we now reach thousands of people each year; whether it be through attending a show, taking a class, participating in a corporate workshop, or performing on our stage. We have the opportunity to reach even more people now, so the Artistic Team is focused on streamlining our schedule and putting together a coherent, quality lineup of talent that will bring in even more people to experience what we have to offer. And we have so much talent to work with now, it makes our job that much easier (or tougher, depending on how you look at it).

WO: As evidenced by some photos of a roundtable meeting/pizza party, it looks like the artistic team has already gotten to work. What changes and new ideas have you guys talked about so far? Are there any projects the producers have proposed that you’re particularly excited about?

RA: Let me begin by saying this team is awesome. Jessica Ross (our Variety Director), Emily Davis (our Improv Director), Kristen Schier (our Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (our Sketch Director) are all talented performers who bring so much experience to the table. Our first meeting was really successful, and everyone brought some really great ideas. Our immediate goal is to look at what shows, schedules, and processes we have in place now and see how we can make it all work better and make more sense. As our 2013 runs begin, both the performers and the audiences will see many gradual changes that over time will add up to a better experience for all.

Top 5 of 2012: Steve Kleinedler’s Top Five People Whose Ability to Grow Hair I Covet

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 contact@witout.net!

I started losing my hair in high school. All of the fun things I got to do in the 1980s with hair dye are long gone. On top of that, I never had to shave regularly until I was in my late 30s. In the late 1980s all I wanted was cool sideburns, and I had to wait until the trend came back around a couple years ago to almost be able to take advantage of it. I didn’t even have armpit hair until I was in my 20s. I spent most of my teen years too mortified to wear a tank top. I view most men with hair and the ability to grow facial hair wistfully. They have something I’ll never have.

Whenever I see these five guys, I can’t help but think about their hair. And how much I want to possess it.

5. Vegas Lancaster (improv team The N Crowd)
His hair has super powers that I cannot begin to comprehend. If you encounter Vegas in a dark alley, you are simultaneously frightened and awed.

4. Jp Boudwin (sketch group Camp Woods)
He can go from full-on French Canadian couch-surfing drifter to slightly more respectable French Canadian couch-surfing drifter simply by getting a hair cut. Also, when he gets his hair cut, he loses ten pounds in one whack.

3. Jess Carpenter (improv team Iron Lung, Comedian Deconstruction)
If I had the ability to rock full-on Wolverine facial hair like Jess does, I would be an unstoppable sex machine. I would do so much with that superpower, but it remains unattainable.

2. Dennis Trafny  (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hey Rube)
Dennis gets the nod over his [improv team] Bierdo brethren because with his bald head and piercing eyes, his head shots make for the best meme generation.

1. Chris Calletta  (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hot Dish)
Chris has the perfect hair of every actor in every hair product commercial and/or Francis Ford Coppola film from the early 1970s. Chris, you probably think I’m constantly cruising you, but really, when I’m staring vacantly at you, I’m for real just coveting your hair.

Steve Kleinedler started doing improv in 1982 and studied and performed off and on in the 1980s and 1990s. He began performing at ImprovBoston in 2001 and teaching and directing there in 2004. He performed with IB’s Harold Team Marjean for three years. Steve directed numerous improv troupes and shows at IB, including The Family Show (2004-2007), Backstory (a ‘Memento’-inspired improv show, which he reprised with Hot Dish for the Philly Fringe festival in 2012), and IB’s sketch ensemble The Ruckus (2007-2010). He’s directed numerous one-person shows and scripted plays. At PHIT he currently directs PHIT house team Hot Dish and has appeared onstage in numerous guises, including Half-Life with Nathan Edmondson.  He is also a founding member of Shattered Globe Theatre in Chicago.

Top 5 of 2012: Matt Nelson’s Top Five Whoa, So Glad I was in the Audience! Moments

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 contact@witout.net!

#5 – Sue Taney in Mother Truckers at Troika
03.09.2012 | Sideshow at the Arts Parlor
The concept for this Troika trio was pretty clear: Square Meg, Sweet n’ Sassy Cassidy & Star-Spangled Sharlene were three truck-driving, sass-talking long haulers who conversed via CB radio. The characters were great, and the costumes were a sight to behold. But what really made this show something for the books was Sue’s character and her obsession with snack foods. Planting herself in the bucket seat of her trusty big rig, Sue had packed a ridiculous number of munchies into a bag, which she proceeded to chow down on, dialogue be damned. This series of side-bits heightened to the point that Sue genuinely got her hand stuck in a tube of Pringles while diving for the last chip. A good part of the show was spent with a can shaped nub, and the resounding and so-satisfying pop that came with the eventual release of her hand was then instantly topped once more by Sue licking the Pringles seasoning off her arm.

#4 – Davenger at PHIF8
11.07.2012 | Prince Music Theater
As one of the newest house teams from PHIT, at this point I’d only had occasion to see Davenger a handful of times. Having been a fan of their coach Maggy Keegan for years, I knew this team was going to have “Harold” drilled deep into them, but I was hardly prepared for what would happen on the opening night of PHIF8. Shows like this remind me why the term “beats” is so spot on. Constructing their piece, they had a rhythm, pitch and level of synchronicity that is normally reserved for groups that have been playing together for years. All of these disparate moments became anchored to and eventually informed by a fantastic group game. Every cast member was leaning so far into every moment, that it felt like they couldn’t even be bothered with gravity.

#3 – Aaron Hertzog at BCCAF
09.09.2012 | ImprovBoston Mainstage
Admittedly, this one may be a bit of a cheat, as it took place in Boston; but it featured (then-Philly resident) Aaron Hertzog, and to be honest, this moment transcended any particular place we might have been, because we were no longer in this world. The night before, Aaron had featured at The Brattle (the largest venue of BCCAF). I was in the All-Star set right after and got to take in most of his current act. It was a great set, and he lived up to the stage. But this wouldn’t be his crowning moment. The following night IB had a showcase of comics featured throughout the week. Good stuff from Mary Radzinski, Pete Kuempel and many others. And they had to earn every bit of it… this was the last show on the last night of what had been a long festival. Even the locals had mostly bailed, and we were left with a few die-hards, staff, other comedians and a few randoms. Anyone who was feeling zapped and pulled thin was about to unknowingly receive a comedy face slap courtesy of Mr. Hertzog. Aaron came out and from the top injected more energy than I’ve ever seen from a comic not fueled by coke and living in the ’70s. It’s hard to describe what I heard and saw that night, but he went totally through the roof and off the rails in all the best, most captivating ways. I’ve never before or since seen a comic jump start and hold firm dominance over a room like Aaron did that quiet little Sunday night in Cambridge.

#2 – Kristin Finger’s Ref debut at ComedySportz
10.13.2012 | Playground at the Adrienne
This entry is great example of what can happen when an improviser and an audience member create a perfect storm that you wish could be bottled (then hidden in a trunk and locked away forever). Kristin has been a ComedySportz player for years now, but made her debut as a Ref only two short months ago. The night had gone well… player challengers, ref challenges, 5-things… the teams had battled and laughs were flowing. As you might imagine, many family, friends and fans were in attendance on this particular night—but fortunately, so was a random man. A random man with a random suggestion. At one point towards the end of the show, she asks the audience for a noun, and this man shouts, “black!” Now, granted this fell more into the adjective category, but Kristin shrugged it off and took it, for a game called 185. Which she had already announced as the next game. For those unfamiliar with the game, this means nothing to you. For those that do, and most of the audience in attendance that night, what almost came to pass is quite clear. You see, the setup of 185 is a groaner-style punchline game where improvisers take a suggestion, and fit it to a pre-established formula: 185 suggestions walk into a bar. The bartender says “we don’t serve suggestions in this bar,” so the suggestions reply “pun punchline.” Now go back and fill the blanks with that man’s suggestion. The whole place lost it, especially as we saw the full scope of pending doom and shocked reaction crawl across Kristin’s face. It was a show-stopper. After about two minutes of trying to gain the composure of eye-tearing laughter from everyone in the place, Kristin decided to get a new suggestion.

#1 – Kait & Andrew at PHIT
12.02.2012 | Shubin Theatre
My top spot goes to a show that probably had the smallest audience of any on my list. A few short weeks ago Kait & Andrew did a 7PM show at the Shubin, sharing a bill with Matt&. Kait & Andrew had a pretty decent show, punctuated by their classic fourth wall-breaking banter that makes them so endearing and honest. It was fun, but not exceedingly stand-out—until the last scene, where everything changed. Kaitlin started the scene off by coming unglued at Andrew… startlingly so. Andrew came right back at her. The scope of the argument was that he had spent 8 years training to be a hide-and-seek champion, meanwhile she’d felt completely neglected in their relationship. In turn, he felt she wasn’t supporting his training, which he was doing for the betterment of their relationship. Over the course of the next few minutes, the two would spew accusations at one another, managing to pull out callback after callback of damn near every element of the show up until then. From fantastical gifts like Mayan Bee Fighting to seemingly insignificant expressions and sighs, everything was ammo. And during this escalating vitriol volley, neither forgot for a moment to ground everything to the characters, their shared relationship and raw emotions. It was like the first 20 minutes were merely a set up to this moment of explosion. The slow fade to black as Andrew moved to cover his dog’s eyes left me with shivering excitement and disbelief at the high-stake magic I’d just been witness to.

Matt Nelson is Executive Producer of the Philadelphia Improv Festival and Managing Director of Figment Theater. In addition to running the annual improv competition Troika, Matt can be seen performing in the touring show Adrift. You can follow him on Twitter at @ma77nelson.

Comedy Love Letter – from Kristen Schier to Improv 101 Students

by Kristen Schier

Here is why I love you, Improv 101 Student: You are embarking on a huge adventure even if you aren’t aware of it yet. Your willingness to discover and to try something new is courageous and inspiring. I wait with anticipation to see how you will change the face of the scene in Philly as you become more involved–and you will become more involved, because improv is a sort of cult. Ok, improv is definitely a cult—but don’t be scared, because it’s a benign cult. But definitely a cult. (One more time: “cult.”)Some level one students sign up without any idea of what they are getting into. Some are returning to improvisation/acting or a creative endeavor for the first time in a long time. Some of you have loved improv for years, but this is your first time giving it a shot in a brand new city. No matter what, you’re on an adventure, and you’re making new discoveries, and for that I admire you. At the risk of sounding cheesy, a sense of discovery is what it’s all about, isn’t it? I love watching people discover/rediscover how much fun it is to play. I mean, it’s darn-right inspiring.

Also, the willingness of the new improv student to jump into the unknown and be game for anything is a great reminder for more experienced improvisers of how they’re supposed to play. I suppose someone could make the claim that this doesn’t apply to all level one students, and that my portrait of the level one student is somewhat idealized.  And to them I say, “Yup, you’re probably right. But some of them do exist, and those are the ones I care about.” I think that a beginning student’s sense of adventure is a model for those who have been improvising a while longer, and consequently have a bit of a stick up their bum about it. Improvisers who have been working for a long time develop a somewhat understandable sophomoric skepticism about the work. They start to close themselves off from possibilities. Not everyone—just some people. And these are the exact people who need to watch a level one class, and see that the students in there are trying things that are brand new, and playing in a wonderful, earnest way.

As an experienced improviser, I’ve learned from my level one students to always try new things—which is a great way to prevent myself from developing a myopic view of the world. Being around level one students is one of the reasons I recently forced myself to sign up for a dodgeball group, even though I pretty much suck at dodgeball. Level one students, by their example, continuously encourage me to venture outside my comfort zone.  Of course life is and should be about more than just improv—but I guess it’s strange that a group of people signing up for an improv class reminds me of that, and reminds me that I should always be looking to try something else – something new, different and definitely uncomfortable. I can’t wait to see what I sign up for next. (I’m thinking some sort of martial art. Yeah, that ought to do it. So, thanks for that, too, level one-ers.)

And here comes the creepy cult-like part: I remember when I first started hanging around improv shows and falling in love with improv, and how the people I met became my really good friends—and I like that I see that happening with you students who are just beginning now. I hate to think that any of you will stay shy and/or intimidated in such an open and accepting culture. We can appear to be a closed group at times, but none of us are perfect, and I can assure you that at one point in time all of us were “new.” But it did not take long for this community to absorb us. So—see you around!

Kristen Schier is one half of the Philadelphia-based improv duo The Amie & Kristen Show/The Kristen & Amie Show, as well as a Philly Improv Theater instructor; improv instructor at University of the Arts; director for PHIT House Team ZaoGao; and Artistic Director for the short-form Philadelphia improv group The N Crowd.

Want to write a Comedy Love Letter to your favorite comedian, theater, improv team or sketch group? Email alison@witout.net!