This Tuesday Rittenhouse Comedy at Noche will put on its final open mic at the Chestnut Street bar. The night will be a celebration and a good-bye to the Tuesday night stage stand-ups have been testing out material on for the past two years.
This Thursday, Philly Improv Theater will host the return of Bing Supernova’s Cavalcade of Fools, a stand-up comedy showcase hosted by the legendary comedian himself. This time around Bing will share the stage with guests Brendan Kennedy, Juliet Hope Wayne and Mike Rainey, with more surprise special guests promised.
The First Ladies of Comedy Fundraiser will take place this Friday at PHIT. The show will feature jokes performed by the significant others of some of Philly’s best comedians. All proceeds will go to Angel 34, a charity set up by Michelle Somishka, whose 2-year-old daughter Aubrey recently passed away from neuroblastoma. The show will be hosted by Mary Radzinski and jokes will be performed by Jaime Mulhern (Mike Rainey), Timaree Leigh (Carl Bocutti), Shannon Brown (Brendan Kennedy), MaryJo Butterly (Tim Butterly), Kim Broadbent (Chip Chantry), Lorraine Dean (Darryl Charles), Dennis Nguyen (Steve Miller-Miller) and Samantha Russell Craig (Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez).
This Saturday, Rookie Card at The Raven Lounge will return with a show featuring stand-up comedian Brandon “Ketchup” Wilson, opening improv group The Self-Esteem Motivators, and Rookie Card will headline with a set inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Rookie Card will also be saying goodbye to founding member Jake Alvarez, as it will be his last performance with the group.
Tickets are now on sale for Marc Maron’s return to Helium Comedy Club. The comedian, known for his WTF Podcast, will be performing at the Philadelphia club December 6-8. Get your tickets now, as the shows are sure to sell out.
This Saturday, Comedians for a Cause will hold a Benefit Dustin Walls at Connie’s Ric Rac. The show will feature comedians Joe Mayo, Mike Rainey, James Hesky, Tommy Pope, Dave Terruso, and Eric Todd and all proceeds will go to the family of Dustin, a local friend to many comics who recently passed away after a fight with cancer. Donations can also be made via Pay Pal to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are multiple chances this week to get out and see some storytelling. On Tuesday Second Stories Presents: Dream Date (7:00pm, The Dive) will feature stories from Alanna Kennedy-Gorman, Alejandro Morales, Lia Brennan, Alex Gross, Hillary Rea, Larry Napolitano,and Jaime Fountaine. Wednesday’s Tell Me a Story: Yesterday (7:00pm, Shot Tower Coffee) will feature stories from Carolyn Busa, Martha Cooney, Jaime Fountaine, Alejandro Morales, Larry Napolitano, Dave Terruso, Becca Trabin, Todd Shaeffer.
This Wednesday Rooftop Comedy will come to Philadelphia’s Temple University to help pick the team of student comedians that will represent the Owls in this years’ National College Comedy Competition. The show will be at 8:00pm in The Owl Cove in Mitten Hall on Temple’s campus and will feature student comedians vying for a spot in the March 18th competition against Penn State at Helium Comedy Club.
On Friday, The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St.) will host The Sideshow: Powerballin’ . The show will feature improv sets from Asteroid! Beirdo and a Powerball Team, where PHIT Training Center students can put their name in a hat for a chance to be picked to perform with a few improv veterans.
Rittenhouse Comedy will host Kryptonite For Your Relationship this Tuesday night at Noche. The Valentine’s Day show will feature sets from Lisa Yost, Shanell Travis, Sarah M., Steve Miller-Miller, Mary Radzinski, Paul Easton, Alex Pearlman, Conrad Roth, Reggie Conquest and will be hosted by Jack Martin.
Center City Comedy recently released this promo video featuring Carolyn Busa, H. Foley, Tom Cassidy, Chris Cotton and Conrad Roth. The video promotes their website and a mysterious hotline. What happens when you call? Give it a try and let us know.
Laughs on Fairmount
Mary Radzinski and Carolyn Busa host Laughs on Fairmount every Monday night at The Urban Saloon. Comedians gather to sign up in the front room of the bar and move to the beautiful back room when the mic starts at 8. The show always runs smoothly as Mary and Carolyn handle their ever growing sign up sheet excellently.
Center City Comedy
For more than three years, Thursday nights at The Raven Lounge has been the home of Center City Comedy. Chris Cotton, H. Foley, and Tom Cassidy pack the upstairs room every week with comics waiting their turn to take the stage in front of the full crowd. The mic usually runs late into the evening giving comics the chance to test out their material in front of an always evolving (getting more drunk) group of audience members.
Helium Comedy Club
Philadelphia’s premiere comedy club opens its’ stage every Tuesday for their Open Mic Extravaganza. Sign ups have recently moved online but before the new system comedians would gather at the club starting at 6:30 every week to sign up and then wait until the lineup was announced at 7:30. Many would stay to watch the show even when they didn’t get on – making Tuesday nights at Helium a favorite hangout for many local stand-ups.
Taking advantage of the surplus of comedians in the area on Tuesday nights due to the Helium open mic, Jack Martin and Paul Goodman started their own, late night open mic around the corner at Noche. Starting at 9pm, Rittenhouse Comedy provides those that don’t get on at Helium a chance to perform on Tuesday nights, and gives a second set to the lucky ones that do.
Sketch Up or Shut Up
The lone non stand-up open mic to be nominated, Sketch Up or Shut Up is Philly Improv Theater’s open stage for sketch groups, or those that just want to test out sketch material in front of an always welcoming crowd. Hosted by Brian Kelly of Secret Pants (after taking over for Meg Favreau) Sketch Up or Shut Up is a late night Friday free for all on stage at PHIT. Some favorite Philly sketches have made their debuts at Sketch Up, along with some one time, if you miss them you’ll never see them again gems.
The fine gentlemen at Rittenhouse Comedy (Paul Goodman, Jack Martin, and Brian Finnell) have put together this handy list of do’s and don’ts for comedians performing at open mics. These guys know a thing or two about running an open mic – you can see for yourself every Tuesday at 9pm at Noche (1901 Chestnut St.)
Over the past two years, I have performed on numerous open mics, produced comedy showcases, and been part of the Rittenhouse Comedy team running a weekly open mic every Tuesday at 9 pm at Noche (1901 Chestnut). Before running a show, I had no idea how challenging it was to organize a weekly comedy show that hopefully makes the comedians, audience and venue happy. Here is what I have learned through trial and error both on and off stage.
10. Don’t ask when you are going to go before the show starts. The comedians running the show need to collect the 30-40 names on the list and quickly come up with a line up that has BOTH the comedians and audience members interest in mind. It’s not a meritocracy. It deflates the energy in the room by having 5 consecutive comedians with little to no experience start a show. That being said all open mics try their best to give new guys a chance to perform in a “good spot.” However, I have learned a lot about myself as a comedian and person by performing at Raven at 1am. Sometimes those lessons are rewarding like making a tired audience laugh after 4 hours of comedy and some are on a different level like $5 PBR/whiskey shots help you calm your nerves and also forget your material.
9. If you have some type of special request (work, bus, you brought a girl you hope to hook up with), let the guy running the list know ahead of time so they can make a note, but realize unless you support the open mic on a weekly basis it may not be able to be accommodated.
8. Find out how long the set times will be and when the light will be given. Most of the time the light is a cell phone that signifies you have one minute left. Wrap it up in that one-minute. As noted, there are 30-40 comedians on the list.
7. Do not say anything negatively about the room and/or the number of audience members in the room. It’s disrespectful to the comedians running the show and the audience members that have stayed to see you perform. If you do not like to perform in front of small audiences, simply ask for your name to be crossed off the list.
6. Outstanding advice from the hysterical James Hesky. “The only thing I can control is my performance and not my placement in the line up. With that in mind, all I can do is try to kill it each and every time I get on stage.”
5. If you need to leave before your turn, let the guy running the list know. It’s embarrassing to announce a person who is no longer there.
4. Be nice and funny in that order.
3. If you’re new to the scene, stay around for a few comedians after you perform. Comedians’ function as audience members and it’s frustrating for a comedian to ask to go by a certain time and then not stay to support their fellow comics.
2. If you have an issue to address with the comedians running the room, address it with them directly AFTER the show through email, a phone call or preferably in person. Passive-aggressive Facebook post do little to help your cause and the morale of the comedy community.
1. Feel fortunate that you are a new comedian in an awesome comedy scene. At the time of this article, there are 6 free “night of” sign up open mics in the city of Philadelphia. Have a good time, support your fellow comedians, and thank you for your support.