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
AEC v1.0.4

2012 Out of Bounds Comedy Festival

The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival  is now accepting online applications from improv groups, sketch groups, and stand-up comics. The festival will take place in Austin, Texas from August 28 to September 3 and will feature comedians from all over the country. A few performers from Philadelphia attended the festival last year, one of which was Becca Trabin, who had these things to say to encourage more of our city’s finest to apply for this year’s festival.

The Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival is accepting submissions for their 2012 festival, which takes place Labor Day weekend in Austin, Texas. I attended last year as a stand-up and half of the improv duo Get A Room, and I can’t recommend this festival enough. You get lots of perks for a tiny submission fee, Southern hospitality, adventures in a kooky city, and access to legit Mexican food (get the fish tacos at Chupacabra). The people are charming and the after-parties were some of the best I’ve been to– one was a house party with a taco truck in the driveway, and another was a swanky karaoke bar with a TV next to the dance floor hooked up with Super Nintendo. We drank, danced, sang, and played Mario Kart. Great festival. Highly recommend it. And do the mini golf tournament.

Online applications are now open for the 2012 Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Submission fee is $20 until 3/27 and $30 until the 4/30 deadline.

Becca Trabin is a stand-up comedian and member of improv groups Mayor Karen and Apocalips. She will be performing at Mayor Karen Presents this Friday at Plays and Players. 

The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Stand-up Bit

Aaron Hertzog – $30,000

John McKeever – Magnum

Pete Kuempel – Dolphins

Steve Gerben – Watching Sports

Darryl Charles – Hatchet

Unfortunately, video of this bit does not exist but his exasperation at the fact that a man could murder an entire building full of people with a hatchet, complete with out-of-breath act outs was the only bit Darryl did during his run to a second place finish at this year’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest. Check him out live to see the hilarious bit in action.

The 2011 Witout Awards Nominations

The nominations are in for the 2011 Witout Awards. After a week long nomination process the ballots have been counted and each category narrowed down to their five finalists. In the upcoming week, we will post an article detailing each award and the nominees, with links, videos, and more. But for now, here are the list of nominees.

Best Stand Up Comedian
Chip Chantry
Aaron Hertzog
Steve Gerben
Tommy Pope
Brendan Kennedy

Best Host
Chip Chantry – Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests) and Facetime with Chip Chantry
Rob Baniewicz and Paul Triggiani – TV Party
Doogie Horner – The Ministry of Secret Jokes
Aaron Hertzog – Hey Everybody!
Carolyn Busa and Mary Radzinski – Laughs on Fairmount

Best Stand-up Bit
Darry Charles – Hatchet
Pete Kuempel – Dolphin Rape
John McKeever – Buying a Magnum Condom
Aaron Hertzog – $30,000
Steve Gerben – Being Manly watching sports

Best Sketch Group
Camp Woods
The Feeko Brothers
Secret Pants
Local Holiday Miracle
Mani-Pedi

Best Improv Group (4+ Members)
Iron Lung
Hate Speech Committee
Fletcher
Medic
Asteroid

Best Improv Group (1-3 Members)
Jessica Tandy
The Kristen & Amie Show
Matt&
Grimmachio
Beirdo

Best New Group
Nielsen
Beirdo
Iron Lung
ZaoGao
Hey Rube

Best Sketch
The Feeko Brothers – Jay Peebee’s PB&J
Secret Pants – Juggalo Sunday
Camp Woods – Eduardo the Crab
Camp Woods – Sick Door
Camp Woods – Space Shuttle Endeavor

Best Open Mic
Laughs on Fairmount at The Urban Saloon
Center City Comedy at The Raven Lounge
Rittenhouse Comedy at Noche
Helium Comedy Club
Sketch-Up or Shut-Up

Best Regular Show (due to a tie there are six nominees)
Guilty Pleasures
The Ministry of Secret Jokes
TV Party!
Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests)
The Theme Show
The Gross Show

Best Short Run Show
Friends of Alcatraz
PRO Mania
twenty-four
Quality Value Convenience: Meg & Rob’s Last Show
Stagefright: An Improvised Homage to Hitchcock

Best One Time Show
The Roast of Meg Favreau
The Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia Contest
The Trashing of Luke Giordano
Hate Speech Hall’s Jesus is Really Galactus
The Theme Show Presents: The Twilight Zone

Best Podcast
CheaPodcast
The Holding Court Podcast
The Panic Hour
The Donkey Show
The Blake Wexler Show

Best Venue
Philly Improv Theater
Helium Comedy Club
The Adrienne Theater
The Shakespeare Theater
The Raven Lounge

Interview with J-L Cauvin

J-L Cauvin is a comedian based in New York who will be recording his third album live next Wednesday, November 9th at Helium Comedy Club. We caught up with him to ask him some questions about Philly, and the process of recording a comedy album.

Why did you choose Philly as the place to record your album?
I opened for Steve Rannazzisi in May at Helium and I felt such a great energy from all the shows.  Plus I have a decent number of friends in the Philadelphia area so I thought it would be a perfect place where I have good mix of a growing fan base and friends.  I am from NYC, but I just really wanted to do it somewhere else besides my home so that I did not have to rely solely on family and fellow comedians to fill seats.  And then I can just go home and tell everyone I crushed even if I tank.

What makes a Philly crowd different from crowds in other places?
I felt like the audiences in Philly have a mean streak in them that makes doing comedy really fun.  They are not dumb mean, they are smart mean.  My material is generally not too evil, but Philadelphia was the first city I ever performed in where if a joke was funny, no matter how mean it might have been, it was greeted by unanimous laughter.  There were no “oooooo’s” or “awwwwwww’s”  which I loved.  I hate when crowds pretend to be offended. If you are truly offended, leave. If not, then stop making sounds and laugh like everyone else.

Bill Burr recorded his Emotionally Unavailable album here in Philly and opens it up with some local reference jokes. Of course his rant on Philly at the Opie and Anthony Travelling tour ater became a mega-hit. Do you plan on having any jokes or rants specifically about our town?
No – don’t have anything Philly specific really.  My experience has been so good in Philly so far that I have not been motivated to dump on the city.  Famous last words.  There are plenty of other groups of people that I verbally assault so Philly will have to wait its turn I guess.

This is your third album – how have you changed as a comedian since recording your first? Is there anything on your first two albums that you wish you didn’t release to be out in the public forever?
My first album, Racial Chameleon, was definitely the friendlier album in that a lot of the material was light-hearted.  I did a lot of impressions on the album, a lot of pop culture observations and I was dating a woman with a kid so the jokes were probably more sitcom-ish.  I am proud of the album, in part because I believe it was really good for a comedian 3 years in.  The second album, Diamond Maker, was a little bit darker.  About half the CD was dedicated to the story of my failed engagement and I think the only thing I regret is that I did not dig even deeper.  Not to be mean (maybe that would have been a pleasant bi-product), but because there was really dark humor in the story of our relationship that I kept exploring after the CD was recorded.  But I have basically buried most of that material now because I don’t feel like re-living some of the experiences on a nightly basis.

I am really excited for this CD recording because I feel like I am fully developed as a comedian (of course I probably thought this three years ago also).  I know what I believe, I know how I like to deliver my material and I think I am finally at that point where people will be able to tell if they love me or hate me.  Not everyone will be a fan, but I believe that my material is strong enough and comes with enough force that the people who are fans will be dedicated fans.

Do you have a plan to release a new album every so often or do you just work until you have enough to record?
I have a personal goal of doing one every 3 years or so.  I seem to be averaging about 35-40 polished minutes per year so after 3 years and some trimming I can put out an excellent hour.  Since my last CD I have been doing comedy full time since that CD was released.  So I have had 3 years of travelling and working with some great comedians like Patrice O’Neal, Dave Attell, and countless other lesser-known, but really professional and funny people. I feel like I have learned to be more brave and honest in my material, a process that really began with my second CD.  This CD is really going to be all me, in that it it will be less about how I interact with other people, and more how I see the world, including a look at life as a comedian.  One of the things I have worked hard on is writing material about being an up and coming comedian, but making it funny to people who are not comedians or in entertainment.  I think it is often a story that is not told and it is one I won’t be able to tell with as much authenticity if I ever do make it big.  I remember reading Lenny Bruce’s autobiography and was struck by how much fresher it felt than Steve Martin’s or George Carlin because Bruce was writing it when he was 40 or so.  He had just “made it” so all his struggles and hustles felt more in the moment, whereas some of the other greats who have written of their beginnings wrote decades removed from the actual experiences.  I want this CD to be in part the way I look at the world in 2011, but also a look into the world my life as a comedian in 2011.

Do you prepare for an album recording differently than you do for a regular headlining set?
Only in one way.  I will not censor myself at all for a CD recording because I know people there are there to see me.  On other sets I will sometimes leave out my more harsh or political material because the crowd may not be there for me, but just there for some generic laughs, so I try to get crowds like that to meet me halfway.  But to quote my favorite show Breaking Bad this CD will not be a half measure.  And that is what I am really excited about.

J-L Cauvin will be recording his new album Too Big to Fail live next Wednesday, November 9th at 8:00PM at Helium Comedy Club. Tickets can be purchased online.

The 2011 WitOut Awards

We here at WitOut have decided to put together a year-end awards ceremony to celebrate comedy in Philadelphia. After some debate, we have decided to leave the voting up to the comedians of our fair city to make these a purely For Us By Us effort. The process starts now with a nominations round. Performers and show promoters are encouraged to click on the following links and nominate up to three choices for each of the awards categories. Simply fill out the box with your choices and put your name in parentheses (so we can make sure people only nomiate once.) Nominations will close one week from today on Friday, Novmeber 4th, then we will announce the official nominees for each category and open up the voting for the awards. Sound good? Ok. Let the nominations process begin!

NOTE: If your name is not put in parenthesis at the end of your nominations – we will not count your nominations. We need to make sure that people are only nominating once, and this is how we are doing it. Thank you.

Best Improv Group (four or more members)
Best Improv Group (one to three members)
Best New Group  (formed in 2011 and features at least one new performer)
Best Regular Show  – Recurring monthly, weekly, or semi-regularly.
Best Show Run – Show with a short or defined run (ex: twenty-four, Meg & Rob’s Last Year, etc.)
Best One Time Show  – Either a special event (roast, competition, etc) or a specific “episode” of a recurring show ie: “The Theme Show Presents: Law and Order.”
Best Host – Best host (or co-hosts) of a regular show or open mic

Weekend Comedy Guide

It’s a busy weekend for comedy here in Philly. Here’s a handy guide to all that’s going on around our fair city.

Helium Comedy Club – Anjelah Johnson – Friday and Saturday, 8:00, 10:30

Johnson, known for her viral video Nail Salon, and her time as a cast member on MadTV takes the stage at Helium with her stand-up act full of characters, stories, and high energy material centering on her family and life growing up and living in Southern California. Nate Bargatze (Conan, Comedy Central) is the feature act and Aaron Hertzog is the host.

Philly Improv Theater – Friday

7:00 – Hey Everybody – Aaron Hertzog’s showcase will be without it’s usual host this week as he is at Helium – filling in will be Christian Alsis of The Feeko Brothers. This week’s show will feature comedy from Philly’s Phunniest winner Tommy Pope as well as Pete Kuempel, Ed McGonigal, and Ryan Shaner.

8:30 – The Feeko Brothers and Angel Yau – Fresh off their second consecutive Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia title, Christian Alsis and Billy Bob Thompson take the stage with a mostly new show they premiered last week at Philly Sketch Fest. Joining them at PHIT will be New York sketch comedian Angel Yau.

10:00 – The Kristen and Amie Show with Nielsen –  The improv duo comprised of Kristen Shier and Amie Roe bring their high energy, crazy character, fun filled playing to the stage at PHIT along with fun to watch indie group Nielsen.

Philly Improv Theater – Saturday

7:00 – Brick with Ebony and Ivory – New York’s Magnet Theater House Team Brick comes to Philly to perform along side the duo comprised of Iron Lung members Corin Wells and Maureen Costello.

8:30 – House Team Night, King Friday and Mayor Karen – Two of PHIT’s own house teams perform.

10:00 – House Team Night, Asteroid and ZaoGao – Two more PHIT house teams perform.

11:00 – Late Night Improv Jam – Improv open stage hosted by PHIT house team Fletcher.

The Laff House – Ted Carpenter – Friday (8:30, 10:45) Saturday (8:00, 10:00, 12:00)

 The veteran of Showtime at the Apollo and Russel Simmon’s Def Comedy Jam performs at The Laff House on South St.

City Spotlight – Friday

8:00 – Broad Comedy – The all women comedy show kicks off the night of laughs at the Philly Shakespeare Theater. Featuring performances by Mary Radzinski, Carolyn Busa, Hillary Rae, Sarah Morawcynski, Erin Mulville, and more.

10:00 – Bing Supernova’s Cavalcade of Fools – Everyone in the world’s favorite comedian hosts a show packed with performances by  Roger Weaver, John Kensil, The Lucas Brothers, The Feeko Brothers, Jaykob Strange, and Alex Dingley.

City Spotlight – Saturday

CIF National College Improv Tournament – Mid Atlantic Division Regional – All day long college improv teams compete for a chance to represent Pennsylvania in the National College Improv Tournament in Chicago.

 

Ten Questions With…Pat House

Pat House is a stand-up comedian who started in Philadelphia, has since moved to New York, but is still around Philly quite a bit. He is also the host of the upcoming In the Beginning… a City Spotlight show that will present some of Philadelphia’s top comedians showing videos of their early performances, while roasting themselves along the way and (hopefully) showing how far they’ve come.
How and why did you get into comedy? As a young kid, watching comedy on television intirgued me. I was too young to understand the jokes, but I remember loving the fact that these people were just making other people laugh. When I was in high school, the “Comedy Central Presents…” series launched (as well as “Last Comic Standing”) and I watched an ungodly amount of stand-up. I took notice of a lot of comics, their individuality and developed some favorite comedians. Then, during my freshman year of college I saw Dave Attell, Lewis Black, Mitch Hedberg and Mike Birbiglia at the Tower Theater and I was blown away. This night literally changed my life. I was laughing like I had never laughed before, and I distinctly remember thinking “I HAVE to try this!” I imagined me being on stage, getting those laughs and I knew I just had to at least try it – even just once. It became an obsessive thought. Then on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004, I went to the Laff House for their open mic and have not stopped since day one.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I have no idea. I started off with set-up/punchline type-jokes that were completely fictitious, then once I became more comfortable on stage, my set-up/punchline jokes took a more personal angle. Now, I still have some set-up/punchline type of jokes, I have a few stories, I have some observations. It’s a mess. I’m influenced by so much comedy that whan it comes down to it, I have no idea what I want to do, so I’m trying different things until something clicks.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I love performing at Helium. It’s my home club and they have been nothing but amazing to me. Helium is the place where I’ve built my entire act. From open-mics, to guest sets, to hosting to featuring. I learned more there than anywhere else. When that room is sold-out, the electricity is unreal. Because of Helium, I have literally opened for most of my favorite comics – Attell, Alexandro, Giraldo, Fitzsimmons, Maron – and dozens of others. Helium is literally my second home. If I have a free night, I’m there.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I think I’ll go with the first time I was asked to host a full week at Helium. I hosted a few open-mics there, but getting the full week was like getting called up to the big leagues. It was like So wait…you WANT me to open for Nick DiPaolo?!? AND you’re going to pay me for it?!?

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Or a sort of method that you use to develop comedic material? I don’t really have a creative process, I usually just jot down random ideas and come back to them later. Lately, I’ve been going to the library for an hour or two a day. No computer, no phone, no iPod – just my notebook. I’ve been making more of an effort to carry a notebook with me at all times, I think that helps a little. I find that the more I read, the more I write. When i’m going through book after book, I always feel I have more ideas and I seem to ‘notice’ more things, as opposed to when I’m not really reading and kind of in a lull. So because of that, I read as often as I can, but sometimes the laziness wins. I still think some of the best lines are the ones that just come to you. You have an idea, something clicks and it works immediately.

What is it about stand-up that draws you to it? It’s a rush. It’s euphoric. It’s addicting. There is absolutely nothing like having a killer set. I always want to perform. If I have a bad set, I want to get on stage again and redeem myself. If I have a great set, I can’t wait to get on stage again and hopefully re-create that feeling. There’s no middle ground, I always want to get on stage. I feel the most comfortable on stage. I know it’s totally cliche, but I feel that I can be myself on stage. The freedom is unlike anything else.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Chip Chantry is my favorite joke-writer. He’s constantly running creative and original ideas by me and usually they’re solid jokes from the start. Chip has a natural talent for joke-writing. Whether it’s material, roasting or a specific project, he always has the ability to crush with solid jokes, delivery and commitment. Steve Gerben is an incredible performer. I love his ability to take his deeply personal experiences and make them hilarious. He’s animated, he really sells his bits and he’s always working on something – new material, short videos – I love his creativity. Mike Rainey…I don’t even know where to begin. I think he’s the only comic in Philly that has actually made my cry laughing. Like, actual tears running down my cheeks. The whole Philly scene is incredible. There’s so much I could say about everyone.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Every show has gone smoothly and according to plan!

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? I sincerely believe that being supportive, being nice and helping others does wonders. The support in the Philly comedy scene is astounding and I miss it immensely. There’s no shame in asking for help or giving another comic friendly advice. As long as ever-yone tries their best, take risks and is there for each other, on stage and off, that’s all it needs.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I just want to do comedy full-time. I’m not looking for celebrity status or to have my name up there with Pryor or Carlin. My ultimate goal is be a full-time working comic. If comedy can pay my bills and provide a comfortable/fun lifestyle, I’d be more than happy.

Ten Questions With…Brendan Kennedy

Brendan Kennedy is a stand-up comedian, a member of improv groups Hate Speech Committee and The Hendersons, sketch comedy group Camp Woods, and the host of the Philly Improv Theater show Guilty Pleasures.

How and why did you get into comedy? When I was a kid my dad and uncle would always show me episodes of Monty Python’s Flycing Circus, and I loved it. I would make comedy videos on my parents’ S-VHS camcorder with my cousin. In high school I was one of the kids that ran the tv studio and I’d make comedy videos that I’d show during the morning show. I continued my refusal to be serious about anything by going to film school and while there I made almost nothing but comedy videos. Then eventually I got the balls to do stand-up, which to me is the purest form of comedy and expression out there.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I’d describe my style as a stand-up as selfish. If you don’t like what I do, then I don’t care to entertain you. And I hate comics that try to be what they think everyone wants them to be. There are billions of people on the earth, enough of them will have similar interests and sensibilities to me, and those are the people I want to speak to.

Plus, stand-up is an inherently selfish endeavor, so claiming you have some greater goal is at least 50% bullshit. And I say 50% because out of that desire for immediate self-gratification (the selfish 50%) you can reach people who otherwise might feel isolated, because they haven’t found a way to express themselves or people who think and feel the same way they do. But you can’t reach them by pretending to be something. You can only reach people by being honest with yourself and about yourself. That’s what I love about stand-up, and that’s the type of stand-up comic I try to be.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?  I loved performing at the Khyber because it was dirty and grimy and shitty and you had to really want to see comedy to go there. Which made the audiences there great, and I felt the most comfortable there. I enjoy doing stand-up at the Ric-Rac, the Shubin, and any place where people have come to specifically see the people who are performing. People who go to comedy shows not knowing anything about who they are going to see baffle me. And I lack the ability to relate to them. I can entertain them, but only if I do a bunch of crowd work. It’s like I’m the host of some awful party that a bunch of random dopes showed up to, like the one Rick Moranis throws in the first Ghostbusters. And most times I am doing crowd work I am fantasizing about a demon dog crashing the party and making it more interesting than, “You do that job? Well you should talk to other guy I just talked to, he does a job that if combined with your job would be really funny!”

That being said, I really enjoy the open mic at noche that Jack Martin and Paul Goodman run. Those two guys are smart guys who run a good room, and are really supportive of everyone who shows up there. (If you’re thinking “I don’t think they are supportive.” You’re thinking that because you’re an asshole, and you’ve behaved in a way that makes it impossible for someone to be supportive of you.)

For sketch and improv I like theaters.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? Anytime Roger C. Snair crushes in front of an audience that has never seen him and doesn’t know who he is. I use how people interact with Roger as a bit of a litmus test, because he’s so overwhelmingly and unflinchingly positive. It is my opinion that you have to be a piece of shit to not like him. Anytime a room full of strangers gets him and accepts him it makes me feel more optimistic about the world.

I’m friends with Roger, we do a monthly show together, but I’m also his number 1 fan. I’d love nothing more than to see Roger have a talk show on television, just to see some of the douchiest celebrities squirm in their seats, not knowing how to handle him. Talented, funny, decent people, if put in that same scenario will come out looking amazing. For example, I had last month’s guilty pleasures be somewhat a talk show, and one of the guests was Andy Moskowitz. Roger kept asking him about his sexuality (Roger is rather immature in regards to his opinions on sex), and Andy handled everything so amazingly that he ended up becoming the hero of the show. It was so funny and genuine that I felt like I was interrupting when I had to chime in to have us read a script.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Or a sort of method that you use to develop comedic material? For stand-up, I always just write about whatever I’m currently obsessing about.

For sketch, I write basically two types of sketch. Quick, one joke sketches that are bookended with title cards. And 2 character stream of consciousness sketches. The short sketches, which are basically blackout sketches, are just based around a joke I think of that I like. But I write them to be very very short, because I think sketches that are 5 minutes long but only have one joke are stupid. If you have a sketch that’s just one joke, then just tell the one joke and end the sketch. It’s not a college paper, there’s no minimum length sketches have to be.

The longer sketches I write are always me trying to write interactions between two people that are more absurd and honest than most real life interactions, because to me the funniest parts of life are the moments in which someone is being really honest, and at the same time really odd.

What is it about stand-up / sketch / improv that draws you to it? Comedy allows you to discuss topics that are just too sad or taboo to talk about casually with people.  Its not creating any solutions, it just helps people stress less and be more ok with the world they live in. That’s what has always drawn me to comedy.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Roger C. Snair for reasons I’ve already mentioned.

Steve Gerben for his willingness to be honest with himself and about himself onstage and his abilitiy to make his own personal struggles, physical and mental, hilarious.

Andy Moskowitz for the same reasons.

The people in the groups with me, (Hatespeech-CampWoods-Hendersons) for too many different reasons to list.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Recently I ended a set at a bringer contest by saying, “That’s why I think we should burn down churches.” Most of my bad experiences with comedy show stem from my inability to accept people who I’ve decided are shitty. That, and tech problems.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? More of what it already has. More people who are passionate about performing comedy. More people who run good rooms. More people supporting each other’s shows and rooms. More original ideas.

The first three are obvious. The 4th seems like it should be obvious, but its apparent to anyone who’s watched comedy before and is seeing shows in the city now that its not. You can’t stop random people from showing up at open mics and doing other people’s material. But you can make sure not to book them ever. You tell internet jokes, you tell Bill Hicks jokes, you tweak internet jokes and then tell them, you tweak Bill Hicks jokes and then tell them, you don’t do shows. That should be the rule that everyone follows. Hacks (thieves are a type of hack) aren’t going to kill the surge in popularity that comedy is experiencing in Philly right now, but eventually they will. That was one of the main killers of the comedy boom.  You can listen to countless interviews with comics who were part of that and they all talk about how there were so many opportunities to get onstage in front of large paying crowds that people started taking shortcuts to take advantage of it, and comedy suffered as a result. Crowds started staying home because there was no point in going out to see a show if you were just going to see comics telling jokes that they saw on tv.

If you see someone doing stolen material, yell at them, tell them to go fuck themselves. They are insulting the art form you love, and they are being a self-serving asshole.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I want to just keep getting better. That’s my only real goal. That and to make Roger C. Snair famous.

Philly’s Phunniest 2011 Semi Finals

The results are in from the first of two semi final rounds of Helium Comedy Club’s Sixth Annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest.

Moving on the the finals, which will be held this Wednesday at 8:00 PM are:

John McKeever, Pat House, Mike Rainey, Gordon Baker Bone and Gary Vider

The second semi final round will be held tomorrow night, where 15 more comics vie for the last five spots in the finals. You can get tickets for tomorrow’s show, and Wednesday’s finals online.

Somebody Has to Go in the Second Half…Tips for a New Comedian to Survive in the Philadelphia Comedy Open Mic Scene

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.