Upcoming Shows

  • December 20, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • December 20, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 20, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • December 20, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 20, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 20, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • December 20, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • December 23, 2014 9:00 pmSecret Pants Presents: Cuban Tinsel Crisis
  • December 24, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • December 25, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 26, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 26, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 26, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • December 26, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 26, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • December 27, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • December 27, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • December 27, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • December 27, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • December 27, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • December 27, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • December 27, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • December 31, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • January 1, 2015 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Ten Questions With…Erin Pitts

Erin Pitts is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut this Friday night at the Shubin Theater.

How and why did you get into comedy? I came to Philadelphia for graduate school in May 2010 and told myself that I was going to take advantage of all the opportunities this city has to offer. One of my goals was to some how get back on stage, I had done theater and a little bit of improv in high school and missed it tremendously, so I signed up for a PHIT level one improv class with Kristen Schier. Her enthusiasm and welcoming attitude were mimicked in every person I met in the comedy community, so I’ve been hooked ever since.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I don’t know if I have a style, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to figure out. I often give myself little challenges to improve, for example, I think I’m awful at miming, so I would make myself mime in every scene I did to feel more comfortable doing it.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? The Shubin is the only place I’ve performed in Philadelphia; I really enjoy everything about it.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I’d have to say, how smoothly my level 1 class show went. We we’re all a little nervous, I think mainly because we ended up only having 5 people left to perform with. It was a super fun show with a lot of different material and a reoccurring missing penguin (who later ended up being stuck in the bathroom) that really helped keep the show moving. It was great to see people from our class who would never be found on a stage in any other instance have a really great time in the spotlight that night.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? I focus on keeping my mind as open as I can to the endless possibilities that can be generated from a suggestion. And as Kristen always tells us… to never expect to do a scene, because you never know what’s going to happen when you step out.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I am such a worrier that improv is so freeing for me; it allows me to not think or hesitate before I act. I love how I feel when I just let go of any rationalized thoughts and allow my body to move before I know why it’s moving. And let’s be honest… when people laugh at something you do, that’s pretty cool.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? I love watching so many different people for so many different reasons! …I guess I’ll just answer this with some of my favorite shows to see.. The Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show, Jessica Tandy, Asteroid, Suggestical and Hate Speech Committee.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? I was in the premiere of The Gross Show… I think we all know what happened that night…during the segment I was in…

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Exactly what it’s doing right now, which is generating new, enthusiastic performers through classes, workshops, festivals and the number of independent groups popping up. I think the family-like attitude of the community makes it an enticing one to be apart of, I don’t know for sure, but I feel like a lot of other cities don’t have what we have, and that’s a who lot of love and respect for another.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I’d like to be sillier and smarter. I really want people to enjoy watching me perform, to feel at ease knowing they’re going to have a good time no matter what is thrown at me.

Ten Questions With…AJ Ortiz

AJ Ortiz is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut this Friday at the Shubin Theater.

How and why did you get into comedy? I got into comedy when i was in High school, there was a company that came to high schools in NYC to teach improv to students.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?  I can say that i have many different styles that come from influences and factors in my everyday life. It gives me a variety of things to pull from when i’m on stage.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? Favorite show that i would love to be a part of is “In The Heights” which is on tour now. For venue, I’d have to say anywhere in the world. Im not a big broadway person, but for a musical I would do it all the way. Really any venue would be fine with me

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?  I don’t have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy. I travel from NYC to Philly once or twice a week to be with my team, so I haven’t seen much comedy here to pick my favorite yet.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Writing new characters all the time (which is amazing way to start writing). I do a lot of writing for my one man shows and i’m always writing new ideas and anything that comes to mind.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Improv has changed my life so much, I don’t know where I would have ended up without it. Not a big fan of stand-up, but I don’t mine getting in front of a mic, in which case I would pick doing a one man show over stand-up. Sketch is something I’m looking forward to doing in the future.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?  Most of my bad experiences doing comedy have come from team members not bring on the same page.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? My personal goals are to learn from everybody and to become a great spanish/english teacher and improv coach as I continue doing comedy.

Ten Questions With…Matt Holmes

This Friday, Philly Improv Theater will debut two new House Teams, known until then by their codenames: Brandybuck and Shadowfax. All this week, we are going to bring you special editions of our 10 Questions With series profiling each of the new house team members. First, we will profile the directors of the groups. Shadowfax’s director, Kristen Schier, was already featured in a 10 Questions With column, which you can read HERE.

Brandybuck’s director, Matt Holmes is a member of Rare Bird Show and also performs as Matt&, where he pulls an unwitting stranger from the audience and performs a half hour show with them.

How and why did you get into comedy? In college, I tried it out as an experiment. I found that it really suited me.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I like weird stuff, smart stuff, and comedy that isn’t afraid to try something new. I like different formats and structures and techniques.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I think my favorite venue has been the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. It’s in a basement under a grocery store, and there are pillars that kind of block certain views, but it’s big enough to have a large, energetic crowd engage you as a performer, and it’s not too big. With improv, you want to be close to the audience. I’ve performed in plenty of venues that were tight, and actually I’ve performed in a lot of rooms that were too big (and empty).

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I remember laughing so hard I cried at a Ponycoat show in the Troika improv competition. I remember some pretty interesting audience member partnerships for my show Matt& (a few drunk people, someone who left me alone on stage, having to improvise a love poem).

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Lately, I’ve started preparing less for my shows.  A lot of people get themselves riled up for improv, as though it’s a 40-yard-dash. I like being at a stage in my performing career where I’m confident enough to relax.

What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I think improv is pure. There’s no filter, no judgment, no limitations. You can do anything in it.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? I’m a big fan of Andrew Stanton, Scott Shepherd, Kristen Schier, and Amie Roe for their energy and improv skills, and I’m also excited to see more from a newer group of improvisers, like the new PHIT house teams. For stand-up, I like Brendan Kennedy’s unique style.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share, a particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? I’ve done a couple shows for a ridiculously small audience, and I did a show where food orders were announced over a loudspeaker.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? I’ve said for years that the next level for Philly comedy is having a home. If you look at the growth and easiness-for-the-audience that have orbited around PHIT, Helium, and other regular performances, it shows the importance of real estate. It’s been great to see the start of a community and the trajectory for the future.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? Again, I want to see more regular shows, different shows. I have some ideas, and I’m sure there’s a lot more floating around in people’s minds. I’d like to do a theatrical run of an improv show and get a theatrical review from the press. And I’m really interested in helping the next wave of performers.

10 Questions With…Pat Foy

Pat Foy is a Philadelphia comedian and member of sketch comedy group Camp Woods. They are debuting a new show next Thursday and Friday at Philly Improv Theater (Facebook event).

How and why did you get into comedy? In school, whenever there was an option to perform a short skit, write a silly script, or make a stupid video for a homework assignment, I took it. In high school, my friends and I ran for student council for the sole purpose of making funny signs and writing funny speeches. Clearly, I had a hard time taking school seriously. I have the transcripts to prove this.
Shortly after college, my buddy Kevin Kelly started writing comedy sketches with his childhood friend JP Boudwin. Since Kevin and I had made a few comedy videos together, both for school projects and otherwise, they asked me to come to a few writing sessions and see if it was a good fit. We all cracked each other up, wrote a bunch of stuff we liked, and that was the beginning of Camp Woods.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I guess it’d be a cross between dryness and absurdism. I also like stuff that mixes the highbrow and the lowbrow. That might come from all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Simpsons I watched growing up. But then again, I watched a lot of Home Improvement, too, so who the hell knows?

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? There’s nothing quite like doing a show at a packed-out Shubin Theatre. When every seat is filled and people are standing in the aisle, there’s a really great energy in the room that the performers benefit from. The Shubin also seems to attract audiences who are really excited to see comedy, rather than people who just want to hang out with their friends and talk in the back of the room.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? The impromptu four-on-four wrestling match between Camp Woods and the #AmericaGethard crew at January’s Bedtime Stories was probably the weirdest, most memorable thing I’ve been involved with so far. When I came to Connie’s Ric Rac that night, I was not expecting to body-slam strangers in front of a crowd or be forcibly thrown from the stage. As a side note, I’m very grateful to those guys for cutting out of their video the part immediately post-match, when I’m doubled over onstage, gasping for breath and trying not to puke everywhere.

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? Most of my ideas come when I’m doing something else, like taking a shower or hanging out with friends or sitting at my desk at work. I’ll write it down in a notebook, then come back to it later when I get a chance to work it out. Sometimes I’ll write a fully-formed first draft on my own and bring it to a writing meeting. Sometimes I’ll bring just the idea to a writing meeting or a workshop and bounce it off people, and the sketch ends up going in a totally different direction than I would have guessed. If the idea is super-specific, I’ll usually try to use it as an essay or short humor piece rather than a sketch. Sometimes things are just funnier to read than they are said out loud, and vice-versa.

What is it about stand-up / sketch / improv that draws you to it? As I said earlier, I wrote a lot of sketches, or attempts at sketch comedy, when I was younger, so I think it’s just the most natural way for me to express humor. I like being part of a group, and I like having a plan, so sketch fits both of those things pretty well. I’m drawn to stand-up and improv because they’re both so intimidating, and I will, I swear, try them both soon.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? There are so many good ones, but I’ll say it’s a tie between The Feeko Brothers, Bing Supernova, and Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez. The Feekos come up with the silliest premises and Christian and Billy are such natural hams onstage, they make the premises fly. With Bing and Bob, Chip and Brian are really good joke writers, and when those jokes are filtered through the personas of, respectively, a hateful idiot and an oblivious idiot, they’re irresistible. The jokes, that is. Not Chip and Brian. I don’t care for them.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? We’ve had a number of shows, at a number of venues, where we’ve had videos that won’t play or other technical difficulties. That always sucks, but it comes with the territory. Probably the worst time I’ve had onstage was at the “Mental Illness” Bedtime Stories. One of my classmates from a PHIT writing workshop put up a sketch about an insane, vegan homeless man, and I played the homeless guy while Paul Triggiani played the little boy who tries to give him a cheeseburger. The homeless guy had a ton of lines, and I forgot all but a handful of them. Dom Moschitti sat beside the stage with my script, feeding me lines, but it was still a disaster. It was embarrassing, and I felt really bad about ruining this poor guy’s funny sketch. Our conversation after the show was him thanking Paul and me profusely for performing his sketch, and me apologizing profusely for fucking it up.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? A permanent theater for PHIT will certainly go a long way, and a bit more recognition from the local press couldn’t hurt, either.
Other than that, I think we all just keep doing this, keep getting better, keep helping each other out, and more and more people will begin to take notice.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?  I’d like to do this as a job someday. I’m a simple man, and I don’t really care about being famous. All I ask for is boatloads of cash.

Ten Questions With…Jim Grammond

Jim Grammond is a Philadelphia comedian and host of the new Philly Improv Theater panel show Reasonable Discourse with Jerks, which will make its debut Wednesday, July 27th at 8:30PM. Jim also writes a blog and is very active on Twitter.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into stand-up comedy because growing up in the stand-up crazed 80’s I loved it, everything from Bill Cosby to Sam Kinison. After watching it for years I finally thought I would try it.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
For me this is interesting (I guess) since I am coming back to comedy after a few years away. My previous style was kind of dry/angry/weird, which sort of reflected who I was. I’m still weird, but less dry and angry. So I’m trying to change my style now to reflect that.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
Helium’s my traditional favorite, but I’m really enjoying the new venues that have opened up to comedy in the past few years, like the Shubin and Connie’s Ric Rac. Most venues have some redeeming characteristics. Most.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Seeing a comic get off stage at the Laff House and go outside to fight an audience member. More than once.

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?
My new favorite tool is Twitter. I’m on there at @jgrammond. It forces me to write concisely and is great for developing a premise for a new bit. I used to be very into memorizing the bits I wrote, but am trying to get away from that as it can sound really unnatural on stage.

What is it about stand-up that draws you to it?
I’m an attention-craving nerd who always wants to show I’m the smartest person in the room (even when I’m not, which is often). So stand-up is a natural place for that attitude I guess.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
I’m going to answer this a little differently and mention the Philly comics who were just starting or really young when I went on my comedy hiatus who I think have gotten really good. That list includes people like you (note from the editor: I am Aaron Hertzog), Steve Gerben, Joey Dougherty, Blake Wexler, Pat Barker, Brendan Kennedy, Mary Radzinski, and I’m sure plenty more. I’m not even including the people who’ve moved away. I’m also glad Oakland or Oaklyn or whatever his name is is still around. He’s a treasure.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
I once did a show in the basement of a shady Phoenixville “bar”—I don’t think they had a liquor license. It was like no one told them prohibition ended. There were five people in the audience and I was the only white person within eight blocks. Before the show, the police were there looking for a local young hoodlum named “Butt-Butt”. I bombed real, real bad, but the after party was fun.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
It’d be great if a bunch of people could breakout of the stand-up scene here without having to move to NYC or LA first, like a comedy version of what Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Soundgarden did for people’s impression of Seattle. It’s cool that Luke Giordano just basically did that.

Also, the trend of doing and promoting stand-up shows in actual theaters rather than bars with makeshift stages has to continue. Bars are really hard to put on shows in. People in bars are usually there to drink and talk to their friends, not listen to weirdos with microphones.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
It’s nice right now that I don’t have a real, ultimate goal. I know people say if you don’t have a goal you won’t be dedicated, but I’d rather just do it for fun right now and see where that leads. I will say my job-related-to-comedy goal would be a TV writing gig, preferably for a late night show.

Ten Questions With…John McKeever

John McKeever is a Philadelphia comedian who co-hosts the Bird Text Comedy Show at Helium Comedy Club with Tommy Pope and Luke Cunningham. He was recently featured in this ESPN Commercial. He only felt like answering nine of ten questions…

How and why did you get into comedy?
I started going to open mics here and there a couple of years ago but never steady.  I started going all the time about a year ago because I’ve always really enjoyed the process of writing jokes and then working them out on stage for a possible laugh.  I just didn’t want to get too old and regret never pursuing it full time.  I also don’t think I’m fit to lead a normal 9-5 life.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?      

I guess I would just say my style is conversational.  I’m just not a great at writing one-liners, I think that’s a really unique talent.  Some people can do both really well, like Chip Chantry or Luke Cunningham, which boggles my mind.   I like to just get on stage with an idea and work it out with different crowds and different tags without ever committing to a permanent structure.  I just make sure I get from A to B without rambling too much.   I think having a loose structure keeps me, personally, from being too rigid on stage like an actor trying to remember his lines.   I also have a terrible memory.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I like Helium and the Raven’s open mic is the best. Noche’s open mic is a lot of fun sometimes too but it’s more of a bar atmosphere so it’s harder to just tell people to stop talking, especially when they came to a bar to do just that.  Jack and Paul do a good job with it though.   The Hey Everybody show @ the  Shubin is a great show because there’s always a cool crowd and great performers.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
There’s so many but when Aaron Hertzog said onstage at the Raven “I’m going to tickle your throat clits with my word dick”, Darryl’s “Hatchet” bit and anytime I see the Feeko’s perform are on the top of my list.  There is great show almost every night in Philly, which makes it really exciting to be a part of this scene.

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 give my wife a topic,  I tie her arms and feet to one of those big circus spinning wheels and as long as she gives me good tags or punchlines, I don’t fire the paintball gun.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
There’s so many and for so many different reasons. Like I said earlier I think Luke Cunningham and Chip Chantry are both great performers, excellent writers and really great influences to those just starting out.  I love Tommy Pope & Steve Gerben’s storytelling, it’s so funny it and invites everyone in and usually gets so intense that you become scared for their well being.   Hesky has a great observational style.  He’s so relatable and never not funny.  Then you have people like Aaron Hertzog and Brendan Kennedy who are always trying something new with total confidence and making it work for them.  Sean Quinn is new to the area but he’s just a natural.  Darryl’s bits are probably my favorite. His commitment is just unreal.  When I tell a joke and I feel heat, I bail but when Darryl tells a joke it’s like “I’m not going anywhere and you fuckers are gonna think this is funny wether you like it or not” and then it kills.  There’s so many others that I’m probably leaving out.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?  
I bombed at a show in Port Richmond one time and the whole time this guy was heckling me.  At one point I made an AIDS reference and the guy yells “way too personal!”, which was weird because throughout the whole show I was hoping he had AIDS.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
Everybody works really well together and there is a ton of support.  That’s the kind of thing that makes this comedy scene so great.  If we keep supporting each other and going telling people about all the great shows in Philly, it will become a monster.  It already is.  Also, and I don’t like this anymore than anybody else does, but we have to make a decision between Darryl and Chris.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I just want to grow as a writer and a performer.  My biggest goal is to become a writer who fucks stand-up on the side.

 

TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Aubrie Williams

Aubrie Williams is an improviser on Philly Improv Theater‘s house team King Friday and her own sketch group, Local Holiday Miracle.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I saw my first improv show st UCB when I was 18, and was so impressed at how this piece could be created from just a one word suggestion. I continued to love watching improv from then on, but was scared to death to try it. I was a theater major, so inevitably we had to do some improv in classes — and I bet if you took my pulse on those days, my heart rate was equivalent to someone about to jump out of a plane. Long story short, I decided to face my fears when an improv class was offered at Temple. I quickly realized that the fear was irrational and that I now got to have playtime as an adult, which was awesome. I even started my college improv club cause I didnt want the fun to end after class did. Improv also acted as my gateway drug into sketch comedy.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I guess in comedy I draw from what I like watching and find the funniest, which makes some of what I do a product of all of my influences. Stella, Tina Fey, David Cross, UCB, Gilda Radnor and anyone ever involved in a Christopher Guest movie are some of my biggest influences.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I’m quite partial to the Shubin, cause it kind of feels like home now. I had my fist improv show there in ’07, and now between class shows, Sketch Up or Shut Up, and King Friday, Ive gotten to spend a good amount of time up there. It’s intimate and you get to see a lot of familiar faces. It’s like the “Cheers” of BYOB comedy venues.

As for shows, there are tons of great ones that happen monthly, but I’ll try and narrow it down. I’m going to say Sketch Up or Shut Up. It is always great because you get to see what everyone’s been up to between shows and see how an audience reacts to what you’ve been working on.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
For me, it was this past July at DCM (Del Close Marathon) ’12 in NYC. It was my first DCM, and I got to see Philly represent improv hard in a city where there is so much of it going on, and that was a great feeling. It was also my first time performing in NYC, and to get to do that with King Friday on the UCB stage (two hours before the original UCB performed on the same stage) was pretty freakin’ awesome and lots of fun.

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?
It’s funny because every time I tell a non-improviser that I have improv rehearsal, they always respond with, “How do you rehearse improv? Isn’t it all made up?” With improv, it’s important to stay in practice cause the more that you do it, the more comfortable you get in doing it, and from there I think you definitely get better at it. Also, with a group, you can really build a group mind through being around each other a lot so it’s very important to have steady rehearsals. I also like to take different workshops and revisit old notes and reread Improvise by Mick Napier and The Small Cute Book of Improv by Jill Bernard.

What is it about sketch and improv that draws you to it?
If I had to sum it up, probably the people and the laughter. It is a great community filled with so much talent, and everyone seems to be constantly inspiring each other. I love that. Also, I enjoy laughing, and if you’ve ever witnessed me as an audience member, I bet you know this.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
Rare Bird Show was the first Philly improv group I had ever seen, and I was so impressed. Everytime I watch them they make me want to work harder as an improviser. I am very much loving The Amie & Kristen Show and Grimmachio. Both duos are always so on and connected and present. You can learn a lot from watching great improv. Man, this is tough. I also love watching all of the PHIT House Teams (YAY to house team night for letting me do this all in one night!), BWP and Cubed who do amazing premise based improv, Whipsuit, Horner & Davis, Medic, Stranger Danger, Rosen & Milkshake, Passiones … to name a few, haha.

For sketch, I love Secret Pants, Meg & Rob, The Feeko Brothers, Camp Woods, Bare Hug, Hate Speech Comittee. Again, tough question cause there is so much awesome going on. I have many favorites.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
I think my first show with King Friday I was having way too much fun watching them perform that I literally had a moment where I was like, “Oh crap, I’m performing too. Get out there.” I also laughed so hard on the sidelines that I missed out on a few key details. I have since worked on not doing either of those things.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
I think It is at a great, promising place right now. People are really dedicated and working hard, and there seems to be a constant interest from new people in joining the comedy community as well. It’s great to see so many new faces popping up onstage all of the time, and different combos of people from various disciplines of comedy joining forces and starting new groups and projects. I think if it stays on this track, and I have no doubt it will, that we will be taking over the world in no time. Muahahahaha.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I would like to do more festivals and such for both sketch and improv. With improv, I would like to continue to study and also study different forms and genres, and keep performing consistently. Just get more and more comfortable and more and more brave. I think I have in the past few months, but I know I can oush myself even further. With sketch, I would like also to perform more, but I’d like to film more sketches as well. We just shot our 1st one and had a blast, so I’d like to do way more of that for sure! I also play guitar and ukulele, and have joined forces with some other lovely ladies who do the same, so I’d like to eventually get up on stage and perform some musical comedy!

TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Kristen Schier

How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into comedy cause it was always a good feeling when I made people laugh as a kid. I was a bit shy and weird so it was a quick way to be accepted. I certainly did not get into for the money. There is no money in comedy, folks. Anybody got a dolla?

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I am brash. I like to play old ladies, and funny guys. I am physical. My training has caused me to slow down a bit and not worry so much about getting a laugh. I mostly just try to have a blast on stage and play with the people I work with, and make them laugh.

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 playing in an intimate house where people are close. I love also going out into the crowd if the tenor of the show calls for it, so its always exciting when that is a possibility. Some place like the Shubin is great when it is packed with folks, it feels so cozy and allows for shared experience. Don’t get me wrong, I have played on bigger stages and enjoy it too, but that feedback from the audience is so important, as a comedian, and I just get a better sense of it in a smaller theater.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Hmm … I remember a scene that Adsit and Gausas did where they playing characters on a date. They were warming up to an awkward kiss, and as they got closer and closer, they kept speaking to each other and they gradually were touching lips and talking at the same time. It was very funny. I would like to see more of that kind of risk taking form Philly teams. I loved 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 do not write, but I do direct some. I think it is important to be very aware of the source. I like starting with the performer, and going from there. A line coming from one stand-up or actor / improviser will go over much differently that from another. I think it is important to know how you are seen as a comedian in just about any genre of comedy.

What is it about improv that draws you to it?
The collaborative spirit and the instant gratification is what draws me to improv. The empty space to create that it provides is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I love the freedom involved in non-scripted work and as the challenges it poses to me as a director, a writer, and actor, choreographer, lyricists, and composer of my own work.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
I like to watch Marc Reber, Jess Ross, Matt Holmes, AJ Horan, Ralph Andraccio, Nathan Edmondson, Amie Roe, Emily Davis, Brandon Libby and pretty much anyone who gets up there to have fun.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
Ugh, yes. Plenty of bad shows. An improv troupe I was part of did an improv show at the Happy Rooster once. No one wanted to see us. They wanted to have dinner. We were being rude. Ugh. Terrible.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
The comedy scene needs to continue to invest in its own development by seeing the shows that are doing it right, be there in other cities or our own. Also a permanent home for comedy would be a great help to developing and audience for the scene, which in turn, will develop the scene.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
My goal is to take bigger chances as an artist, to be more comfortable with not knowing what comes next. Any who knows me also knows I want to push for performers to get paid more for what they do. I eventually want to make a living at this stuff.

TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Greg Maughan

Greg Maughan is executive director and co-founder of Philly Improv Theater. PHIT’s two weeks at the Shubin Theatre begin on Monday.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I first started performing improv and sketch in High School – mostly because I wanted to do something to prove I wasn’t just a goody two-shoes to the rest of my classmates (I know what you’re saying: “Who would have ever thought Greg was considered a responsible, people-pleasing, brown nose?”).

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
When I’m improvising I tend to try very hard to play as if whatever is being created is true, not zany. So even if the situation ends up being wild, I look for a way to have the character be realistic. But I also play in dark, twisting, seething ways – I notice that there’s a lot of anger underneath what I do on stage: characters who are trying very hard to stay in control while having having pretty black thoughts.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I like performing at Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) because I started the theater, but I also really enjoy performing anywhere I don’t have to be in charge and can just focus on my performance.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
I really like thinking about the shows that we’ve had at PHIT that sold out and the vibe and energy they had: A Comic vs. Audience Comedy show that got put on the front page of Philly.com as “Today in Phily”, the Bedtime Stories tribute to The Wire (where most of the performers hadn’t watched the show!), Adsit & Gausas last year, the big house team in in November. I’ve also really loved shows I just go to go see: Nobody Dies on Christmas this past December was a great show like that.

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?
Since I do mostly improv I don’t sit down and plan what I’m going to do, but I do think that having a life outside of comedy is really important. Improvisers who do nothing but improv end up doing material that looks like a photocopy of photocopy – they’ve seen so many shows that they just base their stuff off of other bits they’ve seen. Walking around, going to new places, hanging out and overhearing other things people say: those are all little slivers of everyday life that I can use to start something when I get on stage.

What is it about improv and sketch that draws you to it?
The spontaneity is what drew me to improv, the idea that it’s rush to step out and not know what is going to happen (although I have a vague notion, obviously, that I can pull it off). A lot of the time when I’m performing on stage I’m actually incredibly nervous – sometimes all the skin on my face and hands will just go numb while I’m on stage. It doesn’t start until the moment we get the suggestion, and it goes away once the show gets moving, but it’s still there sometimes and I don’t know why.

When I was doing sketch, the draw was figuring exactly the right way to get a joke to hit – coming up with something funny and then working and working and working it until you had just the right words to convey the idea. I imagine it would be the same way if I started trying some stand-up. I encourage anyone and everyone to bother me to come with them to an open-mic. I just need a little shove, I swear.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
I honestly really like Brendan Kennedy because he’s so smart off the top of his head, but not in a showy way – and he just doesn’t like BS. I also love how fearless The Feeko Brothers can be — especially as The Porno Brothers. For improv, I really love Grimacchio at the moment – both Ralph Andracchio and Jason Grimley play so well together. I’m sure I’ll have some new obsession in three months though, so many people are coming up so quickly… with the improv I tend to love whoever is new, because I’m excited for them.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
It’s a long time ago, and it wasn’t exactly “bad” per se … but in high school I had to go to a meeting with the Principal and members of the school board over material we did in our show and it was a pretty big scandal. Apparently saying teachers were alcoholics, or sleeping with guys on the football, or had giant electric ride on vibrators was possible libel. I’m glad to say that in the last 10 years it has actually come out that everything we did on stage was accurate. Truth in Comedy: 1, Grosse Pointe South High School, 0.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
I think I will surprise exactly no one by saying a space. Especially for improv and sketch comedy there is a need for a real stage, a good-sized theater, where there can be performances every night of the year. For the broader community a home-base is a big deal. I’m doing everything I can, but I’m also learning it is just so much more complex than you could ever imagine until you set out to try and make it happen.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I would like to start directing sketch groups to help them add that final layer of polish and professionalism to their shows. Everything in town needs just a bit more sprucing up (including the place where we are performing), because it’s sad but true that people often start forming their opinions before they hear any jokes.

TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Dominic Moschitti

Dominic Moschitti is a member of sketch comedy group Bare Hug and with Gamervision, he made this Legend of Zelda trailer that went viral.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into comedy as a kid because it was the only way I knew how to make friends. I’d make the other kids in my class laugh with dumb jokes, or recite bits I saw on TV the night before. I remember staying up late with my brothers to watch The State on MTV. I saw how much it made them laugh and thought, “If I could be as funny as these guys then my brothers would think I’m cool!” I am the sixth of seven kids, so in their minds I’m never cool.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I like big reveals. I love to surprise the audience. Stupid premises are a lot of fun to write. Tim and Eric are a big influence because what they do is so different from the norm. They write what makes them laugh and they have a lot of confidence in what they produce.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
Sketch Up or Shut Up is my favorite show. It’s open mic for sketch and that’s really hard to come by. It’s a great place to try out an idea that just doesn’t seem to be working, or that you think might be too weird, but everyone is more than willing to give notes to you afterward. It’s like a big party. It’s great.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Dirtiest Sketch Competition 2010. There were so many great sketches that night.

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 write down any idea that makes me laugh. A lot of my favorite sketches have come from spontaneous ideas, which comes from being in a comedy mindset, so writing every day is important. Workshopping is vital.

What is it about sketch that draws you to it?
Sketch is a lot of fun because there’s a sense of camaraderie. You challenge each other to write and perform better, and you don’t want to let the other guys down. At the end of the day you will love another man, and that’s comedy.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
There are so many awesome stand-up, sketch, and improv groups in Philadelphia. It’s amazing. But my absolute favorite are The Feeko Brothers. Billy and Chris are such great performers. I think I got that damn JPB’s song stuck in my head again just from writing this.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
We did the Boston Improv Festival in September and I thought we bombed. There were about twenty people in the audience, including a woman who is in charge of sketch at Improv Boston who said she was very excited to see us after watching our Gentlemania sketch. She got up and left half-way through the set. Maybe she had to be somewhere, but it was a good experience. Good shows are awesome, but you can learn from the bad ones.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
Local media coverage. They’ve done a great job ignoring the comedy scene thus far. All of the coverage in the city is just advertising whatever big-name-comedian is performing at the TLA. Comedy in the city! …they don’t even have chairs at the TLA.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
Just get better and work harder.