Dear Philadelphia Comedy,
All of it. Every open mic that lasted for two weeks in a bar I’d never want to step foot in unless they let me talk at half-listening strangers. Every fire hall gig in the middle of nowhere booked by a gravelly disembodied voice on the phone with a promise of pay I wasn’t sure I’d really receive. Every awkward improv scene where I wasn’t sure what to do so I just got louder, repeated what I’d already been saying, and tried to be a bigger, sillier, goofier fool. Every line of every sketch where I’ve agonized over details that don’t even matter, like the full first and last name of a character whose name is never even said.
All of it. Every time a new joke does well at an open mic and gives promise of a new few minutes added onto the act. Every set in front of a crowd that just “gets it” and lets me go where I want to go and follows me there with no judgement, just acceptance…and of course, laughter. Every improv scene where I’m still not sure what to do but it just clicks into place and makes sense and flows together and builds (and I still become a bigger, sillier, goofier fool). That time when the crowd laughed just because we wrote that my character’s name was “Meredith.”
Six years ago I stepped onto a stage at an open mic for the first time with a page full of jokes about dicks and how college was more like an episode of I Love the ’80s (“do you guys remember this thing from our childhood?”) than any wild and crazy party time portrayal of college from any TV show or movie. Six years later and I’m still getting on stages, still talking about dumb stuff, and still loving every single minute of it.
I love the laughter. I love the struggle. I love the people. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll ever make doing this. People I have every single thing in the world in common with. People I have absolutely nothing in common with besides the fact that we do this. But just that one single thing means that I could talk to them for hours. There’s nothing I feel more comfortable talking about or gushing over or heatedly debating than comedy.
This city put that in me. Running around to multiple mics in one night with a group of friends. Staying late after a show to do karaoke and drink until the law says we have to leave. Packing as many people as we can into a park on Memorial Day for a picnic. Giving each other awards that only matter because we say they do.
Doing comedy is certainly difficult, but it is definitely worth it. Getting to say whatever you want to say and making people laugh is the absolute best feeling in the world. It is freeing. It is powerful. But it would be nothing without the people I’ve met along the way. When I say this letter is to “Philadelphia Comedy” that means that it is to you. Have we talked a few times at open mics about nothing? Then this is to you. Did you think I was a dick before you met me because when I first started I was too shy to talk to people? Then I’m sorry, and this is to you. Are you someone that knows me well enough that you’re going to make fun of me mercilessly after reading this? Then this is definitely to you.
I have to be leaving you soon. But you will never leave me.
Aaron Hertzog is an L.A.-bound Philadelphia comedian. He is the host of ‘Hey Everybody!’ at Philly Improv Theater (final show Nov. 26th), until recently a member of PHIT House Team Hey Rube and a founding member of The Holding Court Podcast. He leaves Philly on Nov. 28th; be sure to say hi to him one last time before then.
The Philly Improv Theater will be holding auditions to cast two new House Teams on Saturday, February 4, 2012 from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM at The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St. Philadelphia). To secure an audition time please email your name, phone number, and a preferred time (if any) to: email@example.com. More information can be found on Facebook.
Last week’s episode of CheaPodcast featured special guests John Oliver (The Daily Show) and Kurt Metzger (Ugly Americans). Darryl Charles and James Hesky found time to talk with the headliners after their shows at Helium Comedy Club and, in true CheaPodcast form, asked them their thoughts on bizzarre news stories from the past week. You can check out the episode at the link above, and also Like CheaPodcast on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe on iTunes.
Gregg Gethard of The Holding Court Podcast was featured as a guest on last week’s Best Show on WFMU. Gethard, a regular caller to the show, was in the studio along with his brother Chris who talked with host Tom Scharpling about Chris’ new book A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and fielded some calls from some regulars who are not exactly fond of the Greggulator’s antics on the show. You can listen to the episode online.
Keeping with the podcast theme we have going, Luke Giordano has started a new podcast through his website, Everything You Like is Stupid. The Newsmakers Podcast will feature weekly interviews between Giordano, and some of the most famous and influential people in the world. You can listen on his website, or subscribe in iTunes.
Camp Woods + returns for its’ second show at L’etage (624 South 6th St. Philadelphia) on Tuesday, January 31. This time, Camp Woods teams up with Secret Pants for a not-to-be-missed sketch comedy show. More details can be found on Facebook.
The Blake Wexler Show
Philly/ Los Angeles comedian Blake Wexler along with his guests, and the occasional character talk about comedy, current events, and their lives for about an hour each week on The Blake Wexler Show.
Darryl Charles and James Hesky and their guests get together to talk about issues surrounding one topic each week on CheaPodcast.
The Donkey Show
Jay West and Mike Rainey are joined on the air at Volta Radio live every Friday to talk about the kinds of things only Jay West and Mike Rainey can imagine.
The Holding Court Podcast
Aaron Hertzog and Gregg Gethard get together on The Holding Court Podcast to make fun of weekly events in NBA Basketball. They are often joined by guests, both real and characters.
The Panic Hour
The Panic Hour is hosted by N.A. Poe and is currently broadcasting daily from the Occupy Philly movement.
There’s a Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to produce an entire season of Down the Show, the project that showcases material from the minds of Philly’s sketch groups, stand-up comedians, actors, writers, illustrators and musicians.
Quizmaster/ Comedian Johnny Goodtimes wrote on his blog about the 3 Philly Funnymen You Absolutely, Positively Should Be Following on Twitter. Check it out.
Doogie Horner has been updating his blog, KGB Yard Sale more frequently. Just today, he posted a skit, a sketch (drawing) and some words of inspiration.
Luke Giordano has found time out from his new job as a writer for Two and a Half Men to keep updating his website Everything You Like is Stupid. His latest post is inspired by LA traffic.
The latest episode of Darryl Charles and James Hesky’s CheaPodcast features special guest Brendan Kennedy – fresh off consuming some of the “pickle back” shots he made famous (perhaps infamous) with their appearance in his Sketch-Up or Shut-Up performance.
Also in the podcast world, The Holding Court Podcast continues to release episodes even in the NBA offseason, because, really, Gregg Gethard and Aaron Hertzog don’t need much actual basketball play to keep their discussion alive.
The first round of the Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest continued last night at Helium Comedy Club, with Pat House, Tommy Pope and David Ray Agyekum moving on to the semi-finals.
This Thursday Connie’s Ric Rac will host a show headlined by Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neil Brennan (buy tickets HERE).
Chip Chantry will be recording his first comedy album live at Helium Comedy Club on Tuesday, August 16th (Facebook Event). Joining him on the show will be Pat House and Amir Gollan. Tickets are available for $5 and can be purchased online or by calling the club and making a reservation (215-496-9001).
In the age of new media, the podcast is everywhere — providing a sort of replacement for the radio show and can be on any specific or esoteric subject matter available to be talked about. There are a lot of podcasts by comedians and about comedy, but also a few around by Philadelphia comedians. Here’s the rundown of the ones we know of:
Who does it? Bird Text! (John McKeever, Tommy Pope, and Luke Cunningham)
How many episodes so far? Just one. But to be fair, they just started last week.
Could you describe it to me? Couple of dudes hanging out. Lots of fast-paced banter. They talk about anything — from inside comedy to just shooting the shit.
How would you rate it? Superb!
What’s the link? Libsyn Site
Who does it? Bosom buddies James Hesky and Darryl Charles. Sometimes Mykal Carter Jackson.
How many episodes so far? Nine and going strong!
Could you describe it to me? It’s sort of like Bird Text, in that it is a couple of friends being funny and talking about random stuff, but James and Darryl are nicer and they don’t talk as fast as Tommy Pope. But there are few who do.
How would you rate it? Fantastic!
What’s the link? Podbean Site
The Feeko Factor
Who does it? The Feeko Brothers!
How many episodes so far? Eighteen, but there hasn’t been a new one in almost a year. It is either done or just on hiatus.
Could you describe it to me? Bizarre. Lots of weird and funny bits. The Feekos eventually lose their show to irritating radio heel Josh Justice. This podcast was most likely conceived with the premise of “how much can we subject our audience to before they can’t take it anymore?” But that just makes the insanity of it all even funnier.
How would you rate it? Stupendous!
What’s the link? Libsyn Site
Good Talkin’ with Mike & Jay
Who does it? Mike Marbach and Jay Piazza
How many episodes so far? Seven — hasn’t been updated in a little while.
Could you describe it to me? Mike and Jay record their phone conversations, talking about whatever comes up naturally — just like two friends would do on the phone!
How would you rate it? Truly wonderful!
What’s the link? Podbean Site
Continue reading Guide to Philly Comedy Podcasts
Aaron Hertzog and Gregg Gethard are claiming this week’s Holding Court Podcast is the best one ever. It’s up to you to verify. [Holding Court Podcast]
Alejandro Morales wrote an article on the use of anti-gay slurs in comedy called “Comedy and the Fag Word.” It got picked up by Philly Gay Calendar. [Philly Gay Calendar]
Rumblings of a new Philadelphia comedy roast this month are getting louder. We’ll be the first (maybe second) to bring you all the information about that when it’s released. You can check out video last year’s roast of Kent Haines on Pat Barker‘s YouTube channel. [Pat Barker's YouTube Channel]
Philly Improv Theater‘s The Gross Show has a new night and time — Tuesday, March 29th at 8:30. Perhaps this is due to the last two shows getting noise complaints for being so raucous (this is what it is). [The Gross Show on Facebook]
Speaking of PHIT, the powerpoint from last Tuesday’s State of PHIT address from Greg Maughan is up if you weren’t there to attend. [Philly Improv Theater]
The second round of the March Madness Comedy Competition is tonight at the newly-christened Comedy X-Change open mic. Details of last night’s packed show will come tomorrow. [Facebook Event]