Are you producing a comedy show in Philadelphia? Bedtime Stories creator Gregg Gethard has some ideas he’d like to try to make Philly comedy more attractive to new audiences, and he’d like to see the rest of us trying ‘em out, too. Read below, and feel free to add your own opinions and suggestions in the comments.
by Gregg Gethard
The Holiday Inn in East Somerville, MA is located in the absolute ass end of greater Boston. Do you know where the car rental return places are down near the airport? That’s essentially where this Holiday Inn is located.
However, this past weekend, it was the home of a joint comedy show between The Union Square Roundtable and The Chris Gethard Show. Over 80 intrepid comedy nerds made the trip to a part of the area that is a vortex of nothing. And while both the USRT (which is to Boston comedy what Bedtime Stories and The Theme Show are to Philly) and The Chris Gethard Show have their followings, the main selling point for the show was the swimming pool.
The USRT folks rented out the hotel’s pool area, which also has wall-climbing, ping-pong, foosball and a basketball hoop. It also had space for a video projector and for a band to play. It was a comedy show in one of the most bizarre venues imaginable.
It also taught me a valuable lesson: We need to do a ton better in marketing our product to the Philadelphia audience. And one of the ways to do so is in our choice of venues.
We often complain in Philly comedy about our audiences, which are in most cases other performers and family and friends. We’ve complained at length about a lack of media attention (although that has gotten a LOT better) but we really need to do a lot on ourselves to market our shows beyond “Facebook invites/e-mails/press releases.”
Here are some thoughts. I plan on doing a lot of these with Bedtime Stories but feel free to steal them (or give me ideas to steal) because it’s for the greater good:
Continue reading Gregg Gethard Has Some Ideas
It’s almost time for the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy! As we get closer to the show, we’ll be rolling out a series of posts to help you get more acquainted with this year’s nominees. Read all about ‘em, and then be sure to get your tickets for the big event on January 13th at World Cafe Live!
The nominees for Best Regular Show are:
Camp Woods Plus
Camp Woods Plus was a monthly sketch comedy showcase hosted by Philly sketch comedy juggernauts, Camp Woods! Every month they brought two sketch comedy groups from around the country plus a hilarious all new show of their own to L’etage. The show had its last edition this past December, but from the time it debuted to a sold-out crowd it quickly became a must-see event within the Philly comedy scene.
The Theme Show
The Theme Show is a monthly variety show at Philly Improv Theater hosted by Pat Foy (Camp Woods) and Steve Swan (The Flat Earth, Mayor Karen). Each month sketch groups, stand-ups and more create material around a new theme to show audiences just how much comedy can come from the same starting point.
Reasonable Discourse With Jerks
Reasonable Discourse With Jerks is a monthly panel comedy show hosted by Jim Grammond and produced by the good people at the Philly Improv Theater. Every month Jim is joined by a four-person panel of comedians and other professional-grade talkers to cover a variety of topics.
The Monthly Hour with James Hesky
Part late-night talk show, part stand-up showcase, and mostly one giant desperate attempt to get the approval of others, The Monthly Hour with James Hesky brings some of Philadelphia’s top talent to the Philly Improv Theater to help you catch up on all the major (and minor) events of the month. Each month, Hesky (CheaPodcast, The Gross Show) and his merry band of writers will recap the month through stand-up, sketch, video and interviews with top newsmakers (or completely made up no-names).
Comedian Brendan Kennedy has his finger on the pulse of all things awful—from terrible scripts to embarrassing poetry, YouTube videos and stage plays—and each month he hosts a dramatic reading of everything he’s found. With assistance from co-host Roger C. Snair, who regularly submits his own plays to the show, Brendan and a group of Philly’s top comedians are sure to surprise you with how hard they commit to the crap they have decided to stage for your amusement and the bizarre improv riffs they go on as inspiration hits them.
My name is Joe Moore and I go to comedy shows in Philadelphia.
At a good deal of those shows, I like to drink beer. When I drink beer, I like to take pictures with my iPhone. People who drink beer and have an iPhone know that most often, these pictures are awful – upside-downer’s, close up’s of one of my fingers, and most of all, BLURRY’s!
I just spent a good deal of time going through all of the pictures (some shows have one or two shots, and a few notable cases where I have close to 100!) and have selected my 5 favorite photos.
Out of the approximately 80 shows I went to and the many many shots, I’ve narrowed those down to my top 5:
In no order, here they are:
#1: “Changing of the Guard” Sketch Up or Shut Up – 3/4-5/2011
I think I killed most of a 6-pack (shared the rest) during “Meg and Rob – Quality Value Convenience: The Final Meg & Rob Show.” I know that I went to BOTH the Friday and the Saturday shows. I remember getting my shirt signed by BOTH Rob and Meg after one of the shows. I DO NOT remember putting the shirt in the washing machine that stole the signatures. And I just barely remember sticking around in front of the Shubin Theater after the Friday Show long enough to catch my second Sketch Up or Shut Up. A free show, Sketch-Up is just as nice at twice the price and one of my favorite shows each month.
This photo depicts Meg passing the proverbial torch to Brian.
#2:Bird Text Comedy Showcase – 4/1/2011
The first Bird Text Show! This was one of my favorite nights of comedy all year, for 3 reasons: 1 – It was my first time seeing The Feeko Brother’s Jay PeeBee’s PB+J. / 2 – It was my first posted submission to WitOut.Net. / 3 – It was an incredible night of brilliant comedy. Easily the best line up I’ve ever seen on stage at Helium.
A packed crowd got to see a killer line up of comedy and I drank a lot of beer.
Close readers of WitOut.net will note: I totally called the outcome of Philly’s Funniest and lit the match that became the Tommy Pope wild fire when I reported: ” 9:02 – Tommy Pope takes the stage. Is funny.”
#3: The Theme Show – 7/29/2011
The First Theme show was a really fun night for me as well as a funny night for Philly Comedy. After taking the reigns of the fabled Bed Time Stories, an amazing legacy which I unfortunately didn’t drink enough to take pictures of, I’m sure both performers and audience were expecting some hiccups. Rob Banewicz had Gregg Gethard’s funny shoes to fill, and filled them well with an entertaining show that went off without a hitch.
#4: Hate Speech Hall’s Jesus is Really Galactus - 5/20-21/11
I took this picture at 2:35 AM. I have no idea what is going on here.
I think I’ve said enough.
#5: The Final Bully Pulpit - 6/29/2011
My sustained adoration for Luke Giordano is VERY WELL documented on WitOut.Net. That being said, I was on stage this night which means it was probably the best night to be an audience member of anything ever. This was a photo I took from the stage, something I normally shouldn’t be able to do, but did anyway.
DISQUALIFIED #5A: TV PARTY - 3/30/2011
Once a month, The Shubin hosts what I believe to be the most fun a person can ever have – Guilty Pleasures w/ Brendan Kennedy and Roger C. Snair followed by TV Party Paul Trigg and Rob Baniwicz. Hands down the best $10 I’ve ever spent, and the best $1,010 I plan on spending for the next 101 months.
They have an old hollowed out TV they use as a cooler… which also can sometimes be a hat.
Disqualified because I didn’t take the picture, but me wearing the TV/Cooler from TV Party on my head is pretty cool.
The Roast of Meg Favreau
It’s a funny tradition comedians have – when they want to honor someone they do it by saying the most terrible things they can think of about them, and all their friends. Before Meg Favreau moved to Los Angeles, Philadelphia made sure they gave her the proper send-off (you can see for yourself on PHIT’s YouTube Account)
The Trashing of Luke Giordano
Luke Giordano also left Philadelphia for Los Angeles this year, but on much shorter notice. With a quick turn around time, Luke’s friends put together a “trashing” of him – where they planned to make fun of his writing and stand-up work. Some of them did, but for most – it was just a good, old-fashioned roast. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Hate Speech Hall’s Jesus is Really Galactus
Did you remember that the world was supposed to end this year? It didn’t – but if it would have there was no better place to be on the front lines of the world’s demise than Hate Speech Hall (the name given to the apartment shared by Brendan Kennedy, JP Boudwin, and Billy Thompson). An open mic/ open house in their living room that brought out a full house of Philly’s funniest to laugh, drink, and possibly die together.
The Theme Show Presents: The Twilight Zone
It happened with Bedtime Stories and it’s happening with The Theme Show – sometimes a theme just hits everyone perfectly – and the audience is treated to a night of extra inspired comedy. This was the case with the most recent Theme Show – where performers based their acts on the theme of The Twilight Zone. Ironic twist endings, Rod Serling impressions, and more than one reference to Vampires kept the audience laughing throughout the night.
The Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia Competition
For the second straight year The Feeko Brothers took home the trophy for Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia – but not before the night was filled with raunchy, dirty, depraved, and hilarious sketches from not only Philadelphia groups, but some of the visitors in town for Philly Sketch Fest. The Dirtiest Sketch competition has been a great night of Philadelphia comedy since it’s days at The Khyber, and this year was no different.
Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests)
When Don Montry decided to end the run of his show Die Actor Die at The Khyber he handed the reigns over to the very capable Chip Chantry who continued the tradition of a Monday night variety show on stage at the Old City bar. When The Khyber decided to change their plans and eliminate live shows, Chip took his show to Philly Improv Theater, where it has flourished ever since. Mixing stand-up, sketch, improv, characters and games, Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) is one of the places crowds get to see the best of all genres of Philadelphia comedy.
The Gross Show
Alex Gross’ mock Trash Talk show has been grossing audiences out at Philly Improv Theater since its’ premiere earlier this year. A mix of characters, written bits, and improv, The Gross Show takes the best of the worst of human behavior and displays it for crowds ready and eager to laugh at how low down and dirty the minds of Philadelphia’s funniest people can get.
Part of PHIT’s appropriately named “found comedy night” Guilty Pleasures is a platform for host Brendan Kennedy to call people out for their bullshit on stage. Brendan loves to find the best examples of terrible writing and have some of Philly’s funniest people read the scripts for an audience with hilarious results. Brendan’s also found the perfect sidekick in Roger C. Snair – willing to rap on stage, write his own scripts for the show – and participate in reading of rewritten “classic” movie scenes, tailored just for him by Brendan.
The Ministry of Secret Jokes
Doogie Horner’s monthly Ministry of Secret Jokes has been one of the best nights of comedy Philadelphia has to offer for years. Doogie packs the show with not only great stand-up and sketch comedy but games, contests, and audience participation. The show is run like a meeting of a secret society, and Doogie often opens his shows by having the audience recite an oath that they will not reveal what they see to anyone. Judging by the packed in crowds upstairs at Fergie’s every month, many people have been breaking that oath.
The Theme Show
Rob Baniewicz hosts this monthly show with various acts all doing their take on one common theme. The successor to Gregg Gethard’s Bedtime Stories, The Theme Show is a great chance for audiences to see the variety that comes when different groups get the same general topic and are allowed to let their imaginations roam free. It’s always a treat to see how performers approach the theme and where they find humor in the topic of the month.
Rob Baniewicz and Paul Triggiani get together on stage at Philly Improv Theater every month and have a TV Party. They find the best worst television from the past available and present it to a crowd full of often drunk and always eager fans waiting to laugh – both at the shows and with the hilarious commentary provided by the two. Paired perfectly with Guilty Pleasures on PHIT’s “found comedy” night, TV Party brings to the stage an experience we all have – laughing at things that weren’t necessarily meant to be funny.
The end of October is traditionally a special time for themed comedy shows. The Halloween season brings out special characters, theme shows, and other spooky surprises. Here is a run down of some of the special Halloween shows Philly has to offer in the upcoming week.
Hey Everybody – Friday, October 28 – 7PM – Philly Improv Theater
Aaron Hertzog‘s stand-up comedy showcase features all characters this week with comedy from Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez, Bing Supernova, Joan Fisky, “Dad”, and more!
The Theme Show Presents: The Twilight Zone – Friday, October 28 – 10PM – Philly Improv Theater
Rob Baniewicz‘s monthly variety show pays tribute to the strange, freaky world of The Twilight Zone. Will sketches end in ironic twists? You’ll have to attend to see.
The Gross (Hallowiener) Show – Friday, October 28 – 11PM – Philly Improv Theater
Word on the street is that Alex Gross has been busy preparing buckets of (hopefully) fake blood for his trash talk show, and the Facebook event promises “pure fucking evil, more pure fucking evil” and “even more pure fucking evil.” Sounds like fun.
PHIT House Team Night of the Living Dead Improv – Saturday, October 29 – 7, 8:30, 10PM – Philly Improv Theater
PHIT House Teams Asteroid!, King Friday, and Fletcher along with special “Undead Guests” will perform special Halloween themed improv. Asteroid! plans on performing an improvised B Movie. The special guests on each show will be now defunct house teams reanimated for a special performance.
Hatespeech Committee Mischief Night Variety Show Nonsense Costume Party! – Sunday, October 30 – 7:00PM – Connie’s Ric Rac
Chip Chantry and Roger C. Snair the Vampire will co-host the evening while Otto Van Walmart serves as the house band. Costumes are manditory for all that attend, and ones will be available to rent at the door for $3 for those that don’t believe that’s true. There will be a prize given out for best costume and best Roger C. Snair impersonation. Plus Hatespeech Committee promises that they will be getting wild.
Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (With Special Guests) – Monday, October 31 – 8:30PM – Philly Improv Theater
Chip Chantry’s monthly spectacular has the distinct privilege of falling on Halloween night and will feature a sketch from James Hesky, Eric Todd, John Kensil and Mike Rainey along with performances from Pat House and Tom Cassidy, favorite recurring feature Storytime with Mike Rainey and movie reviews from the Westboro Baptist Church.
This week at the Shubin Theater, Philly Improv Theater continues its two-week run of shows. PHIT has recently changed their schedule, shifting showtimes to 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00PM. You can check out their full schedule here.
Monday night open mic Comedy XChange has gone through a bit of a facelift, and will now be known as Comedy on the Corner. Not letting the closing of their venue, Bar Xchange, stop them from putting on a show, hosts Chris McGrail and Dan Vetrano have decided to go guerrilla and hold their open mic on the street, at the corner of 20th and Ludlow.
Tuesday night Philly will say good-bye to Luke Giordano, who is departing for Los Angeles, where he will continue his comedy career as a writer for the sitcom Two and a Half Men. Luke will not go quietly into the night, as he is being sent off with a “Trashing” [Facebook event] – which is similar to a roast, but from the mind of Brendan Kennedy.
Also this Tuesday The Bird Text Comedy Show will make its return to Helium Comedy Club. This week’s show will feature sets from Tom Cassidy, Alex Grubard, Mikey Gleason, and David James.
The Theme Show will make its debut at 10:00PM this Friday night at PHIT. Hosted by Rob Baniewicz, The Theme Show continues in the tradition of Gregg Gethard’s Bedtime Stories as a monthly variety show where all the acts are based around a common theme. This months theme is, fittingly, “The First Time.”
Submissions are currently open for the 7th annual Philadelphia Improv Festival, being held October 3rd – 9th, kicking off the second annual Comedy Month. Applications forms are available on their website, and the deadline to submit is Sunday, July 17th.
Auditions will be held this week for two Fringe Festival shows being produced by Philly Improv Theater. Twenty-four is a show that will unfold in real-time and is described as “a twenty-four minute window on the realistic relationship dynamics of six individuals.” Twenty-four is being directed by Steve Kleinedler and will hold auditions on Tuesday, July 5th and Saturday, July 9th. Dark Comedy is PHIT’s take on the famous Chicago format “The Bat” an improvised show that takes place completely in the dark. Dark Comedy is directed by Jason Grimley and will hold auditions on Sunday, July 10th.
Chip Chantry‘s naughtily-named Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) is tonight. Chip assures us that there will be comedy and then he and Johnny Goodtimes will do a thing and it’ll be fun and you should go and all that stuff. [Facebook Event]
Do you like Chip Chantry? No? Well, tomorrow, he’ll be hosting his other show that he put his name on, Face Time with Chip Chantry at Helium Comedy Club. He assures us that it will be very different from the first show, but equally as fun, so you should go to both. [Facebook Event]
Around Philly sent us this link to an interview with former Philly comic Conrad Roth. So there you have it. [Around Philly]
The last Bedtime Stories ever was last night. It seems like we should have done something to cover it, which we very well may have. But news is coming in that the Rob Baniewicz-hosted sequel show has an official name, “The Theme Show.” The first show’s theme will be “Firsts” or “First Times” and will take place on July 8th. The location? TO BE DETERMINED.
The next Bully Pulpit is on Wednesday and the panel features the comedians who were in that Philly Weekly Ladies of Philadelphia Comedy cover story. Host Luke Giordano was not featured in that article, but as Mike Rainey put it, he is, “gonna use extra duct tape for his tuck.” [Facebook Event]
The first round of Helium’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Competition has been moved from Sunday, June 5th to Thursday, June 2nd. Presumably because of a scheduling conflict, but Chip Chantry insists it’s because Helium knows he’s “too big for Sundays.” [Helium Website]