Upcoming Shows

  • 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
  • November 6, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 6, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • November 7, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 7, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 7, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • November 7, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 7, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 7, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • November 8, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • November 8, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • November 8, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 8, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • November 8, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • November 8, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • November 8, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • November 12, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • November 13, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Top 5 of 2012: Vegas Lancaster’s Top Five Awesome Reasons to be a Comedian in Philadelphia

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December, and slightly beyond, if we deem it necessary–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

1. Opportunities for Performance and Growth
OH MAN have you seen how many opportunities for performance and growth that you, the Philly comedian, have?! If you’re a stand-up there’s a pretty great open mic somewhere almost every night of the week (Helium‘s Tuesday night show is uber-polished, and Monday night’s Laughs on Fairmount r0x0rs my b0x0rs). If you’re an independent comedy act then Polygon is ALL ABOUT giving you an opportunity to perform in a well-put together show (that is literally what they are ALL ABOUT). If you want to beef up your improv chops, cool dudes and ladies want to practice with you at Incubator on Sunday nights, or jam with you late nights at Philly Improv Theater. If you want to beef up your improv chops AND PAY FOR IT (who doesn’t?), PHIT has been pumping out talented improvisers through their apparently well-taught classes faster than I pump out…Well, I’ll let you finish that sentence. Also, for those of you like me who love paying for things but hate committing to more than one day of a thing, PHIT’s been offering some pretty sweet workshops (Kristen Schier’s clowning workshop and Jill Bernard’s Fireball Theory taught me a lot this year, there I said it!). In conclusion, Philadelphia has many opportunities for performance and growth, hooray!

2. Consistently Good Performances Across the City
OH MAN have you noticed all the consistently good performances across the city? If you like comic theater, 1812 Productions puts on great stuff! If you like stand-up, our professional clubs are always hosting great acts! If you like long-form improv, PHIT hosts fun shows most nights of the week! And if you like short-form ComedySportz and The N Crowd have been putting on great shows every week for YEARS!

3. Innovative Shows!
Did you see Asteroid!‘s B-Movie? It was a great idea and really well executed! Did you see Myths & Monsters? It was a great idea and really well executed! ALSO OTHERS. Look I don’t get out as much as you guys, whatever.

4. Sweet Dudes and Ladies 
OH MAN have you noticed all the sweet dudes and ladies in the Philadelphia comedy community?! Here I am using the definitions of “sweet” that connotate niceness AND awesomeness AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT UP?! My crippling social anxiety and poor hygiene typically make me reclusive (not unlike the Brown Recluse, which does not typically reside in Philadelphia, this is bonus awesome thing about Philly number six), and yet I still feel welcome in the community! That’s pretty SWEET of you, dudes and ladies!

5. New York Stinks
Seriously, it is the stinkiest!

Vegas Lancaster is a stand-up comedian and a member of The N Crowd.  His opinions about New York City are his own, and should not be taken as an endorsement of anti-New York sentiment by WitOut.  WitOut has no beef with you, New York City.

Top 5 of 2012: Paul Triggiani’s Best Sketches by New Sketch Groups in 2012

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December, and slightly beyond, if we deem it necessary–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

In past years, I made it a goal to see every sketch comedy show that went up in Philly at least once. I considered it a duty to support the other sketch groups in town, but I also benefited from seeing what my peers were doing. Often times, they inspired me to write and perform better.

In 2012, it became impossible to see every sketch show in town. I would have had to give up my life and become a full-time sketch comedy audience member, and I don’t think that would have been very lucrative for me. I still make it to most of the shows, and I am still regularly inspired by the talent and brilliance of the people I’m privileged to watch (and sometimes collaborate with).

Here is a list of my favorite sketches by groups that started performing in 2012.

5. American Breakfast – “Prank My Tween”

A TV prank show where parents “prank” their tweens while a camera rolls on their reaction. Only, in this case, all of the pranks are just normal parenting behaviors; the tweens react with disgust because they’re tweens and that’s how tweens act when their patents do anything. I’m a sucker for a simple premise with a truthful observation at the core. This is that.

4. The Specific Jawns – “Rape & Murder Mystery Party”

This sketch was one of many very strong offerings during this year’s Dirtiest Sketch In Philadelphia competition. Specific Jawn Carl Boccuti “hosts” a rape & murder mystery party where he selects a handful of audience members who read aloud from evidence envelopes that they have been given. One by one, each participant reveals further gory (and hilarious) details about the crime, themselves and the song “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors.

Putting up a sketch that relies on the audience or non-performers to carry the scene can be risky and outside of our comfort zone, but when it works, it can pay out major dividends. Even if it doesn’t win a competition.

3. The Flat Earth – “Sexy Telegraph”

We know that the first message ever sent by telegraph was “What hath god wrought.” We could assume that the second message sent by telegraph was “What are you wearing,” since at the advent of any major technological breakthrough, our first question is “How can we use this to jerk off better?” That was the underlying assumption of “Sexy Telegraph,” where a man and woman engage in erotic telegraphy across the Atlantic (and it escalates over the course of the scene).  Physical comedy without dialogue is a rare thing to see on stage in Philly, and it’s rare because it’s hard (and one might argue that it’s hard because we rarely attempt it). Seeing a totally physical/visual sketch done and done well was, for me, delightful.

2. Daring Daulton – “Hammer Store”

Joe Paolucci enters a store to rob the joint with his weapon of choice, a hammer. We eventually learn that the store he is attempting to rob is a hammer store and the man behind the counter (Trevor Cunnion) has a seemingly endless supply of hammers at his disposal. Despite this, Trevor does not immediately do away with the robber but instead attempts to remedy the robber’s insecurities. It gets weird, but in a way that should stand as an example of how to breathe life into what feels like it could be a one-note premise.

1. Dog Mountain – “No More Birthdays”

This is making my list as the best sketch by a new group in 2012, but a case could be made for “No More Birthdays” being the best local sketch of 2012. A man (Dennis Trafny) throws a birthday party for his significant other, but at the stroke of midnight, he demands that both the party and her birthday are over (to a frightening degree). This sketch sticks with me and makes number one on my list because it has almost everything that I look for in a sketch. The performance by Dennis is paramount; he plays a funnier “terrifying” than any human I can think of. Mike Marbach is also a great asset; he may have been born to play a guy being emotionally dismantled.

 

I performed in my first live sketch comedy show with Secret Pants in 2005. At the time, there was one other sketch group in town (that we knew of), and we never saw or crossed paths with them. Now, almost 2013, there are too many sketch shows to see, five or six new groups in one year, a sketch open mic that is envied in Los Angeles and New York alike, and a sketch comedy community that is growing at a rate that none of us ever imagined. When I sat down to write this list today, I was excited. When I realized that I could write it, I was thrilled. Let’s all raise a glass to more lists.

Top 5 of 2012: Mike Marbach’s Top 5 New-to-Me Bits of 2012 + Top 5 Acts Ruined By Members Selfishly Moving Away To Explore Other Opportunities

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December, and slightly beyond, if we deem it necessary–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

Top 5 New-to-Me Bits of 2012

These are things that have been going on for a while here in Philly, but that I just had my first real experiences with this year. And I find myself, my life and my future better as a result.

5. John Kensil’s Joke Photos of People that Just Died. Like JUST died.
I don’t talk to John often. Actually, I’m not sure we’ve ever had a conversation. Maybe we’ll fix that this year in an episode of the GETTIN CLOSE PODCAST. For now though, we are simply friends on Facebook. It’s worth being his friend on Facebook just for the pictures he posts after someone with at least a moderate amount of fame dies. The pictures are usually close enough to be a mistake, but different enough to be on purpose. Most recently for Stormin Norman Schwartzkopf he posted a photo of Jonathan Winters which made me laugh out loud and for some reason feel bad about doing so. The pictures define “too soon” and somehow make me think I’ve waited too long each time a death report pops up.

4. “Not for Nuthin Podcast” with Tim Butterly and Mike Rainey
I was sitting in the Shubin basement before the theme show. While simultaneously using my script to study lines and swat flies something caught my ear. It was a sound that to me is as at once nails on a chalkboard and sweet mother’s milk at the same time: two super thick Delco accents. They were just kind of riffing on the “iggles” and whatnot for a couple minutes. I asked if they would want to do it as an act in an upcoming Sideshow at the Arts Parlor. They did a set where they debuted the “Not for Nuthin” podcast . And they killed. It was the perfect blend of sports talk, topical humor, ignorance of topics and racism. Brilliant.

3. Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez and Bing Supernova
I’ve heard about these two for a while, but it wasn’t until Friday night that I actually got to witness the spectacle of each. The stars aligned to get them in not only the same show, but the same set. It was equal parts hilarious and disturbing. The uniforms of each from beret to knee highs to glasses and grease(?) were enough to make people laugh, but also serve to soften the blow of the foul shit that each would say. These two really are the DEANS of comedy.

2. #Friendship
I’m sure this has been going on for a while with Aaron, but I had my first experiences with the chants this year and it’s happened several times since. The first time I remember is at the Friendship Labor Day picnic on the parkway. Each time a tour bus would go by Aaron led the “Friendship! Friendship! Friendship!” chant. It happened all afternoon. At least 6 times with different tour buses, but same tour guides who also came to enjoy it. The funnest time for me though was when the Friendship chant was heard not as a tour bus was passing, but an ambulance. If an ASTEROID! had hit Earth after that moment I’d have gone a happy person.

1. Roger Snair
HERE’S JOHNNY.

Top 5 Acts Ruined By Members Selfishly Moving Away To Explore Other Opportunities

5. Tap City
4. Half Life
3. Camp Woods
2. Camp Woods
1. Beirdo

Mike Marbach is the Education Director for Philly Improv Theater, director of PHIT House Team Asteroid!, creator and host of the Gettin’ Close podcast and producer of The Sideshow variety showcase at The Arts Parlor.

Top 5 of 2012: Joe Bell’s Top Five Members of Open Mic Tight Six

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

Running an open mic with five other people can be rough sometimes. Egos tend to get in the way, especially when people start picking favorites. That’s why I’ve ranked the top five members of Tight Six in no particular order.

1. Aaron Nevins

2. Elise Thomson Hohl

3. Dan Vetrano

4. Mikey Garcia

5. Becca Trabin

RUNNER UP: Robert X

I’ll be honest. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make the cut, but fair is fair. Time to quit comedy forever.

Joe Bell is a stand-up comedian and co-runs Tight Six, a weekly open mic on Sundays at Fergies Pub. He’s a real swell fella with a brilliant smile and a lot of class. Follow him on Twitter @Joebeii and give him a dollar if you see him in person.

 

Top 5 of 2012: Jim Grammond’s Top Five Favorite Comedy-Related Things I Did in 2012 That May Make Me an As*hole

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

Comedians love two things: giving themselves too much credit and giving their friends and peers a hard time in the name of having fun. And they also probably love their families and other stuff. Here are my five favorite things I did in 2012 that may make me an as*hole but myself and others enjoyed:

1. Sent Mentos an email to a YouTube link with a message saying “someone’s using your product to promote date rape.”

2.
Voted for myself in every category something I was involved in was nominated in for a WitOut award.

3. Conspired with other comedians to let Rob DeSantis’s comment in a Twitter thread just hang after he went racial with it.

4. Having this song lyric I made up stuck in my head for a week:

We gonna fly down to
Osage Avenue.
And set the block on fire.

5.
Asking Pat House “New Foo Fighters sweatshirt?” when he was always wearing the same Foo Fighters sweatshirt. ALWAYS.

Jim Grammond is a comedy performer and writer based in Philadelphia. He performs stand-up wherever they’ll have him, and is the host of Reasonable Discourse with Jerks, a monthly panel comedy show at Philly Improv Theater . Jim is also a writer for The Monthly Hour with James Hesky and a sketch performer with The Flat Earth.

 

Top 5 of 2012: Mikey Gleason’s Top Five Guest Appearances on The Monthly Hour With James Hesky

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

I love seeing comedy in Philly but with a day job outside of the city it’s difficult to make it to too many shows. Since I’m a writer/performer on The Monthly Hour, I usually try to make it to that show, and since it’s a variety show, I get to see a lot of different acts there. So here is my list of the top 5 guest appearances on The Monthly Hour that I’ve actually seen (I missed a couple shows—sorry, ManiPedi—and was not allowed out of the basement at the Shubin Theater for others).

5. Brendan Kennedy
Some may call it a sentimental pick, but I thought his stand-up at the November show was great. Brendan is heading to LA in January to eventually park cars for a living, but in the 2 months before his departure, he has graced us with a number of great performances. The Philly Comedy scene is going to miss Brendan Kennedy. Minus the drunken slurring, he is what funny people in this city should strive to be. A great stand-up, a member of a spectacular sketch group (Camp Woods), host of an awesome show at the PHIT (Guilty Pleasures) and a member of a crappy improv group (Hate Speech Committee—and for the record, I’m not saying all improv is crappy, just Hate Speech), Brendan embraces all things funny. Plus, he discovered Roger Snair.

4. Tommy Pope
Picking a Tommy performance seems like cheating, but I remember this one as particularly funny. Tommy had a great year in comedy and getting the chance to see people like him perform in an intimate theater like the Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin Theater is a really cool thing.

3. Omar Scruggs
When Darryl Charles couldn’t perform at Philly Sketchfest due to a hole in his neck, Omar stepped in at the last minute and performed Darryl’s part. We asked Omar to act like a warm-up comedian from Def Comedy Jam which was completely incongruous with the wholesome “Morning Show” that he was opening for. Omar came out and yelled so many profane things at the audience that he ran out of breath. Later he came back out and ended the show with an amazing ad lib, “All right, you muthaf’ers, I’m back!” The crowd went nuts. Really one of the funniest moments I saw live this year.

2. Christian Alsis
Christian came on the show and performed stand-up. If you’ve only ever seen Christian be a Feeko Brother and have never seen him do stand-up, you’re missing out. Billy Bob Thompson might be the good looking one in the duo, but Christian is definitely one of the top two funniest members of the Feeko Brothers. What made Christian’s performance even better is that he stayed onstage after his set and performed as himself in a pun-based game show sketch. He learned his lines in the 30 minutes before the show and really did a great job of “acting” confused.

1. Chip Chantry and the Chip Chantry Players
This was such a simple bit, but one that still makes me laugh. Chip and the Players (aka Carl Boccuti) came out as a new improv group. Upon taking a suggestion from the crowd, they took a few notes on paper and then promised to come back the following month to perform some “improv” based on that suggestion. So simple, but so incredibly funny.

Thanks to everybody that was a part of The Monthly Hour this year and thanks to everyone in the Philly comedy community. Keep it funny and friendly.

Mikey Gleason is a stand-up comedian, a filmmaker, and a writer/performer on The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at Philly Improv Theater. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeygleason and subscribe to his YouTube channel. It would help him cry less.

Top 5 of 2012: Steve Kleinedler’s Top Five People Whose Ability to Grow Hair I Covet

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

I started losing my hair in high school. All of the fun things I got to do in the 1980s with hair dye are long gone. On top of that, I never had to shave regularly until I was in my late 30s. In the late 1980s all I wanted was cool sideburns, and I had to wait until the trend came back around a couple years ago to almost be able to take advantage of it. I didn’t even have armpit hair until I was in my 20s. I spent most of my teen years too mortified to wear a tank top. I view most men with hair and the ability to grow facial hair wistfully. They have something I’ll never have.

Whenever I see these five guys, I can’t help but think about their hair. And how much I want to possess it.

5. Vegas Lancaster (improv team The N Crowd)
His hair has super powers that I cannot begin to comprehend. If you encounter Vegas in a dark alley, you are simultaneously frightened and awed.

4. Jp Boudwin (sketch group Camp Woods)
He can go from full-on French Canadian couch-surfing drifter to slightly more respectable French Canadian couch-surfing drifter simply by getting a hair cut. Also, when he gets his hair cut, he loses ten pounds in one whack.

3. Jess Carpenter (improv team Iron Lung, Comedian Deconstruction)
If I had the ability to rock full-on Wolverine facial hair like Jess does, I would be an unstoppable sex machine. I would do so much with that superpower, but it remains unattainable.

2. Dennis Trafny  (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hey Rube)
Dennis gets the nod over his [improv team] Bierdo brethren because with his bald head and piercing eyes, his head shots make for the best meme generation.

1. Chris Calletta  (Philly Improv Theater House Team Hot Dish)
Chris has the perfect hair of every actor in every hair product commercial and/or Francis Ford Coppola film from the early 1970s. Chris, you probably think I’m constantly cruising you, but really, when I’m staring vacantly at you, I’m for real just coveting your hair.

Steve Kleinedler started doing improv in 1982 and studied and performed off and on in the 1980s and 1990s. He began performing at ImprovBoston in 2001 and teaching and directing there in 2004. He performed with IB’s Harold Team Marjean for three years. Steve directed numerous improv troupes and shows at IB, including The Family Show (2004-2007), Backstory (a ‘Memento’-inspired improv show, which he reprised with Hot Dish for the Philly Fringe festival in 2012), and IB’s sketch ensemble The Ruckus (2007-2010). He’s directed numerous one-person shows and scripted plays. At PHIT he currently directs PHIT house team Hot Dish and has appeared onstage in numerous guises, including Half-Life with Nathan Edmondson.  He is also a founding member of Shattered Globe Theatre in Chicago.

Top 5 of 2012: Nora of American Breakfast’s Top Five Guys Whose Names I Can’t Remember

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

My name is Nora and I am in a sketch group called American Breakfast. I never go to anything or talk to anyone so I am forever having conversations with 3/4 of American Breakfast about who the heck they are talking about.  They’ll tell me things like, “He’s a part of [nonsense name]” or “He has brown hair.”  Big help, guys.  So, here’s my list of the Top 5 Guys Whose Names I Can’t Remember.

1. …Matt?

2. Tall guy. People seem to really like him but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him talk. It would be funny if he had a real squeaky voice.

3. OK this guy has a beard but he’s NOT the other guy with a beard. They both intimidate me.

4. Hat guy. He’s got like… a hat. At least one time I saw him wearing a hat.

5. Dumb face. God this guy’s face is so dumb. Nice guy though.

 

Nora is a member of sketch group American Breakfast, and far too easy to be Googled to have her last name tied to and held accountable for her illustrious comedy career.

Top 5 of 2012: Rob DeSantis’ Top Five Most Impressive Performances

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

The Musical Brilliance of Doogie Horner – Anyone who has seen Doogie Horner perform stand-up before has probably seen him emulating R&B backup singers or singing depressing Irish folk music. In 2012, I had the pleasure of seeing Doogie both freestyle rap and jam out with a celebrity. In January at the Raven Lounge, on an evening where there was a sketch group dressed like Rabbis (or Rabbanim if you will) who rapped about being Jewish for 10 minutes and got zero laughs, Doogie had finished his set and as host Tom Cassidy walked up, Doogie decided to freestyle rap about Tom Cassidy’s zipper on his sweatshirt. You’d think this would be just as strange as Rabbis rapping about being Jewish, but Doogie had the entire room laughing. Nine months later, after doing a week with Doogie at Helium, Craig Robinson (The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine) who was in the area doing a gig set up his keyboard in the bar area after the club closed and jammed out. While singing “Papa was a Rolling Stone” Doogie stepped in and sang some impromptu lyrics, and had Craig, his band, and the entire room laughing their asses off.

Keith Purnell and the Nudists – By far one of the weirdest gigs I did all year was emceeing a show at a Nudist camp. There were about 80 nudists, who were all senior citizens, sitting on folding chairs facing the stage (spread-eagle I might add). I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird, and it visibly threw me off my game a little bit. Keith Purnell was the headliner, and he handled it like a pro. It was an outdoor gig but the stage was covered by a tarp, and it started to rain VERY hard. The nudists didn’t flinch, because they didn’t have any clothes on they were worried about getting wet. Keith performed for an hour including doing an ENCORE set, which included completely nude soaking wet men joining him on stage every five to ten minutes to try and get rain water out of the tarp covering the stage. At one point one of these men started to pretend to hump Keith from behind in an attempt to get a laugh, to which Keith responded “Do I look like a heroin addict? Then get that needle dick off stage.”

Becca Trabin on the Risk Podcast “Live from Philly” – I have only seen Becca perform stand-up twice and they were both at open mics at Helium. The first was over a year ago, and the second was last month, where she had noticeably improved and has obviously become a hell of a performer. However I received a recommendation from someone to check out the “Live from Philly” episode of the Risk podcast, which is not a comedy podcast but a podcast where people tell true stories, and Becca was featured. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t listened to it, but even listening to it in podcast form and not seeing it live, it is one of the most impressive performances of any kind I’ve ever heard. As someone who considers them self to be a pretty emotionless robot, it knocked me square on my ass. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.

Kevin Ryan gives a math lecture in Delco – If you haven’t gotten a gig in Delco where you try and tell jokes to drunken Delconians in the type of bar where the average number of teeth per mouth is seven, well you’re missing out on a unique comedy experience. Some of those shows end up being fantastic, however an equal number of those shows end up being a nightmare. One particular nightmare featured an early act from a cross-dressing 250 pound hairy man doing slam poetry about being a lesbian and how much he/she enjoyed oral sex with women. If anyone is wondering what the absolute best way to turn off a comedy show audience would be…it’s that. Kevin Ryan however completely flipped the audience back into comedy mode and took a bullet for every comedian that went up after him. After five minutes of stage time where the bar was simply not listening, Kevin started berating the audience for not listening and threatened to spend the rest of his time on stage giving a math lecture since “no one in the audience had obviously finished grade school.” It was hilarious to everyone, including the very people he was insulting, and it was also the night I learned some audiences love abuse.

Greg Lynn in Roxborough – This one is going to sound counterintuitive to everything you may think a comedian SHOULD do on stage, but Greg Lynn walked half of a 12 person audience…and it was the funniest thing I saw all year. I should point out this was a show that was supposed to be headlined by someone who cancelled his appearance, started an hour late, and the half audience that Greg walked didn’t particularly want to be there and frankly I’m not sure why they were. After a few comics bombed, Greg brought energy to the stage that was seriously lacking all show, and had every comedian and the half of the crowd who stayed pissing in their pants. You may think the comedians who went after him were mad half the audience left, but I was one of those comedians, and it completely changed the energy of the show in a positive way. Somehow Greg Lynn walking half the audience with his demented comedy from hell saved the show.

Rob is a regular at Helium Comedy Club and co-host of the witout nominated best podcast Bob & Dave are Terrible People. You can follow him on twitter at @RobDComedy

Top 5 of 2012: John Kensil’s Favorite Moments

As the year winds down, WitOut collects lists from comedy performers and fans of their favorite moments, comedians, groups, shows, etc. from the last year in Philly comedy. Top 5 of 2012 lists will run throughout December–if you’d like to write one, pitch us your list at contact@witout.net!

There are so many people and sketch groups that are outstanding, new and veteran comedians that inspire me to keep writing. Here are my five favorite moments from the past year.

1) I work with the Legendary WID. He makes me laugh. I know it’s old school props and jokes but he is extremely quick witted, smart, and funny. I performed with WID at a bar/restaurant in Gloucester City NJ where the green room was in the kitchen. As WID and I were talking we heard a scratching noise that turned out to be a live raccoon. It dropped out of the drop ceiling, walked on the counter, and started licking the grease from a deep fryer that wasn’t turned on. The owner came in and said “Is he back? Get the f**k outta here!” The raccoon waddled off out the screen door

2) At the same show, there was a very very large woman in attendance. WID asked her name and she said “Echo”. WID’s reply was ” You can say that again!” Then he asked her what she did and she said ” nothing”.  WID came back with “Really? I thought you went to KFC and licked other people’s fingers!” She didn’t laugh.

3) Later that night, WID and I saw a gang member try to buy a pack of cigarettes at 28th and Oregon with 790 pennies. He was refused because he didn’t have ID.

4) Every time Oakland Seligson performs at Helium open mic is amazing. He’s like Jake Gylenthall rapping on Monster energy drinks.

5) Amir Golan always makes me laugh consistently.

5.5) Every time someone is roasted or moves to California some idiot dressed as Lincoln walks onstage only to be told to leave.

John Kensil started in Philly as a comedian, has performed across the country, and writes his own short films. You can check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @johnkensil.