Upcoming Shows

  • October 22, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • October 23, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 23, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • October 24, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • October 24, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 24, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 24, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • October 24, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 24, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 25, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • October 25, 2014Nationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Heliun
  • October 25, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • October 25, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 25, 2014 9:00 pmComedy Train Rek presents Awkward Sex and the City
  • October 25, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 25, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • October 25, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • October 29, 2014 8:00 pmComedy Masters
  • October 30, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 30, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 amNationally Touring Headline Comedians @ Helium
  • October 31, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 31, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • October 31, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

“The N Crowd” Improv Tonight @ The Actors Center — Interview w/ Vegas Lancaster

vegas lancasterThe N Crowd has a weekly Friday night show at 8pm at the Actor’s Center. This April marks the 9th anniversary of their short-form improv show (think: ‘Whose Line’ games). This February, the N Crowd will be performing at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. Visit their website phillyncrowd.com.

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WitOut: Who is your comedy inspired by?

Vegas Lancaster: Lewis Black, I think I was trying to emulate him when I first started. The political humor always makes me laugh. He has this way of building energy that is really impressive. His timing is amazing. He starts down low and builds up to a crescendo of emotion. A crescendo of anger. I have a smile on all the time, so I don’t know if angry works best for me. But the building of emotions up to the level of fireworks for something as silly as candy corn is really cool. Comedy in front of a live audience and the shared experience of laughter is what I really like. I think it is very special.

WitOut: Who are your other favorites?

Lancaster: I would have to say Steven Colbert and John Stewart. They take such a dry, otherwise boring material and make it super entertaining. The make things people should know about interesting to hear about. Comedy is such a silly field and they are doing important work at the same time. Other than that, I would have to say I also like Flight of the Concords.

WitOut: What is your favorite type of comedy?

Lancaster: I watch comedy cartoons late at night. I also really enjoy live comedy. The experience of laughing with an audience feels really special. It is easy to stay home and watch YouTube videos, but I hope we always have live entertainment because I think it is really special.

WitOut: What is the main difference between The N Crowd and Whose Line is it Anyway?

Lancaster: We can say dirty words. It’s also really special about The N Crowd that the majority of our audiences every week are people who have never been to an improv show.

WitOut: What do you think is The N Crowd’s success mantra for bringing new people and turning them into improv lovers?

Lancaster: Everything we are doing is based off of audience suggestion. At the beginning of the show we will ask for a relationship between two people, or a word. We try to get on their level and take their verbal and non-verbal feedback. Whatever they are responding to, we hit on and keep doing.

WitOut: What is your favorite controversial issue to talk about?

Lancaster: I really like hitting on current events. Whatever is on people’s mind in the past week; some things I don’t want to gross people about by talking about it soon. It is really easy to do that during improv because you have to make stuff up. But I also like to do it in standup.

WitOut: Is there any particular show or topic you can remember when you really pushed the limits?

Lancaster: We do so many shows, I forget what we did after we are done. The audience hopefully remembers forever. A couple weeks ago I was doing jokes about Rich Incognito and his racial jokes. We Occupy Wall Street. Election season is also a fun time for us.

WitOut: What side is The N Crowd on?

Lancaster: As a group we do not take any political affiliation. The demographic of the N Crowd, I think, aligns pretty well with the political demographics of Philadelphia. The N Crowd, LLC has no political affiliation.

WitOut: If it weren’t Philly, what city?

Lancaster: That is really difficult to say. The N Crowd is a Philadelphia grown show; we are an independent comedy group. We are close to NY, there is a lot going on up there. In a city like NY, or LA you have got a whole industry for entertainment and a whole industry preying on them; there is a lot of
nonsense. You don’t have so much of that in Philly. The comedy scene has been growing steadily for the past few years. It is more of a niche to fill here. There is a lot of great stuff in Philly. There is room for us to do our thing.

WitOut: What are some of your favorite comedy groups in Philly?

Lancaster: Suggestical, they make up a musical on the spot.

WitOut: Anything else you would like to leave our readers with?

Lancaster: We put on a fun show, if they haven’t seen it. It is all about coming out and laughing!

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Check out previous WitOut interviews with members of The N Crowd w/ B.J. Ellis, and last year’s new members.

More about The N Crowd:

From Philly Improv Festival

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: 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.