The 2011 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy were last night at World Cafe Live. The Philadelphia comedy community gathered together to hand out the awards which they themselves nominated and voted for. In case you missed it, here’s a full rundown of the winners in each category.
Best Host: Chip Chantry – host of Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests) and Facetime with Chip Chantry
Special thanks to World Cafe Live for allowing us to have our “clown friend clubhouse goofball jerkoff party” in their establishment. Also thanks to everyone who helped produce the show. The writers: Aaron Hertzog, Chip Chantry, Doogie Horner, Rob Baniewicz, Mary Radzinski, Jim Grammond, Becca Trabin, Joe Moore, Luke Giordano, Billy Bob Thompson, Greg Maughan. The video spots were put together by Rob Baniewicz and Shannon Devido. Also thanks to all the presenters and of course, the host of the evening Joe Moore.
This weekend, Camp Woods and The Feeko Brothers are heading west for the Chicago Sketchfest. The groups will perform two sets each while visiting the windy city for the festival and will be sure to represent Philly as only they can. You can check out sketches from the groups on their websites.
The Philly Improv Theater is looking for interns. Students who are enrolled in a degree granting college or university program are eligible to apply for Winter/Spring (January through April), Summer (May through August) or Fall (Sepember through December) internship experiences with the Philly Improv Theater on an unpaid or college/university credit basis. Interested students can get more information online.
Saturday night will bring back the Laughs on Fairmount Showcase to The Urban Saloon. Carolyn Busa and Mary Radzinski have branched off their weekly open mic into a booked showcase featuring some of their favorite comedians. This month’s show will feature Chip Chantry, Aaron Hertzog, Jim Ginty, TJ Hurley and Mike Roberts.
We announced the nominations – we opened up the voting – and now, finally, we announce the actual time and place for The 2011 Witout Awards. Mark your calendars because Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, downstairs at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St. Philadelphia) the Philadelphia comedy community will come together to pat each other on the back. The show will begin at 8:00PM with the room and bar open at 7:00. Tickets will be on sale after the voting officially closes – which is Friday, December 16th – so if you haven’t voted yet, what are you waiting for?
Tonight The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St) for a night of improv comedy. Tonight’s show will feature a brand new team performing for the first time, Iron Lung will be debuting a new form, and Get a Room and Fowl Play will make their Sideshow debuts.
Next Tuesday, at L’etage (624 S. 6th St.) Camp Woods brings us Camp Woods Plus – an evening of sketch comedy featuring the group and two special guests. This month the show will feature Philly sketch group Local Holiday Miracle, and 2010 ECNY “Best Sketch Comedy Group in New York” award winners Murderfist.
Last week, TU Comedy, Temple University’s stand-up comedy club put on a show at Pub Webb on campus. The show featured six members of the club, plus James Hesky and Aaron Hertzog, two Temple alumni. City Paper’s Critical Mass blog wrote an article about the show here.
New York comedy/ sex show Paid or Pain is coming to Philadelphia and is looking for performers. Paid or Pain is a show where comedians perform and the crowd votes whether to pay the comedian, or have them tortured by their “house dominatrix.” The show will feature a burlesque act, sex toy giveaways, and sex therapy with a special guest comedian. Sound like fun? interested comedians can send their clips and info to firstname.lastname@example.org
Another reminder that voting is ongoing for The 2011 Witout Awards. Any member of the Philadelphia Comedy Community can take the survey and vote for their favorite performers, bits, and shows of the past year.
The nominations have been announced – and the nominees have been written about – now it is time to vote for The 2011 Witout Awards. Remember, voting is only for those involved in Philadelphia Comedy as a performer, promoter, director, etc.
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.
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 sketch community is close knit, driving each other and suffering with that always comical combination of camaraderie and competition. We had members of each of the nominated groups comment on the other groups. Here are some of the comments:
Members: JP Boudwin, Sam Narisi, Pat Foy, Brendan Kennedy, Billy Bob Thompson, Rob Baniewicz and Madonna Refugia
“Camp Woods have quite literally grown a lot in the past year. They’re the “Katamari Damacy” of our comedy scene. Absorbing some of the best performers and writers in Philadelphia, their voice has only gotten stronger and sharper, and I can’t wait to see what they bring going forward.” – Brian Craig, Secret Pants
“Our community is privileged to have a group like Camp Woods in its ranks. We all want a proper comedy community in Philadelphia but Camp Woods defines the proper pursuit of it. Their work ethic is unparalleled. If they aren’t on stage performing you can bet they are in the crowd watching. They are genuine. They are respectful. They are involved. Their love of comedy and the craft is undeniable. And where most groups would falter with so many different voices and performing backgrounds (stand-up, theater & improv), Camp Woods is only stronger for it. They effortlessly weave in and out of concepts both silly and cerebral and when they do it, they do it well. Camp Woods is a deliberate, thoughtful, humble and consistently hilarious sketch comedy troupe and they deserve your attention. Oh, and I almost forgot… they can do almost anything with cardboard.” – Brian Kelly, Secret Pants
“Camp Woods is unique. Their sketches are weird, funny, and most importantly smart. Their homemade costumes, props, puppets and sets paired with their constantly new material makes them both entertaining and admirable.” – Shannon Brown, ManiPedi
The Feeko Brothers
Members: Billy Bob Thompson, Christian Alsis
“I think the biggest reason why I, and everyone else, loves the Feekos is that they’re such a joy to watch. Billy and Christian have such great chemistry together onstage, and they always commit to everything 100%, as anyone who’s seen them at the Dirtiest Sketch Competition can tell you.” – Patrick Foy, Camp Woods
“The Feeko Brothers are bat-shit brilliant; they’re sick, insane, and fearless. ” – Madonna Refugia, ManiPedi & Camp Woods
“I’m gonna go way back to LHM’s 1st Sketch Up, when we hadn’t been exposed to much Philly sketch, and the Feeko Brother’s performed Coach and Kid. We were really blown away by the commitment to the performance and how awesome of a song it was, and it just made us really excited about deciding to do sketch in Philly.” – Aubrie Williams, Local Holiday Miracle & ManiPedi
Local Holiday Miracle
Members: Andrea Kuhar Isom, Aubrie Williams
“I’m really glad LHM is around; they add a unique voice to the scene and they’re a blast to work with. They’re offbeat and hilarious and I look forward to watching them continue to do good things.” – Pat Foy, Camp Woods
“I think I almost hurt myself laughing at their Expectations video. It had such a weird pacing that gave it that up all night watching tv feel. And the extended pickle-ice cream porn at the end was nice. I love seeing how duos play off each other and these guys are an awesome match.” – Rob Baniewicz, Camp Woods
Members: Madonna Marie Refugia, Aubrie Williams, Shannon Brown, Briana Kelly, Kaitlyn Thompson, and Jen Curcio
“A staple of shows at Tabu and Sketch-Up or Shut-Up, this supergroup of ladies from improv and sketch keeps growing and growing. I’m really excited to see what they come up with and where they’re going to next.” – Rob Baniewicz, Camp Woods
Members: Brian Craig, Brian Kelly, Paul Triggiani, Larry Wiechecki, Steve Thorne, and Samantha Russell
“I think the main thing that makes Secret Pants so great is their attention to detail. Props, costumes, makeup, lighting, cinematography — they always get everything right. All the grunt work that comes with being in a sketch troupe, they nail it every single time. Plus they’re great performers, every last one of them. I think Samantha Russell is one of the most underrated comic performers in the city.” – Patrick Foy, Camp Woods
“Secret Pants was the first group I ever saw at the Philly Improv Theater, and I remember walking away being so inspired by how smart, and also not afraid to be totally silly – their sketches were! They have such a balanced and strong ensemble. Plus, their videos are just beautiful. There is a fun artfulness to their work that puts them at the top of my list. “ – Andrea Kuhar Isom, Local Holiday Miracle
“Holy shit. These guys are the reason I do sketch. They’re so consistently good and they’re my favorite group — so to say I’m competitive with them is an understatement. They drive me to try to out do them – in production, acting, and laughs – because they own all three on a regular basis.” – Rob Baniewicz, Camp Woods
For two weeks every month, Philly Improv Theater offers crowds in Philadelphia the best stand-up, sketch, and improv the city has to offer. PHIT features a full schedule of regular shows (Chip Chantry’s One Man Show, Guilty Pleasures, TV Party, Hey Everybody!, House Team Night, and more) plus time slots for sketch groups to have short run shows and blocks for improv teams to take the stage.
Helium Comedy Club
Helium Comedy Club is the place in Philadelphia to see A-list nationally touring headliners on stage each and every week. Helium is also home to the annual Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest, an event that has over 150 local comics competing for the crown every year.
The Raven Lounge
The upstairs room at the Raven Lounge is the home to the Center City Comedy open mic every Thursday as well as Rookie Card’s monthly improv show. The tight, intimate room lets the crowd feel close to the action on stage and allows for the bar to always be just a few steps away.
The Adrienne Theater
Permanent home to ComedySportz Philly, as well as the home to many of the shows from PHIT during the Philly Fringe Festival – the Adrienne Theater sits across the street from Helium Comedy Club making that block of Sansom a hotbed of Philly comedy activity.
The Shakespeare Theater
For three weeks in October, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater was the home of the second annual Comedy Month. Featuring the Philly Sketch Fest, The Philadelphia Improv Festival, and The City Spotlight, Comedy Month was a celebration of all things funny in Philadelphia, as well as a chance for out-of-town acts to come to perform in our fair city.