The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Sketch Group

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:

Camp Woods

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

Mani Pedi

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

Secret Pants

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


ComedySportz

Description: ComedySportz is Philadelphia’s longest-running comedy show! Since 1993 ComedySportz has been entertaining fans with it’s smart, fast and funny format. Two teams of improvisers vie for points in a hilarious competition by playing a series of improv games, similar to what you may have seen on TVs “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” A referee governs the action, calling fouls and keeping the match moving at a blistering pace. The audience is always a part of this interactive show. ComedySportz performs every Saturday @ 7:30 and 10PM.
Style: Improv
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 7:30PM, 10PM
Location: The Playground at The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. Philadelphia
Contact: Website


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Venue

Philly Improv Theater

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.


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Open Mic

Laughs on Fairmount 

Mary Radzinski and Carolyn Busa host Laughs on Fairmount every Monday night at The Urban Saloon. Comedians gather to sign up in the front room of the bar and move to the beautiful back room when the mic starts at 8. The show always runs smoothly as Mary and Carolyn handle their ever growing sign up sheet excellently.

Center City Comedy

For more than three years, Thursday nights at The Raven Lounge has been the home of Center City Comedy. Chris Cotton, H. Foley, and Tom Cassidy pack the upstairs room every week with comics waiting their turn to take the stage in front of the full crowd. The mic usually runs late into the evening giving comics the chance to test out their material in front of an always evolving (getting more drunk) group of audience members.

Helium Comedy Club

Philadelphia's premiere comedy club opens its' stage every Tuesday for their Open Mic Extravaganza. Sign ups have recently moved online  but before the new system comedians would gather at the club starting at 6:30 every week to sign up and then wait until the lineup was announced at 7:30. Many would stay to watch the show even when they didn't get on - making Tuesday nights at Helium a favorite hangout for many local stand-ups.

Rittenhouse Comedy

Taking advantage of the surplus of comedians in the area on Tuesday nights due to the Helium open mic, Jack Martin and Paul Goodman started their own, late night open mic around the corner at Noche. Starting at 9pm, Rittenhouse Comedy provides those that don't get on at Helium a chance to perform on Tuesday nights, and gives a second set to the lucky ones that do.

Sketch Up or Shut Up

The lone non stand-up open mic to be nominated, Sketch Up or Shut Up is Philly Improv Theater's open stage for sketch groups, or those that just want to test out sketch material in front of an always welcoming crowd. Hosted by Brian Kelly of Secret Pants (after taking over for Meg Favreau) Sketch Up or Shut Up is a late night Friday free for all on stage at PHIT. Some favorite Philly sketches have made their debuts at Sketch Up, along with some one time, if you miss them you'll never see them again gems.


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Stand-up Bit

Aaron Hertzog - $30,000

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0ZOsg8Ah1w

John McKeever - Magnum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnCpBGZtO6o&fb_source=message

Pete Kuempel - Dolphins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3gU3z08lSI&feature=channel_video_title

Steve Gerben - Watching Sports

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei3ht1K2Y_c

Darryl Charles - Hatchet

Unfortunately, video of this bit does not exist but his exasperation at the fact that a man could murder an entire building full of people with a hatchet, complete with out-of-breath act outs was the only bit Darryl did during his run to a second place finish at this year's Philly's Phunniest Person Contest. Check him out live to see the hilarious bit in action.


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Short Run Show

Friends of Alcatraz

This improvised puppet show made its' run during the 2011 Philly Fringe Festival with a cast featuring Kelly Vrooman, Joe Sabatino, Jason Stockdale, Rob Cutler, and Dave Jadico. You can read reviews of the show from Philly Weekly, CityPaper, and from us here at Witout online.

PRO-Mania

The part improv/ part sketch homage to professional wrestling from the minds of Ian Vaflor and Alex Gross featured various performance from many of the best stand-ups, improvisers, and sketch comedians in Philadelphia. You can read a review from Citypaper online.

twenty-four

This improvised mono-scene made it's original run during the Philly Fringe Festival and was directed by Steve Kleinedler with a cast featuring Emily Davis, Corin Wells, Becca Trabin, Mike Marbach, Marc Reber, Jessica Ross, Cait O’Driscoll and Bobbi Block. You can read a review from Witout online.

Quality Value Convenience: Meg & Rob's Last Show

Before Meg Favreau bid adieu to Philadelphia she, along with longtime sketch partner Rob Baniewicz put together a run of shows at Philly Improv Theater featuring many of their favorite Philly comedy performers and some of their best sketches to date. We wrote about the first night of the show here.

Stage Fright: An Improvised Homage to Hitchcock

Featuring Alli Soowal, Jason Stockdale, Jessica Ross, Joe Sabatino, Kristin Finger, Mary Carpenter, Nathan Edmondson and Rob Cutler with direction and improvised score by Matt Nelson - Stage Fright is an improvised narrative in the vein of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. You can see one of the performances online.


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best Podcast

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.

CheaPodcast

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.


The 2011 Witout Awards: Best New Group

Beirdo

Also nominated for Best Improv Group (1-3 Members) Beirdo is comprised of Kevin Pettit, Dennis Trafny and Dan Jaquette, three bearded men performing improv.

Hey Rube

One of the two new Philly Improv Theater House Teams, Hey Rube is made up of members Aaron Hertzog, Alex Gross, Dennis Trafny, Jen Curcio, Lizzie Spellman, Mark Leopold, Rob Cutler, Scott Shepherd, and Tara Demmy.

Iron Lung

Also nominated for Best Improv Group (4+ Members) Iron Lung features members Corin Wells, Carly Maurer Kaufman, Kevin Pettit, Maureen Costello, Jess Carpenter, Dennis Trafny, Simon Burger, Tara Demmy, and Ellen Qualey.

Nielsen

Nielsen is a group that formed after taking Andy Moskowitz's level one improv class at Philly Improv Theater featuring members Abigail Bruley, Bran Zinn, David Brookstein, Jacqueline Baker, Katie Monico, Meredith Weir, Molly Silverman and out-of-towners John McGrory and Rachel Nichols, original members of the group who join them when they can.

ZaoGao

The second of the new Philly Improv Theater House Teams, ZaoGao is a group comprised of AJ Ortiz, Billy Thompson, Brian Ratcliffe, Claire Halberstadt, Erin Pitts, Karen Coleman, Matt Akana, Nathan Edmondson, and Scott Hinners.