Hillary Rea and Thunderfoot Larry on the First Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular

Love wings, crowds and competitive gorging but not so keen on the Wing Bowl? Or are you just a big fan of alternative comedians eating way too much and talking trash on each other as they do it? Man oh man, have Hillary Rea and Thunderfoot Larry got a show for you.

WitOut: Who came up with this amazing thing?

Thunderfoot Larry: Hillary Rea has had a burning urge ever since she was a young lass to be a competitive eater. Unfortunately, she does not eat the flesh of the beasts therefore she was shunned from many eating competitions as a youngster. Then the revived vegetarian movement of the late 1990s came along enabling many militant veggie groups to start their very own binge eating competitions. Within the last year, the burning urge has returned to her. She voiced her desire to train for competitive eating on the social network. Whenever someone says they want to try something challenging my first instinct is to personally challenge them in whatever it may be. I really don't know why, I'm an idiot. I once burnt my eyebrows off because my friend wanted to be a sword-swallower/fire-breather for the circus... So I challenged Hillary to an "eating duel." She accepted—well at first she didn't reply, then I cornered her at a gallery art auction. I spat out all the weird (Double Dare game show influenced) daydream ideas I had for if we were to put together our own eating competition. We both love comedy and eating stuff so much and we wanted to make our Veggie Wing Bowl event the complete opposite of the original stadium stripper Wing Bowl in South Philly. So after some emails and Facespace messages we had a meeting at this awesome place that sells coffee and beer at the same time. As we both left the meeting a beautiful sparrow flew over our heads in a figure-eight formation. At that point we both made eye contact and simultaneously blurted out "1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular!" Then we held hands and skipped down the street (to the tune of the Perfect Strangers theme song) to Adobe Cafe and booked the muthafuckin' show! That's the long answer.

Short answer: Hillary secretly always wanted to be a competitive eater; I secretly have a weight problem and love food. We both are involved in and love comedy. Put 'em together and what do ya get!?...Sprinkle in a Man-Pageant, Alagazambo! The Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular. HOLLA!

Hillary Rea: The 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular started as a bit of a joke. I am not jokingly obsessed with the real Wing Bowl and this year tickets went on sale and sold out in the same day. I was so upset. I missed it last year because I was performing at the NCCAF. But the previous two years I went and was horrified/amazed/excited/impressed/obsessed with what I saw. Larry joked about doing a veggie wing-off one day on Facebook and then I contacted Adobe Cafe on a whim (they have wonderful seitan wings) and the owner was super agreeable to our idea.

WO: Why veggie wings? Is real chicken too expensive?

TL: If we went with real chicken wings there might have been a strong concern there for a minute.

Hilla is a vegetarian person and I wanted to be able to eat the same thing she is in the competition. Good news, no bones to worry about. Plus it goes with being the total opposite of the original Wing Bowl ,which uses real chicken wings. It does not bother me; I'll eat anything as long as it will not kill me. Can't eat strawberries, I am allergic; if I were to eat strawberries my throat would close up and I would get plate-sized welts on my body. That sucks. Other than that I'll eat anything: vegetables, unknown aquatic life, bugs, cow eyes, duck hearts, pussy, pig intestines, exotic fruits, the list goes on.

HR: According to the owner of Adobe Cafe, Mariano, seitan is actually incredibly expensive. He was concerned initially with the number of wings we were going to eat.

WO: This show has a lot going on—rounds of competitive eating, stand-up sets, hecklers, a beauty(?) competition...how do you plan to bring all these things together for one beautiful, continuous flow of delicious entertainment?

TL: A.D.D and the power of funny people.

HR: I'd like to think the event will just ebb and flow organically. But Larry and I as hosts will make sure that everything weaves together into a seamless show. Well...there might be some seams. But they will be funny seams. Seams that burst at the seams with funny.

WO: Who is judging the wing bearers for the Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition? What sort of criteria will they be using, and what do you think the individual competitors can do to make themselves stand out?

TL: You should be the judge.  Mr.Wing Man should be a sophisticate, a charmer...The Man should be able to clean my pool thoroughly without fucking my wife.  And the guy has gotz to have talent.

HR: The Mr. Wing Man 2013 competition will have both a talent portion and a Question and Answer portion. The individual competitors should really look to the Wing Bowl's Wingettes for advice and inspiration.

WO: Follow-up question: Who came up with the term "wing bearers"?  And why do I love it so hard?

TL: Ghostface Hilla came up with that one, she's so smart.

HR: Ha! The term popped into my head one day and I asked Larry if he thought it was cool. And he said yes. I am glad you love it!


The First Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular is Saturday, February 2nd at 7:30pm at Adobe Cafe (1919 E. Passyunk Avenue). Admission is $FREE.99. And here are some promo videos!


Meathook Comedy Presents: "318", with headliner Dan St. Germain

Description: For one night only, Dan St. Germain (Best Week Ever, Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour) headlines a show featuring hand-picked comics from Philly and Boston.  With Philly's Alex Pearlman, Alex Pezzotta, Ryan Shaner, and Boston's Pat Barrett, Shawn Carter, and Gary Petersen.  Hosted by Steve Slaughter.

Style: Stand-up

Date: Monday, March 18th.

Time: Start time, 8PM.  End time, 10:30 at the latest

Admission: $10

Location: Connie's Ric Rac, 1132 S. 9th Street

Contact: Website


"Stand-up is One of the Purest Ways to Express Freedom of Speech" - Interview with Mike O'Donnell of 'Comedy is Liberty'

One of the newest open mics in town, Comedy is Liberty, is expanding next week to become a full-on Saturday night stand-up showcase.  Here's creator Mike O'Donnell talking about the mic, as well as the upcoming show with headliner Tommy Pope.

WitOut: You're heading up a new open mic and stand-up showcase, Comedy is Liberty. Can you give a brief history of how it got started?

Mike O'Donnell: I went to the Philly CAM (Community Access Media) Christmas party. I was talking to a film producer friend of mine, Sonny Vellozzi, and he told me that a local promoter wanted to get more into the comedy scene because it’s really growing.  The promoter was consulting the new owners of the bar Liberties  in Northern Liberties, so we scheduled a meeting to look at the room and agreed we could work with the space. Comedy is Liberty was born.

WO: What's the philosophy behind the name of the show?

MOD: It’s one part marketing, one part philosophy. The name of the bar is Liberties (705 N 2nd Street 19123) and the section of the city is called Northern Liberties, so I figured it would be easy for people to remember if I called the show “Comedy is Liberty.”  The philosophy part is based on a quote from Oscar Wilde: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” Recognizing that stand-up comedy is truly one of the purest ways to express freedom of speech is important. Comedy is liberating because it often gives the audience a brief moment to suspend all of their preconceived notions and see things from a different perspective.  Plus you’ll hear better dick jokes than the censors will allow on T.V.

WO: A bunch of new Philly open mics have popped up recently. What are the advantages of dropping by Comedy is Liberty?

MOD: The room and the people. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy since 2000. I’ve seen a lot of people start rooms and not every space can make it work. I would have never started this room if I did not think the space would work. And it works. The feedback I have gotten from the comics has been positive and we’re still trying to improve.  We are working with the owner to provide a “set of the night" gift certificate to the comic that has the best set. I also plan on offering interesting services down the line like recording sets and animating a comic's bit.

Most importantly, the people that are involved with the show are why people should come down. Besides doing stand-up comedy, I have acted and worked in film, and there is still a wide margin of networking that needs to happen between sections of the Philadelphia entertainment community. I have been reaching out to my writer, actor, animator and filmmaking friends to come to shows. People like Stephanie Yuhas and Matt Conant from the Project Twenty One film festival and Loren Lepre, who runs a bi-monthly short film festival out of the Trocadero. I want everyone who is involved in the arts in Philadelphia to check out the room. You’ll enjoy a great show, and just maybe end up collaborating with someone you meet there on a future project. The fact that I started the room with a film producer and a local promoter is a perfect example of this. I look at it as continuing the road that WitOut started when you organized sketch, improv and stand-up into one site that people could look for.

WO: Who are Starman and New Jack, and why do you think they've taken an interest in promoting the mic? [Editor's note: see promo video below]

MOD: New Jack and Starman are professional wrestlers and comedians. New Jack has been known as the craziest wrestler to ever step into the ring. Plus he scared kids straight on Maury Povich. New Jack has begun to run out of new wrestlers to kick the shit out of, so he is getting more into stand-up comedy. He has some epic stories and will be dropping by Comedy is Liberty to hone his jokes and tighten up the delivery of hilarious New Jack adventures.

Starman is a wrestler from spacewho was featured on one of Nintendo’s first Pro Wrestling games. Starman decided to make a comeback after seeing a movie called The Wrestler. He is getting back in shape to provoke the Amazon into a match and New Jack is his mentor. Starman knows that cutting promos is a big part of getting popular as a wrestler, so he plans to stop by Comedy is Liberty occasionally and work on his microphone techniques.    

WO: The first Comedy is Liberty weekend show is next Saturday, February 9th, with headliner Tommy Pope. How did you book Tommy?

MOD: I met Tommy through comedian Mike Rainey and we hung out personally before I really saw a lot of his act. We were just having fun joking around over beers and then a week later I saw him do 30 minutes and was really blown away. Then he follows that up with the Bird Text videos, which are amazingly funny. Sonny Vellozzi loved his act too, and when we were starting the room he asked if I could reach out to see if he could headline the first weekend show. I called Tommy and luckily he was available.

WO: Give us your top 3 reasons why people shouldn't miss the February 9th show.

  1. The talent. Besides Tommy Pope I have booked Darryl Charles and Mary Radzinski, who are also hilarious. I am very proud of the talent I was able to put together. Everyone is a seasoned comedian and some of the best that Philadelphia has to offer.
  2. The timing. It is the weekend after the Super Bowl, which is a notoriously blah weekend. Instead of being depressed that we are in the grips of winter and football is over, take control of your situation and see a show that will really make you laugh and get you involved in an amazingly fun experience.
  3. The atmosphere. Liberties has on old time feel to it that I really like. Both the upstairs and downstairs bars are gorgeous and after the comedy show ends a DJ will start. It is going to be a party and we’re going to have a lot of fun.

 

The 'Comedy is Liberty' open mic is every Wednesday at Liberties Restaurant (705 N. 2nd Street) at 8pm. The first 'Comedy is Liberty' weekend show is Saturday, February 9th at 7pm (same location); admission is $12.


Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 75

Philly Improv Theater recently announced its new artistic team set to take over day-to-day booking and talent management. The team will be led by Ralph Andracchio as Artistic Director and will include: Emily Davis as Improv Producer, Brian Kelly as Sketch Producer, Jessica Ross as Variety Producer and Kristen Schier as Season Producer.

PHIT also begins its two-week run of shows this week at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St.) You can find their full schedule on their (newly designed) webpage.

The Not Just Comedy Show debuts this Tuesday at The Grape Room (105 Grape St. Manayunk). The show will be hosted by Jess Carpenter and feature stand-up from Shannon Dapper, Geoff Jackson, Chip Chantry, N.a. Poe, and LaTice; improv from Bed Savage; and music from Tim Raymus.

East Coast Power Nap also makes its debut this week at the Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) on Wednesday. The show is presented by TJ Hurley and Alejandro Morales and will feature performances by Doogie Horner, Carolyn Busa, Sidney Gantt, the Necrosexual, Joe Bell and Dan King, with a "surprise appearance" by Lou Misiano.

Call on Mister Blue, a new play directed by Harry Watermeier and performed by Tara Demmy, Luke Field, Bryan Kerr, Brent Knobloch and Craig Lamm will show Thursday, January 31 and Saturday, February 2 at The Arts Parlor (1170 South Broad St.) The show will cost $5 at the door and will feature the comedic ukelele songs of Lizzie Spellman as an opening act.

This Saturday there are multiple shows for comedy fans to choose from including the Live, Love, Laugh Comedy Show (East Eden Catering – 5600 Germantown Ave) hosted by Kendrick Jones and Shanell Renee and featuring headliner Timmy Hall and feature act Jonas.

Also this Saturday is The 1st Annual Veggie Wing Bowl Comedy Spectacular (The Adobe Cafe - 1919 E. Passyunk Ave). Hosted by Hillary Rea and Larry Napolitano.  The show will feature stand-up from Carolyn Busa, John Nunn, TJ Hurley and Jim Ginty as well as a seitan buffalo wing eating competition and special guests throughout the evening.

 Get Real – Comedy of Skeptic Proportions is this Saturday at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) and will feature The Evolution of Comedy Tour w/ Ian Harris & Jason Resler from LA, plus local support from the sketch sensation ManiPedi, stand-up from Doogie Horner and Steve Gerben, and hosted by Dave Terruso. Tickets can be purchased online.
Comedian Jim Jeffries will visit Philadelphia this Saturday to perform at the Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch St.) The comedian, known for his appearances at the Just for Laughs and Edinburgh Fringe festivals as well as his HBO specials will perform two shows (7:30PM, 10:00PM). Tickets are available online.

Comedian and writer Jo Pincushion sent us this video of herself and comedian Jackie Chipotle giving some tips for any Philadelphia bloggers looking to name their sites.

Attention comedians! Submissions for the 2013 Bridgetown Comedy Festival (held April 18-21 in Portland, Oregon) will close on Thursday, January 31. Be sure to get your applications in before the deadline.

If you have any Philly comedy news worth mentioning – send it our way with an email to contact@witout.net


"The Name is Just Nonsense" - Interview with T.j. Hurley and Alejandro Morales of 'East Coast Power Nap'

Two of the smileyest dudes in the Philly comedy scene—T.j. Hurley and Alejandro Morales—have joined forces to produce East Coast Power Nap, which will explode all the fuck over The Trocadero this Wednesday, January 30th. Here they are chattin' 'bout how kickass it's gonna be and encouraging you to drink a bunch when you go:

WitOut: I like you guys. And I like that you've teamed up. What made you decide to put on a show together?

T.j. Hurley: I wanted to do something with Alejandro mostly because he's funny and he's motivated. He and I are very different on stage, so I hope we can make an interesting duo: me as the uptight curmudgeon and him as the fun-loving rube.

Alejandro Morales: Gregg Gethard recommended T.J. to me as a guest on the monthly stand-up showcase I used to produce, and he was a big hit, so much so that I brought him back a few months later. Then, this past fall, I was sort of pitching a stand-up show around to a few venues, and T.J. approached me at Laughs on Fairmount one night about working together. It was great timing, and so far we're working very well together. He definitely brings a clear vision to the whole enterprise, which is great because it frees me up to be a fun-loving rube.

WO: I also dig the name—though I have no idea why. "East Coast Power Nap"? What is that? Where did it come from?

TJH: The name is just nonsense. I thought it sounded catchy and exciting, but it's just a string of words. I'm glad you like it.

AM: T.j. had this whole elaborate story about the name being based on some kind of skateboarding move, and now that he says it's "just a string of words," I feel kind of betrayed.

WO: How were you guys able to hook up with the Trocadero? That's a pretty snazzy venue.

TJH: The people at the Troc have been really nice and easy to work with. A buddy of mine was a bouncer there and put me in touch with the booker. I was stoked and surprised at how easy the whole thing was. I'm really excited about the venue. The Troc is beautiful and strange and full of good memories for me.

AM: I'm not sure you can believe anything T.j. says now. IF THAT'S EVEN YOUR REAL NAME, "T.j."

WO: The line-up for this first show (Doogie Horner, Carolyn Busa, The Necrosexual, Sidney Gantt, Joe Bell, Dan King, Lou Misiano) looks pretty fantastic. How did you go about putting it together? Do you see some sort of common element between the comedians on the show, or were these just a bunch of acts you both like individually?

TJH: I know, right? The line-up is so good. We have some things planned to make the show different and special, but it will rule just based on the comics alone. We wanted to make sure the show wasn't a monoculture, point of view-wise and stylistically. Every comic on the show has a very different point of view and comedy style and I hope that will make for a compelling experience. Our main goal in doing this thing is to put on a funny, well-put together show.

AM: We both made nominations and then whittled it down. He and I go to a lot of local open mics, and I feel like the talent lately has just gotten really outstanding. These past couple years the stand-up scene has been growing and expanding and improving by leaps and bounds. I think together we captured a great cross-section of what makes the scene so great.

WO: This show is being billed as "ONE NIGHT ONLY." Why??? And any chance that might change?

TJH: We want East Coast Power Nap to be the last Wednesday of every other month. If this one goes well, if we make enough money to cover our costs (and hopefully pay the comics), and if the Troc thinks it's worth their time, we'll totally do more. If you come to the show and like it, buy lots of beer. That'll sweeten our chances of doing it regularly.

AM: In the sense that there's only one show featuring this specific grouping of comics on this particular stage, it is a one-night-only engagement! But if it does go well, and the folks at the Troc are happy, we absolutely want to move forward and make East Coast Power Nap a regular thing.

...I feel like I should end on something funny. Alison, could you be a lamb and put something funny here and attribute it to me?

 

And then Alejandro said something else that was just HILARIOUS! The hilarity doesn't really translate in print, though. Here's a promo video for the show to make up for it (featuring the videography talents of Jimmy Viola and the voiceover talents of ManiPedi's Madonna Refugia):

Go check out 'East Coast Power Nap' on Wednesday, January 30th at the Trocadero (1003 Arch Street) at 8pm. Tickets are $5.


Mike Rainey's 'Terrible Advice' Book Release Party/ Comedy Show

Description: Help comedian Mike Rainey celebrate the release of his book Terrible Advice and see comedy from Sean Clay, Joe Mayo, James Hesky, Tim Butterly, Tommy Pope, and more! Mike will be selling and signing copies of his book for $10 as well. A portion of all sales will be donated to St. Jude's Pediatric Cancer Research Center. Free beer will also be provided.

Style: Stand-up

Date: Friday, March 1

Time: 8:00PM

Admission: $10

Location: The Arts Parlor - 1170 S. Broad St.

Contact: Facebook Event


Interview with New PHIT Artistic Director Ralph Andracchio

On Thursday, Philly Improv Theater announced some staffing additions: Ralph Andracchio will be heading up a new artistic direction team, along with Jessica Ross (Variety Director), Emily Davis (Improv Director), Kristen Schier (Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (Sketch Director). Here's what Ralph had to say about his new role, and his plans for the theater.

RalphAndracchio_color

WitOut: You're the new Artistic Director for PHIT! What exactly does that entail?

Ralph Andracchio: The Artistic Director's job is to oversee the quality of the shows the theater is putting on, to ensure the theater is following its mission, and to connect with other performers and theaters to make us a bigger part of the performing arts community as a whole. My job is basically to make sure PHIT is turning out high quality shows that make us the number one spot for alternative comedy in Philadelphia.

WO: What are some of the plans you have for the theater?

RA: Hoo boy, what plans DON'T we have? The theater has grown so much since we started back in 2005, and we now reach thousands of people each year; whether it be through attending a show, taking a class, participating in a corporate workshop, or performing on our stage. We have the opportunity to reach even more people now, so the Artistic Team is focused on streamlining our schedule and putting together a coherent, quality lineup of talent that will bring in even more people to experience what we have to offer. And we have so much talent to work with now, it makes our job that much easier (or tougher, depending on how you look at it).

WO: As evidenced by some photos of a roundtable meeting/pizza party, it looks like the artistic team has already gotten to work. What changes and new ideas have you guys talked about so far? Are there any projects the producers have proposed that you're particularly excited about?

RA: Let me begin by saying this team is awesome. Jessica Ross (our Variety Director), Emily Davis (our Improv Director), Kristen Schier (our Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (our Sketch Director) are all talented performers who bring so much experience to the table. Our first meeting was really successful, and everyone brought some really great ideas. Our immediate goal is to look at what shows, schedules, and processes we have in place now and see how we can make it all work better and make more sense. As our 2013 runs begin, both the performers and the audiences will see many gradual changes that over time will add up to a better experience for all.


Propoganda!

Description: Propaganda! is a monthly stand-up comedy show in Denver, CO produced and hosted by Matt Monroe

Matt is originally from Philadelphia, and is bringing the show to his hometown, and will be joined by some of his friends from NYC, Denver, and of course Philadelphia.

Please come out on Sunday, Feb 10th and enjoy this FREE comedy show featuring:

- Alex Grubard (Philadelphia)
- Alex Pearlman (Philadelphia)
- Doogie Horner (Philadelphia)
- Scott Sharp (NYC)
- Brett Hiker (Denver)
- Ray DeVito (NYC)

and hosted by Matt Monroe (Denver)

Style: Stand-up

Date: Sunday, February 10

Time: 8:00PM

Admission: FREE

Location: L'etage - 624 South 6th St. Philadelphia

Contact: Facebook Event