Get Excited for The Flat Earth's Second Sketch Revue

Philly Improv Theater sketch house team The Flat Earth will be performing a brand new sketch comedy revue at PHIT beginning tonight with four dates between now and Friday, March 8. Their first sketch revue premiered at last year's Fringe Festival to much success, earning it encore performances at PHIT as well as a nominations from their peers for "Best Sketch Group" and "Best Short-Run or One-Time Show" at the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy. We asked the actors and writers of The Flat Earth to tease their favorite moments from their upcoming show to help whet potential audience members' appetites. As you'll see, they (and you) have a lot to be excited about.

Brent Knobloch
"The opening sketch of the show features Molly Silverman and Jacqueline Baker doing some of the most brilliantly subtle yet insanely funny acting I've seen in a long time. The ease with which they pull every possible laugh out of the script is incredible."

Jess Ross
"Really happy with the strong female roles in this show. A lot of sketch you see is all dudes, sometimes one chick. And if there is a chick she's a naggy girlfriend/mom/boss. Our girls have some of the funniest moments in the show and I'm really proud of them and to the writers for giving them such fun parts to play."

Jim Grammond
"My favorite part of the upcoming show is I get to eat during two sketches."

Rich Lee
"One of my favorite new additions for this show is the sketch Garrote.  It's got a smart yet silly vibe, with some good old fashioned slap-stick moments.  It will definitely get laughs with Brent Knobloch and Luke Field dancing around on stage.  The next prop would have to be for Molly Silverman in our opening sketch.  I don't want to say the title as it would give away some jokes, but she plays a mother consoling her daughter on her wedding day.  Molly has some hilarious deliveries and we can all thank Sean Landis for writing one of the silliest yet hard to say lines in sketch… close parenthesis."

Luke Field
"The opening sketch of the show makes me laugh every time.  Molly's delivery of the lines is perfect as a very specific retro mom.  And I appreciate all references to the halcyon days of my tweenage years."

Vincent DiCostanzo

Jacqueline Baker
"Our latest sketch revue has a lot in common with the Pesto Shrimp & Avocado Crostini appetizer from Romano's Macaroni Grill: textured pesto bits, frou-frou shrimpy accents, a crunchy crostini restaurant battle, and a colorful and gooey avocado finish. The old Macaroni Grill slogan "Run By Chefs. That Explains Our Food" is our comedic ethos and a godawful slogan. Seriously, who coined that garbage? Not one of our writers, that's who. "

Sean Landis
"My favorite moment is the way Molly Silverman performs the final line in our password sketch. The line itself is already a well-written final joke to the sketchBut the first time I heard Molly perform the line, I was so surprised by her choice that I laughed for, like, a minute straight."

Adam Siry
"I love the costumes in our opening sketch, and Luke Field's drumming skills send my heart aflutter."

Molly Silverman
"Its tough to play favorites, but I will say there is one sketch in particular that has tested my ability to keep a straight-face on stage. Jacqueline Baker's kooky monologue cracks me up each time. I laugh every time, without fail."

Matthew Schmid
"My favorite part of the show is a sketch that Sean Landis wrote which stars Molly Silverman and Jacquie Baker.  There's so many great lines in it and Jacquie and Molly really hit each one out of the park.  I've seen the sketch about 40 times during rehearsal, it still cracks me up each time."

Steve Swan
"My favorite thing about the show is the variety of styles in it, and how receptive everyone is (writers, actors, and our director Paul Triggiani) to each other's inputs.  That really takes the sketches to the next level."

The Flat Earth's Second Sketch Revue is February 28 - March 1, and March 7 - 8 at 8:30pm at Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St.) Tickets can be purchased online.

"There Just Wasn't Enough Comedy in the Suburbs" - Interview with Dave Topor of 'Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern'

by Chris Dolan

On Saturday, February 23rd, Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern in Ambler hosted another show in its ongoing series of comedy showcases featuring regional comedians.  The show, a sellout, was headlined by Andy Nolan, and featured performances from Jim Ginty, Caitlin Feeney and host Alex Pearlman. Each month also features a performance from Dave Topor, the show-runner of Comedy Corner at Broad Axe.  A highlights reel of the show is available here.

Dave Topor sat down for a conversation the week before the show to talk about the evolution of Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern and his personal comedy.

Chris Dolan: Talk about how you got started with shows at the Broad Axe.   

Dave Topor: I guess it just stemmed from an idea that there just wasn’t enough comedy in the least, a traditional show that’s [performed] the way it’s done in [Philly], just, outside the city.  I looked around and knew Broad Axe had  done some renovations and got lucky.

CD:  So do you know anybody at Broad Axe..?

DT: I didn’t. I saw the third floor [where the shows are performed] and kind of knew that was a space I didn’t want to pass up, and I set up a showcase before I set up an open mic. [Author’s Note: 'Comedy Corner at Broad Axe' has also hosted periodic open mics.]  [Broad Axe management] were cool with it...luckily enough, they were like, "we’ll try it out," and then, from there, it worked out really well.

CD: How long ago was the first show?

DT: April 27th of last year [2012]...and then the idea behind the first show was that it was gonna be a [one-time] thing and we'd see what happened. Just because of the success and the popularity, after I saw it come to life, I said that this is something I need to continue.

CD:  Who was on the first bill and how did the show flourish?

DT: I was just getting back into comedy myself, and my network was actually smaller, so I had to do a bit of research.  So I went to Helium, and at that time they were having the finals of the March Madness competition. I saw Alex Grubard there, Gordon Baker-Bone...I picked them up. And I was going to open mics so [I approached] some people that I saw who were working consistently and had a polished look to them...again, a lot of luck involved, but the ones who I picked were able to bring it and did really well.

CD: How involved was the venue in terms of promotion and getting the word out versus you and your network getting the word out?

DT: At first, [Broad Axe] was kind of just "do your thing and we’ll see what happens." I think when they saw what was developing, it didn’t take long for them to move quickly in terms of their involvement. They saw the benefits of having a show—a good show—and I think the first three shows they were letting me do my thing, then they started to do small things like put up table tents, send their own email...but they definitely are involved, they promote the show and they like it.

CD: How big was the audience for the first show?

DT:  To capacity. We sold out the first show; I would say we probably had about 95 people in the room. Y’know I’m always fiddling with the seating and stuff, trying to get it just right.

CD: Any particular shows that stand out?

DT:  I learned a lot after the first show. And maybe stuff that I knew but it wasn’t [top of mind]; I learned about what makes a strong line-up. Positioning positioning comics can make them have a better chance for success...the way you seat the room. Little things like that, that maybe audience members don’t really notice, but it really adds to the show. Once I was able to seat the room better, put my comics in better spots in a line-up to really make them succeed and really make all of the stuff run smoothly. Every show from there on was really great. Not that the first show wasn’t, but every show...I was lucky to have some of the best comics in Philly do the show.  Tommy Pope, Chip I’m just trying to continue to grow, 'cause it’s gained a lot of momentum.

CD:  Talk about the crowds. What do you notice about variability in age—local versus coming from a ways away...

DT:  I’d say I’ve definitely been surprised.  One thing stands out, I tend to tag a lot of the comics in posters and things like that. And David James had some fans that followed him out from Jersey. That was pretty cool. And there are a lot of people that attend from [the local] area. Some people have told me they’ve seen the promo inside [The Broad Axe], wanted to make it out to a show, and are glad they did. One lady came in September, October, November [...and all subsequent shows].

CD:  So talk about your own’d mentioned that you were in it for a while then got out.  What took you away and brought you back in?  

DT:  I’ve been back at comedy now for about a year...putting a lot of work in since last February. And before that I’d been on hiatus since, like, 2006 or 2007. I’ve been on stage since then, but no real commitment. Between ‘04 and ‘06 I was on a real strong run, doing a lot of clubs and [performing] with a lot of guys like Chip [Chantry], Pat House and Aaron Hertzog.  I guess the moment that got me to stop comedy at that point was I lost a booking, my first major booking.  I got booked to do five shows, and the club I got booked at got closed down. And that took the wind out of my sails. I dropped out for a little while—well, not a little while [laughs]—came back last year and I’m glad I did. I started this show, and it started the gears moving quickly too. It gives me stage time, and allows me to perform with some of the better comedians in the city, see what they’re doing. If you’re on a great show it’s always a great experience.

CD: How has your material evolved from your first run at comedy to now?

DT:  I think as a more mature comic now I try to pay a little more attention to joke structure. As a younger comic, I think my material was a little more all-over-the-place.  Now I pay more attention to premises and punch lines...the science part of it. As well as staying outside the lines when it's appropriate.

CD: What I’ve found is a lot of guys will—while it’s important to find your own voice—want to tell a story the way that you would standing around having drinks...versus developing the science, as you called it.

DT: I’ve tried to pay attention to how concise my ideas are, and that’s something I try to alert myself of, when I see an idea start to run on too much...and that ideology has allowed me to get better jokes, and I’ve even "refurbished" some old jokes.

CD:  Cool. Anything else you want to say?

DT:  Just thanks to the whole Philadelphia comedy community for supporting the Comedy Corner at the Broad Axe, and me...and I think this show is good for everyone; I’m excited to have a bunch more people come and perform.

The next 'Comedy Corner at Broad Axe Tavern' is March 23rd at Broad Axe Tavern (901 W. Butler Pike, Ambler). Doors open at 7:30pm; show starts at 8:30pm. Admission is $10 online in advance; $15 at the door.

Chris Dolan is a comic who lives in the Philly burbs.  He’ll be performing at the Taproom Sportsbar in Morton PA on Thursday, Feb 28th as part of the Trulove Entertainment Totally Free Comedy Show II. Follow him on Twitter @CMDolan99. 

Comedy Around the Web, Vol. 26

The Onion issued an apology for a joke they posted on their Twitter account during the Oscars that referred to nine-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild actress Quvenzhané Wallis as "kind of a cunt". The joke caused outrage from some, and was defended by others (including comedians Matt Kirshen and Dave Anthony), as often the case in situations like this. It also prompted this parody apology from former Onion staff writers at Thing X. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have left in the comments, but please, keep it civil.

The Oscars weren't the only award show last weekend. The Independent Spirit Awards also took place with host Andy Samberg. You can watch his monologue (and the entire show if you want) online.

The Comic's Comic tells the real-life dream comedy scenario that happened when Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock performed on stage together at the Comedy Cellar this week.

Submissions for the Out of Bounds comedy festival in Austin Texas are now open. This year's festival will take place from August 27 to September 3 and is open to stand-ups, sketch groups, and improv groups. Visit their website to submit an application.

Splitsider put together this list of over 70 of Louis CK's funniest quotes.

Jimmy Fallon debuted a new web series called Worst I Ever Bombed this week with an episode featuring SNL cast member Cecily Strong talking about a particularly bad Second City show. The series will continue with more stories from comedians about their worst live-performance experiences.

To Be Loved & Understood is a new short documentary about Patton Oswalt from director Julien Nitzberg. Go ahead, watch it!

Comedian Pete Holmes has signed with Conan O'Brien to host a late-night show on TBS set to debut this fall that will air after Conan. The 30-minute show will feature in-studio guests and will also host live comedy, short films, sketches and field pieces.

Adam McKay  shared some details about the upcoming Anchorman 2 with Empire.

Philadelphia's own Kevin Hart is hosting Saturday Night Live this week. You can watch Hart and cast member Jason Sudeikis in promos for the episode.


Latest Episode of The Internuts Podcast Available Now

Each month, Philly writer/musician/person Chris Hurdle hosts comedians and/or funny friends for The Internuts Podcast, a comedy program which explores "the very worst the internet has to offer," from Craigslist posts to fan fiction.

Last month's episode featured stand-up Carolyn Busa, and the latest episode featuring Thelma Weinstein and Jim Conrad just came out.   You can listen here, or through iTunes.

And here's some more background on the 'cast from Chris: "The show began with only my friends as guests but eventually I got bold and started reaching out to comedians, improvisers, writers, bloggers, and others from the comedy community (mostly from around Philly).  In the beginning my friends also made up the bulk of the audience (out of pity, I suspect) but eventually the audience grew to be several thousand strangers, thanks exclusively to word of mouth (and pity, I suspect)."

If you are a Philadelphia comedy performer that produces a podcast, web series, sketch video, humor column, or any other online content let us know by emailing us at so we can share it!

A Day in the Life of The Necrosexual

Ever wonder what The Necrosexual does during the day? Metal Injection did too, so they found out:

If you are a Philadelphia comedy performer that produces a podcast, web series, sketch video, humor column, or any other online content let us know by emailing us at so we can share it!

"Yep." - Interview with Tight Six

Tonight, Tight Six returns to Chris' Jazz Cafe for the third edition of Not Jazz, the monthly showcase supplement to their weekly Sunday open mics at Fergie's pub.  Not Jazz 3 will feature John McKeever, Alex Pearlman, Omar Scruggs, Jon Delcollo, Caitlin Feeney, Chris O'Connor and a super secret special guest, plus house band Starwood and the members of Tight Six (Aaron Nevins, Joe Bell, Mikey Garcia, Elise Thomson-Hohl, Dan Vetrano and Becca Trabin). Here's Aaron with more info on the show, and Joe, Mikey, Elise and Dan agreeing with everything he says:

WitOut: Tight Six started as a weekly open mic, but shortly thereafter you guys started putting on your own shows. What made you want to expand?

Aaron Nevins: The mic was going really well and we got an opportunity to do a monthly show, which had a lot of potential benefits. It allowed us to rebook our favorite bands from the open mic and pay them a little more money, and to let our favorite comedians do longer sets to new audiences, and it gave us a chance to branch out into writing short sketches and more interactive bits. Also, we wanted to expand.

Joe Bell: Yep.

Mikey Garcia: Uh-huh.

Elise Thomson-Hohl: Yeah.

Dan Vetrano: That's right.

WO: It seems like your relationship with Chris' Jazz Cafe is going well--this is the third edition of Not Jazz.  How did that partnership get off the ground?  Were they actively looking to expand beyond jazz shows, or did you seek them out?

AN: We were hooked up with the venue by our PR guy—our Puerto Rican guy (Mikey Garcia). When we first met the owner of Chris' Jazz Cafe, Chris S. Jazzcafe, we sort of convinced him it would be a jazz show. When he found it was a comedy show that featured no jazz, he was not pleased. However, once he saw how good the turnout was, he came around and is slowly starting to try to understand what comedy is.

JB: Yes.

MG: Mmm-hmm.

ETH: Right.

DV: That's all accurate.

WO: I've been hearing a lot of great things about Starwood's performances as house band at the mic.  How did you first book them, and what is it about them that you think makes them such a good pairing with comedy in general and/or Tight Six in particular?

AN: We book a different band every week for the open mic, so we scour a ton of different resources to find them. I think in the case of Starwood, Joe Bell just happened upon them, and after we booked them, we were all unsure if they were going to be a good fit. As it turned out, they were phenomenal beyond words and blew everybody's minds all over the walls of Fergie's. So we booked them immediately for Not Jazz, and they'll be doing a full set at the show. Trust me: they are an experience you need to have in person.

JB: Definitely.

MG: I agree.

ETH: Absolutely.

DV: For sure.

WO: The Facebook event says there's one special guest on the show you can't name, but you've given the hint that he'll be in town from LA. Is there  anything else you're willing to disclose?

AN: No.

JB: Nope.

MG: No, sorry.

ETH: [shakes head to indicate "no"]

DV: You'll have to come to the show to find out.

'Not Jazz 3' is TONIGHT at Chris' Jazz Cafe (1421 Sansom Street) at 8pm. Admission is $10; $5 with student ID.

"Our Name is a Play on the Duality of Man" - Interview with Improv Team Bed Savage

If you've been paying attention to Philly's improv scene in the last few years, by now you've probably heard of Bed Savage. Starting out as an independent team coached by Kristen Schier (The Amie & Kristen Show/The Kristen & Amie Show; Director of ZaoGao; Artistic Director of The N Crowd), they're now the house team for two shows produced by stand-up and improviser Jess Carpenter: Comedian Deconstruction and The Not Just Comedy Show. If you want to learn more about the team, their form, and recent additions Claire Halberstadt and Jeff Kremzier, read on.

WitOut: How did Bed Savage come together?

Bed Savage: A bunch of us met in PHIT classes together (Grimley 101 and Edmondson 201).  We included Dan Jaquette before he got all famous with Beirdo and Mayor Karen then retired like Jordan at the top of his game to become an adult, get married, and start a family (lame). RJ Payne was into it because he just broke up with his girlfriend, and everyone knows chicks dig comedians. Steve Klarich (retired) was into it because it was an excuse not to hang out with his girlfriend at the time. Anthony Fedele (retired) planted the seed, along with Sean Landis and Caroline Rhoads. They helped secure a great coach and consummate professional in Kristen Schier. Kristen's experience and insight as a coach made the group easy to launch.  Although some of the original cast retired/furloughed due to personal commitments, we have had the good fortune of bringing in other talented performers (Claire and Jeff). The team is now a 6-person totem pole consisting of Sean Landis, Caroline Rhoads, Nick George, R.J. Payne, Jeff Kremzier and Claire Halberstadt.

WO: You guys are the house team for both Comedian Deconstruction and The Not Just Comedy Show.  How'd you land those gigs?

BS: Jess invited us to do Comedian Deconstruction and we absolutely loved it. Then we deconstructed him for the F Harold festival last year. It was around that time Jess decided to put a ring on it, and make Bed Savage the house team. Jess was initially looking to form a house team for the Not Just Comedy Show, and asked us to fill in until he did that. We did the first show, loved it again, and Jess and Bed Savage got married for a second time! Jess Carpenter is the mastermind behind these gigs. His energy and effort to find local comedy legends and get buns in the seats make the shows work.

WO: For those shows, you deconstruct a stand-up comic's and a musician's set, respectively.  When you're not deconstructing, do you have a regular improv form that you use, like a Harold or Armando? If so, how did you choose that form, and which do you prefer—that form, or deconstructing?

BS: When we're not deconstructing we perform a Leonardo, which is a loose Armando mixed with some Harold. So that entails a monologue from one of us to start the show, then some follow-up questions on the monologue (mostly just to make fun of whoever told the story), some scenes, some games, some more scenes, some more games then a blackout.

Every one of us really likes deconstructions. It's probably because our parents never let us take apart our Legos after we'd built something. If you wasted a set on some stupid block tower, oh well, you had to live with that forever. Now we're making up for all that pent-up aggression to break things down by deconstructing amazing comedians such as Chip Chantry and Mary Radzinski. Doing the deconstructing is really fun because you have the advantage of seeing the audiences' reaction to different jokes and you have the freedom to put your own spin on the scene and incorporate the stand-ups' punchline or premise. It also allows for some great callbacks to jokes that the audience may have overlooked or didn't quite catch. Oh—and our deconstructions are not "classical" deconstructions as known by many in the improv world.

WO: Claire (of Suggestical and previously ZaoGao) is the most recent addition to the team, correct?  How was she recruited, and how has it been working with her so far? What do you think she brings to the team?

BS: We don't know how we landed Claire. We kinda fell ass-backwards into that one. It was like wait, she's into it? Really? Why?? She brings so much to the team though, like a creepy basement with a mattress in it, or huge bags of snacks that have both salty snacks like chips AND sweet snacks like chocolate, or bags of wine for us to slap. Oh, and she's an amazingly talented improviser and performer who brings energy, creativity and general awesomeness to the team.  She provides a great level of intensity onstage and really commits to each character and scene.  She brings her "A" game every night and it's fun trying to keep up with her.

Jeff Krezmier is also a recent addition to the team.  Jeff has some great characters and voices that often end up sounding like Kermit the Frog. Sometimes things get a little weird on stage.

WO: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming your name has something to do with Ben Savage. So...Can each of you describe either your favorite episode of Boy Meets World, or the influence the show/Ben Savage has had on the team or its members personally, spiritually and/or comedically?

BS: Our name is a play on the duality of man, reflecting our animalistic origins, while commenting on our addiction to materialistic comforts and predetermined departure from nature. Who the hell is Ben Savage?

But Jeff is definitely a Fred Savage fan.  He's still trying to unlock the secret of how Fred landed Winnie Cooper.

You can see Bed Savage next at 'The Not Just Comedy Show' TONIGHT at The Grape Room (105 Grape Street, Manyunk) at 8pm. Admission is $5.

Monday Evening Raw!

Description: Stand-up comedy showcase hosted by Mike Logan featuring performances by: Ryan Crawford, M. Jacob Alvarez, Dan Vetrano, Jay West, and TJ Hurley

Style: Stand-up

Date: March 4

Time: 8:00pm

Admission: Free

Location: Ray's Happy Birthday Bar - 1200 E. Passyunk Ave

Contact: Facebook Event