Q&A with Rory Scovel, Performing This Weekend @ Helium

Rory ScovelRory Scovel plays a supporting character on the TBS sitcom Ground Floor, and has a new standup comedy album called Rory Scovel Live at Third Man Records. He'll be performing this weekend at Helium.


WitOut: On Ground Floor, you play a character named Harvard, who, I think, is the most interesting part of the show. How would you describe Harvard for someone whose never seen the show?

Rory Scovel: Thank you. I appreciate that. I am very lucky with this character. He is definitely the weirdo of the show, a role I've been preparing for most of my life. I'm not sure how to describe him really because I'm not a professional actor. I sort of just pretended I knew what I was doing at the audition and for some reason they liked that about me. That’s kind of who he is, Harvard. He just goes through life pretending he knows what he's doing and being an office weirdo. I love him. Yes, I said I'm in love with my own character that I play. Further proof I'm so ready to be this guy on camera.

WitOut: What's the experience been like in general? Is it intimidating being on the set with John C. McGinley?

Scovel: It’s been great. I've really loved it and I'm excited to get back for a second season, fingers crossed. It’s a great group to work with so I want to go back and have some more fun and see what we come up with. McGinley is a champion. Not only of the show and of the craft, but of people. He has an intimidating quality because I think he wants everyone working as hard as he is. He makes me a better actor, so it’s great to be around him. He is a pro.

WitOut: How'd you get involved with The Life and Times of Tim?

Scovel: A buddy of mine, BJ Porter, wrote on the show and recommended me to come in for it. We were working on a pitch for a show and it just worked out to go in and become one of the characters. I wish it was still possible to go in and do that show.

WitOut: What are some of the responses you've gotten to your album Dilation?

Scovel: Pretty good I think. I try not to read reviews too much but with that being my first album, it was hard to avoid. I think overall people enjoyed it and anyone that reviewed it seemed to like it. I know there are some people that didn't like it and I hope those people die an awful death. Not soon or anything, I'm not a monster, but when it does come time for them to die, I hope it’s awful.

WitOut: Your new album is available on vinyl only. What influenced that decision?

Scovel: I recorded it on Jack White's label Third Man Records, it’s called Rory Scovel Live at Third Man Records. They primarily release stuff in vinyl format and I thought it would be cool to just release it as that. I'm sure it’s out there in digital form somewhere ILLEGALLY. We decided to do it as just vinyl since some of the material is going to show up in my upcoming special that I'm shooting in Charleston, SC on 2/21 and 2/22. Didn't want to have the same material over and over in different formats.

WitOut: Have you been watching the Olympics so far? What's your favorite event?

Scovel: I have not watched any of it. I’m not sure that I will. Maybe the hockey. I don't know, I really haven't thought about it. The pressure, it gets to me.


For tickets, visit www.HeliumComedy.com. After the late show Saturday, check out The Dirty Dozen at midnight. Twelve of Philadelphia's most NSFW comics will regale you with stories too inappropriate to discuss on the internet!

Q&A With Comedian and Writer Dana Gould at Helium Comedy Club

Dana Gould at Helium Comedy Club
The calm before the storm. The storm being when Gould runs around the stage attacking like a chimp.

Dana Gould has written for The Simpsons and Parks and Recreation. He currently acts in the TNT series Mob City. Gould will be performing at Helium for four shows from Wednesday through Saturday. We caught up with him to talk about writing for television and his career in comedy.

WitOut: What was it like working for Parks and Recreation? Can you tell us about a memorable contribution you made to the show?

Dana Gould: I wrote during Season 2 in the awkward years when it was taking a while for the show to gel. I coined the name "Duke Silver" for Ron Swanson's saxophone playing alter ego and created his album name "Memories of Now." It's funny because Largo, a place where I perform stand up in L.A., has a framed copy of that album that they had made up and put on the wall.

WitOut: What was one of your favorite creative contributions to The Simpsons?

Gould: I wrote an episode from Season 16 called "Goo Goo Gai Pan" where Homer and Marge go to China and adopt a daughter for Marge's sister which was based on my own experience of adopting my two daughters.

WitOut: Do you have any advice for comedians that want to write for TV?

Gould: My advice is to just do it. Don't take a class or anything, just do it. A writer who isn't writing isn't a writer. It takes discipline. You have to make a habit of getting up every day and doing it. Make it your top priority and don't leave the house until you get it done.

WitOut: What have been some of the highs and lows of your career?

Gould: When I first started out in stand up I was obsessed with Albert Brooks. Albert was at a Simpson's Party later in his career and I had met him several times before in a professional setting, but one time at this "Hollywood Party," all the sudden he just said, "Hi Dana." He was always this hero of mine and in this moment I saw him as a peer. Oh and everything since then was a low.

Dana Gould at Helium Comedy Club
"God only hits the Midwest with tornadoes because he's really far away and he must think farmers look like lesbians."

WitOut: Did you make any New Year's Resolutions this year?

Gould: It's strange because 2013 was terrible, personally. I got divorced. But, professionally, I released a new album that was number one on iTunes and I am getting to do amazing stuff on Mob City.

I'm just hoping for something in the middle this year.

WitOut: Any comments on the Chris Christie scandal?

Gould: I assumed the lane was blocked because Christie wanted people to know how it feels for him to squeeze down the aisle of an airplane.

Check out Gould tonight (7:30p.m & 10:00p.m.) and tomorrow (10:00p.m.) at Helium Comedy Club

East Coast Power Nap Tonight @ The Trocadero

east coast power napAppearing on tonight's East Coast Power Nap is Natalie Levant, Brian Six, Setoiyo, Elise Thompson-Hohl, Aaron Hertzog, Jim Ginty, Mike Logan and a guest appearance by Dan Vetrano. There will be an overarching sketch performed by hosts Alejandro Morales and TJ Hurley between the sets.

East Coast Power Nap is upstairs at the balcony at The Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch Street) at 8:30 (doors @ 8:00). Tickets are $5.00. To get excited for the show, check out their “Leaked Outtakes” video. The sketch imagines what you would say about your friend behind their back while you were being asked questions “off camera."


Daily Show Writer and Producer Rory Albanese This Week @ Helium

rory albanese

A few years ago, Rory Albanese punched a 9/11 truther in the face.

That’s a pretty good description of Albanese’s sense of humor. He spent nine years working at The Daily Show (five as a producer) and is now setting out on a tour that stops in Philly from Wednesday until Saturday. I talked to Rory on the phone before his first Philly show...

Witout: Rory, I gotta know why you would leave such a cushy job on The Daily Show.

Albanese: Well, the job was pretty cushy and would have been for a long time, but I’m getting older and it’s like there’s this thing I gotta try cause the window’s closing. I didn’t have a map in some old journal telling me how The Daily Show was gonna play out. I’m doing this thing I wish I would have done at 22, only now it’s like a Kevin Costner movie – “Does his arm still throw? I don’t even know if he can get it up to 90 anymore boys. We’ll have to see.”

Witout: What was it like working with Jon Stewart?

Albanese: Any joke I made for The Daily Show goes through the awesome-maker, Jon Stewart. He’s saved so many of my jokes that would have flopped. You give him even a whiff of an idea and he’ll kill with it.

Witout: Your thoughts on Obamacare?

Albanese: Sure I care about healthcare, but not when The Big Bang Theory’s on. (joking) I’m right down the middle, politically, but I really feel that everyone should have access to good healthcare.

Witout: What was it like doing standup overseas, for the troops?

Albanese: Having been to Afghanistan is a real nice slice of humble pie. It makes you not want to ever wanna hear Kim Kardashian complain about anything ever again. Our veterans coming home are as badass as the “Greatest Generation” ever was and there’s no ticker tape parades for them, it’s bullshit.

Witout: So, I read on your Wikipedia page that you punched a 9/11 Truther in the face at a Jon Stewart event?

Albanese: I should have gone out the backdoor, is the lesson I learned from it. They started saying all this really terrible stuff to us, kinda like the Paparazzi do, and they started pushing us.

I’ve never punched anyone before or since, but I was here for 9/11.


Albanese’s Wednesday night set was smart, topical humor you’d expect from a Daily Show producer mixed with everything from a proctology visit, to why ‘The Right’ should actually want Obamacare, to a family vacation in which Rory and his 8 year old nephew shared similar roles. All with high energy.

Pretty much anything can happen during Albanese’s next three nights after this Philly interchange: Midway through the show an audience member called the two women behind him (who were talking through the whole show) the “C” word. The whole crowd froze. Someone yelled EAGLES. Albanese goes, “They’re not “C” words, they’re just bitches. Well played!

Rory Albanese will be performing at Helium tonight through Saturday Nov 2. For tickets, visit HeliumComedy.com.