Weekend Comedy Guide

It's a busy weekend for comedy here in Philly. Here's a handy guide to all that's going on around our fair city.

Helium Comedy Club - Anjelah Johnson - Friday and Saturday, 8:00, 10:30

Johnson, known for her viral video Nail Salon, and her time as a cast member on MadTV takes the stage at Helium with her stand-up act full of characters, stories, and high energy material centering on her family and life growing up and living in Southern California. Nate Bargatze (Conan, Comedy Central) is the feature act and Aaron Hertzog is the host.

Philly Improv Theater - Friday

7:00 - Hey Everybody - Aaron Hertzog's showcase will be without it's usual host this week as he is at Helium - filling in will be Christian Alsis of The Feeko Brothers. This week's show will feature comedy from Philly's Phunniest winner Tommy Pope as well as Pete Kuempel, Ed McGonigal, and Ryan Shaner.

8:30 - The Feeko Brothers and Angel Yau - Fresh off their second consecutive Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia title, Christian Alsis and Billy Bob Thompson take the stage with a mostly new show they premiered last week at Philly Sketch Fest. Joining them at PHIT will be New York sketch comedian Angel Yau.

10:00 - The Kristen and Amie Show with Nielsen -  The improv duo comprised of Kristen Shier and Amie Roe bring their high energy, crazy character, fun filled playing to the stage at PHIT along with fun to watch indie group Nielsen.

Philly Improv Theater - Saturday

7:00 - Brick with Ebony and Ivory - New York's Magnet Theater House Team Brick comes to Philly to perform along side the duo comprised of Iron Lung members Corin Wells and Maureen Costello.

8:30 - House Team Night, King Friday and Mayor Karen - Two of PHIT's own house teams perform.

10:00 - House Team Night, Asteroid and ZaoGao - Two more PHIT house teams perform.

11:00 - Late Night Improv Jam - Improv open stage hosted by PHIT house team Fletcher.

The Laff House - Ted Carpenter - Friday (8:30, 10:45) Saturday (8:00, 10:00, 12:00)

 The veteran of Showtime at the Apollo and Russel Simmon's Def Comedy Jam performs at The Laff House on South St.

City Spotlight - Friday

8:00 - Broad Comedy - The all women comedy show kicks off the night of laughs at the Philly Shakespeare Theater. Featuring performances by Mary Radzinski, Carolyn Busa, Hillary Rae, Sarah Morawcynski, Erin Mulville, and more.

10:00 - Bing Supernova's Cavalcade of Fools - Everyone in the world's favorite comedian hosts a show packed with performances by  Roger Weaver, John Kensil, The Lucas Brothers, The Feeko Brothers, Jaykob Strange, and Alex Dingley.

City Spotlight - Saturday

CIF National College Improv Tournament - Mid Atlantic Division Regional - All day long college improv teams compete for a chance to represent Pennsylvania in the National College Improv Tournament in Chicago.

 


Interview with Mary Radzinski, host of "Broad Comedy"

Friday night will be a celebration of women in comedy in Philadelphia. Broad Comedy is the City Spotlight's showcase of stand-up, sketch, improv and storytelling from some of Philly's funniest females. We caught up with Mary Radzinski to ask her about the show, her comedy, and attitudes about women in comedy.

First off, Women doing Comedy, what is up with that? I know.  It's like, I'm hungry.  Quit horsing around and make me a sandwich.

Obviously, my first question is a joke...what are your feelings about those kinds of attitudes that look at "female comedy" as a thing unto itself. I think it's a limited view by limited people, but I sort of understand it.  Comedy, like many things, has been male dominated.  It's a numbers game. As more and more women are becoming comedians, bringing hilarity to audiences of both men and women, hopefully "female comedian" will eventually become "comedian".

Do you plan on introducing every act with a wink and a "this next performer's a lady" line or any special variation on that time honored tradition - or would answering that be giving too much away. I'm actually not hosting the show, so it won't really be up to me, but I assume there will be some poking fun at that.  The introductions of female comics is of great amusement to me.  I was introduced once as, "having a vagina".  As this is factually correct, I couldn't argue with the host, however, I would have been more impressed if he had used "labia minora".  It's annoying to me that this is how some comics get laughs and perpetuate a stereotype.  Be smarter.  Aim higher.  Talk about our tits.

How do you feel about articles like this one from Fox News that say things like this - "For women, frump isn’t funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful..." and "Rosie O’Donnell and Janeane Garofalo will be relegated to playing the female versions of Chris Farley. Hollywood doesn’t want a woman that is not sexually enticing like Rosie; it wants the sexual alpha female..." Whatevs.  Frump will always be funny.  Frump is typically what nurtures the development of funny.  Hollywood will always have it's eye on sexy; sex sells. Writing funny scripts for pretty actors will never get old.  I recently saw Jennifer Anniston on Inside the Actor's Studio.  During the interview she had the personality of an elderly chimp.  Referencing Anna Faris as a  face of female comedy is a jab at the more than likely frumpy person who wrote her most recent comedic script.  There are no absolutes.  Would it help your career to be beautiful, sexy, and hilarious?  Of course.  Necessary?  Nah.

Where does your personal style as a comedian come from? I really try to be myself on stage.  I'm not a very high energy person offstage, and this translates. I'm not entirely deadpan in my everyday life either, so I've been working on that as well.  This has, and continues to be, my biggest challenge.

Your show is going to be a mix of styles of comedy, it's going to have some stand-up, improv, sketch, and storytelling - traditionally these have been kept apart - do you see a growing trend in bringing them all together on one bill? I'm not sure I see a growing trend in doing this, but we wanted to represent different areas of Philly's comedy scene. We were given the title, "Broad Comedy" as part of Sketchfest, so we thought we'd incorporate a "broad spectrum" idea into it to, through different types of comedy.  I do think the variety jazzes it up for the audience.

Has running your own weekly open mic and booking shows given you any new insights or perspectives on comedy? Do you have any words of advice for someone looking to start their own show? It has definitely been insightful regarding the amount of work that goes into even an open mic.  It's not easy to please everyone but it's a goal to keep trying.  Words of advice: Get on stage every week and do time.  Host to a room of a hundred (even if there are 5 people and they are all comics).  Have fun and act like it.

You're somewhat of a Twitter aficionado - do your best job of summing up and promoting Broad Comedy in 140 characters or less. Broad Comedy.Friday,October 21st. Shakespeare Theater. 8pm.Broads doing comedy. Broadly. Like their broad mothers taught them. Come watch.

Broad Comedy is part of the first annual City Spotlight at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater (2111 Sansom St.) Friday night at 8:00PM. Tickets can be purchased online.


Interview with Pat House, Host of In the Beginning...

"The way to improve is to reject everything you're doing. You have to create a void by destroying everything; you have to kill it. Or else you'll tell the same fucking jokes every night." - Louis CK

The path of a comedian is one of growth and change. We are constantly trying to write new  jokes, work on new material, and develop fresh ideas. All in the hopes of getting better. We are constantly looking ahead, to what is next. What is the next step in our careers? What is the next goal we want to achieve? Where do we go from here? This Wednesday, at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater as part of Comedy Month's City Spotlight, a group of Philadelphia comedians will do just the opposite, they will look back.

In the Beginning...is a show from the mind of comedian Pat House which will showcase comedians taking a look at video footage from an early point in their careers, and roasting their former selves on their comedic talents (or lack thereof.) It is a show that aims to celebrate the growth and development of Philly comics in a way most comedians are comfortable with...by making fun of themselves. We had some questions for House on his own growth as a comedian, and what he sees in his peers.

Why are you making comedians relive their painful sets of years' past? Because comedy isn't tortuous enough. Just kidding!! I'm fascinated by the process of stand-up comedy. Nobody starts out great, and the evolution comedians has always interested me. I think it'll be fun to laugh at how new and inexperienced we were, and it'll be great to relive some of those gems we all had when we first started.

Tell us about the first time you thought you were getting good as a comedian. Though there are plenty of things in my comedy that really need improvement, I guess I first thought I was on the right track between a year and two years in, when I started getting hosting spots and guest sets on the weekends.

How much have you grown and changed since? What would you say to yourself then? Great question. For starters, I would love to ask myself "So, you think you're being discrete by taping a setlist to your water bottle and looking at it between every joke? Because you're not."

For me, growth as a comedian seems to be long plateau periods and every once in a while I will hit a bit of an upswing - how do you see patterns in your growth? I would definitely agree with that. Plateaus are very common, but the longer I do comedy, the more I realized how beneficial the plateaus are. When you're doing the same jokes night after night, it's redundant and sometimes boring, but looking back, you realize those jokes got tighter and better. You don't always realize that on a day-to-day evaluation.

I see patterns in my growth every year. I used to judge myself on what seemed like a daily basis and I've learned that I absolutely cannot do that. The everyday grind is rough, but if I gauge myself every six months to a year, that's where I see the most improvement.

How do you think that compares to other comedians? Every comedian plateaus, but every comic gauges their comedy in their own way. A lot of newer comics tend to be in the moment and think they're either good or that they suck right off the bat. The more you hang around comedy, the more you realize it's about the bigger picture. I just hit my seventh anniverary in comedy last week, and I can definitely say that I've learned more between years five and seven than I did my first five.

What is your favorite thing about watching different comedians evolve and grow? My favorite thing about watching other comics grow is that in itself (does that even make sense?) I can name dozens of great comics I've known since the beginning of their career, and watching them evolve to where they are now has been one of the best parts of the ride. We're all in this mess together.

Do you have any specific favorite moments of seeing a comedian "find their voice"? Just the other day I watched the 1995 HBO Young Comedian's Special with Louis CK and Dave Attell. They were great, professional comics at the time, but sixteen years later, both of them are (obviously) significantly better and have a solid grip on their voice.

It was really interesting to me - with Attell, a lot of the jokes he does in the HBO special, he did on his first album six years later, and the jokes are light-years better on the album. He honed those jokes for years. With Louie, it was almost like you could see where he was going with his voice, it was there, it just hadn't come out yet.

Attell and CK are two of my all-time favorite comics, and seeing that special made me feel a lot better about my material. They were great then, and incredible now.

Have you seen any dramatic changes in someone's style, either suddenly or over time? What have you liked or disliked about them? I really can't recall any dramatic changes in someone's act. I feel with a lot of my friends, any changes over time were just the natural progression of becoming a better comic.

How do you think your style has changed since you started? My style has changed immensely since I started; I am a completely different comedian. When I first started, I had a lot of shock value one-liners; terrible, fictitious jokes that were God-awful. Back then, the thought of being personal on stage didn't even occur to me. About two years or so in, I started to get a little personal with jokes about my life at the time (college and drinking), and from there, it progressed slowly into what I do now, which is becoming a mostly personal act.

Do you have any plans or goals as far as changing your style or writing habits for the future? My main goal for the future is to write more. I tell myself to everyday, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty lazy with that. Reading helps me a lot too. I find that when I'm going through book after book, I'm writing a lot more, and I seem to notice more things around me as well.

In the Beginning...will play at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater (2111 Sansom St.) this Wednesday, October 19th at 8:00PM. Tickets can purchased online.


Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 22

This week, Comedy Month wraps up with the first annual City Spotlight, a week showcasing many of Philadelphia's diverse comedic talents. Tonight, the Old Comedy Buffet features all comedians over 40 for a night of classic Philadelphia comedy. Later this week, Pat House hosts In The Beginning..., where comedians will show a video from their early days of comedy and roast themselves making fun of how far they've (hopefully) come. Friday night features Broad Comedy, an all female show hosted by Mary Radzinski and Carolyn Busa.

This Tuesday, Face Time with Chip Chantry returns to Helium Comedy Club. This month's show will feature James Hesky, Brendan Kennedy, Darryl Charles, Glen Tickle, and as always will feature co-host and house band Amir Gollan and Chip Chantry doing the news.

Philly Improv Theater will feature a week of shows they are calling "Pilot Week" which will showcase all new shows looking for a permanent spot in the PHIT lineup. Tonight, Becca Trabin presents Town Hall a debate show in a mock town hall meeting format. Tuesday will feature True? The Roger C. Snair Interview Show hosted by Brendan Kennedy's Guilty Pleasures sidekick. Wednesday will be the debut of a new panel comedy show A Few Answers Short.

This Thursday and Friday The Feeko Brothers will present a new show at Philly Improv Theater. Billy and Christian, fresh off their second consecutive Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia victory will share the stage with New York sketch group Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.


Tonight: The Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia Contest

Tonight at the Shakespeare Theater Philly Sketchfest will continue a tradition started in 2007 at Don Montrey's Die Actor Die - The Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia contest. Sketch groups from Philadelphia and beyond will gather to perform their filthiest, most disgusting, most depraved sketches in order to gain the hearts and minds of the audience and win the grand prize, along with the bragging rights of being the dirtiest minds in a group of supremely dirty minds. Defending champions The Feeko Brothers will take the same stage they actually vomited on last year, along with two-time champ Secret Pants, Camp Woods, out-of-towners Angel Yau and Thunderstood, Philly stand-up Joe Mayo and more. To make sure you know what you are getting into, we've put videos of some of the previous Dirtiest Sketch winners (and Secret Pant's second place finish from last year) below. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i_DlJzsc7w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcv-E6B0AG0&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRFR8ygPPBs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wojfvwuBRfg&feature=player_embedded


Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 21

Comedy Month continues this week with the fourth annual Philly Sketchfest. Performing this year will be local favorites The Feeko Brothers, Camp Woods, Hate Speech Committee, Secret Pants, and Animosity Pierre as well as out of town acts including Angel Yau, The Chris & Paul Show, Last Call Cleveland and more. The full schedule, along with tickets can be found online.

There's been a good bit of media coverage for comedy month. Articles have been written about the three week long string of festivals by  The Philadelphia Inquirer, The AV Club Philly, Philly Weekly, and Citypaper.

The QComedy Fest is also set to take place this week with shows at various venues around the city including The Philly Improv Theater at The Shubin Theater, Tabu Sports Bar & Lounge, and Club Voyeur. The festival will be headlined by Alec Mapa, of Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty fame.

Doogie Horner's Ministry of Secret Jokes returns again this week with a show featuring new videos from Secret Pants and Joke Summer School and stand-up from Chris Cotton, Alex Grubard and Trey Galyon.

Brian Posehn is coming to Philadelphia to play the Trocadero Theater on Thursday, October 20 at 8:00PM. Tickets can be purchased online.

 


Press Release: Philly SketchFest Continues Comedy Month

Following the hilarious week of improv that is the Philadelphia Improv Festival, the fourth annual Philly Sketchfest is set to take center stage for Philadelphia Comedy Month. From October 10-15, the Philly Sketchfest  takes over the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor.  This festival features sketch performers from the East Coast, the Midwest, Los Angeles, and the stars of Philadelphia’s extra talented sketch comedy scene. Comedy Month runs through October 23. The month will finish with City Spotlight, a week of stand-up, improv, and the CIF National College Improv Tournament, Liberty Bell Regional. Tickets cost $10, passes for the whole week are $45, and Comedy Month passes cost $125. More information can be found atwww.phlcomedy.com & www.philly-sketchfest.com

This year, Philly Sketchfest highlights the wealth of talent in the  local sketch comedy scene.  It will begin with an evening of solo sketch comedy featuring the return of local favorite Meg Favreau who now lives in LA. Other local groups set to take the stage include Animosity Pierre, Camp Woods, Hate Speech Committee, Secret Pants, Feeko Bros, and more. The festival is also presenting Don Montrey’s Dirtiest Sketch in Philadelphia contest where several sketch groups will compete for audience votes by pushing limits to the max with the dirtiest, raunchiest, foulest sketches audiences will ever see.

The out of town acts are led by the return of New Yorker Angel Yau, ImprovBoston’s Sawyer &Hurley, the award winning modern vaudeville of The Chris and Paul Show from New York, and festival headliners Last Call Cleveland, stars of many viral web hits, including “One Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song”.

Philly Sketchfest Schedule

Monday 10/10, 8 p.m.

Thunderstood (Greensboro)

Rob Asaro (New York)

Meg Favreau (Los Angeles)

Tuesday 10/11, 8 p.m.

Don Montrey’s DIRTIEST SKETCH IN PHILADELPHIA CONTEST

(Feeko Bros., Thunderstood, Angel Yau & More)

Wednesday 10/12,  8 p.m.

Angel Yau (New York)

Hate Speech Committee (Philadelphia)

Secret Pants (Philadelphia)

Thursday 10/13, 8 p.m.

MacCloskey & Myers (Philadelphia)

Inside Joke Films (New York)

Feeko Bros. (Philadelphia)

Friday 10/14 8PM

The Nevergreens (Baltimore)

Animosity Pierre (Philadelphia)

Friday 10/14 10PM

The Disappointments (New York)

Camp Woods (Philadelphia)

Pink Axe (New York)

Saturday 10/15 8PM

The Dowry (Boston)

The Dependable Felons (Brooklyn)

Sawyer & Hurley (Boston)

Saturday 10/15 10PM

Oh Theodora (Chicago)

The Chris & Paul Show (New York)

Last Call Cleveland (Cleveland)


Philadelphia Improv Festival Kicks-Off Comedy Month in October

Press release from the Philadelphia Improv Festival:

The city is about to get a lot funnier throughout October. Once again, the Philadelphia Comedy Collective is hosting Philadelphia Comedy Month. This October, there will be three weeks of comedy which kicks off with the seventh annual Philadelphia Improv Festival October 5-9 at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor.  Comedy Month will run through October 23, featuring the Philly Sketchfest, and the City Spotlight, which will feature films, stand-up, improv  and the Mid Atlantic Regional College Improv Championship. Tickets cost $10 per night Tuesday-Thursday and on Sunday. The Friday and Saturday night shows cost $10 per block or $20 for the entire night. A full pass to the PHIF costs $60. A full Comedy Month pass costs $125. More information can be found at www.phlcomedy.com.

This year, Philadelphia Comedy Month has partnered with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, who will receive a portion of proceeds from tickets sales as well as funds raised in the charity raffle, running throughout the month. Comedy Month will kick off on October 4th, with a showcase reading of comedic plays from Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

The talent for the Philadelphia Improv Festival this year runs far and wide. The festival will be highlighted by an appearance from Jill Bernard, a nationally known improviser who is presenting her wildly popular one-woman, multi-character musical, Drum Machine. Also appearing at the festival  are Three’s Company from iO Chicago, BillyHawk from iO West, and an assortment of talented teams from New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Austin, and Los Angeles.

The local improv community will continue to have strong representation at the festival.  The wildly popular Rare Bird Show, as well as The Real Housewives of Philadelphia will both be making their first appearances since last year’s festival. ComedySportz Philadelphia is remounting its Improvised Shakespeare show for the festival, which over the past two years has proven to be a big hit with audiences. A few other local highlights include MattAndThe Amie & Kristen Show and the N Crowd, as well as a record six local teams making their PHIF debut.

“I’m really excited about what we’ve put together for PHIF this year, and can’t wait to share it with audiences. In our seventh year, we’ve focused on bringing real variety to the stage. Through both our commissioned and selected acts, we’re seeing a real cross section of what improv has to offer fans. We’re showcasing a terrific mix of indie shows as well as ensembles from some of the top theaters in the country,” said festival producer Matt Nelson. “We’ve been able to assemble a lineup that boasts many of the most beloved and acclaimed acts from previous years and a healthy assortment of young, energetic groups on the rise. We have both classic shows and experimental pieces, ranging from structured or premise-based pieces to pop satire and even a solo musical. It’s outright some of the best people touring festival circuits today, many of whom have emerged from right here in our own backyard. It’s a combination that comedy fans are going to be hard pressed to pass up.”

Philadelphia Improv Festival Schedule:

Wednesday, Oct 5
7:30pm

Haverford Middle School Actors Workshop (Haverford, PA)
King Friday (Philadelphia, PA)
Double Date (New York, NY)

9:00pm
Legion (New York, NY)
Grimacchio (Philadelphia, PA)
ComedySportz Presents Improvised Shakespeare (Philadelphia, PA)

Thursday, Oct 6
7:30pm
N Crowd (Philadelphia, PA)
Iron Lung (Philadelphia, PA)
Til Death Do Us Part (Philadelphia, PA)

9:00pm
Cubed (Philadelphia, PA)

Mayor Karen (Philadelphia, PA)
The Lodge (Boston, MA + New York, NY)
Real Housewives of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA + Los Angeles, CA)

Friday, Oct 7
7:00pm

The Score (Washington, DC)
The Andrews Sisters (New York, NY)
Fletcher (Philadelphia, PA)

8:30pm
Shawn-Mikael(s) (Washington, DC)
Firth&Arjet (Austin, TX)
ImprovBoston Mainstage (Boston, MA)

10:00pm
The Amie & Kristen Show (Philadelphia, PA)
MattAnd (Philadelphia, PA)
Lekker (Baltimore, MD)
Three's Company (Chicago, IL)

Saturday, Oct 8

7:00pm

Hidden Falls (Boston, MA)
The Imposters (New York, NY)
Adrift (Various)

8:30pm
Marjean (Boston, MA)
Asteroid! (Philadelphia, PA)
BillyHawk (Los Angeles, CA)

10:00pm
BWP (Philadelphia, PA)
Hello Laser (New York, NY)
Rare Bird Show (Philadelphia, PA + Los Angeles, CA)
Drum Machine (Minneapolis, MN)

Sunday, Oct 9
7:00pm

Rookie Card (Philadelphia, PA)
RuBin (New York, NY)
Caveat (Washington, DC)

8:30pm
Jessica Tandy (Philadelphia, PA)
Featherweight (New York, NY)
Vox Pop (New York, NY + Washington, DC)