Four Ways to Manage the Comedy-Family Balance

By: Andrea Kuhar Isom

Oh hi, everyone! It’s me, Andrea! You probably haven’t seen me much lately because, well, I haven’t been to many shows, nor have I been standing awkwardly outside of the Shubin hoping to tell you how great you are. (Trust me, I STILL think you are the bee's knees!) But here’s what I am here telling you. Don’t give up on your dreams.

Here are 4 ways to keep your budding comedy writing career blossoming after, you know, you’ve got important diapers to change:

1. Work-share options: And by this I mean, share your work! Get an amazingly funny and responsible sketch partner! Make her learn all the hard lines so you don’t have to. Bonus points if she’s toddler-friendly, and also can tolerate your unique quirks! (Like, for example, losing your costumes the day before your show. How were you supposed to know they looked exactly like your "donate immediately" pile?)

2. Flexible Scheduling: Ok, if you are lucky enough to have the option to be Stay At Home, as we say in the business - you’re in luck! You no doubt have a short roster of creative un/under-employeed folks to keep you company at the playground. Pitch these people your ideas, and take advantage of their after-dusk freedoms! This is how you find out what’s really happening in Comedy World, when you are home wrestling certain people into a slumber.

3. Affordable Child Care: What’s that? You are shooting a video and your only trustworthy babysitter has bailed? No problem! Your pride-and-joy is now in your sketch. Rejoice. Your YouTube videos now stand a chance at getting tens of viewers.

4. Utilize your audience: Lastly, don’t forget that being a family-person means you have a built-in audience. What more could a budding comedian ask for? Tell them your jokes, recite your hilarious monologues, polish your stand-up routine! Chances are, your family could ignore you completely, and go right on loading Elmo into the dishwasher. But you should get used to that kind of thing. After all, you want to be a comedy writer right? Silent rejection is just part of the territory.

Andrea is a member of the sketch comedy duo Local Holiday Miracle. Catch them TONIGHT October 26th at 8:30PM at the Philly Improv Theater with Mani-Pedi.

Video Round-up, Vol. 5

This Week’s Spotlight: Local Holiday Miracle


Hey there! Lisa here with my weekly video round-up! This week I checked out the awesomely funny Local Holiday Miracle. Local Holiday Miracle is a sketch comedy duo that is one part Andrea Kuhar, one part Aubrie Williams.  I have put together three of their videos that I thought you might thoroughly enjoy!


1. Cats: The Musical starring REAL CATS! Do you like cat puns? Do you like Broadway Musicals? If so, this is the video for YOU!

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2. First Divorce with Mompoms! A mom supports her son through tough times with Mompoms! Jeez, I wish my Mom had Mompoms.

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3. MIDI Life Crisis. Dr. Susan Kitchen has found a way to cure your mid-life crisis. Something for me to look forward to in 30 years.

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Want to see more? then visit

Local Holiday Miracle and Kids With Rickets Promo

This week sketch groups Local Holiday Miracle and Kids With Rickets will join forces for a two show run at Philly Improv Theater. Thursday night the two groups will take the stage at 9:00 where they will each present a half hour of sketch comedy and Friday they will reprise the show at  8:30. The groups got together to film this promo video for their shows.

Tickets for Local Holiday Miracle and Kids With Rickets can be purchased in advance online.

Philly Comedy Round-up, Vol. 24

Tonight The Sideshow returns to The Arts Parlor (1170 S. Broad St) for a night of improv comedy. Tonight's show will feature a brand new team performing for the first time, Iron Lung will be debuting a new form, and Get a Room and Fowl Play will make their Sideshow debuts.

Next Tuesday, at L'etage (624 S. 6th St.) Camp Woods brings us Camp Woods Plus - an evening of sketch comedy featuring the group and two special guests. This month the show will feature Philly sketch group Local Holiday Miracle, and 2010 ECNY "Best Sketch Comedy Group in New York" award winners Murderfist.

Last week, TU Comedy, Temple University's stand-up comedy club put on a show at Pub Webb on campus. The show featured six members of the club, plus James Hesky and Aaron Hertzog, two Temple alumni. City Paper's Critical Mass blog wrote an article about the show here.

New York comedy/ sex show Paid or Pain is coming to Philadelphia and is looking for performers. Paid or Pain is a show where comedians perform and the crowd votes whether to pay the comedian, or have them tortured by their "house dominatrix." The show will feature a burlesque act, sex toy giveaways, and sex therapy with a special guest comedian. Sound like fun? interested comedians can send their clips and info to

Another reminder that voting is ongoing for The 2011 Witout Awards. Any member of the Philadelphia Comedy Community can take the survey and vote for their favorite performers, bits, and shows of the past year.

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

Pizza Pals with Joe Moore featuring Local Holiday Miracle

Andrea Kuhar and Aubrie Williams are the one-two-punch-in-the-chops that make up Philly comedy tour-de-force Local Holiday Miracle. At Aubrie’s suggestion, LHM and I sliced it up at Lickety Split, and we talked about Ninja Turtles, Pizza on English Muffins, and their show Thursday August 4th at the Shubin Theater, at 8:30 PM. If you’ve ever wondered about how pizza works into the LHM magic, read on:

Pizza Pal Joe Moore: How much do you like pizza:

Andrea Kuhar - I live in Philly for a lot of reasons, Pizza is one of them.

Aubrie WIlliams - I consider it a religion and practice it… religiously!

PPJM: What is your favorite slice in Philly:

AK: I'm partial to Lorenzo's, but if I'm feeling fancy - Pizzeria Stella!

AW: I'm gonna say Lorenzo's cause there is so much cheese on a single slice, and the more cheese the better!

PPJM: How often do you eat pizza?

AK: If English Muffin pizza counts, weekly.

AW: Anywhere from 4-7 times a week. It's my go-to pre-rehearsal, pre-show eat.

PPJM: Are you into plain pizzas or toppings? which toppings?

AK: Every veggie - no black olives!

AW: I enjoy both plain and toppings equally. MY favorite toppings are mushrooms and olives.

PPJM: Favorite use of pizza in Film, TV or Music:

AK: Das Racist - "I'm at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell"

AW: NINJA TURTLES (movies cause I always want to eat it straight from the screen)

PPJM: Did your family have a pizza day, what day was it?

AK: Yes! Way back, we got pizza on Friday and then watched TGIF! "Step by step, day by day..."

AW: It was always Friday night, and Friday at school was also pizza day… so Friday was a great day all around

TEN QUESTIONS WITH... Aubrie Williams

Aubrie Williams is an improviser on Philly Improv Theater's house team King Friday and her own sketch group, Local Holiday Miracle.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I saw my first improv show st UCB when I was 18, and was so impressed at how this piece could be created from just a one word suggestion. I continued to love watching improv from then on, but was scared to death to try it. I was a theater major, so inevitably we had to do some improv in classes -- and I bet if you took my pulse on those days, my heart rate was equivalent to someone about to jump out of a plane. Long story short, I decided to face my fears when an improv class was offered at Temple. I quickly realized that the fear was irrational and that I now got to have playtime as an adult, which was awesome. I even started my college improv club cause I didnt want the fun to end after class did. Improv also acted as my gateway drug into sketch comedy.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I guess in comedy I draw from what I like watching and find the funniest, which makes some of what I do a product of all of my influences. Stella, Tina Fey, David Cross, UCB, Gilda Radnor and anyone ever involved in a Christopher Guest movie are some of my biggest influences.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
I'm quite partial to the Shubin, cause it kind of feels like home now. I had my fist improv show there in '07, and now between class shows, Sketch Up or Shut Up, and King Friday, Ive gotten to spend a good amount of time up there. It's intimate and you get to see a lot of familiar faces. It's like the "Cheers" of BYOB comedy venues.

As for shows, there are tons of great ones that happen monthly, but I'll try and narrow it down. I'm going to say Sketch Up or Shut Up. It is always great because you get to see what everyone's been up to between shows and see how an audience reacts to what you've been working on.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
For me, it was this past July at DCM (Del Close Marathon) '12 in NYC. It was my first DCM, and I got to see Philly represent improv hard in a city where there is so much of it going on, and that was a great feeling. It was also my first time performing in NYC, and to get to do that with King Friday on the UCB stage (two hours before the original UCB performed on the same stage) was pretty freakin' awesome and lots of fun.

Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Or a sort of method that you use to develop comedic material?
It's funny because every time I tell a non-improviser that I have improv rehearsal, they always respond with, "How do you rehearse improv? Isn't it all made up?" With improv, it's important to stay in practice cause the more that you do it, the more comfortable you get in doing it, and from there I think you definitely get better at it. Also, with a group, you can really build a group mind through being around each other a lot so it's very important to have steady rehearsals. I also like to take different workshops and revisit old notes and reread Improvise by Mick Napier and The Small Cute Book of Improv by Jill Bernard.

What is it about sketch and improv that draws you to it?
If I had to sum it up, probably the people and the laughter. It is a great community filled with so much talent, and everyone seems to be constantly inspiring each other. I love that. Also, I enjoy laughing, and if you've ever witnessed me as an audience member, I bet you know this.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
Rare Bird Show was the first Philly improv group I had ever seen, and I was so impressed. Everytime I watch them they make me want to work harder as an improviser. I am very much loving The Amie & Kristen Show and Grimmachio. Both duos are always so on and connected and present. You can learn a lot from watching great improv. Man, this is tough. I also love watching all of the PHIT House Teams (YAY to house team night for letting me do this all in one night!), BWP and Cubed who do amazing premise based improv, Whipsuit, Horner & Davis, Medic, Stranger Danger, Rosen & Milkshake, Passiones ... to name a few, haha.

For sketch, I love Secret Pants, Meg & Rob, The Feeko Brothers, Camp Woods, Bare Hug, Hate Speech Comittee. Again, tough question cause there is so much awesome going on. I have many favorites.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
I think my first show with King Friday I was having way too much fun watching them perform that I literally had a moment where I was like, "Oh crap, I'm performing too. Get out there." I also laughed so hard on the sidelines that I missed out on a few key details. I have since worked on not doing either of those things.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
I think It is at a great, promising place right now. People are really dedicated and working hard, and there seems to be a constant interest from new people in joining the comedy community as well. It's great to see so many new faces popping up onstage all of the time, and different combos of people from various disciplines of comedy joining forces and starting new groups and projects. I think if it stays on this track, and I have no doubt it will, that we will be taking over the world in no time. Muahahahaha.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
I would like to do more festivals and such for both sketch and improv. With improv, I would like to continue to study and also study different forms and genres, and keep performing consistently. Just get more and more comfortable and more and more brave. I think I have in the past few months, but I know I can oush myself even further. With sketch, I would like also to perform more, but I'd like to film more sketches as well. We just shot our 1st one and had a blast, so I'd like to do way more of that for sure! I also play guitar and ukulele, and have joined forces with some other lovely ladies who do the same, so I'd like to eventually get up on stage and perform some musical comedy!