Highlights from February's Captain Action Comedy Show

On the final Saturday of every month co-hosts Sidney Gantt and Dave Terruso bring The Captain Action Comedy Show to the Conshohocken Cafe (521 Fayette St. Conshohocken). There, comedians take the stage to perform and then are put on the hot-spot as they are interviewed by the hosts. Check out this highlight reel from the latest edition of the show featuring: Anton Shuford, Michael Donovan, Elise Thompson-Hohl, and Clarissa Gavin.

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 contact@witout.net so we can share it!

"We Will Learn More about Them as Human Degenerates" - Interview with Kevin Ryan and Sidney Gantt of 'Tough Stuff Comedy Show'

Captain Action Comedy Show's Sidney Gantt and Center City Comedy's Kevin Ryan have joined forces to bring you their very own show—and possibly also to publicly embarrass some of their best friends and favorite comedians.  Here they are to tell you all about it!

WitOut: Kevin, you co-hosted Sidney's Captain Action Comedy Show last month. Is that where the idea for this partnership got started, or have you guys been wanting to work together on something new for awhile?

Kevin Ryan: We actually decided to work together a couple months ago when we realized we were both looking to do a monthly show in the city. There were a couple months of leg work to find the right venue—so I know we're both happy that the show is this week.

WO: The promo materials for the show say each comedian will do their set, then tell their most embarrassing story. How did you develop that concept?

KR: I actually have to give credit to Sidney for this twist.  He plays a quiz show with his comics on the Captain Action Comedy Show—and when I was on the show, I had a lot of fun and the audience loved it—so we are trying to create the same fun atmosphere.

WO: Do the set and the story have to tie together? And are you guys more interested in one over the other—hearing the jokes vs. getting to know the comedian on a new level?

KR: They don't have to tie together necessarily, but I feel like they are going to.  I just think it's cool that the audience gets to see two different sides of the comics that are performing on show.

Sidney Gantt: The comedian performs first so you get a sense of who they are through comedy. So even if the story is different from their set it will still be an extension of what we just learned about them. No matter what, we will learn more about them as human degenerates.

WO: As they tell their story, the two of you will be breaking it up with some comedic analysis. Can you explain what that means, exactly? Will you be pausing them to make jokes and offer different perspectives? Or maybe pointing out which parts of the story might lend themselves to a new bit?

KR: All of the above.  I'm good friends with all the comics on the show, so I'm really excited about making fun of them in front of an audience.  For the most part I'm sure we will just be questioning and judging them for their actions in the story—but I hope that someone is able to write a bit about their story.

SG: It'll be more structured than comedians sitting around riffing because we have a goal which is to get through the story. But it'll be a lot looser than conventional storytelling because all those times in a story when you think, "Why in the hell would a person do that?" you get to find out the answer.

WO: This first show's guests (Alex Grubard, Mary Radzinski, John Nunn and H. Foley) are a mix of Philly and New York comedians. Is it a goal for you guys to continue to draw in acts from other cities?

KR: I would love if each month we were able to get talent from other cities—but I think in the near future we will probably focus on our friends in Philly and New York.  Booking the first one was tough because there are so many awesome comics in the city—I started to get excited about the line-ups for the next few months.

SG: The Philly comedy scene has a diverse group of high-level talent so we want to showcase that as much as possible. But when we have the opportunity to bring a talented comedian from other places we're not going to pass it up.

The first 'Tough Stuff Comedy Show' is this Friday, February 22nd at The Headhouse (122 Lombard Street) at 8PM. Tickets are $10.

"It's a Pretty Wild Show" - Interview with Sidney Gantt of Conshohocken's Captain Action Comedy Show

by Chris Dolan

On a chilly Saturday night I made my way to the Conshohocken Café on Fayette Street to spend a few minutes talking with Sidney Gantt – Philadelphia comedian, founder and co-host of the Captain Action Comedy Show.  Gantt was busy prepping the intimate room well before the 8pm showtime. Over the course of a ten-minute interview, he highlighted the uniqueness of the Captain Action format, shared some love for fellow Philly comics Mary Radzinski and Dave Terruso, and talked about a unique physical trait shared by multiple Philly stand-ups.

Chris Dolan: The name Captain Action Comedy Show kind of begs the question: are you "Captain Action"?

Sidney Gantt: Yeah, I am Captain Action … Captain Action is a comic book character that a few people say I remind them of.  He’s a comic book character from the '70s, and all he does is punch bad guys in the face and bang chicks.  That’s his whole M.O. He’s more of a vigilante, like Batman, so he has no rules.

CD: So talk about the show’s format. Where it started, how it’s come along...

SG: What we do is bring up a stand-up comedian, they perform, and afterward we interview that comedian in a game show format, where they present two lies and a truth. The audience has to guess which of the multiple choice answers is correct…so [the audience ] gets to yell out, and they use lifelines, and it’s fun. And the reason for the format, honestly, is that as a stand-up one of my favorite things to do is crowd work. But crowd work unfortunately isn’t the craft of stand-up comedy, it’s just a tool. So this gives me an opportunity to do that. I usually start off my opening set by talking to the crowd…go up cold and talk to the crowd, then do four or five minutes of material. Then I bring up my co-host which is usually Dave Terruso, and then he does some time,  and he gets to come back with me later on in the show and do some improv stuff with some of the interview  questions. It gets pretty crazy, it’s a pretty wild show.

CD: It strikes me that the format you just described might be fun for comedians that don’t have  a lot of experience doing crowd work…this would let them evolve toward  it in a more structured sense.

SG:  It definitely does 'cause it’s a very controlled environment for them to do crowd work…and it might not really even be considered crowd work, what they’re doing, usually I have them give me something personal, that people can’t tell just by looking at you. And when people are talking about their personal things they kind of just loosen up a little bit. Nobody has done badly in the interview portion yet.

CD: Has the show always been that way? Or did it start as like a straight-up show and kind of evolve?

SG: No, it started out as that sort of variety show right up front, the only thing that has changed is once Dave Terruso came on, about five or six months in, his  skill set just gave me the opportunity to do so much more with the questions…like, sometimes we have him do a one-man play about what you just heard about.

CD: What’s  an example of one of the questions, the "two lies and a truth"?

SG: A big one, with some of the comedians – you’d be surprised -- is a lot of comedians have more than two nipples. So, tonight the guy who has more than two nipples, [Note: I didn’t ask who this  was] his multiple choices are a) 4 nipples; b)  3 nipples; c) 0 nipples.

CD: How long have you been doing the show?

SG: A year and two months. This is the first time the show is going to be on a Saturday. Traditionally it had been the last Wednesday of every month. But we’ve been doing well, we’ve been filling the house, and [Conshohocken Café] is looking to serve dinner more consistently, and right now the only outlet for their dinner is this show.

CD: Any memorably great shows?

SG: Every show really has been better than the last, but if I had to say one stood out I’d have to say it was when Mary Radzinski was here…'cause that was the first time Dave Terruso, his value to the show, was absolutely obvious and I was glad that I had him come along. Mary gave her answers to her question, and each answer seemed like it was just a ridiculous fact that Mary wouldn’t want to reveal about herself. So what I had Dave do, is respond to that  fact, as if it were the only fact in her online dating profile…so he had to, on the spot, come up with a response email about that fact and each one was brilliant. It was pretty amazing.

CD: And Dave comes from improv, sketch and stand-up?

SG:  He does; and he just gives such a different flavor to the show 'cause even when he does his [stand-up] set…the vibe of performance that he gives off is just so different that it complements the entire show. You never know what’s gonna happen at the show. I don’t know if you get this but I love Dave Terruso.

CD: Anyone that you’re looking forward to having on the show that you haven’t had on yet?

SG: Anton Shuford...I think he was 2009 Philly’s Phunniest…originally I didn’t have him on right away because he’s my closest friend and I want to avoid the idea of just putting your friends on. But we’re gonna have him for the February show. He gave me the verbal okay in between arguing about whether  or not the Sixers would be good this year.

CD: Any closing thoughts?

SG: I just hope people find this type of show intriguing enough to come out, and if they want to see not only comedians that they wouldn’t expect to see on a bill together, but comedians that have something to share that you would never think they had to share, [this is the show].

The next 'Captain Action Comedy Show' is Saturday, February 23rd at 8pm. And here's a highlights reel from last week's show:

Chris Dolan is a stand-up from the Montco burbs.  He's appearing Thursday, Jan 31st at the Taproom Totally Free Comedy Show at Taproom Sportsbar in Morton, PA. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMDolan99.

Aaron Nevins - Who Called?

This new video, featured on Slacktory, was written and directed by Aaron Nevins and features appearances by: Elise Thompson-Hohl, Alejandro Morales, Dan Vetrano, Mikey Garcia, Robert X, Joe Bell, Sidney Gantt, Clay Hereth, and Chris O'Connor.

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 contact@witout.net so we can share it!