Spotlight on a Group: Secret Pants

Secret Pants is a fitting group to kick off WitOut's new Spotlight on a Group Series. A fixture in the Philly sketch scene, Secret Pants has been filming and performing live sketch comedy since 2004, have created some of the most memorable moments from Bedtime Stories (now The Theme Show) are regulars in the yearly Philly Sketch Fest and have produced their own sketch show extravaganza Welcome to the Terrordome as well as multiple successful shows at Philly Improv Theater. They found viral success with their man on the street gameshow Bush or Batman, and their Booty Shorts for Men sketch was mentioned as a favorite by Justin Timberlake on his Twitter. We asked members of Secret Pants some questions about the group, and they appointed member Larry Wiechecki to answer them.

Witout: How and when did you get together?

Larry Wiechecki: Secret Pants has been together since Spring 2004.  A majority of the members had taken a comedy writing class at Temple together. Sam, Brian Kelly and I(Larry) didn't go to Temple.  BK and Sam both had friends who were in the class and invited them to a meeting.  I lived with BK at the time, he invited me.  The first initial meetings were basically meet and greets.  Bryce and Steve both had butt cuts, Brian Craig may have had one too.  Steve definitely had a visor.  We started out with 13 members, we are down to 7.

WO: How have you seen your style evolve in the time you've been together?

LW: I don't think our style has evolved too much as far as our ideas and writing.  With all of the years of experience together, we know what works and what doesn't.  As well as who's good at doing what.  In that sense, we may have matured/evolved.

WO: What are some of your favorite shows or moments from shows?

LW: For me, it was easily our 5th Anniversary show at the Actor's Studio.  All of us had been drinking and we sat backstage, we were behind a screen, making each other laugh and generally having a good time.  We were very loose that night, going out of our way to make each other laugh while performing.  During a sketch Brian Kelly surprised me with a Greek accent and I could barely deliver my lines I was laughing so hard.  Also, any Bedtime Stories at the Shubin was always a lot of fun and not because of the show.  Not that the show wasn't fun, but hanging out with the other performers in the basement is/was my favorite part of doing shows.

WO: Do you approach your live sketches and filmed sketches differently, and how?

LW: I wouldn't say that we do.  There aren't many sketches that we have that we couldn't perform either way.  We put as much detail into our live sketches as we do our video sketches.  We've always gone that extra mile for our live sketches to real set the scene.

WO: How have you seen the Philly sketch scene evolve in the time you've been around?

LW: There are definitely a lot more groups.  It seems a lot more people who are involved with the Philadelphia Comedy Scene, whether it be stand up or improv, are trying their hand at sketch.  Also, with the PHIT providing sketch writing classes and doing Sketch Up or Shut up at the Shubin, it seems it will keep evolving with new, young faces.

WO: Have you ever had an idea for a sketch that you loved, but the rest of the group didn't? Tell me about it. Did you end up scrapping the idea, or using it somewhere else? Did it work out for the best?

LW: YES, yes there is one sketch that I always wanted to do, but no one else wanted to.  It was called "Fight the HIV with Magic."  I can only assume no one wanted to do it because it consisted of me wearing blackface, top hat, cape and Magic Johnson basketball jersey.  Magic was hosting a telethon to collect money, not for HIV awareness, but to save his own life.  He'd say repeatedly "You don't want me to die, do ya? Give your money."  Then when we shot and performed live the Juggalos sketch, I had to put my money where my mouth is and put on blackface.  I can now never run for President.  There was also "Forklift Academy" which was just Police Academy with forklifts.  That was never written or shot because of my own laziness.

Secret Pants can be found online here, on Facebook and members of their group are hosts of regular Philly Improv Theater shows Sketch-up or Shut-up and TV Party.


Casting Call for "Down The Show"

Message from Down the Show:

Hi Everyone!
We will be filming our next sketch Thursday, July 14th during the day and we need four lead characters.
Criteria:
Four Dudes and One female available during the daylight hours on the date mentioned above.
If you're interested and available, message me and I'll go into more detail.

Interested parties should contact Abigail Bruley at abruley@gmail.com


PIZZA PALS with Joe Moore ...this week: CAMP WOODS

In an effort to combine two of the worlds best things, pizza and comedy, I split a couple of steaming pies with Philly Sketch-Gang Camp Woods. Anyone who is paying attention knows the fabled role pizza plays in Camp Woods folklore. Who better to sit down and chat with over a few pies?

In between slices, I asked Sam Narisi, JP Boudwin, Brendan Kennedy, and Patrick Foy all the hard-hitting questions…

How much do you like pizza?

Sam Narisi: The most.

JP Boudwin: I wish it lived in the wild so I could kill it, and feel it die in my hands. Then feed it to my weird forest family.

Brendan Kennedy: A whole lot. Too much, even.

Patrick Foy: 1,000,000.00

What is your favorite pizza topping?

SN: I’m in a big white pizza phase right now. Also: bacon, mushrooms, and anything with ricotta cheese.

JP: Extra cheese -- other cheeses.

BK: Pepperoni.

PF: Sausage, avocado, spinach, chopped tomato, pesto.
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TEN QUESTIONS WITH... Dominic Moschitti

Dominic Moschitti is a member of sketch comedy group Bare Hug and with Gamervision, he made this Legend of Zelda trailer that went viral.

How and why did you get into comedy?
I got into comedy as a kid because it was the only way I knew how to make friends. I'd make the other kids in my class laugh with dumb jokes, or recite bits I saw on TV the night before. I remember staying up late with my brothers to watch The State on MTV. I saw how much it made them laugh and thought, "If I could be as funny as these guys then my brothers would think I'm cool!" I am the sixth of seven kids, so in their minds I'm never cool.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I like big reveals. I love to surprise the audience. Stupid premises are a lot of fun to write. Tim and Eric are a big influence because what they do is so different from the norm. They write what makes them laugh and they have a lot of confidence in what they produce.

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
Sketch Up or Shut Up is my favorite show. It's open mic for sketch and that's really hard to come by. It's a great place to try out an idea that just doesn't seem to be working, or that you think might be too weird, but everyone is more than willing to give notes to you afterward. It's like a big party. It's great.

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out?
Dirtiest Sketch Competition 2010. There were so many great sketches that night.

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?
I write down any idea that makes me laugh. A lot of my favorite sketches have come from spontaneous ideas, which comes from being in a comedy mindset, so writing every day is important. Workshopping is vital.

What is it about sketch that draws you to it?
Sketch is a lot of fun because there's a sense of camaraderie. You challenge each other to write and perform better, and you don't want to let the other guys down. At the end of the day you will love another man, and that's comedy.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites?
There are so many awesome stand-up, sketch, and improv groups in Philadelphia. It's amazing. But my absolute favorite are The Feeko Brothers. Billy and Chris are such great performers. I think I got that damn JPB's song stuck in my head again just from writing this.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire?
We did the Boston Improv Festival in September and I thought we bombed. There were about twenty people in the audience, including a woman who is in charge of sketch at Improv Boston who said she was very excited to see us after watching our Gentlemania sketch. She got up and left half-way through the set. Maybe she had to be somewhere, but it was a good experience. Good shows are awesome, but you can learn from the bad ones.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow?
Local media coverage. They've done a great job ignoring the comedy scene thus far. All of the coverage in the city is just advertising whatever big-name-comedian is performing at the TLA. Comedy in the city! ...they don't even have chairs at the TLA.

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy?
Just get better and work harder.