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.

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.


Ten Questions With...Billy Bob Thompson

Billy Bob Thompson is a Philadelphia based comedian originally from Vermont.  He does stand-up, writes sketches with The Feeko Brothers and Camp Woods, and performs improv with Hate Speech Committee and the new PHIT House Team codename: Shadowfax. He is also the voice of Burgh on Pokémon: Black and White.

How and why did you get into comedy?

How:  My entire life, the only thing I’ve ever taken seriously was comedy (that’s how my auto-biography is going to start).  I first realized that comedy was something I would like to pursue, when I was in a barbershop quartet called "The Half Steps” during high school.  We would perform super cute little comedy bits between songs which I wound up enjoying more than the actual singing itself.  Fast forward a few years, blah, blah, blah, and now I’ve become extremely successful at being an unsuccessful comedian.

Why:  Crippling anxiety, the strange desire to be liked by people I don’t know, and dirty butt sluts.

How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I’m not sure how to describe my style, but here’s some stuff I’ve heard:

"Billy Bob Thompson is the closest thing Philadelphia has to Paul Rudd." -–Pat Ackerman

"Billy is like a white Steve Martin." – John McKeever

“You look like that Carey guy!  Can I get some change for the bus?” – Guy outside of a 7/11

Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I’ve had the most fun on Chip Chantry's “One-Man Show” and Doogie Horner's “Ministry of Secret Jokes.”  Anything goes on those shows, you knows!  These two fine gentlemen have created even finer shows that are an absolute pleasure to perform on and watch.  If you want a crash course in what is actually going on in Philly Comedy, go to these shows.  Quick side note:  If you run a show or a venue, please don’t throw hissy fits in front of your performers.  It puts them on edge and makes you look unprofessional.  The performers are there to help you.  Stop it.  I’ve seen this baby behavior happening all over the city.  You’re being bad.  Bad!

Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? For me personally, it’s either doing stand-up at Helium’s Philly’s Phunniest OR “A Slow Day at the Dildo Factory”:  But I’d have to say that “The Roast of Meg Favreau” was one of my favorite moments in Philly comedy. Everyone on the dais MurderDeathKilled with their sets!  It was one of the funniest shows I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with. See for yourself:  Luke Giordano’s Roast was alright too, I guess.

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 use the 3 Ps* method.

What is it about stand-up / sketch / improv that draws you to it? I’m drawn to stand-up because to me it is hands down, the hardest of the three.  When you’re alone on stage and it goes bad, it feels terrible.  But when it goes well, it’s one of the greatest things in the world.  I’m drawn to sketch the most because it fits me the best. There’s more creativity involved in putting together sketches which is why I think I gravitate towards it.   I’m drawn to improv because it takes the least amount of preparation, and fucking around with your friends on stage is always a good time.

Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME PICK WHICH OF MY FRIENDS I LIKE MORE!!!  Okay, I pick Emily and Micah McGraw.  They’re a married comedy duo that sings hilarious songs, every one of which is PURE GOLD.  I love everything they do and you should too.  Man, I wish I had a husband I could sing comedy songs with.  WIFE!  I MEANT WIFE!  I’m also a gigantic fan of everyone I work with on a regular basis.  Like the Camp Woods blokes and the Hate Speech Committee crew!!!  We roll deep.  But my super favorite would have to be my comedy husband, Christian Alsis.  Awwwwwwww.  He makes me laugh shit.  There, I mentioned you, Christian.  Are you happy now?! No?  See!  I told you you'd never be happy.

Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Of course!  But wouldn’t you rather watch a video of it?  Here’s a well-shot video of The Feeko Brothers bombing at the late great Bedtime Stories:  Enjoy!  I know we didn’t.

What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? There needs to be more crossover within the comedy scene.  HEY, YOU!  Do you only perform stand-up and think improv is “gay?”  Well, crowd-work is improv so that means you’re “gay” too!  Go see an improv show!  Do you only do improv and have never heard of Secret Pants?  Well, there’s something wrong with you!  Go see a sketch show!  Do you only perform sketch?  Good, keep doing it.  There needs to be more people doing sketch.  It’s much better than stand-up or improv, but also go see an improv or stand-up show anyway! Crossover within the scene will give everyone more exposure.  Get out of your bubble!

Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? My goal is to hopefully make the transition from a Volunteer Comedian to a Paid Comedian.  I already treat comedy like a job so all I’m looking for is a promotion and maybe a raise.  Dental would be nice.  I'd also like to be Mr. January in the “Beef-Cakes of Philly Comedy” Calendar, but it would be an honor just to be nominated.

*Paper, Pens, and Pot.

Clips from Main Street Comedy at Mad River

From SuperDPS--

The folks at SuperDPS posted some clips from the Main Street Comedy show at Mad River in Manayunk this past Wednesday. And here they are for you, also.

Chris Cotton

Conrad Roth

Tom Cassidy
Read more