Sunday, November 18, 2007

Philadelphia Comedy: the recent past and near future

Here's a quick round-up of what has been going on lately in Philadelphia comedy. It'll be quick because it's Sunday and I have ten hours of football to watch. Yes, watching guys run with a ball and hit each other is very important to me.

- On Tuesday Mike Birbiglia performed at Helium as a warm up to his taping of new Comedy Central hour the next day in New York City. Being that Helium isn't quite a 850-seat theatre, his set was a lot more subdued than he'd have to be the next day. I'd never seen him live in such an intimate setting before, so it was interesting to see him pace the stage and work the audience. It was all low-key for the most part as he told the stories from his latest album My Secret Public Journal Live (although he had a few new bits as well). While a lot of comedy comes from anger and pain, Birbigs is usually the butt of his jokes ("I was always the kid that things happened to"). Sure, there is some pain there- like a bad jump into a pond in which his friends' laughter was so loud that he could hear it even underwater and how this made him contemplate if they were really his friends- but it's never too depressing and heavy. And because of these self-depreciating stories he can connect with the audience to the point where his "before I tell you this part of the story, to remind you, that you're on my side" line is kind of redundant.

- Last Sunday was the first installment of a new local comedy show, Unwashed Comics at the Walking Fish Theatre in Fishtown. Ten standup comics went up on stage to do about ten minutes of material. It made for a long show (the need for intermission was the first cue), but was overall a success. Every comic had something different to bring so it never got boring and the crowd was ready to laugh. The next one is set for Sunday December 9th and promises to include more than just straight stand-up (maybe some sketch?).

- And tomorrow, Monday, its time again for Die, Actor, Die!. Hosted by Don Montrey, it'll go down at The Khyber in Olde City and will contain a night of stand-up, sketch and magic hilarity featuring:

Pat Barker
Fred Siegel
Kate Bambi
Doogie Horner
Meg and Rob

Later in the week Todd Glass comes back home, but unfortunately I'll missing that because of some family thing. Bah!

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