Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Doug Benson is a stand-up comedian, fundit for Best Week Ever and the host of the hit podcast I LOVE MOVIES. He's the star of the documentary Super High Me (which we hosted a screening for earlier this year, just sayin') and his first album, Professional Humoredian, was released this year on AST Records.

Most importantly, he'll be performing at the Helium Comedy Club tonight, Friday and Saturday.

What kind of reactions have you been getting for "Super High Me"? Have you gotten any feedback from people that are against marijuana?
The reaction has been all positive. The people who are against marijuana either don't exist or they have never said a word to me.

Do you want to appear in more movies?
Yes, please.

What is your favorite movie of the year so far and why? (Sub question: what did you think of Synecdoche, New York, which I loved.)
Didn't see that one yet, because I don't go to a movie if a can't pronounce the title, and my fav of this year is THE DARK KNIGHT. I'd like to make a movie called THE DANK KNIGHT, where I do my part to fight crime by sitting at home and minding my own business. This year I also enjoyed IN BRUGES, THE VISITOR and ROLE MODELS.

Besides stand-up, what are you doing in the near future?
My second COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS... half hour premieres on Jan. 9 at 10:30, and I've got various projects in the works that I can't talk about because they don't really exist.

What can people that go to Helium this week expect from Doug Benson?
The unexpected! Plus I'll be telling some jokes.

DEAF COMEDY JAMZ: Don't Take Our Songs So Seriously

DEAF COMEDY JAMZ is a new (hopefully) weekly feature on music. Here, Mike from the hardcore trio CHAOS CITY addresses their fans.

Hey guys,

Mike from CHAOS CITY here. Just wanted to give you a quick update on our awesome tour with THE MAGIC KILLERS. We're kickin' ass all over the West Coast and making our way to The East where we will destroy there as well. It's been a legendary tour of sex, drugs and awesome vegan burritos (check out The Barrio in El Paso). Anyway, I wanted to address something that has been happening at our shows lately....

Last night in Sioux City was the last straw. I love you guys (the REAL fans), but you have to stop tearing apart our equipment when we play our song "Destroy Shit". We know it's a heavy song and it's awesome that you love it, but dude, that stuff isn't cheap. I mean, our album is selling well (thanks to you, again, the REAL fans), but we want to start turning a profit here and we can't do that if we've got to replace amps and guitars almost every other show. So please, I'm begging you, keep it under control during that killer breakdown part in the middle.

Also, please don't take our epic song "Steal Everything You Can" so seriously. After a show last week in Boulder, Colorado, we returned to our van to see that someone had stolen the gas! I mean, come on! There wasn't a drop left in the tank to start El Diablo up, so we had to walk for a few hours until we found a gas station. Luckily we didn't have to worry about our equipment getting stolen because it was all broken anyway, but still, jesus, you guys live out in the middle of nowhere (thanks for coming out though!). Plus, gas isn't cheap- we don't have of those cooking oil hippie van things.

Seriously, why would someone do this? What, you don't want us to perform for our fans in other parts of the country? That van is the only way that we can get from gig to gig. It's flattering that you would want us to stay in your town another night, but we've got to keep moving on to the next town we are going to conquer!

FINALLY- one last request. Please, please don't attack our roadie Jerry during "Kill The Bald Guy." In Boise a few weeks ago he got nailed pretty hard and had to get 17 stitches in at the local hospital. Here's the thing- we had to pay for those hospital costs out of pocket. We can't afford full health insurance for Jerry and god knows he can't pay for it himself with the drinkin' and druggin' and all (which has actually helped him deal with the pain from his busted up knee when he got assaulted at the Carson City show at the beginning of the tour). He can keep it together for most of the day, but not when he's lying in a pool of his own blood on the floor.

Honestly, you guys take our songs way too seriously. If you listened closely to the lyrics (we put them in the liner notes of each CD for a reason), you'd notice that the songs are metaphors for the current state of our country: this Administration, Fascists (who we are staunchly against) and anything that has to do with The Man. Except for "Let's Have Sex." That one is pretty obvious. -Dave Walk

BREAKING: Aziz Ansari to perform at the North Star Bar

Ok, so we know we are a little late on the draw with this one but no one else has mentioned it yet, so we will: Aziz Ansari of MTV's HUMAN GIANT will be in performing at the North Star Bar in January as part of his "Glow In The Dark Tour". Tickets are on-sale now.

Aziz has a part in Judd Apatow's new film about stand-up comedy Funny People and he's also got some kind of part in the mysterious The Office spinoff show.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TOMORROW: The Ministry of Secret Jokes

A stimulus package, new President-Elect and Senate committee nominations aren't enough for your political junkie soul? Luckily, monthly show The Ministry of Secret Jokes will be holding a Presidential Election tomorrow at Fergie's Pub (1214 Sansom). Sez host and, dare we say, Secretary of Jokes Doogie Horner:

Radner High School has asked the Ministry of Secret Jokes to elect a President to represent their student body for the remainder of the school year. Their previous student body President, Ennio Reali, was killed in a drunk driving accident when his car veered off the road, fell into a canal (he was in Venice), and was run over by a skidoo (operating illegally in those waters). The Vice President, Treasurer, and Captain of the football team died the following week from a bee sting, a skiing accident, and sudden infant death syndrome (a mother who went crazy after her infant succumbed to the disease stabbed the Varsity football captain in the throat as he was exiting Sbarro's) respectively. Fears that the deaths may have been mafia related have discouraged any other students from running. Radner High School has therefore asked/paid the Ministry to hold an election and find a suitable replacement student body president for them.

This Wednesday, Pat Barker (Whig) will run against Chip Chantry (Torie) for the position of student body president of Radner High. There will be speeches, a debate, and maybe a spelling bee. They will discuss the War in Iraq, the impending senior prom, and whether Radner should hold a fund raising car wash, or bake sale.


Monday, November 24, 2008

NEXT MONDAY: The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show! and the Philly Improv Theater are proud to present THE COMIC VS. AUDIENCE COMEDY SHOW, a night of hilarious and engaging stand-up comedy. "Stand-up comedy" as we now know it used to be performed exclusively in cramped theaters for a nickle, but that was the 30s and clearly things have changed since then. Now you can enjoy funny jokes from funny people in a warm theater for the people for only five American dollars!

So, make sure you and your friends come out to:

The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show
Monday, December 1st, 2008
at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St.) [Directions]
Five American Dollars [Tickets can be purchased on the PHIT website]


Justin Hagerman
Chris Cotton
Aaron Hertzog
Chris Schlotterer

To see what the show's like, check out the video from our last show with Gregg Gethard, Ryan Carey, John Kensil and Anton Shuford:

And the show before that one with Tim Ryan, Luke Giordano, Doogie Horner and Chip Chantry:


Friday, November 21, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 7 by Gregg Gethard

Things just seem to happen to Gregg Gethard. After telling a few stories at comedy shows in New York City, he created his own monthly show in Philly, BEDTIME STORIES, to tell a few more. Over the past year and a half the show has grown in audience and features some of the best comics in the city.

Here, Gregg continues his eight-part series on an acting class he took in Montclair, New Jersey. [Read Part I, II, III, IV, V and VI]


I timed my departure to arrive in class 15 minutes after it started, to avoid doing any stretching routines. When I got to class, I noticed that there were only four people in the room... it seems that most of the people have dropped out, unfortunately. The remaining few were Class Junkie, Voice Box Girl, The Overly Competitive Hindu and Sagging Boobs. And Bob, of course.

This meant that I had to stretch/self-actualize, so I basically stood off to the side and waited while everyone else meditated. Bob came back to the room and saw me standing there and asked why I wasn't stretching, so I told him, "I'm already centered."

During the stretching period, the Overly Competitive Hindu started leaping around like a madman, doing "extreme" style calisthenics, placing his hands against the wall and pushing with all his might to better stretch out his calves. "I'm pumped for tonight. I drank two mochachino's before I came here."

Voice Box Girl started laughing hysterically when she was stretching. "I don't know why, but I always laugh when I do this."

This prompted Sagging Boobs to dispel some sage advice. "You have to get over that if you want to make it big."

We were performing our monologues tonight, which I wasn't aware of. Luckily for me, I stole a copy of Ibsen plays from my brother so I could half-ass something if need be. Voice Box Girl went first, doing a monologue from a book entitled "Pocket Monologues For Women: Convenient Scene-Study Pieces For Today's Demanding Acress."

Her piece involved her smoking a cigarette, talking to an imaginary person about the end of her marriage, where she was the victim of domestic abuse. "And get this... The girl he ran off with, my friend knows her from World Gym. And she has bruises on her arm... I don't think she got those from doing push-ups."

After her scene, Bob (who was wearing a baseball jersey that said the word WICKED on the front of it) lauded her with compliments. "You know this cold. I know you know these lines. These lines have become YOUR lines." Then he told her to redo the scene, this time with another person in the class (The Overly Competitive Hindu volunteered) and they had to pretend they were in a crowded diner.

"That... THAT was a scene. That is what we call a scene," Bob said afterwards. "I felt great doing that," said Voice Box Girl. "But I want to apologize for the bad language."

The Overly Competitive Hindu went next, setting up chairs to resemble a car, using Voice Box Girl as his female compatriot.

"Alyssa... I love you." He then began quoting the monologue from Chasing Amy, with a stunning lack of passion in his voice. "And as much as I appreciate it... I don't need a picture of birds bought at a diner to remember you."

The Voice Box girl stood there blankly as this scene continued. I got to watch as a Hindu man in his 40’s told a dumb North Jersey girl in her 20’s that he was in love with her.

And, from the look in her eyes, she had never been told that before.

Bob then went "interpretive" and made them redo their piece. This time, they scrapped the car and had to do it with the Overly Competitive Hindu literally chasing Voice Box Girl, saying his lines.

"Go after her!" was Bob's command, explaining how this was a “chase“ scene, thus this Indian man in his 40‘s should literally run after this girl 20 years younger than her while quoting Kevin Smith dialogue.

The two of them than began running around the room as the Overly Competitive Hindu read his lines to her. They ducked behind chairs, hid behind drawers, hid behind me. It was the most bizarre game of freeze tag ever performed. No one in the room could look up. Least of all me, as tears of laughter began to stream down my face.

It was the single most uncomfortable moment of my very uncomfortable life. Thus, it was also the best moment of my life.

And it only got worse/better.

After their scene, Voice Box Girl asked The Overly Competitive Hindu where his scene was from. She drew blanks when he told her it was Chasing Amy. "You know... Kevin Smith. Clerks. Mallrats. Dogma." She had not seen any of them.

The Overly Competitive Hindu then asked her, “What are you, an idiot?’

No one in the room flinched. Not even Voice Box Girl.

Sagging Boobs went next. She was reading from a book called "Womyn 2 Womyn: Monologues for the Modern Female." She needed a volunteer, and Class Junkie went up ("I don't want to hog the stage," said the Overly Competitive Hindu.) She recited a monologue about a woman seeing a psychiatrist, coming to terms with her cruel, ego-driven mother.

She was having problems at one scene and Bob encouraged her. "Don't run away from this. Run TO this. This is some deep shit here." Then he gave her advice to unlock her inner demons. "Just envision the person you hate the most in this world, the person whose relationship damaged you the most. Pretend you are talking about this person."

Sagging Boobs was enthusiastic about this, apparently knowing deep pain. "Oh, I so have a person like this. Ooooh, this is... wow." She redid her piece and this time was able to cry and weep while doing it. Bob raved about her. "We can really go somewhere with this. Next time, we'll try and paint this tapestry with more muted colors."

Class Junkie went next. "Time to break out Old Yeller," he said, holding up an ancient paperback copy of Hamlet. He then did a monologue of an older, bumbling guy giving advice to a younger warrior for Hamlet. (Like most Shakespeare I studied in school, I politely pretended to listen while I thought about my March Madness brackets. It beats me what the scene actually was, but I think that was the gist of it.) Bob then made Class Junkie redo the scene, but with a more serious tone.

"I don't do serious," Class Junkie said, apparently hoping that he will one day become known as the Cerebral Don Rickles.

"Just try it this way," Bob said. "Pretend that you are a high-profiled, high-powered manager at a securities and exchange firm in Manhattan. And you have taken a young up and coming charge. He is your project for the year, and it is your career highlight to impart your wisdom onto him."

Class Junkie than triumphantly read his scene. It was less of a security and exchange broker and more of a middle school soccer coach trying to fire up the team to no response.

I then began my scene (Something I randomly found in Hedda Gabbler.) and Bob interrupted me about ten seconds into my material. "We're running out of time, and I have an important thing to go over with you guys." Bob then told us that there will be more acting classes offered, but not for another month-and-a-half or so. He was asking us if we would be interested.

Everyone said yes.

After class, I was walking out with Class Junkie. I told him that I really wanted to read his play. "Ibsen is yours," he said. "The bisexual witch is mine."

NEXT WEEK: The thrilling conclusion!

THE TERRORDOME IS COMING, Part V: Secret Pants & The Sixth Borough

All this week we'll be previewing the two-day sketch and stand-up extravaganza WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, which features some of Philadelphia's top comedic talent. It all takes place this Friday and Saturday at The M Room.

The two last groups are the two largest (in terms of members) groups in Philadelphia: Secret Pants and The Sixth Borough. Below we've got some videos of each.

The Sixth Borough - "The Johnsons" (from their 2008 Philadelphia Fringe show WORLD CRISIS):

Secret Pants - "En Español":

Secret Pants - "Fun Learning Time":


Thursday, November 20, 2008


All this week we'll be previewing the two-day sketch and stand-up extravaganza WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, which features some of Philadelphia's top comedic talent. It all takes place this Friday and Saturday at The M Room.

Today we analyze the "solo comedians" (if you will) on the show.

Kent Haines will be hosting both nights. He's the current Philly's Phunniest Person and the host of the late-night talk show WHY AM I NOT FAMOUS?!? Here's his winning set:

Kent was also the star of the C-spot web series THAT GUY.

Don Montrey is the host of the weekly comedy show Die, Actor, Die and is an accomplished writer (for 1812 Productions' THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS, among others), sketch performer (in Bad Hair) and improviser (for ComedySportz). Check out Don's audition tape for the "Best Week Ever":

We interviewed Don this June.

Doogie Horner is a stand-up comedian, writer (& contributor for C vs. A) and host of the monthly show Ministry of Secret Jokes. He performed at our show in October and you can find some of his set in the clip below:

Chip Chantry is one of the top stand-up comedians in the city. Check out a clip from a set of his at the first Ministry of Secret Jokes show at Fergie's:

And finally, Gregg Gethard will also be performing stand-up at the Terrordome. He's the host of the monthly show BEDTIME STORIES and golly, he opened our last show:


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DEAF COMEDY JAMZ: A Sh*tty Taste: Tiny Tim & Brave Combo's "Girl"

DEAF COMEDY JAMZ is a new (hopefully) weekly feature on music. First up is Rob Baniewicz of the sketch group Meg & Rob.

Franklin Mills Mall had "The Wall." Actually, it had two; one on each end of the mile-long stretch. The "used" bin was where I honed my music taste as a grade/high schooler. I was exceptionally cheap, even as a kid, and it was useless for me to buy nice things. With CDs, I'd undoubtedly scratch them minutes after their purchase, rendering the discs unplayable and worthless. To compensate, I bought a lot of used albums. But you see, in order for a CD to deserve a spot in the "used" bin, it had to have been found unfit for aural delight and discarded by the original purchaser. This is where I picked up my shitty taste in music. And this is why I have a copy of Tiny Tim & Brave Combo's "Girl".

While my friends scoured over used bins looking for copies of Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy" and Live's "Throwing Copper", I sought after albums I could buy in jest. When I found the Tiny Tim & Brave Combo album, I didn't even look on the back for the song list. I knew Tiny Tim from Tiptoe (Through the Tulips) and I knew that he had been married on the Tonight Show....but I had no knowledge of the music contained within his CD. I only knew that the album would be played once, laughed at, and discarded next to my stack of David Lee Roth post-VH outputs. At least that was the plan. Until I fell in love with how terribly genuine the album was.

Tiny Tim was a late 60s novelty act. A guy who would be considered an early predecessor to William Hung. Upon listening to the album, I found myself in an alternate world (think Sliders) where Tiny Tim was never a joke and "Girl" existed as his Greatest Hits. Songs I once knew as classics became unrecognizable, yet mesmerizing in the hands of this band. It was no longer a Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Sinatra or Garland cover; Tiny Tim became the first singer of these songs and no other versions existed. The tracks are infused with such obsessive mania that Brave Combo seems to acts merely as the house band, keeping Tiny Tim in his seat and on his meds.

Some of the highlights of this album include the title track "Girl", a Beatles tune, reimagined as if Jabba the Hutt was singing to Slave Leia. There's a creepy, disgusting genuine croon to his love, yet something demented is inherently contained within. "Bye Bye Blackbird" is also a favorite, the beautiful longing of Joe Cocker and Nina Simone noticibly absent. Instead, the song is strangely hopeful. In "Stairway to Heaven," Tiny Tim seems to mimic the sounds of a piano bar in Twin Peaks with his warbily cover jauntily sleazing it's way along.

Listen to "Stairway To Heaven":

The true gem of the album is his cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude". The track begins in the ether, with weird moans coming out of nowhere before exploding into a robust cha-cha. Immediately the failures of the Bee Gees' Sgt. Peppers' film redux come to mind but soon you're transported away into not thinking of much at all. This isn't meant to be a serious cover - but it's not a parody either. It's in this regard that Tiny Tim transcends the point of a cover because there's no attempt from the beginning at a reverent reimagining. Instead you have an outsider doing exactly what he wants with music he apparently cares little about being true to.

Listen to "Hey Jude":

In an age where Daniel Johnston gets a documentary and NYC art show and Henry Darger gets documentary treatment, my shitty taste in music unearthed an outsider among outsiders. It's amazing to think how Tiny Tim might have been a shooting indie darling had he not been so prevalent in the beginning. Due to the fact he got his fifteen minutes, no one wants to champion him to the public. Which is kinda sad when I think about it. But then I'll turn on 'That Sly Cigarette', a reinterpretation of an old timey song from 1898, where Tiny Tim goes off on a tangent about how the cigarette is misunderstood just because it gives you cancer, and I think to myself... maybe he wanted it that way.

THE TERRORDOME IS COMING, Part III: Chris & Paul and Impending Moustache

All this week we'll be previewing the two-day sketch and stand-up extravaganza WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, which features some of Philadelphia's top comedic talent. It all takes place this Friday and Saturday at The M Room.

There will be more than just Philadelphia humor at the shows as two New York City sketch groups are coming to two.

The Chris & Paul Show are recent winners of the Best Sketch Group award at the Snubfest Comedy Festival in Chicago and also the winner of the NYC's Comix: New Jack's Comedy Competition. Judging by their live Youtube clips, expect short, silly bits. Check out a few of their videos below.


"Double Date":

The Impending Moustache are the other New York City group that will be part of the festivities. Made up of two men and two women, the group "fuses the uneasy with the innocent, the deliberate with the whimsical, and the nonsensical with the literate." Ok! We just think they have a dark side to them. Check out some clips:

"Prisoner Abuse":

"The Box":


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

THE TERRORDOME IS COMING, Part II: The Action Section & The Pippens

All this week we'll be previewing the two-day sketch and stand-up extravaganza WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, which features some of Philadelphia's top comedic talent. It all takes place this Friday and Saturday at The M Room.

Today we discuss two fairly new sketch groups on the Philadelphia comedy scene.

The Action Section have been together for a few years, but haven't been too active until recently. But over this past Halloween weekend they performed a Halloween Spectacular that included vampires, various Draculas and a killer Michael McDonald sketch. The show was well done in all regards and below are some of the videos to give you a sense of the group.

Last Lines of Great Novels:

7 Of Clubs:

The Pippens, out of Bethlehem, are another newish group that will be on the show. We don't have much information about them, but enjoy this video:

Check back tomorrow for more clips and info on the other groups in WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2

Monday, November 17, 2008

VIDEO: Highlights from the Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show, 11/3

It's been two weeks since our last stand-up show and we're still basking in the aftermath of such a historic event for our country. No, not really, but today we'll still share some highlights from the show with Gregg Gethard, Ryan Carey, John Kensil and Anton Shuford:

Are you depressed that you missed it and have taken a vow to never do so again? Fear not, as the next show is Monday, December 1st and we'll have the lineup of comedians for you later this week. And if you haven't already, become our friend on Facebook for a reminder.

THE TERRORDOME IS COMING, Part I: Animosity Pierre and Meg & Rob

All this week we'll be previewing the two-day sketch and stand-up extravaganza WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, which features some of Philadelphia's top comedic talent. It all takes place this Friday and Saturday at The M Room.

The first show Terrordome show took place this past April as a one-night affair at the very same M Room. Below is a sketch from that evening by local duo Animosity Pierre:

Animosity Pierre are also behind the web series THE INVENTIORNORS and here is their latest episode:

Oh by the way: we interviewed the guys earlier this year.

Meg & Rob are another local duo (it's fitting that we paired these two together today) that since forming about a year ago have performed in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival (twice), Chicago's Shubfest and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Here's a short video about a local dealership that you perhaps did not know about:

And a live sketch re-living the glorious 1930s in America:

And by a sheer coincidence, we interviewed Meg & Rob this past August as they were about to mount their latest Fringe show with the improv group Rare Bird Show.

Check back tomorrow for more clips and info on the other groups in WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME 2

Saturday, November 15, 2008

TONIGHT: The Philadelphia Improv Festival Ends

The 2008 Philadelphia Improv Festival ends tonight with a full slate of another 13 groups over four shows. We recently interview the three producers of the show and here's a sneak peek at tonight's lineup.

Dirty Water: Five Chicago improvisers talk about Boston sports and more in the setting of a bar.
Elaine: An all-women longform cast that from the DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Men About Town: Philadelphia trio made up of Matt Nelson (PHIF co-founder, producer), Alli Soowal (PHIF producer), and Corey Cohen (sketch group The Sixth Borough)

Tybrus: Straight outta New York City!
Surf 'n Turf: "Three men with no fear of intimacy or injury push the boundaries of traditional improv comedy to create spontaneous theater that is physical, intense, moving, and occasionally funny."
iMusical: Musical improv with made-on-spot keyboard music, songs and scenes from the Washington Improv Theater.

Bombardo: All-women cast that regularly perform at the Gotham City Improv in NYC.
Horse & House: WIT members that now live in DC, NYC and Chicago, so this is a special occasion.
Rare Bird Show: You probably know 'em. Philly's top improv group.

Hello Laser: NYC's Magnet Theater house team.
Dr. Fantastic: "With an emphasis on speed, parody, and the absurd, Dr. Fantastic abandons cherished improv concepts such as character, truth, and coherence. Be prepared for a wild ride through people and places that can only exist on stage."
Beatbox: Chi-town's fusion of Hip Hop and Improv Comedy.
Mister Diplomat: From the Dirty South Theater improv team with a monologue delivered by a special radio personality guest!

Friday, November 14, 2008

TONIGHT: The Philadelphia Improv Festival Continues

The 2008 Philadelphia Improv Festival continues tonight with a full slate of another 13 groups over four shows. We recently interview the three producers of the show and here's a sneak peek at tonight's lineup. All shows are at the Plays & Players Theater (1714 Delancey St.).

Industrial: Philadelphia's only Communist improv group!
Sidviscous!: NYC's Peoples Improv Theater house team.
Whipsuit: Philadelphia duo made up of PHIF founder/producer Rick Horner & Cubby Altobelli.

ComedySportz Philly Presents: Improv Battle of the Network Stars: For the first time ever, Comedysportz improvisers take on TV and film personalities from the 70's & 80's for a special set.
Junior Varsity: Straight outta New York City!
BWP: Philadelphia duo made up of Connie and Connie that take a "take no prisoners" approach to nail artistry, table games, fabulous lids, delicious treats and the musical stylings of The Coup.

30,000 KHZ of Sound: "Improvised theater that takes place in the dark, utilizing shortwave radio transmissions as inspiration." The group uses clips from TV, horror movie and elsewhere as inspiration for vocal scenes done in the dark.
Billyhawk: This duo has the distinguished title of Farthest Traveled, coming all the way from Los Angeles!
YARNS: YARNS is essentially a show for one audience member who gives suggestions and then is blindfolded on stage. The rest of the audience, in a way, are just onlookers as improviser Asaf Ronen (author of Directing Improv: Show the Way by Getting Out of the Way) uses music, sound effects and his own voice does a show for that one member. Check out a YARNS set from the San Francisco Improv Festival.

Jackie: Washington Improv Theater house team.
4 Track: Straight outta New York City!
Lunchlady Doris: Philadelphia improv veterans- Karen Getz, Dave Jadico, Bobbi Block, Kevin Dougherty, and Kelly Jennings.
KPR's PHIF Allstars: Closing out the evening, a hodge-podge of improvisers from various groups with some all the way from Toronto (Canada, that is).

Check back tomorrow for a summary of Saturday's shows.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

TONIGHT: The Philadelphia Improv Festival Kicks Off

The 2008 Philadelphia Improv Festival kicks off tonight with a full slate of 13 groups over four shows. Earlier we interviewed the three producers of the fest and below is a sneak peek at the first night. Advance tickets can be bought on the PHIF website

Illegal Refill: Local favorites quickly becoming a household name. We filmed a set of theirs at the Shubin Theatre a few months ago.
Angry People Building Things: Another local group that were Cagematch champs this spring into the summer.
Unexpected Company: This 13-member outfit hailing from Warwick, Rhode Island has been called the tiny state's "Best Comedy Troupe".

Safeword: Safeword is an improv troupe in Baltimore, MD, founded in March 2007 for the Washington Improv Theater’s Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament (FIST) that stayed together after the battles.
Vacation Island: NYC's Peoples Improv Theater's newest house team
Galapagos: Straight outta Phoenix, Arizona!

The N Crowd: One of Philadelphia's strongest and most established groups.
Tongue & Groove: Local group recently featured in the PW.
Marjean: Straight outta Cambridge, Massachusetts!

Cubed: "Mark and Dan share a lot with each other. They share hopes. They share dreams. They share fears. They share a common 4 x 5 walled partition."
Mr. Licorice: From the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG).
Self Image: NYC group started by PHIF co-founder Michael McFarland.
Sidecar: New York group that also does sketch!

Check back tomorrow for a summary of Friday's shows.

INTERVIEW: Philadelphia Improv Festival producers Matt Nelson, Alli Soowal & Rick Horner

Matt Nelson (Men About Town, The N Crowd), Alli Soowal (ComedySportz, MakeOut Clinic, Men About Town, BWP) and Rick Horner (Whipsuit, ZombieShark, MakeOut Clinic, director of PHIT house team Activity Book, the Improv Incubator ) are producers of the fourth annual Philadelphia Improv Festival, which runs tonight through Saturday.

Why did you start this festival?

Matt Nelson: We saw it done other places and I think the first time when we thought it could happen was when Rick put together an event at The Rotunda. It featured what, three to four groups?

Rick Horner: Well, it was funny because it was all of the long-form groups in Philadelphia, which was three groups. And now it's just unbelievable that there are so many groups that spawned the right way. But yeah, I think it was that show where so many people showed up. I had no idea that many people were going to come.

So the response was really good?
MN: Yeah, the response was really good and it was the first time that there was a really cohesive idea of collaborating groups together on a shared bill. You would see "come to my rehearsal and I'll go to yours" and people would go to each other's shows, but you would never see a whole bill of groups for one night. And that was the first time that we thought "oh, we could do something like this."

RH: And we were surprised that it hadn't happened before.

MN: Mike McFarland and I along with John Sales were in a group called The Ninjas and we thought, "this thing went so well, let's put out a meeting."

What was it like the first year?

RH: We did sort of a starter festival the first year because none of had experience doing this, so we thought we would make a lot of mistakes. And actually I don't think we had as many as we thought we would. And that led us to the first one that was in the fall.

MN: Yeah, that mini one was called "F. Harold". It was eleven local groups and that geared towards that fall when we put on the first full one. That first year we had 30 groups and it was at the 2111 Sansom theater where they have the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival and we actually had the Upright Citizens Brigade touring company as the headliner. And actually one of them was Bobby Moynihan, so a Saturday Night Live guy performed at the very first Philly Improv Festival.

What do the out-of-town groups think of the festival compared to others?

Alli Soowal: One piece of feedback that we got last year from one of the groups is that we put other more experienced festivals to shame. Just in the way that we personalize it and treat each group as the special people that they are.

MN: Yeah, our guiding principle is in the way we want to treat our performers. That's what makes the weekend possible.

How do you treat them different than other places?

MN: I think it's a lot more personal. We really take the opportunity to get to know everyone and it's not like "oh, here's that group from somewhere." We talk to the individual people, make them feel welcome and a lot of the performers are even staying at our houses this weekend. We do a lot of networking not just during the festival and we are constantly talking to people. We do surveys and find out from people what they like and what they didn't like and we adjust things from there. And we give people food and after parties...

How do the Philadelphia groups match up against the other groups from across the country?

AS: I think we rate up there. We have some of the groups like Rare Bird Show that got into the Chicago Improv Festival last year and they had a headlining spot at the Del Close Marathon this year.

MN: They went on an hour before the four [original UCB members]. And new people too that are just blowing it up...

RH: I think the awesome thing is that a lot of times in the past Philadelphia was thought of as a proving ground in that if you were any good you're saying "well, they used to be in Philly and now they're some place else." That's not the case anymore. We house the talent ourselves and we have all of these achievements but come back because we love Philly. And that's the difference from in the past.

MN: And I think that the scene itself has hit these tiers as it's gone along. So you've had the veterans who were putting on really good shows that had their niche audiences and it was just that. And then it slowly started to grow out and as that group grew out, you got more peripheral people that were into improv that just didn't even know. But by the nature of the beast of more shows going on, it caught people's attention. And then they got involved more locally and its just kind of grown to where it's now reaching it's third generation where people are really working hard to develop the quality of the shows.

Do you think there's a distinct Philly style or reference point or sensibility?

MN: Nathan [Edmondson, original co-founder for the festival] had a good point about this on WRTI that people are still really elbowing in and seeing how they fit in the area. We're building to a critical mass in which you are really going to see what's going on. But I think if there's anything that really separates Philly, it's just such a curiosity with format: good, bad or misguided, people just like to explore different ways that they can approach presenting their show to an audience. So you've got all kinds of people that are hungry to jump in and really try all kinds of crazy stuff.

RH: I'm not sure if this is different for every city, I imagine that it is, but I feel like we have such a really diverse group of people from all different backgrounds of life that are all doing it right now that so many really cool things are really coming out.

AS: And also the fact that people that are doing improv in Philadelphia are doing it because they love improv. They're not doing it as a stepping stone to something else like you'd find in New York or Los Angeles. So you get the people that are just doing it for the love of the art.

MN: Yeah, it's not the means to an end, but an end in itself and that's what you want.

What is it about improv that made you want to create a whole festival for it?

RH: All of the hurtful things we get to do to people. [laughs] You can destroy somebody or make them hurt on stage.

On stage? I thought you meant rejecting groups...

RH: All of that.

AS: "The opinions of Rick Horner do not necessarily represent the opinions of the entire festival." [laughs]

RH: It's a chance to be a kid and play.

MN: And escape yourself. You can be anyone and anything. It's interesting to be something entirely other than yourself that it still completely informed by your personality and everything you're exposed to. It's an odd place to be live in, which is fun.

Is there anything that scares you when you are on stage?

RH: Scared of how good I am [laughs]. I hope I never say that again.

MN: Me too [laughs].

AS: Improv can be frightening and I think that's probably one of the reasons why you get such a high is that there's always the opportunity to fail.

Where do you think the Philadelphia improv scene goes from here? What's the next step?

RH: I think the most recent develop is that Philly improv is sort of eating it's young. People that were audience members are now in groups and are awesome, which is great and what we really want to see, but that just means that there's less audience unless we keep filling the seats. I think that honestly improv is still vastly undiscovered in Philadelphia. I'm blown away when I see shows that are not stocked full of audience members with the regular level of talent that we have with shows all over Philadelphia. That blows me away, because that's just someone that's sitting at home that is missing out on something that's incredible happening live in front of them that is almost happening to them. Because if you can get in touch with something on stage, it's like it's happening to you. How can you miss that?

"Why So Serious?" [City Paper]
On WRTI's Creatively Speaking
"Stand-up and deliver" [The Temple News]
"Go ahead, make a fool of yourself" [Courier-Post]
"No script, no problem" [Philadelphia Inquirer]

ACTING CLASS, Part 6 by Gregg Gethard

Things just seem to happen to Gregg Gethard. After telling a few stories at comedy shows in New York City, he created his own monthly show in Philly, BEDTIME STORIES, to tell a few more. Over the past year and a half the show has grown in audience and features some of the best comics in the city.

Here, Gregg continues his eight-part series on an acting class he took in Montclair, New Jersey. [Read Part I, II, III, IV and V]

The next installment of Bedtime Stories is Wednesday, December 3rd at the Shubin Theatre.


The class this week wasn't much of a class. We watched a reading of a play to give the playwright and prospective director feedback and criticism of the play.

I arrived a little bit early, where I saw The Overly Competitive Hindu and Interchangeable Housewife #1-- the one who performed something about DYFUS. We briefly made small talk. I asked The Overly Competitive Hindu how his piece went the week before, as I missed it due to my late arrival.

"It went well. I did the getting out of the shower bit," he said. "One take, also. I didn't have to have to do a second scene with any alterations. BAM." He then pumped his fist like Tiger Woods.

We went into the theater and took our seats to see the reading-- a play entitled "Lunchtime." It was about office politics-- a powerful woman on the go, her abused office staff, blue collar workers, etc. I now realize why most people don't go to see local productions of original plays-- because they tend to suck the life out of you.

The lead actress, for some reason, felt the need to enunciate her words like she was playing polo and the African-American actress needed to do her best "Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple" imitation, which served no real purpose because she had a bit part ("WHY? WHY? What's going on in the OFFICE?"). There were also Italian characters who played the "hapless Goomba" role to fruition. It always pains me to see on paper "townie guys" that were drawn up and written by a guy who has never smelled an urban neighboorhood, unless the words "gentrified" and "Hoboken" are included in the phrase -- the playwright was wearing saddle shoes, so I don't think he could even locate the South Bronx on a map.

Bob, who trumped up this reading like we were going see something really special, had a 4-line speaking role. I think this is a good first step so he can get over is fear of the stage, which is certainly detrimental to an aspiring actor. I would have really liked it better if he just told us "class is cancelled this week because I have a role, so we'll just tack on another class after we were supposed to end" but I'm comfortable with being ripped off of $150. He also, despite awkwardly pausing in between lines, managed to not suffer a coronary attack while performing in public.

Afterwards, we applauded while The Overly Competitive Hindu tried to start a standing ovation.

After the play, we were allowed a chance to interact with the cast and playwright in a question-and-answer format, asking for our "honest opinions."

Most of the people were friends of actors or also members of the theater, so of course Lunchtime was the greatest play ever written. I opened my big mouth and made a few pointers-- I thought the play shifted from farce to melodrama too quickly but I enjoyed the characters-- in which every person on the panel stared at me. Then, the director (acting as MC) asked if anyone else agreed with me.

Not one person raised their hands. Then, for the next ten minutes or so, everyone said that they disagreed with me about my points. "I definitely do NOT agree with the gentleman over there. Not one bit. This play is superb," said one old woman who wore dangling hoop earrings.

After the Q & A, class members (a small gathering tonight- no Cute Girl, Voice Box Girl or Interchangeable Housewives #2 and #3, keeping with the tradition) started to talk about their monologues. The Latino Bohunk will perform Sam Sheppard's "True West", which I do not believe has any nude scenes in it. I was hoping to talk to The Hemaphroditic German so she could say "I am unsure of the piece I want to do but I need a young and secret lover in it" so I could volunteer. She simply walked away from the conversation, looking down at her feet as she did.

I started to talk to Class Junkie then. In our conversation, it was revealed that one of the many classes he took was a previous offering at the theater in playwriting. He was hoping his play would be read at the theater. I asked him what it was about, expecting him to say either "my grandkids" or "my bout with prostate cancer" or perhaps even something like "Iran-Contra."

Instead, he uttered a slew of words that have never been uttered together in the English language.

"It's about a bisexual witch who consults people on real estate in a supermarket."

I could not believe that he said those words to me, so I asked him to repeat them. Others were nearby, and I could tell he was a little ashamed to say that sentence again. But he did anyway, and this time I literally fell over laughing.

I then felt bad and apologized to him. "I'm sorry...I just wasn't expecting to hear you say that."

The white-haired Class Junkie then said that it was okay. "I know I'm a lame white guy." I asked him if I could use his work as my monologue. He guffawed and said that it wasn't completely ready yet.

"I think I want it to be a musical."

NEXT WEEK: Gregg witnesses the greatest theatrical performance since the original version of "Sophocles", as two classmates perform a scene from a Kevin Smith film.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Comedy Coming To The TLA

Originally from Philadelphia, Dom has one of the most natural styles in all of stand-up comedy. He has the ability to make almost any crowd laugh until it hurts, with an intricate mix of stories and characters weaved together seamlessly.

He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and has made numerous cameo appearances on hit TV shows.

Saturday November 29th, 2008

Currently a Correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Rob Riggle has been performing sketch and improv comedy in New York and Los Angeles for the last 9 years as part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. He is also a United States Marine Corps officer. He served in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He has over 19 medals and ribbons as a result of his service, to include the Combat Action Ribbon.

Riggle has appeared on The Office and Arrested Development, numerous times on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and in films like Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, Talladega Nights, Unaccompanied Minors, and soon Step Brothers.

Also performing is Daily Show producer Adam Lowitt.

Wednesday February 20th, 2009


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

THE FEEKO BROTHERS: Murdering Glenn Gristle

Monday, November 10, 2008

RACE, POST-BUSH AND NEW PUPPIES: What does comedy do now?

There's been much discussion on the internet about what Barack Obama's election as the next President of the United States means to comedy.

As we suspect in other cities, Philadelphia comedians, for the most part, have not talked about the Bush administration on stage for a while now. For some, with the gradual decrease in popularity of President Bush (especially in this city), the subject just may be "too easy". For others, perhaps the results of the war and the economy are too depressing to even make fun of. Occasionally an open miker will discuss their unemployment because of the economy, but this rarely leads to big laughs.

But race is always a topic of discussion on the mic and in Philadelphia the viewpoints can be varied, complicated and not quite stereotypical. There's no doubt that race will continue to be brought up on stage, but as Tracy Morgan recently said on white comics making fun of Obama: "If you go down that road, you better be funny."

Ultimately, it's too early to tell. It's impossible to predict how comedians will react to the Barack Obama presidency, because, as Obama has been clear in stressing, that presidency hasn't begun yet. But perhaps the bigger question is, will stand-up (and to a point, sketch) comedians talk about politics? Will politically-conscious (for now?) audiences clamor for such material? Or will such opinions be better of left at home?

Certainly there will be other mediums for such humor: 1812 Productions' This Is The Week That Is is an excellent example and the late-night Comedy Central shows will talk about it daily. But what about on stage, live in comedy club in Philadelphia? Doesn't politics offer a tension-release that is perfect for comedy? Or does nothing change at all post-Bush?

Or, perhaps, the change is one of style? Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama has shown that he has a dry sense of humor. Witness this highlight from his first press conference as President-Elect:

Obama's discussion of the new puppy is self-effacing and conscious of the absurdity of such a subject. And it's funny. The way that Obama delivers it all is emblematic of his campaign: poised and confident without seeming to try hard. Trusting that the words on their own will ring true and correct. Exuding a presence without forcing it down the audiences' throat. Are more subdued, dry one-liners in our future? And (taking it to an absurd degree), is this not a dramatic change from President Bush's style of smiling and leaning into the microphone to signal that he is telling a joke?

Or are we just completely crazy? Feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 5 by Gregg Gethard

Things just seem to happen to Gregg Gethard. After telling a few stories at comedy shows in New York City, he created his own monthly show in Philly, BEDTIME STORIES, to tell a few more. Over the past year and a half the show has grown in audience and features some of the best comics in the city.

Here, Gregg continues his eight-part series on an acting class he took in Montclair, New Jersey. [Read Part I, II, III and IV]

The next installment of Bedtime Stories is TONIGHT at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge), 8PM, $10.


I walked into class in the middle of an argument between Sagging Boobs and Class Junkie. Sagging Boobs had just finished her performance when I walked in, and Class Junkie-- who seems to be a very nice, affable grandfatherly type who just-so-happens to have an interest in taking various classes around Essex County for self-improvement issues-- were embroiled in an argument.

"I just think that your piece was better the first time. I liked what you did then," Class Junkie said, polite as can be.

"Well, I obviously did it that way for a reason," Sagging Boobs responded. "I only did the alteration of the scene that Bob talked about. I did it that way for a reason. I learned about doing that when I had acting classes in college. I don’t think you went to Mason Gross!"

“I have a MA in lit from NYU, I’ll have you know,” Class Junkie responded angrily after dropping his trump card.

The tension slowly went away as one of the Interchangeable Steel Magnolia Housewives prepared their set. Two of the Interchangeable Housewives were there this week-- this aforementioned version and the lady who said that I had very cute earlobes. The one who talked about child molestation and colon cancer last week was not there-- again, furthering my belief that these three have never been in the same room together.

During a brief break, we listened in on a reading that was being done from the main stage for an upcoming musical. A lady was singing, and a discussion ensued between Bob and Sagging Boobs (who regularly attends shows at the theater) as to who was performing.

"Oh yeah, I remember her. She has a real distinctive voice," Bob said, as catty as an 8th grade girl. "A really... shrill...distinctive... voice."

The Interchangeable Housewife’s performance involved her reading Cosmo and then answering the phone. The call came from a friend of hers.

"I just studied for my GMAT's this weekend. It really sucked," she said. Then the pitch in her voice changed. "Oh, you really met him? Did you post your picture or did he? What page was it? Match dot com?"

Unfortunately, more was not heard about the perils of Internet dating from her unique perspective.

Bob ensured her that she had a "great sense of privacy" during her performance-- a compliment he has offered to pretty much every single one of us after our performance. The Overly Competitive Hindu gave a haughty golf clap after her scene was done.

The Latino Bohunk then went next. He set up an elaborate set, like mine. He brought his own phone from home, brought in towels to drape over chairs, tablecloths and a vase. In addition, he also wore a tacky orange bubble jacket, as if he was working on an Interstate as part of a work-release program.

His performance began with him walking in through a door, a little on the tired side. He meandered around, going through mail, checking his answering machine for messages.

He then then took off his shoes and socks, and then unfastened his belt, dropping his black trousers to the floor, folding them, then placing them around the chair. He then had a one-sided telephone conversation with a fictional Visa operator as he unbuttoned his black silk shirt, revealing his black boxer-briefs that allowed his caramel thighs to glisten under the flourescent lighting, exposing his considerable shame bulge to everyone in the class. After his performance, he received a well-deserved rousing ovation from the class.

Interchangeable Steel Magnolias Fan #2 had to go after that performance of a lifetime. The Overly Competitive Hindu helped her set up and saw that clothing was a major part of her performance. "Do you want my pants? We can go in the back room real quick," he said, trying to come off as being "zany" and more coming across like a slimy Megan's Law violator.

She meekly folded laundry (Chicago Bulls "DYNASTY" T-Shirt, NY Giants Zubaz style tiger pants, towels) and separated the whites from the blacks.

"I don't know what it is with this class, but you all are reading my mind." Bob said. "I say 'white' and 'black' whenever I do my laundry also."

We then discussed the next two weeks of class. Next week, class begins at 7. Bob wants us to see him read at a rehearsal. "This is the embryotic, very beginning stages of how a play gets made. It's so very exciting. It's a great play. Real, real interesting," Bob said. He clearly needs to be taken down a notch.

We then discussed the week after that -- we will begin going over our monologues. "If you are feeling randy and want to memorize it, go ahead and memorize it. But don't feel like you need to memorize it. I'm used to that sort of thing," Bob said.

No Cute Girl this week. She is obviously playing head games with me. I wonder how she would respond to threatening e-mails. No one plays games with me.

At the end of class, The Hemaphroditic German said she wanted to do something that perhaps involved two people. Bob told her to ask around next week to see if she could get someone to perform with her. I am thinking about volunteering, just to get a glimpse into her dark, childless world. I would also like to see the look on my parents face if I were to bring this she-male into my house to go over a scene from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

But I think I may do a monologue of my own, probably something with a movie. I have four key words: Planet Of The Apes.

THIS WEEK: PHIT at the Shubin Theatre

It's time again for the Philly Improv Theater's week at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St). The week actually kicked off Monday with our show (we'll have video soon), but the meat of the week is still yet to come.

Wednesday, November 5
8 p.m. – Bedtime Stories: WORLD PH*CKING CHAMPIONS: A TRIBUTE TO THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, $10. Host Gregg Gethard presents a night of sketch, stories and other stuff about the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

10 p.m. - Why Am I Not Famous?!?: A Comedy Talk Show w/ Kent Haines, $5. Kent welcomes comedians Chip Chantry and Johnny Goodtimes to the show.

Thursday, November 6
8 p.m. – Fletcher & Industrial, $10. PHIT house team Fletcher are joined by those pesky commies in the Philly improv group Industrial.

10 p.m. - CAGEMATCH: Two Guidos vs. reigning champ Illegal Refill. $5. CAGEMATCH pits two groups against each other for 25-minute sets that can only use one audience suggestion. The audience decides the winner by secret ballot.

Friday, November 7
8 p.m. – Bethany Asplundh and The Moops with Activity Book, $10. Check out our video from PHIT house team Activity Book's debut last month.

10 p.m. - Gentlemen's Rotary Auxiliary with Mr. Lizard, $10. New Jersey sketch group GRA (right) are joined by Philly improv group Mr. Lizard.

Saturday, November 8
8 p.m. – Bethany Asplundh and The Moops with Mr. Lizard, $10.
10 p.m. - Gentlemen's Rotary Auxiliary with Activity Book, $10.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Five Comedy Options for the Election Results Tonight

VIDEO: The Comedy Cellar has a Tough Crowd w/ Colin Quinn reunion of sorts tonight as Nick DiPaolo, Keith Robinson, Ben Bailey, Robert Kelly, Sherrod Small, Eddie Ifft, Dave Attell and more who will react to the results as they happen. It's happening in New York of course, but there's a live video stream at the Cellar's website!

TV: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be doing their thang with live election coverage on Comedy Central cable television starting at 10PM.

LIVE: Right here in Philadelphia, Rob Baniewicz (of Meg & Rob) and Paul Triggiani (of Secret Pants) will be hosting a Election Night Spectacular (8 PM, FREE) at Johnny Brenda's (that's "JBs" for the cool kids) with food, booze and twelve-foot video screen. Sez Paul: "Together, we will watch the country decide the next leader of the free world in-- of all places-- Fishtown. I assure you, no matter who wins this, you will be able to step outside and see something get busted up." (Philebrity knows of a bunch of other results parties)

BLOG: Famed comedian Patton Oswalt will be live-blogging for four hours at Comedy Central's Indecision blog. Sez Patton: "Four hours of free-form, increasingly drunken blathering as I wind and wend through the three major networks. Plus the androids at CNBC, the MSNBC drum circle, the FOX News dickslaps, CNN and their Polyphonic Spree-sized pundit pack and, my favorites, the poorly-dressed, marble-mouthed zombies at PBS."

RADIO: And finally, if you have to get away from the hoopla with this president thing, tune in to WFMU this evening starting at 8PM as the long, draining New Bridge Mayubernatorial race comes to a close on the Best Show on WFMU. BTW, you can still vote, we think.


Louis CK makes a political appeal for Obama

Here, Louis CK eats cookies and urges any undecided voters to vote for Obama. Posting it now is even more useless than it was this morning (as he admits), but it's still pretty funny. [Hat tip: Comic's Comic]

Louis will be at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington on Saturday, November 22nd.

SECRET PANTS: Old Chair/New Chair

An open letter to American citizens from candidates Barack Obama and John McCain

As you may know, today is election day and we've got election coverage (sort of)! Below is an open letter from the presidential candidates sent to us by stand-up comic Chip Chantry.

Dear Fellow Americans,

For decades, the two of us have spent our waking hours serving this great nation of ours. We have each met different forms of adversity. We have toiled, sacrificed, persevered, and ultimately risen to the challenges to become successful public servants. Whether it was John spending five years in a VietNamese prison camp, or Barack facing a lifetime in a society of prejudice, we have been steadfast, diligent, and never wavering in the daunting tasks that we faced. And we both did it happily. Because frankly, we loved our work. We loved our missions. And we loved this country.

But you know what? F*CK YOU, AMERICA! We quit.

This campaigning has gone on long enough. We're both exhausted. After the debate last week, we bumped into each other at the hotel bar. Admittedly, it was awkward at first. But then we got to talking. And drinking. And more drinking and talking.

After we closed the bar, we climbed aboard the Democratic campaign bus, smoked a little weed (thanks, Ed Begley Jr!) and got to thinking. We have both been serving this country of ours for years, and what thanks do we get? NONE! American citizens are the fattest, laziest, most spoiled beings on the face of the planet. This country is going to hell in a handbasket. And guess whose fault it is. YOURS, John Q. Public. You screwed this place up, and neither of us are fixin' it. Take this job and shove it, America.

As a country, we're fucked. And don't blame the Bush Administration either. Yes, admittedly, they suck. Like REALLY suck. But they're only a part of the problem. Let's face facts, people. Our society has become so lazy, incompetent, stupid, and greedy, that no matter who was in charge, we'd still be screwed. In hindsight, maybe Al Gore could have done a better job. But good luck getting him, shitheads! You voted against him, didn't support him when he got screwed over in 2000, and now, for the past eight years, he has been happily shoving it in your faces that the world is coming to an end. Good for you Al. Get the last laugh.

All you people do is bitch and moan. You are asking us for everything on a silver platter, and you dolts can't even properly read questions from cue cards at a "town hall" debate. Oh, and FYI, there has not been an uglier showing at a town hall meeting since the last Salem Witch Trial. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on questions when there are so many man tits and mustaches surrounding you?

Let's break it down:

You want free health care. Well here's your free tip: Stop eating shit, and start exercising. Put down the cigarettes, and use that stimulus check to buy a fucking treadmill, you unkempt walrus-folk.

You want a strong economy. Don't blame the government for having difficulty bailing out you idiots. Did you really need that 5-bedroom house AND the three SUV's, AND the summer home in the Hamptons? Maybe if you pulled your inflated heads out of your asses, you could see the mountain of debt you're in. It's not the bank's fault if you are greedy bastards that have to constantly keep up with the Joneses. It's not the dealer's fault that you hit on a 19. Live within your means, and we would not be in this mess. And YES, John has 7 houses. But I think he's making up for THE FIVE YEARS HE SPENT IN A BOX FOR YOU ASSHOLES.

You want cheap gas and a clean environment. We're not going to even dignify that request until you stop driving around in your gigantic SUVs. And while we're on that topic: No ONE CARES if your ugly kids play soccer or field hockey. Take the goddamn stickers off the back of your Hummer. NOW.

So where do we go from here? Well, the two of us are on a plane to Mexico. We have cashed out the remainder of our campaign fund, and will be living it up on the beach, Shawshank style. We figured we would make nice with the Mexicans before they invade, and officially take over up north. (What are you pansies going to do about it?)

If we would have stayed, one of us would have been president. If John got elected, he would have had a stroke within the first month, and that babbling Fargo bitch would be in charge. Which actually would have been pretty funny. Her trying to govern you animals would have played out like the first half of the Goldie Hawn classic Wildcats. And if Barack got elected, some hillbilly extremists would run him out of office by Christmas. Biden would have been fine, but we did not want to lay it on him. He's actually passed out drunk in coach right now, between two strippers and Wolf Blitzer.

We have worked tirelessly to make this country a better place. But you can decorated a Walmart as fancy as you can. It's still full of fat, redneck idiots. We're done polishing this turd.

Suck it America. PEACE!


Barack Obama and John McCain

Monday, November 3, 2008

TONIGHT: The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show!

C vs. A and Philly Improv Theater are proud to present THE COMIC VS. AUDIENCE COMEDY SHOW, a night of hilarious and engaging stand-up comedy. "Stand-up comedy" as we now know it used to be performed exclusively in cramped theaters for a nickel, but that was the 30s and clearly things have changed since then. Now you can enjoy funny jokes from funny people in a warm theater for the people for only five American dollars*!

So, make sure you and your friends come out to:

The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show
Monday, November 3rd, 2008
at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St.) [directions]
Five American Dollars [tickets can be bought at the PHIT website]


Gregg Gethard
Ryan Carey
Aaron Hertzog John Kensil
Anton Shuford

For a look at the show, check out the video from our last show with Tim Ryan, Luke Giordano, Doogie Horner and Chip Chantry:

* = Is live-comedy recession-proof? I guess we'll find out!