Not sure if you've noticed, but 2008 is coming to a close. And to celebrate and look back, we asked a bunch of Philadelphia comedians what were there favorite/funniest/most awesome moments of the year. We'll be posting their responses over the next few weeks.
Meg Favreau, Meg & Rob
1. Hulu. From allowing me to watch every new episode of 30 Rock and The Office to sparking the love of Joss Whedon I should've had since high school to providing the brilliant "Day Man" clip for me to view over and over, Hulu has been instrumental in my entertainment and comedy awareness in the last year.
2. "Why Am I Not Famous?!" Every month, it's a smart, hilarious, and well-put-together show.
3. Improv ultra-tie: Dr. Fantastic's show where the kid came from a waffle house / Harold house team night at the Improv Olympic in Chicago where the entire team created one mythical beast and walked around stage as it / Cohones doing the road trip format / Rare Bird Show, hey
4. Pat Kelly's costume in the Sixth Borough's "sex rays" sketch. In case you haven't seen it, it features a long, shiny blue-and-silver robe, and more importantly, a necklace pendant with a giant picture of Pat's face in what appears to be heat-sensitive coloring. When I first saw the costume, I didn't just laugh, I held my hands out, palms up, as a gesture of thanks to the universe. Really: does anybody have a picture of this?
5. The last Die Actor Die. Am I being brash, including a show that happened earlier this week? Maybe. But it was a funny, bittersweet, and wonderful end to a fantastic monthly show. Plus I gave what I felt was one of my best (and most fun) performances in the last couple of months.
Chip Chantry, stand-up comic
5. AARON HERTZOG AT THE MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES
I can't remember what month it was, exactly, but I remember I was there to play one of Doogie's gruelingly hilarious games. The show had been going OK so far. The crowd was hit or miss, and it was hot in there. After an intermission, Aaron went up and blew the roof off the place. He came out of nowhere and made the crowd his bitch. Aaron is a tiny man with big talent.
4. WALKING FISH LABOR DAY 24-HOUR COMEDY MARATHON
This was a terrible, terrible idea. The concept looks great on paper, but is a logistical nightmare. That was my attitude going into hosting the first 11 hours of this epic trainwreck. And it turned out to be one of the best shows I have ever been a part of. The scene showed up to support, from Secret Pants for the first four hours, to Andy Nolan, Ed McGonigal, Danny Ozark, and Kent Haines in the early morning. Watching the sunrise in Kennsington never felt so good.
3. DIE ACTOR DIE
With 2008, so ends DIE ACTOR DIE. Without this show, the scene in Philly would be extremely different. The city owes Don Montrey a great deal. Before DAD, standup and sketch did not interact. Because it was believed that all sketch artists were "fags", and all standup comedians were "assholes". And what we learned, in fact, was that Don Montrey is a little bit of both.
2. FAT KID FALLS OFF BIKE
This youtube clip has been around more than a year, but it is still a touchstone for me. No matter what I do, or how I perform, I will never, EVER be as funny as this clip. I don't know if anything ever will be.
1. FASTBALL PITCHER BOB GUTIERREZ
Brian Craig, of Secret Pants shame, has a special friend named Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez. Bob graced Bedtime Stories (another highlight show of 2008, thanks to Gregg Gethard) with his presence one night. I did not even seen him perform, because I was in the basement. However, I had the pleasure of speaking with him downstairs for about 30 minutes before the show. Brendan Kennedy and I sat there and cried for the entire time. It wasn't even a performance- it was just a few guys backstage before a show. But it was the funniest thing I saw all year (sorry, fat kid on a bike).
Bryce Remsburg, Secret Pants
1. 30 Rock, Season 3 - An already excellent show is rapidly approaching perfection. The character development and one-line pop culture minutia have made it pass The Office. in my heart. It also made me not hate Jennifer Aniston for 30 minutes.
2. Rob B's flagrant use of the word pussy - He was once clocked at 10 infractions in as many minutes. Never gets old. At least not yet.
3. Self-appointed nicknames - I purposely call one of my clients at work when I know it will go to voicemail so I can hear him refer to himself as the "big dog".
4. Pat Kelly's Quiz Show - His reactions and timing are priceless. I think about stuff he said off the cuff and laugh every single time.
5. Kent Haines' "Why am I Not Famous?!?" - How this slice of brilliance isn't sold out every month defies logic. Drop what you're doing and go to it every month. Forever.
Honorable Mention: Frank Caliendo - He talks in funny voices.
Greg Maughan, founder of the Philly Improv Theater
5. Barack Obama Rumors.
Seriously, did anyone get these emails? Some of them were so poposterous that all I could do was double over laughing until my sides hurt. My mom has some distant relation, a 90 year old former WWII pilot who somehow got his hands on an email account and he sent these out regularly (still is). All of them are insane, but some of the best were the repeated assertions that he was not born in the United States, the secret plan he had to step aside and make Hillary Clinton President, and someone's confusion of Obama with Denzel Washington's character in The Manchurian Candidate. Then there was the "Secret Muslim" stuff. Who on earth are the people getting scared by this stuff? I mean, what has a muslim ever done to you or... oh, right.
4. The Hopper Brothers.
Brandon Libby and Mike Connor's clueless, yet inappropriate, home-school folk duo were a brilliant idea on their own, but when they convinced me to sign away my life for 9 months to produce a musical comedy for the Philly Fringe I totally foolishly accepted. The result was personally crazy making, financially similar to the stock market crash, and humouously devastating. I hope to see the Hoppers around town a lot in 2009, and maybe back on stage hitting the road in future as well.
3. Bush or Batman.
Secret Pants hilarious game that combines several of my favorite activities: trivia games, making fun of the Bush Administration, and Batman. It is awesome. Did I mention something like a QUARTER OF A MILLION people agree with me? Philly's first big YouTube viral video is deserving of the praise it got. Secret Pants can sometimes be too dark or too inappropriate, and they still need to find a way to write better roles for women, but when they put their minds it and write really smart stuff that hits - this is what happens.
2.Philly Improv Theater.
I have no shame. Honestly though, look at how diverse the stage has become, and the quality of the shows, acts, etc. that have been promoted during 2008. It's mind boggling. Someone who hit The Shubin stage this year is going to be famous and everyone will be able to say "I knew them when..." That's change you can believe in for the alternate comedy scene in Philly.
1. Tina Fey.
Between a movie, another round of Emmy's for 30 Rock (my vote for the funniest show on TV), a reported $6 million book deal, a Vanity Fair cover, and an impression of Sarah Palin that got SNL it's best ratings in 14 years... it's fair to say she is the comedian of the year. Now if only she'd visit her hometown and hop on stage!