Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TONIGHT: The Ministry of Secret Jokes

Late last night we received another mysterious message that we feel must get out to the public. If asked, don't say that you saw it here.

30.04.08. MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES. FERGIE'S PUB, 1214 SANSOM. SECOND FLOOR. 9-12PM. ASK FOR ESQUIVEL. YO MOMMA LOVES OBAMA.

STAND-UP: PATRICK ARGIRO. BRIAN MERUSI. DOOGIE HORNER. KENT HAINES. AARON HERTZOG. CHIP CHANTRY. CHRIS SCHLOTTERER. JOHN KENSIL.

OMNIANA BATTLE: STEVE "PREPOSTEROUS" GERBEN VS. PAT "THE PRICE IS RIGHT" BARKER.

HACK! GAMESHOW: CHIP CHANTRY. STEVE GERBEN. JEN THWING.

JAZZ ORGAN MUSIC: JIMMY "SAUSAGE FINGERS" SMITH.

ALERT: DANCING BEAR SICK WITH FLU. WON'T MAKE SHOW. CANCEL DANCE-OFF.

MINISTRYOFSECRETJOKES.COM
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RECAP: Todd Barry & Louis CK, 4/26

It was a rare night in the suburban Philadelphia town of Glenside. It's not every day that they get to see two of the country's best touring stand-up comics, Todd Barry and Louis CK.

The Keswick Theatre is a 1300-seat theater that without a balcony looks sort of like an auditorium. Alcohol was served in the lobby beforehand and the lines were long and lively.

After the opener, Todd Barry took the stage. As someone that records his albums in comedy clubs- his new one, From Heaven took place above a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.- it was interesting to see him perform in a theater setting. And although the crowd was there for Louis C.K., Barry did well with his jokes about New York, Mick Jagger’s email address and performing in Alabama, amongst many others.

He seemed to enjoy combating with hecklers. Perhaps calling them “hecklers” isn't fair, they were more like guys in the audience yelling out stuff. As he went into a joke about giving food to the homeless, someone in the crowd yelled out “fuck that!” Barry gleefully made fun of the guy, which shut him up for a while. At some points there were multiple people yelling out, probably due to the alcohol served in the lobby before the show, but Barry coolly took care of them.

Last was, of course, the headliner Louis CK. Louis had been announcing the other acts from behind the curtain, so when it came time for him to perform he just walked out cold to loud applause. He had shaved off his beard for his work on Ricky Gervais' 'This Side of Truth'and right as he took the mic, the "fuck that!" guy yelled out asking why he cut it off. Because your mother asked me to, Louis replied, for when I am eating her out. Ok, good, he got that out of the way. There was more yelling out from the crowd later, but Louis easily shot down anything that came up. Witty remarks from the crowd included "you're lucky!" (yes, that was the name of his show, sir) and questions about why HBO cancelled the show (these people must not have known that that he's working on a new show for CBS). Someone yelled out "Billy Burr" at one point and Louis laughed. "You guys have such an institutional memory," he said. "Ben Franklin bombed here in 1762!"

Louis filmed a new HBO special, "Chewed Up", last month and its safe to assume that he performed some of that material Saturday night. His act mostly concerns his family but it is not "family-friendly". Instead, he's talks with piercing honesty about his relationship with his wife after two childbirths and the stress and struggle that come with those offspring. The anger and occasional resentment for his children that brews up has hit a nerve with audiences first with his HBO show "Lucky Louie" and then in his last stand-up special "Shameless" and there's more of that here. The difference now is that the extraneous topics have been cut out- nothing similar to his duck vaginas, Awesome Possum t-shirts or waiting in line material from the past. Instead he talks about mostly himself: how's he's getting fatter, how he doesn't really care about young women anymore as he gets older and his take on The N Word. The later is a far different viewpoint than fellow stand-up Chris Rock in his new act, who will also have a HBO stand-up special airing in the near future.

It all falls under the umbrella of a middle-aged guy that is really aware of where he is in his life, which seems to resonate with his audience. And while the way that he speaks of his daughters (aged 2 and 6) may be shocking to some, it rang true for that mostly middle-aged crowd at the Keswick Theater, when they weren't yelling anything out, that is.
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Local Comedy News

- Open mic Sour Grapes was recently profiled in the South Philly Review.

-There's a new storytelling open mic at the Friendly Grounds Coffee House in Flemington, New Jersey called Louder Than Words which promises to be a place where "stand-up comedians have the opportunity to exercise a new ‘creative muscle’ beyond your current stand-up comedy act."

- From May 7th-10th and 14th-18th, the Walking Fish Theatre will present FRESH FISH, a 10-minute play festival. "The Affair", one of the six plays, is written by Meg Favreau of Meg & Rob and directed by Kristen Schier (The N Crowd, PHIT improv instructor).

- Speaking of Meg & Rob, in June they'll be performing at Snubfest in Chicago.

- Stand-up comic Brendan Kennedy has an hour-long webcast show on BlogTV tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9PM EST. Chris Harrje is his guest.

- Sketch group Secret Pants have a neat new website at SecretPants.net

Bill Cosby helps up a Penn Relays runner
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Monday, April 28, 2008

RECAP: People Were Outraged, 4/18

On April 18th, the stand-up group PEOPLE WERE OUTRAGED (Benny Michaels, Mike Rainey and Brenday Kennedy) had their first show at the Walking Fish Theatre and comedian Kevin Quigg files this report:

The Biggest Problem with PWO

The biggest problem with the Friday, April 18th, 2008 PWO show was that they were all likable. People Were Outraged certainly, but not enough.

The Walking Fish Theatre is a small, buried deep in Philly venue, but it was worth the drive. Despite the inner city address, parking was plentiful, and most of our cars were still there when we came out after the show.

The show started a bit late, but with Doogie Horner begging for us to wait one more minute for ten minutes, we were off.

First up, the host with the TV teen doctor's first name, Doogie Horner. With a wide smile, the laid back, beatnik-poet-comedian kept things comfortable. Stories, jokes and poetry about long haul truckers presented a nice mix.

Then Brendan Kennedy took the stage. Young and sweaty and funny. With an ability to tell personal true life stories in a funny manner (a roast beef sandwich as a perfect consolation prize and unwilling room mates), he has a lot of potential that can't be displayed in a five minute guest spot.

Talking to Brendan after the show he said that while his "style" does not work for him in real life, on stage it somehow translates into an act.

Jason Mackhouse was the bomb. He's Jewish, you know. Elmo made a guest spot on Jason's guest spot and the two red faces worked in harmony to create a wonderful puppet act. But Jason's ventriloquism skills are like a woman with a bad queef—you can see the lips moving.

With touching stories about his mother and father (and I mean "touching"), Mike Rainey's shotgun approach to comedy works well. Scattershot and deadly, he hits his targets and keeps moving. A small smile or laugh occasionally cracks the tough veneer, though, giving away his true nature and humor.

Benny Michaels is oddly charismatic. Even while thanking the hot women for their hotness (brunette in the front row in a nice dress, a short blonde in ripped jeans) he wasn't creepy. OK, he was, but it worked. Telling stories from his life that I suspect aren't really true (working with Muslims) and hitting the political commentary of the Bush family genitals, he scored big.

The comedians were able to perform without restrictions, or worry about a room manager chewing them out. They had the time on stage to allow the audience to get to know them, like them, and "get" the jokes.

Great venue, great show, great price.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Philadelphia Comedy This Weekend

FRIDAY

Jimmy Shubert is at Helium (2031 Sansom St.) with Mike Stankiewicz and Pat House. 8 & 10:30PM, $20-$25.

The N Crowd celebrate their three year anniversary with two hours of improv at The Actors Center (257 N. 3rd Street ). 8PM, $15.

Impressionist Frank Caliendo is at The Borgata Music Box. Local stand-up Steve Gerben opens. 8 (sold out) & 11PM, $39.50.

Or, you can put a piece of your tax rebate towards seeing Billy Crystal at The Borgata. 8PM, $225-$325.

Lester Bibbs is at the Laff House (221 South St.). 8:30 & 10:45PM, $15.

Chip Chantry and others are at Chuckles Comedy in Conshohocken. 9PM, $13.

Penn grad Aaron Karo is at The Trodadero (1003 Arch St.) 8PM, $30.

SATURDAY

Jimmy Shubert finishes his run at Helium (2031 Sansom St.) with Mike Stankiewicz and Pat House. 8 & 10:30PM, $25-$30.

ComedySportz short-form improv comedy at the Playground (2030 Sansom St.). 7:30 & 10PM, $15 ($12 for students and seniors with valid ID).

Corey Alexander and others will be at the Chuckles Comedy Club in Audubon. 9PM, $13.

Louis C.K. and Todd Barry are at the Keswick Theatre and its sold out so if you didn't know about it already, no need to think about it now. Also, congrats to Louis on his new CBS comedy.

Impressionist Frank Caliendo ends his run at The Borgata Music Box. Local stand-up Steve Gerben opens. 7 & 10PM, $39.50, both shows sold out so pretend that we never mentioned it.

Billy Crystal again at The Borgata. 8PM, $225-$325.

Sketch group Comic Energy perform at Doc Watson's Pub (216 S. 11th Street). 7PM, $10.

Lester Bibbs is at the Laff House (221 South St.) for three more shows, 8, 10 & 11:55PM, $15.

SUNDAY

A comedy-free day? Are we missing anything? Email us at comicvsaudience@gmail.com

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INTERVIEW: Greg Maughan

When Greg Maughan moved to Philadelphia from Detroit in 2001, he figured there would an improv theater already in place. “I assumed that I was a total jerk kid that didn’t know anything and I would very shortly see great improv all over the place.” But this didn’t turn out to be case, so in 2005 he started the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) with the help of some other Philly long-form improv instructors (Bobbi Block, Alexis Simpson and Matt Holmes). Now, PHIT organizes a monthly show run by The Ninjas at Fergie’s Pub, one week of comedy shows every month at the Shubin Theatre and will present over two weeks of improv at The Adrienne main stage during the Fringe Fest this year. And most recently, the theater is holding auditions for PHIT house teams Monday April 28 at the Arden Theatre (40 N. 2nd St.) from 5-10PM (with callbacks Monday May 5th).

How many active improv groups do you think there are in the city now?

Well, if you consider side projects and people doing random collaborations, it would probably be 25-30. But the total number of performers between improv and sketch would be just a little under 100 people. So it’s not an insignificant group.

So at this point does Philly need more shows or more talent?

I think actually at this point it’s neither; we’ve got great talent and always more showing up all the time in classes so talent isn’t a problem. Shows aren’t so much a problem, I think you see less shows just scattered around, you see more people just booking in here when they get offered slots, so the big thing we need is audience. And that’s been happening over the last couple of months too. This space [the Shubin] when it’s packed accommodates 60 people and we want to be in a space that’s bigger than that, probably between 80 and 100. And if we move into a space permanently with about four times as many shows, you’re going to need a lot more audience to support that. The biggest thing we need is a growing audience.

So why are you holding auditions for house teams now?

The reason why we're doing auditions now is because we have this good talent base but actually a lot of them we are not seeing do much at the moment. There are a lot of really talented people, if I didn’t even put out an open casting call, I could probably get 8-10 great improvisers that aren’t doing anything at the moment. And really one of the big parts of the auditions is that we know we have those people, so we’ll hold auditions to see who comes out of the woodwork, to see who walks in that is amazing that we’ve never heard of. And the response for the auditions so far has been pretty good, we’ve been talking about maybe having to add a day or extending the hours of the auditions. And the auditions are just as much a tool for finding new talent as they are a tool for getting the word out.

Where will these house teams perform?

They’ll rehearse for a few months and we’ll see how the casts gel, but the plan is to have all of the groups have a premiere here at the Shubin before the end of the year and they’ll probably play the Fringe Festival. For the Fringe, the PHIT has booked out the main stage at the Adrienne which is this beautiful space. Every single show there is going to be improv for the two and a half weeks of Fringe. Then if someone wants to do a show in Northern Liberties then we can do a show there. And they’ll also tour, we’ll submit them to festivals. Miami, Charleston, Gainesville, I’m thinking of all of the sunny places because the weather is getting nice. Chicago, Toronto, obviously Del Close in New York. Anyone that wants us can have us; we want them to spread the word about the theater across the country.

You’re talking about different cities, on the PHIT website you talk about teaching a "Philly-style" of improv. What would that be?

Well that’s what we’re working on. Alexis Simpson [interim artistic director] and I talk about that a lot because there are things that are unique about the way improv is done in each city. In New York, the Upright Citizens Brigade grows out of Del Close and “The Game” of the scene which is this concept that the UCB teaches almost exclusively. “The Game” is basically that in the first interactions of the scene you can find a pattern established between the two actors that you can explore and heighten to crazy, ridiculous absurdity. Someone might trip and fall coming on stage and that can be the game of the scene because now for the rest of that scene the dynamic is that the person that didn’t fall sets the other person up so that they can fall down and do physical comedy.

So like callbacks?

Yeah, sort of like mini-callbacks that are happening constantly. If the idea is that one character is swindling the other character, you will just keep allowing yourself to be swindled and the person will just keep swindling more and more ridiculously and outlandishly. That’s “The Game”.

So what is Philly’s style like?

We’re not sure yet, it kind of just emerges. I think Philly is really obsessed with formats: the styles, the setups, the behind-the-scenes stuff, how the performance rolls out. So the classic structure for a performance is called “The Harold”. It’s basically a behind-the-scenes thing that let’s all of the improvisers know that “oh, we’re going to do ‘The Harold’,” they have a sense of what the flow of the show is going to be. They don’t know how it’s going to go, but they know how many characters are going to different scenes and when scenes will come back and will try to tie together. Philly groups are really obsessed with creating their own format and playing it here in Philly, which I find really interesting.

The format for the house team that you will be directing is “The Scramble.” Some people may not know what these formats mean, so can you explain “The Scramble”?

“The Scramble” is a form that Joe Bill, one of the best improv teachers in the world, came up with. It’s different because it’s kind of like watching a couple of shows at once. You’ll see one scene come out and start on stage and then you might see two other people come out and start a completely different scene but in the same stage space. You might have people talking over each other and you might have two actors on the sides of the stage playing different scenes and one actor in the middle of the stage who is in both scenes but is switching between the two scenes. So the thing about it that’s cool is that one of the things about improv is “don’t think” and you can’t when you do this form because often you are stepping into a scene that is already in progress but you have no idea what it is about. Similarly, for the audience they can pick and choose what they want to focus in on. And the third thing that I really like about it is that when there are all of these things happening on stage at once, you get weird callbacks that are totally subconscious from the actors. So the actors are involved in their own scenes and something they overhear peripherally comes into their scene. And the actors have no idea and the audience sees it, and that’s really cool.

Can you explain the improv-to-script production for the Fringe Fest?

Mike Connor and Brandon Libby developed these two characters called The Hopper Brothers that they decided to do a Fringe musical around. The two characters are sort of these lovable morons who are home-schooled by their grandmother and are now a folk rock duo for kids. So they came up with an outline for a show and we cast a bunch of improvisers and we went off to this huge 40-bunk cabin in the woods for a weekend. We hung out non-stop the whole time and just over and over again ran through the scenarios and improvised the characters and did all kinds of acting exercises. Basically we ran the scenario 6-7 times with everyone doing different takes on the characters each time and then Brandon and Mike picked out the best parts and transcribed it into a script. So it was literally improve into a script. It’s going to be this hour and a half show called “The Hoppers Hit The Road” that travels with The Hopper Brothers as they go from Glenside, Pennsylvania to the Ocean City Music Pier in search of love and a record contract. There’s a bunch of characters and crazy music that will hopefully be a big hit at the Fringe.

You also perform in a few groups: Industrial and Holmes/Maughan (with Matt Holmes of Rare Bird Show). Which do you like more: organizing shows or performing in them?

Well, when the shows go well you always enjoy performing in them. I will admit I’m my worst critic so that doesn’t happen very much. I think I go 7-8 months between what I would call good shows and part of that is that I’m not the funniest person I know and I’m not the best or one of the best improvisers that I know. But I’m ok and I can get away with it, but I can’t always have a good show. In the day-to-day there’s a lot of joy that comes with running a theater though. I’m able to get a group of people that had a really cool thing going but not a lot of direction towards really getting momentum behind the effort to build the scene, to have a theater, to be here [at the Shubin] one week a month has been really awesome. And it’s getting to the point where it’s getting to be too much for me to handle and a lot of people are stepping in to take it over. It’s my hope that in a couple of years the theater will be able to run without me being involved all that much. Instead of being some crazy pet project that I’m doing a million hours a week, it’ll be a real thing that stands on its own and has a community of people around it. So that part of it is really exciting.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All Up In Yer Scenes

All across the country, comedy shows are rising out of the concrete:

Shecky Magazine writes about a Denver reporter who is putting together a book about "indie comedy". The reporter, John Wenzel, recently wrote about the Denver collective Wrist Deep Productions who are seeing some great results:

...rowdy crowds have always been part of Tuesdays at the Squire. The open-mic contest typically draws 100 people to the cramped space, making it the bar's busiest night.

And it doesn't even start until 11:15 p.m.
but Wenzel makes sure to note that it didn't happen overnight:
They paid their dues at nearly every comedy club, bar and music venue in town. After nine months of poor turnout, the Squire open-mic nights finally clicked and began drawing large crowds. That was almost four years ago.
In the District of Columbia (a.k.a. "D.C."), the folks over at DCcomedy4now.com put on a bi-weekly stand-up show, "Top Shelf".

Meanwhile, the Village Voice profiles Klaus Kinski and BrooklynVegan.com's new comedy show "Rock and ROFL" that combines sorta-under-the-radar NYC comics (Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani, Sean O'Connor, etc.) with music (John Vanderslice, etc.).

And finally, in San Francisco, SFStandup.com presents a bunch of shows along with a new weekly show "Something People Like" with Chad Lehrman and Justin Lamb.

We'll keep you updated on what Philadelphia does next...
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis



Want more of The Banana (aka Brody Stevens)? Here's Zach on his show, Brody Stevens Interview Challenge:




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Monday, April 21, 2008

TONIGHT: Die, Actor, Die at The Khyber

DIE ACTOR DIE - It's a comedy show!

Hosted by Don Montrey

Featuring:
Danny Ozark
Brendan Kennedy
Animosity Pierre
The Rickety Stares
Pat House

The Khyber (56 S. 2nd Street), 8PM, 5

RELATED:
An interview with Brendan Kennedy
Video of past Animosity Pierre live performances here and here.
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Local News Round-up

- Producer Bob Sumner is auditioning comedians for the next season of "Def Comedy Jam" and they'll be in Philadelphia at the Laff House on May 28th and June 4th. Curious comics should contact the Laff House for more details.

- Levy's Comedy Club in Levittown will begin hosting an weekly open mic on Wednesdays starting April 30th. Not much in the way of details yet, maybe you should give them a call?

- In February, Helium hosted the Purina Pet Comedy Challenge. Entrants had to do "pet-inspired" comedy. Cheesy, yes, but the winners received cash prizes and a chance to compete in the finals in St. Louis in May. From the Philadelphia competition, Chris Coccia took first and Steve Gerben (recent stand-up winner of Helium's college competition) took second. They are on their way to St. Louis (not currently, we'd imagine they will leave a little before the competition date of May 3rd, but that isn't confirmed). There are two more additional slots in the finals that are left up to the public to vote for at the website above. From Philadelphia, Alex House (currently ranked #1) and Laurence Mullaney (ranked #8) are eligible.

- On April 28th from 5-10PM, the Philly Improv Theater will hold open auditions for PHIT improv house teams. They'll take place at the Arden Theatre and is open to anyone no matter what your level of experience. More details at the website above.
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New Kids In The Hall Video: Car Bangers

NSFW:


Don't forget: The kids will be as "Live as We'll Ever Be" at the Keswick Theatre on April 30th.
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Eugene Mirman reports from the Philadelphia Democratic Primary Debate


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Friday, April 18, 2008

THIS WEEKEND: A Whole Lotta Comedy in Philadelphia

FRIDAY:
The stand-up trio that go by the name of People Were Outraged are having their first official comedy show together at the Walking Fish Theatre (2509 Frankford Ave.) and last week we spoke with with Brendan Kennedy about it. Jason Mackhouse and host Doogie Horner will also be performing. 9PM, $10

For your redneck fix, Ron White is at the Tower Theatre getting' it done. 10:30 PM, $33-$96

Katt Williams is pimpin' at the Liacouras Center (1776 N. Broad Street). 8PM, $45-$55

John Witherspoon, from 'The Boondocks' and 'Friday' will be performing at Helium (2031 Sansom St.) with Tom McTiernan and Pat Barker also on the bill. 8PM & 10:30PM, $25

For your improv fix, check out The N Crowd at The Actors Center (257 N. 3rd Street) with special guest The Rare Bird Show. 8PM, $10

And of course, Welcome To The Terrordome is finally here and it's at The M Room (15 W Girard Ave.). We recently sat down for an interview with Secret Pants to discuss the show. With Da Pants (that's their nickname) will be Meg & Rob, Rowan & Hastings, The Sixth Borough and Animosity Pierre. 9PM, $10. Throw a rock at this website and it'll land on something about one of these groups.

SATURDAY
John Witherspoon finishes his run at Helium (2031 Sansom St.). 7PM, 9:15PM, & 11:30PM $25

Steve Harvey is at the Liacouras Center (1776 N. Broad Street). 8PM and sold out.

Artie Lange is scheduled to perform at Levy's Comedy Club, but given what happened last week, what's it going to be like? 8PM and sold out.

SUNDAY
Keith Robinson presents another installment of Crazy, Sexy Comedy at Helium with Colin Quinn, Tony Rock, Todd Lynn, and Vince Patterson. 7PM, $20

Did we miss anything?
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RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelpha, 4/17

Thursday evening’s episode marked the end of The Colbert Report’s week in Philadelphia. The show really wrapped the week up nicely and now Pennsylvanians everywhere finally feel prepared to vote next Tuesday the 22nd.

Colbert began the show by checking again with his sidekick Ben Franklin. This time BF (short for Ben Franklin) believes he has invented the toaster, but Colbert has to break the bad news that it has already been invented. “Oh, I’ve wasted my whole life,” Franklin says in disgust. Colbert turns away from Franklin and moves on. Didn’t really get much of a laugh from the audience, but we thought it was funny. Ben Franklin should be on every ‘Colbert Report’ episode! It’s fun to see Colbert play the straight man for once. The duo can do neat little skits, maybe they should take it on the road.

The show is suddenly derailed by technical problems. The huge screen behind Colbert only displays color bars. Show director “Jimmy” is of no help, but here comes Senator Clinton to a thundering applause! She quickly helps Jimmy troubleshoot the screen and informs Colbert that he may need a little makeup. “Senator Clinton, you’re so prepared for any situation,” Colbert exclaimed. “That’s ok Stephen, I just love solving problems,” Clinton replied. “Call me anytime.” Really? “Sure, call me at three AM.” Oh, we get it! They’re referencing that blah blah jfoiewvdvlsms. By the way, that’s all that we’ll see of Clinton tonight.

With the screen repaired, Colbert turns towards Wednesday’s debate at the National Constitution Center Debate which was just ridiculous and embarrassing. We don’t even want to joke about it, it’s so depressing.

Next is an interview with Congressman Patrick Murphy (endorsing Obama), the only member of congress that served in the Iraq war. Given his background, Colbert wisely isn’t in attack mode here, but he’s good enough that he can still get his jokes in. His best question of the week: “How long do you think the troops should stay in Iraq: one hundred years or a thousand years?” Murphy laughs it off and makes his point. Good stuff.

Colbert reports that white males may be the decider in this election. With this said, out walks…John Edwards? And he’s going to do his version of the show’s running segment “The Word”, “Edwords”. We have to say, this is kind of weird. First off, why Edwards? And second, it’s strange to see someone else do “The Word” with the text commentary and all. The whole thing stinks too much of the politician being in on the joke.

And that’s it, ‘The Colbert Report’s week is over…but wait, Obama on the big screen that Clinton fixed! Colbert takes umbrage with Obama calling some of the questions from Wednesday’s debate “manufactured political distractions.” Obama replies, “These distractions won’t help fix our economy, they won’t help people get healthcare, they won’t get us out of Iraq. Stephen, I would go so far as to say, I want to put these political distractions on notice.” The On Notice Board is brought out and luckily Colbert has a card for distractions.

Pretty great ending to a great week of political comedy.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

RECAP: Helium College Comedy Competition

Last night the Helium Comedy Club held the Helium College Comedy Competition. Brian Kelly of Secret Pants was there as a host, judge and performer and he filed this report:

Congratulations to Boy Meets Tractor and Steve Gerben, winners of the sketch and stand-up portions of the program, respectfully. Hosts and judges for the evening, Secret Pants, noted it was a really tough decision but contractually, one had to be made. The judges stressed that all of the groups/comedians offered something funny and unique which made for a wonderful night of comedy. Keep your eyes peeled for more from these very talented performers in the future... Most notably, the sketch comedy winners, Boy Meets Tractor, who as part of their prize won a coveted slot at The First Annual Philadelphia Sketch Comedy Festival.

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MEG AND ROB: Dan Henkle, Relationship Expert


(From their recent live show "These Modern Worlds")

RELATED: Meg & Rob set to perform at Welcome To The Terrordome Friday the 18th at The M Room (15 W. Girard Ave).
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RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/16

We’re into the home stretch of ‘The Colbert Report’s coverage from Philadelphia and Wednesday’s show had a few surprises.

The show began with the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders having the audience spell out “T-R-U-T-H” and then dancing to the opening song. It’s really amazing what they have been able to pull off this week as far as guests and other local flavor considering that this is still just a comedy show.

More great stuff from Ben Franklin as the sidekick. Tonight’s proverb: “men and melons are hard to know”. A befuddled Colbert’s reply: “I guess melons were a bigger deal back in your day.”

After some Pope talk, onwards to talks of the Democratic debate held at the National Constitution Center Wednesday evening that was supposedly really freakin’ horrible and then Colbert addresses Bruce Springsteen’s endorsement of Obama. There were some boos from the crowd for this, is it because Springsteen is from Jersey? (An astute reader by the name of BEN observed that they were saying "BRUUUCE" and not booing. Duh. Our bad.) Colbert pointed out that while Springsteen has cred with blue-collar workers, “the bulk of his cred is now held in the cred vault of his twelve thousand square foot mansion. I believe he lives in Shadycred Acres. It’s a gated community.”

Then, more video Colbert out on the town. This time he’s at the National Constitution Center to take a tour. The guy giving the tour looked genuinely annoyed at Colbert pretending to be really dumb. Do these guys forget that it’s a comedy show when they go on? When they come across an exhibit of books stacked almost to the ceiling, Colbert remarks: “It looks like DNA made out of books. The building blocks of boring.”

The show ended with an interview with our great governor Ed Rendell. Rendell is supporting Clinton and is a “strategic expert behind the scenes” as well. He seemed to be a lot more relaxed and off-the-cuff than the other political guests during the week. When Colbert asked if he’ll have a Christmas wish list of Clinton is elected, Rendell simply replied “absolutely, I won’t lie to you.” Perfect place to finish the interview, no?

Thursday night: the last show of the week with very special guest Senator Hillary Clinton.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

INTERVIEW: Secret Pants


Secret Pants are one of the longest-running sketch groups in Philadelphia and this week is a busy one for them. On Wednesday they are hosting the Helium College Comedy Competition (full lineup) and on Friday they’ll be performing at Welcome To The Terrordome along with Meg & Rob, Rowan & Hastings, The Sixth Borough and Animosity Pierre at The M Room. Comic Vs. Audience recently caught up with Bryce Remsburg and Paul Joseph to talk about the upcoming shows, their history and professional wrestling.

How did Secret Pants originally form?

Bryce Remsburg: Originally there was a college class in the spring of 2004 at Temple. About six or seven or us met in the class and we were goofing off and hanging out all day. And at the end of the semester we said “hey, we enjoyed doing this, let’s keep it going.” So we met after the last day of the last class and we talked about stuff we like: The State, Kids In The Hall, stuff like that is what we had in common. So we decided to form a comedy troupe. The core people brought in some of there friends and we started meeting every Wednesday, which is what we still do four years later. The original working number was 15 or 16 people, which was completely unmanageable. Then once we started doing sketches, we came up with 13. And now we are down to eight or nine.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to such a large group?

BR: That’s the big disadvantage.

Paul Joseph: How hard it is to get everyone in the same room?

BR: And voting on things, all day we are emailing each other at work.

PJ: Yeah and when you have eight people to try to reach agreement with, it’s eight more people you get to disagree with first. And if there’s six point of contention to any argument, most people are not going to agree on all of those points, so eventually someone will have to settle on something that they don’t want to settle for. But that’s good, it’s healthy because we’ve gone this far and we don’t hate each other. Sometimes we think we do, but we don’t really.

BR: And we’ve got it down. After four years we know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.

What was your comedy background before Secret Pants?

BR: Um, I took a class at Temple. (laughs) And I like watching [comedy].

PJ: I spent a lot of my adolescence indoors watching Comedy Central.

BR: Brian Kelly and Paul spent some time at the UCB in New York.

PJ: [We] both took classes at the UCB separately. Sketch writing is something that that needs to be worked on and workshopped, but not taught. And that’s what you’ll get there, they’ll teach you a few key things and then say “go get ‘em tiger” and that helps.

Secret Pants' latest video: “The Franklin Pleaser”

Bryce, you officiate pro wrestling?

I do. About six years ago a school opened up in Allentown that is now in Philly so I checked it out and thought it was pretty cool. I don’t wrestle because I’m not big and I’m kind of a pussy, but I do referee down at the New Alhambra in South Philly and I’ve been really lucky, I’ve been to Europe five times, California, Florida, I’m leaving for Indianapolis Friday morning. I’ve seen a lot of the world on someone else’s dime so it’s cool.

PJ: Wrestling is huge in Indiana and by proxy we are also huge in Indiana. Bryce was also in a Japanese wrestling magazine once.

BR: Yeah, and there’s a professional wrestler wearing a Secret Pants t-shirt on WWE.com.

PJ: Really?

BR: Yeah this guy Colt Cabana. I gave him a shirt once three years ago and he’s since moved to the big leagues.


So he likes you guys?

BR: Yeah, yeah. At the beginning I would sell t-shirts at wrestling shows just to get the word out. I’d give out stickers and pins and a lot of our press and website hits came from wrestling fans from the start.

PJ: We were doing a live performance at The Trocadero Balcony and these dudes showed up from Indiana, wearing Secret Pants shirts waiting in line before we showed up. That was pretty awesome.

BR: And they are a rabid fan base, so some of that has trickled down.

A Secret Pants classic: “Movie Trailer #1”

So let’s talk about the Welcome To The Terrordome show. Why did you want to put together a show with five sketch groups?

BR: Basically we think in large part to things like Die, Actor, Die and especially Bedtime Stories that just over the last couple of months there’s a great scene and a lot of funny people that no one knows about. So if all of these groups are on the same page and they’re all friends, which we are, we’re worth more as a group than we are individually. So we think all of these people are funny, we enjoy spending time and drinking with them, so let’s try something on a grand stage. There’s a bunch of improv groups and there’s a bunch of stand-up guys and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the sketch scene is really slept on and with a few things and some publicity it’s ready to bust out.

PJ: And it seems that there are younger groups coming in. We’re hosting a college competition at Helium and there are three or four sketch groups there and it’s great that we’re seeing them because the more the merrier. The whole thing is worth more than the sum of the parts.

Do you think there’s a certain style to sketch comedy in Philadelphia?

PJ: What I’m going to say is in having seen, I’m not speaking at all to improv, but I’ve seen enough sketch in New York and as a general rule, and this isn’t across the board, but per capita it’s not as good. And the reason it’s not as good as because you don’t have to work as hard. Philly hates you if you’re a performer.

BR: “Impress me, impress me.”

PJ: Yeah, “do something I’m going to like and I’m not going to give you anything unless you do.” Where in New York people will go out ready to laugh at pretty much whatever it is, so you can see a concept that will fucking tank here go over swimmingly in New York City. Because people want to laugh there. People going to see comedy in Philadelphia maybe went out begrudgingly and if you get them to laugh at anything it means you did a phenomenal fucking job.

BR: Yeah, half the battle is someone in Philly knows there’s sketch comedy. Seriously.

PJ: Right and if it’s not somebody that got dragged out…we actually had one show where a guy who was a comedy fan and purposely came out to see us was heckling during an entire routine. They don’t do that in New York City for a sketch group! No, it’s a theater audience, but here…this was at the Shubin Theatre, our second show there. This gentleman was visiting back home, looked through comedy listings, came and gave us a hard time. So on a per capita basis, sketch in New York isn’t as good because you can get away with more and people will laugh at you more and better and harder if they already think you are funny.


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TONIGHT: Helium College Comedy Competition

Tonight the Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St.) will hold the College Comedy Competition featuring ten stand-up comics and four sketch groups of college students who will strive for their respective crowns. The night is hosted and judged by local group Secret Pants (new interview up!) and Animosity Pierre will also be performing. A crisp ten dollar bill will get you in. Set to compete are:

Stand-up:
Pat House - Temple University
Ryan Carey - Drexel Univesity
Katie Decker (won New Jersey's Funniest Female 2007) - Gloucester County College
Thomas Wilkerson - Philadelphia Community College
Steve Mohima - Temple
Jimmy Viola - Temple
Gordon Baker-Bone - Farleigh Dickinson
Steve Gerben (won Philly's Phunniest 2007) - Drexel
Adam Levine - Drexel
Brian Merusi - University of the Sciences

Sketch:
Bloomers - UPenn
Boy Meets Tractor - Swarthmore
Lighted Fools - Haverford/Bryn Mawr
Everyone Looks Better in a Paper Bag - Temple
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RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/15

We’re back with more coverage of ‘The Colbert Report’ TV taping in Philadelphia in lieu of the Pennsylvania primary in less than a week.

Local hip-hop group The Roots opened the show with a shredding punk rock version of the theme song. With John Legend last night and The Roots tonight, is the show going to have a musical guest every night? Who’s lined up for the rest of the week? Hall & Oates? The Hooters?

Thankfully, Ben Franklin is back again as a sidekick of sorts on the side stage and thankfully he is quickly disregarded for talking silly.

The popular running segment ‘The Word’ returns. Tonight it was “tradition”.

Says Colbert: “Personally I love being condescended to. And so do the wonderful people of Pennsylvania.” And with that he produces a jersey of all four major Philly sports teams. Thundering applause.

Stephen Colbert the comedian works very hard to make sure he never breaks the character of Stephen Colbert the conservative political pundit. The whole show is based off of this premise. So you just have to love how Colbert can’t help but to grin at some of the jokes, in a way of saying “this one is pretty damn funny”. As he compared Clinton telling the tale of her father teaching her how to shoot a gun to Dick Cheney having a similar story, he couldn’t help smiling at the punchline: “only his [gun story] ends with shooting his father in the face.”

Time for a video segment! Colbert hits the streets to find out what Philadelphia is really about. He visits the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Why not the hidden secrets like Johnny Brenda’s or that one DJ night that no one has heard about?

Back to the steps of the Art Museum, but the show is smart enough to skewer the cliché of running up the steps. And no mentions of cheese steaks still.

Good Michelle Obama interview, but a little bland. Colbert took the opportunity to continue to plead for Barack to come on the show, we’ll see if it works.

After the last commercial break, The Roots closed it out with a Hendrix-esque version of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ before smashing their guitars. And that’s it. No word yet on who the guests will be for Wednesday’s show (Clinton is set for the finale on Thursday).

RELATED:
Fantasy Philadelphia Guest if Stephen Had a Show in 1991
Mayor Nutter and Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation welcome ‘The Colbert Report’ to Philadelphia
Colbert on Larry King
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

THE MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES

Late last night we received an anonymous email that contained the two images below. The jokes have been redacted to the point that they are not funny at all.




Included was the message:
THERE ARE NO SECRET JOKES. IF THERE WERE SECRET JOKES, YOU CAN BET THEY WOULD BE PRETTY FUNNY--BUT YOU WOULD BE BETTING YOUR LIFE (AND YOU WOULD LOSE). WE KNOW YOU DID IT. STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES. WE DIDN'T WRITE THIS. SETTLE DOWN. START A FAMILY. OBEY YOUR THIRST.
MINISTRYOFSECRETJOKES.COM
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Eagles and Patton Oswalt Fans take note

Got some Eagles gear, a few free days, a yearning to be an extra in a movie and a love of Patton Oswalt. Comedy Central Insider has details on how you can help the cause:

The film is directed by former Onion editor Rob Siegel (he also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film The Wrestler). Extras are needed to play Philadelphia Eagles fans, so if you have Eagles gear, so much the better.

It is not a paying gig (the film is being independently financed on a shoestring), but it includes beer and food, and Staten Island.

We need to fill up a sports bar in Staten Island this Wednesday and Thursday with rowdy football fans for a big scene.

Can you make it to the set to perform as an extra, for one or both days? We need people there from 9:30 am until 7 pm. We need the most people on Wednesday, but if you can make it both days, that's great. Please bring your friends too. Everyone is welcome!

This Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:30 am to 7 pm
Free lunch and dinner will be provided, and some free beers

Sharkey's Sports Bar
1221 Bay Street (between Hylan Blvd. and Maryland Ave.)
Staten Island, NY 10305
phone: 718-390-0339

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RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/14

Finally the time has come for 'The Colbert Report' to report (hard “t”) from Philadelphia. And being that Comic Vs. Audience is a comedy blog for Philadelphia and The Colbert Report is a comedy TV show in Philadelphia this week, it makes sense to recap the show from the comfort of our own living room.

The set has always been important to 'The Colbert Report' and this live show was no different. There was a red, white and blue motif with a portrait of native son Bill Cosby and, to prove that he was in Pennsylvania, there was a map of the state behind Colbert.

The show opened with John Legend singing the national anthem with Colbert backing him up. We aren’t sure why you need the national anthem at a TV taping, but I guess if you can get John Legend, you do it.

For true Philadelphia flavor, Ben Franklin helmed the side map area spouting off silly proverbs such as “If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun.”

Why Philadelphia, Mr. Colbert? “Pennsylvania will have a decisive voice in whether it be for the first time a woman or an elitist secret Muslim.” After a quick wrap-up of the Democratic race so far, Colbert addressed the recent Obama controversy with the best line of the night: “You don’t cling to your gun because you are bitter. You shoot your gun because you are bitter. Then you cling to it because it’s so nice and warm.”

After this wrap-up, Colbert got local by addressing Philadelphia’s violence problem and the five gun laws that Mayor Nutter signed last week. When the crowd applauded at this point, Colbert said, “Do you hear them? Do you hear them cheering guns?”

Then out came Nutter, waving and bowing so much that it took him quite some time to make it over to the desk. He’s a savvy, congenial guy, but we imagine he doesn’t have too much experience on late-night comedy shows.

When Colbert asked Nutter why he signed the laws, he replied, “because we don’t like people getting shot in Philadelphia.” Zing! Nutter is endorsing Clinton and as he stated his case for her being the most qualified candidate there was a single audible chuckle from an audience member.

And then Nutter was off. With Hardball’s Chris Matthews as the main guest, they really had to cram him in there.

Matthews is a native of Philadelphia, which earned him some applause right off the bat. When Colbert asked him how the candidates can please Pennsylvania, Matthews replied that they should “tell them that they’re not bitter.” Colbert replied that he doesn’t think people of Pennsylvania are bitter “and I’ve licked a few”. Matthews continued by saying that he thought Clinton had eight points over Obama, but now it was probably around ten.

Next, Colbert brought up the rumor that Matthews may be running for Arlen Specter’s Congressional seat in 2010 and proceeded to try to prod him into making an announcement that night. “Did you ever want to be something your whole life?" Matthews said. "Some kids wanted to be a fireman; I want to be a Senator. But I have to deal with these things as they come.” Not exactly an announcement, oh well.

The crowd was amped throughout, which was no surprise considering how lucky they probably felt to get in and Colbert had them eating out of his hand. After a brief discussion on ward bosses (they failed to mention that Obama recently told local ward bosses he won't give them street money), Colbert remarked that he was the ward boss for America’s youth. “Let me ask you something. Would you vote the way I told you to?” Thundering applause. “Then why won’t the candidates coming here?”

And that was it. The guest for Tuesday’s show include The Roots and potential first lady Michelle Obama. And, Colbert also promised that he would learn how to pronounce “Schuylkill”. We don’t want to predict anything, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could see Obama and Clinton on by the end of the week. Matthews brought up Clinton coming on later in the week, but it’s hard to tell if Colbert was bluffing or covering up with his “we like to surprise people with our guests” reply. Either way, the show is suspiciously not announcing any guests for the Wednesday and Thursday shows.

UPDATE: Clinton confirmed as a guest for Thursday's show! Turns out Matthews did spill the beans yesterday. Still nothing from Obama though.

The Daily Pennsylvanian is all over the story with an article here and another on Nutter's appearance here

More here as it develops!
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Chris Rock and Steven Wright do each other's material



From Comedy Central's Night Of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert for Autism Education

This was definitely the highlight of the night, which was often not that funny except for how loose it all felt because it was live.
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THIS WEEK: The Colbert Report in Philadelphia

In case you didn't know, The Colbert Report will invade our fair city of Philadelphia this week for coverage of the upcoming Democracy primary on April 22nd (don't forget). All shows will be live to tape at the Zellerbach Center on the University of Pennsylvania campus (3680 Walnut St). It's the first time the show has been out of their NYC studio:

"It's like doing the show all over again," said Colbert. "It's like October 2005 because it's a new set, new graphics, coming up with a new opening every night, trying to give everything special touches."

Special guests include John Legend (who will sing the "Star Spangled Banner"), Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (endorsing Clinton), Governor Ed Rendell (endorsing Clinton), Chris Matthews (Philly native; sez Colbert: “doesn't have half as hard a ball as I swing.”), Congressman Patrick J. Murphy (endorsing Obama) and rap group the Roots (new album out the 29th!). UPDATE: Potential first lady Michelle Obama to appear on Tuesday's show



Colbert has recently been immersing himself in Philadelphia culture including a segment on the show where he reveals the ingredients in a cheese steak. And a staff member, "Avery", has discussed Philadelphia fashion, Philadelphia slang and the best place for cheese steaks. For the record, we have no idea what the Philadelphia Tuxedo is.

But golly, we love our cheese steaks!

Tickets were announced during a show last month and were reportedly all snatched up by the late airing of that episode. On Craigslist, people are willing to pay upwards of $125 for a ticket even though they are supposedly non-transferable. If you are really desperate, Comedy Central Insider's got info on your last chance at standby:
Individuals may sign up for standby tickets at 10am in front of the theater the day of the taping. Sorry, we are not able to guarantee entry. Standby ticket holders will then be able to leave and return back at 6:15pm. Standbys are only let in if there is room after general ticket holders. Everyone attending must be at least 18 years old and have a valid government issued photo ID.
Hey, Mr. Colbert, have anything else to say about Philadelphia?

Well, first of all, Philadelphia's an easy place to go, and it's got plenty to talk about. It's got Founding Fathers, it's got Ben Franklin, it's got the Liberty Bell, it's got Independence Hall ... It's got plenty of fodder for my character. And ... it's the closest city in Pennsylvania to New York. It's an easy trip. And the cheesesteaks.

"Plus, it's just across the river from Camden, New Jersey!"

UPDATE: Hey, I've been to the Arden Theater...

My wife performed down there. It's not completely unknown space to me. And my character's happy to claim he grew up there.


More later as we're pretty sure this is one of those "developing" stories.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

KIDS IN THE HALL: Controversial Opening

The Kids in the Hall plan for their national tour...and decide on a controversial opening.



Don't forget they'll be at the Keswick Theatre on April 30th!

RELATED: The Onion AV Club interviews the kids
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Your assassination-free comedy news of the week

Pictured: President Garfield getting assassinated

The Flight of the Conchords are coming to the Tower Theatre on May 5th and tickets go on-sale tomorrow at 10AM. Their debut album will be released on April 22nd via Sub Pop Records.

Artie Lange quits The Howard Stern show and Punchline Magazine has posted the audio. No word on the official Howard Stern website yet.

"The Daily Show" correspondent and creepy guy on Curb Your Enthusiasm and in The Ten, Rob Corddry, will play press secretary Ari Fleischer in Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic W.

A bunch of NYC comics went down to the New Orleans Comedy and Arts Festival. Recaps here and here.

During the recent WFMU marathon, the guys at the Seven Second Delay show (praised here) were waterboarded for pledges. They were suspended by the FCC for the next two shows, not because of this, but because host Andy Breckman said a naughty four letter word on-air. So: waterboarding ok, swearing, not.

Bob Odenkirk will play Mike Birbiglia's older brother in his pilot "Mike Birbiglia's Secret Public Journal". In the same article there's a brief mention of The State's Ken Marino starring in "Outnumbered", a new pilot for Fox.

So I guess it's pilot season? Odenkirk's other new show, "David's Situation", will be filming live in front of a studio audience in May.

Totally random list of the Top 50 Comedy Sketches of All Time. Ok.

The Onion's A.V. Club interview Kids In The Hall. All five of them!

If you're really desperate to see The Colbert Report here next week, here's what you can do. And don't forget your daily dose of cheese steaks at the Liberty Bell with the Rocky theme in your head! Because that's what we all do, right? Seriously, we love cheese steaks so much sometimes we wear them as hats. And every morning we jump out of bed to the bold chimes of the Liberty Bell to run up the Art Museum stairs! We also work in meat factories and enjoy flying our kites in thunderstorms. You know, Philly stuff.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Feeko Brothers - Brenda's Song

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The Feeko Brothers are Philadelphia's Christian Alsis and Billy Thompson.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

THIS WEEK AT HELIUM: Rodney Laney



with Hannibal Buress & Pete Kuempel

Wed. 4/9 - 8PM
Thurs. 4/10 - 8PM
Fri. 4/11 - 8 & 10:30PM
Sat. 4/12 - 8 & 10:30PM

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INTERVIEW: Brendan Kennedy


Brendan Kennedy is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian that, because of his "mean-spirited" sense of humor, often performs in bars. He's in the group People Were Outraged with his friends Benny Michaels and Mike Rainey that will be performing Friday the 18th at the Walking Fish Theatre (2509 Frankford Ave.) with Jason Mackhouse and host Doogie Horner.

How and why did you get into stand-up?
I’ve always been writing comedy, even in essays. And in school they don’t really appreciate it in essay format, but I’ve always enjoyed comedy and always been a big fan of it. And I’ve always written skits and when I went to film school I always made funny videos unless they told me otherwise. And then eventually I got the balls and went up and did it on stage and it went well for the first time. I had a hand in my pocket and shaking, but people were laughing. I told some awful story about getting really drunk and taking a dump in the shower accidentally. (laughs) Yeah. And it went from there.

Is that still in your set?
No. I told it twice. At first I didn’t realize that comics are scumbags and they were the only ones laughing at it, so the second time they were like “we already heard that.” And that was that, it was over.

What is People Were Outraged?
It’s a comedy group made up me and my two friends Benny Michaels and Mike Rainey. The three of us, in addition to being relatively new, say horrendous things at a lot of clubs that a lot of audiences don’t appreciate it or want to hear. So we play a lot of bars and the three of us have the most fun on those shows when we are hanging out like that because we like busting on each others’ balls and ripping each other like that. And we all have the same sense of humor and don’t get offended like some people do, so it’s a really good time. And we figured it would be a good way to come together because if I can get five people out, Benny can get five people out and Mike can get five people out, that’s 15 people plus the twelve rooms than you almost have a packed, tiny neighborhood bar and it’s a good time.

So you’re performing at places that usually don’t have comedy?

Right, usually places will hire someone to play the piano and do Bon Jovi covers and play songs that drunk people want to hear, but we go up there and tell jokes that drunk people want to hear. There’s a little bit of pandering, but once you open them up they’re willing to listen to more experimental stuff and it’s fun.

Do you get a lot of hecklers?

Yeah, in a bar you do and I understand because if I wasn’t on stage than I would probably be a person yelling out at a bar show. So I like those people and I get along great with them and I love busting them back because I think that’s what most hecklers want, they just want to have fun and be a part of it. It’s [heckling] very rude when someone is up there and trying to do something serious, but in a bar... Usually I’m on a three foot by three foot box that’s twelve inches high, so that doesn’t really command respect and I really don’t care. It’s fun to just rip on them and have fun.

Do people know ahead of time that there’s a going to be comedy?

Yeah, the bars will usually put it like “Two dollar Jager bombs – Comedy Show.” (laughs) It’s always hilarious to me when a local looks up from the sports game on TV drunk to see you getting on stage. I actually had one guy go “oh, what the fuck.” But he was great because he started heckling with some funny stuff and it’s a comedy show, he’s saying funny stuff and as long as I come back with funny stuff it’s a good time for everybody. We talked about mittens because this guy was drunk with mittens on so I said “how are you wearing mittens and talking shit to anybody?”

What can people expect from your upcoming show at the Walking Fish Theatre?
You can expect awesomeness from one Mr. Jason Mackhouse. He’s been known as the King of Bombedy, aka Jason Mac-hizzle Mac-house. Pretty much he’s amazing. And if you’ve never seen him, he’s a 32 year-old stereotypical Jewish person who lives with his mother, works for the IRS, spent eight years in the military as a trained sniper and wears t-shirts with pictures of Darth Vader on them that he tucks into his sweatpants. And is going to be the greatest fucking thing ever. It’s going to be a fun show. Doogie [Horner] is hosting, Doogie’s hilarious. And Mike, Benny and I are looking forward to it because we like to be as uncensored and mean-spirited as possible, but it’s all a joke so anything you say mean at a comedy show should be taken as a joke. But we do a lot of shows where the crowd doesn’t know what’s happening, “oh, this guy’s really mean”, no, it’s a comedy club, did you not notice what happened when you walked in? Its mean humor and either people enjoy or it or they don’t. This will have people knowing what they are going to see and it should be pretty cool.


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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

HILARIOUSLY WASTING TIME: Someecards.com


Blue Mountain and Hallmark e-cards just can't express how you feel? Or, got about four hours to waste spend looking at online greeting cards? Then peruse Someecards.com for all your shallow emotional needs.


It's basically an ever-growing collection of one-liners set to sometimes nonsensical sketches and portraits.


Sometimes whimsical, often self-deprecating and occasionally plain out mean, but always hilarious.


What started as a hobby between two business partners has turned in to a modest money-maker with about a dozen contributors. The writing is succint and effective like a good one-liner should be. So it's no surprise that co-founder Brook Lundy used to be a writer for The Onion.


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Monday, April 7, 2008

THE STAND UPPITY TOUR: Comedy That Makes You Feel Better About Yourself and Superior To Others


From The Holy !*@#^%#@$ Department: Stand-up giants Eugene Mirman, Marc Maron and Andy Kindler are touring together in May as The Stand Uppity Tour: Comedy That Makes You Feel Better About Yourself and Superior To Others, sponsored by 23/6.



Their Myspace page has dates, and tragically they aren't coming anywhere near Philadelphia or the East Coast in general.

May 11 2008 7:00P
Southgate House Newport KY

May 12 2008 9:00P
Lake Shore Theater Chicago IL

May 13 2008 7:00P
Turf Club St Paul MN

May 14 2008 7:00P
The Aquarium @ Dempseys Fargo ND

May 17 2008 7:00P
Neurolux Boise ID

May 18 2008 8:00P
McMenamins Bagdad Theater Portland OR

May 20 2008 7:00P
Mezzanine San Francisco CA

May 22 2008 7:00P
Echo Plex Los Angeles CA

May 26 2008 7:00P
Sasquatch Music Festival - Comedy Tent at Gorge Ampitheater George WA

There doesn't seem to be much additional info at this point, so perhaps an East Coast run is still in the works? We can only pray to the big man with the gray beard in the sky.

Good lookin' out by Whip It Out Comedy
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Coming Soon...


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HERE WE GO AGAIN: C-Spot

Sony Pictures is behind C-Spot, a new web comedy video channel that enters the already crowded internet video comedy field:

“We've tapped very talented individuals, both established and up-and-coming, to create a spectrum of original Web series that showcase irreverent characters and stories,” said Sony Pictures Television senior executive vice president Sean Carey. “By updating the content daily, we're looking to engage, entertain and continue to feed the appetite of digital media users seeking more than just one-off viral videos.”
There's currently six episodic series up: Gaytown, Hot, Hot Los Angeles, The Writers Room (featuring comic Kevin Pollak, sort of), The Roadents, Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show and Best of Penn Says with probably more to come.
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Friday, April 4, 2008

DUCK, DUCK, NOOSE: A Local Man's Sad Commute is Truly a Buzz-Kill, by Chip Chantry

Chip Chantry is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian that will be headlining at Chuckles Comedy Club in Audubon, PA (827 Trooper Rd.) this Saturday the 5th and at THE MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES at Fergie's Pub on Wednesday, April 30th (1214 Sansom St.).

It's a shame about Ray.

Quitting time at the top of the Comcast Tower on Market Street in Philadelphia is 4pm for the construction workers on the day shift. The last I-Beam has been welded. The final mirrored window, hoisted into place by the nodding crane, now reflects the sun, making its daily descent to meet with the glimmering Schuylkill.

For most, this is a time for celebration. Some workers hop in their pickup trucks, beating the afternoon rush, arriving home in time for dinner with the wife and kids. Others will make their way to the train or the bus to hurry home for a night of relaxation. Also, there is always the familiar crew who stop off at the corner bar to put back a few pints and enjoy some time with their friends.

Then there is Ray.

Ray Tosco, 38, of Mayfair, finds himself sitting alone, toolbox and hard hat in hand, waiting for his ride to pick him up. He may not look alone; he is, in fact, surrounded by dozens of families, excited children, and giddy tourists donning fanny packs and Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts snapping photos. But, in his heart, he has never felt so lonely. So lonely, or, in fact, so ashamed.

"I can't believe I done this," laments the burly, mustachioed steelworker. "It's the worst mistake I ever made. It's horrible. I just wanna ride the bus."

Tosco used to ride the bus. Every day, to and from work. He always kept his monthly SEPTA bus pass in his wallet, right behind his Quiznos Points Plus card. "I love those sandwiches," he admits, with a sad smile.

Ray Tosco no longer has a bus pass. At least not until September. In its place, nestled behind the Quiznos card, safely tucked into his Velcro wallet, is a constant reminder of the colossal mistake that he made only a few weeks ago.

"I bought a FUCKING Duck pass!" cries Tosco, on the verge of tears- a sad sight for such a strong man. "I din't mean to. It wasn't 'posed to happen like dis."

Ray's story dates back to February 29th of this year- Leap Day, for you believers. Thinking that February went to the 30th on leap year, Ray was shocked to find out that it was the last day of the month. As he exited the bus, he quickly made his way to the ticket office to purchase a monthly bus pass for March. After the hasty transaction, Ray realized there was a miscommunication. Instead of the bus card, he had mistakenly purchased a season pass to the "Ride the Duck" tour, which utilizes an amphibious vehicle that winds through the streets and waterways of Philadelphia. "The Duck" takes tourists around to historic sites, such as Independence Hall, The Betsy Ross House, and the Philadelphia Mint.

"It's the most Quack-tacular tour in Philly!" proclaims tour guide Kelly Scherer, a homely fireplug of a woman, whose brown perm protrudes through her weathered Phillies visor. "Since I started giving tours on the Duck five years ago, I haven't stopped smiling!"

"That crazy bitch never stops smiling," explains Tosco. Some days I wanna take dis soldering iron right to her face. I'm gonna snap if I have to listen to her much longer."

It's not just Scherer that Tosco has to deal with. The pushy tourists, the loud, obnoxious music, and the ever-present duck-bill callers buzz like kazoos of horror in Ray's ears. And the agony is extended. A commute that used to take 25 minutes now takes and hour and a half.

"The bus used to go straight up 95. Now we weave through town all day. Plus we ride up and down the river. Every time we splash into the water, I hope the thing flips over, and takes everyone with it. And that music, and the buzzers... If I have to hear 20 kids named Chelsea and Brandon sing 'YMCA' or do the "Macarena" dance one more time, I may start crying."

A crying man on a Duck tour? You would think that bothers Ray, but it doesn't. "People already look at me like I'm a jerkoff or a pederast. I don't know what's worse, when people are afraid of me at first, or when that tour guide bitch announces to everyone over the microphone why I'm on the Duck. I think about killin' myself a lot at night."

One may think that there is a simple solution to the problem- just get a refund, or trade it in for the bus pass. But it's not that easy. "All sales are final- no refunds," Scherer tells us, as she shoves a sleeve of Double Stuff Oreos in her fat, greasy face. "I understand Mr. Tosco is not happy with his situation, but we are trying to accommodate him. We give him preferential seating, free foldable maps, pamphlets, and we provide him with a new duck bill buzzer every day!"

"They make me wear that fuckin' kazoo around my neck, and they yell at me when I take it off. I look like a retard," laments Tosco.

Public humiliation is not the only danger that Ray faces each day. "Do you know how many teenagers on South Street throw firecrackers at this thing everyday? I've been hit with three this week. I can't hear out of my left ear."

Unfortunately for Ray, this is his lot until September 1st, when the pass expires. Between alimony and child support, he cannot afford to buy another monthly bus pass, and has accepted his cruel fate for the coming months.

The one positive note for Tosco is that Gene, the Duck driver, has agreed to drop him off in his neighborhood each day after the tour is over. Although, as mandated by the tour company, Gene, a retired public school teacher, must keep the music playing the entire time. "He's always playing 'Who Let the Dogs Out' when he gets to my block. I always have him drop me off around the corner. I can't let my neighbors see me in that. They'd egg my house if they saw me riding that fag-wagon everyday."

"I don't appreciate it when Mr. Tosco refers to our duck as an 'F-wagon', responds Scherer as she sweats through her tour guide uniform on a brisk day in mid-March. "I don't think he appreciates the rich history and culture that we share with our patrons."

When asked about the historic benefits of riding the Duck, Tosco laughed. "They drive past the Philly Vietnam Memorial while blasting 'Summer of '69'.! My uncle died in Nam. And now I get to 'honor' him every afternoon with a Bryan Adams tune? That little prick's CANADIAN!"

It looks as if this will be a long summer for Ray Tosco. But will he miss it when it's gone?

When asked if he will ever ride the Duck again after his summer pass has expired, Tosco looked at me, as if puzzled, and had this to offer: "A little girl threw up on my leg yesterday. What the fuck do you think??"
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With that said, onwards to the links of the week, although we don't know the point of it is if we aren't getting paid...

Only two years since his last album, Marc Maron is recording another this weekend in Seattle. Here he is on Conan.

Jerry Seinfeld got in a car crash in the Hamptons. Insert your own "What's the deal with" joke here.

Will Ferrell takes his shirt off in his new movie, Step Brothers. Here's the trailer.

Mike Myers makes fun of a midget in his new movie, The Love Guru. Here's an early review and the trailer

A Chris Farley biography will be released May 6th.

Amy Poehler interviewed by the A.V. Club.

Ray Romano may be back on TV, this time in his drama "Men of a Certain Age" for TNT.

Bob Odenkirk, Paul F. Tompkins, Jay Johnston, Matt Besser and more read from Comedy By The Numbers at the UCB-LA for an audiobook version so that you can be funny even if you can't read. And, The Sound of Young America recently interviewed the authors.

Jens Hannemann drum sticks will be on sale soon through Drag City Records.

Oh golly did Google.com (pretty good search engine, check it out) get us all with their April Fools joke this year in the C vs. A office! Boy did we look like a "fool"! Other great pranks included the "cracked computer screen" and the "upside-down computer screen" which each take about three seconds to realize are jokes and remind you that your co-workers are kind of boring. Seriously, a pie in the face would be funnier than these.

The Bruno movie has so far danced in the Wichita, Kansas airport and interviewed Ben Affleck

An interview with Andy Kindler.

Joe Rogan is at Helium this week and Temple News have an interview.
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