Thursday, October 30, 2008

THIS WEEKEND: The Action Section at the Shubin Theatre

This weekend, fairly-new Philadelphia sketch group The Action Section (made up of Justin Damm, Billy Dee, Eric Humble, and Joe Gribbin) will hold four ghastly shows of comedy with the Philly Improv Theater in The Action Section Halloween Spectacular.

According to a recent interview in the PHIT newsletter, the group have done a few live shows in the past, but nothing as extensive as this. The bulk of their work consists of short videos on Youtube, a few of which we've included below.

Thursday, October 30, @ 8:00pm (with Rare Bird Show)
Friday, October 31, @ 8:00pm (with Illegal Refill)
Saturday, November 1, @ 8:00pm (with Rare Bird Show)
Sunday, November 2, @ 8:00pm (with Secret Pants)

Tree Surgeon

The Rematch

Send Error Report


ACTING CLASS, Part 4 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 and III]

By the way, Gregg will be performing at our Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show on Monday, November 3rd at the Shubin Theatre and his show, Bedtime Stories, is on Wednesday, November 5th.


I walked into class during the middle of the first sketch being performed, as Class Junkie was in front of the class, doing something with a coffee filter. I could not figure what was going on, since his back faced everyone. It looked like he may have been pretending to stuff a coffee filter down the throat of a sick loved one.

"That was really fantastic," said Bob. "Really, a great job. But can you do it again for us? This time, face us as you do it."

Class Junkie proceeded to do his sketch again, this time it was a little clearer as to what he actually performed – simply preparing the morning coffee.

"I can tell from your facial expressions when you were doing this that you do this a lot," Bob said.

"Yep. Every morning. At 4:30 a.m.," Class Junkie said, who sighed existentially.

But all is not bad in Class Junkie's life. Bob asked him how he felt performing in front of everyone. "I'm really content with what I did," the white-haired gentleman said. "The last time I acted, I was Tiny Tim!"

Up next was Voice Box Girl. "He only had one prop. I have a whole bunch? Is that okay, or am I going to get in trouble," she pathetically asked. Bob assured her that this was okay.

Voice Box Girl's sketch involved her putting on makeup, getting ready for a night out on the town-- no doubt to the local TGIFriday's. She began by combing her hair-- which made a loud noise as the brush ripped through her many, many teased roots. She continued to put on her makeup throughout the sketch. Afterwards, Bob told her to pantomime putting on her makeup this time, forsaking the props.

"I don't know how good it will be," Voice Box Girl said. But again, Bob used his soothing carnival-barker voice to coach her through it.

"That was awesome," responded the Overly Competitive Hindu-- with a trace of jealousy in his voice.

"I never want to hear that word out of your mouth again. I never want you to tell me that you cannot mime ever again," exclaimed Bob.

Up next came one of the Interchangeable Housewives. I couldn't tell them apart, and curiously, I don't think I ever saw them in the same place at the same time. So maybe they were the same person? But I don't think they were. I could have sworn there were two Interchangeable Steel Magnolia Fans, but I counted three since the first week.

The Interchangeable Housewife's performance was surprisingly not anonymous and instead was really, really frightening. She had a one-sided phone conversation with a colleague by the name of "Kim"-- apparently, she's a therapist of some sort. Her piece was a bizarre combination about someone suffering from the dual affects of colon cancer and child molestation, with someone having to call DYFUS – New Jersey’s child protective service -- and a mental health professional.

Bob took a break after her performance ("I've been drinking water ALL day. I gotta go GO GO!") which gave the class a chance to talk about the last piece. Voice Box Girl asked what DYFUS was.

"It's the Department of Youth and Family Services," she explained. "That's who gets called in case someone gets abused at home."

"Oh. So that's who you call if someone is abused at home?"

The Cute Girl (again wearing her swank red Kool Moe Dee sneakers) then informed us that she used to be a teacher. "It's really hard to get DYFUS involved with cases, I found. It's tough, especially with statute of limitation laws."

Voice Box Girl was trying to follow. "What does that mean, Statue of Libertation?"

Sagging Breasts then chimed in with some commentary about special education. "My sister-in-law teaches special education. They were talking to all of the students about being abused and telling them about how to say no and what to do if they were being abused at home. The next day, all the kids said that they were abused and were crying. It was really funny."

After our break, The Hemaphroditic German set up for her piece. Apparently, babies play a large role in her life. A baby formula box stood prominently on a stool, with a crying baby face and center. She began by shaking out baby diapers and folding them, fidgeting with the formula box, then inexplicably went towards the back of the performing space where she needlessly ran in space. Then, she returned to the front of the stage and picked up a phone-- a high concept "two-in-one" of both pantomime and a phone conversation.

"Hello? Hello? I am not sure I understand," she said in her accented English to a made-up person. " I am very busy caring for my Godchild. Is that the word I am looking for? Godchild? Wait-- did you say I can get four free tickets to Hawaii? No, I don't want to go to Atlanta to pick them up. I do not want to pick up the tickets with my child. He is almost one. I do not understand, how can you give away tickets worth $3,000 dollars? Plus a free place to stay? There must be some strings. I WILL NOT MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOU. Please leave me alone. I beg you. Please leave me off this phone."

Bob then asked The Hemaphroditic German if she was confused on the phone with telemarketers. She was. "They talk so fast. It confuses me."

Bob, omnipotent far beyond acting, advised us on how to handle telemarketing phone calls. "Here's a hint. Say to the telemarketer that you would like them to be placed on their no call list. If they call again, you say to them 'You're breaking the law' and then they usually hang up."

We had one more performance left, and I edged out The Latino Bohunk and The Overly Competitive Hindu to go last.

Earlier in the day, I had gotten props for my skit-- two bottles of ketchup purchased from Foodtown and a blue fanny pack borrowed from my mom.

I arranged a very elaborate set-up compared to everyone else, arranging chairs and a bench next to each other. I then placed my ketchup bottles (one generic brand, one Heinz) on the bench and grabbed other props-- the baby formula, pieces of garbage laying around, other stuff laying around, simulating supermarket shelves.

I then pantomimed walking down the aisles of a supermarket in a bad mood, angrily purchasing my food, throwing bushels of food into a cart.

"Very good," Bob said. "But I want you to try this again."

Then he said the words that would change my acting career forever.

"This time... pretend you have diabetes."

So I did. I prepared for this new dramatic role by repeating the word "diabetes" several times as I walked through the performance area. "I now have diabetes," became my mantra, as I repeated them out loud. I went through the aisles, analyzing make-believe cans of food for their sugar content. I did not put the ketchup bottles in the shopping cart. Bob asked why when I was done.

"High fructose corn syrup. You have to watch out for that when you're a diabetic like me."

Then, I started to clean up my performance area as Bob told the class about what I did differently-- how I reached for the shelves with a more direct focus. I'm certain everyone now thinks that I have some issues regarding a compulsion to clean.

After class, The Cute Girl and The Voice Box Girl started talking about where they were from-- Glen Ridge and Caldwell, respectively.

They exchanged numbers and decided to get together for lunch this week.

I sensed an opportunity. I approached Cute Girl and asked her if she went to Glen Ridge High School. She said that she did. I asked her if she knew Nick Moore, a colleague of mine I barely knew from work. She did. I then said, meekly, "I know him also." And then I walked away and left.

On my way to the parking lot, I managed to get in a walking group with Class Junkie and The Overly Competitive Hindu who did not have a chance to perform due to time constraints. I asked The OCH what he would perform the next week.

"I'm not sure yet," he said. "I'm thinking about doing something where I get out of a shower."

NEXT WEEK: One of Gregg's classmates gets naked!


We'll resume regular programming soon...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A personal message from Doogie Horner, Minister of Secret Jokes for Philadelphia County

Hello Junior Joketeers,

Since the World Series has been rescheduled for tonight (Wednesday), I have no choice but to cancel the Ministry of Secret Jokes this month. I know nobody would show up, including the performers, and I don't want a repeat of my third grade birthday party.

Congratulations, baseball, you win again! I hope you're happy. Instead of spreading joy and laughter to crippled children at Fergie's Pub, I will be at home, watching the game and making bongs out of objects around the house.

The next Ministry will be November 26th.

Go Phils!

(Click to enlarge)


Kerri Lendo is an Austin-based stand-up comedian that will be featuring for Maria Bamford this Wednesday and Thursday at Helium. This interview was conducted by C vs. A contributor Rashanda La Beats.

How did you first get started in comedy?
The first time I did stand up was an open mic one summer at the Laff Stop in Houston. That was followed by the occasional bar open mics and hookah longues in college at Penn State along with the writing for the humor magazine Phroth. I got the chance to dive into stand up and beyond when I moved to Austin four years ago.

Who are your comedy influences?
I watched everything I could on Comedy Central when I was younger. I'm constantly being influenced by new comics I meet, thats one of the great things about this business. Maria [Bamford] of course is a great influence and role model. I got lots of favorites, Paul F. Tompkins, Lisa Delarios, Martha Kelly, Brent Weinbach, John Mulaney, I could go on and on.

What attracted you to Austin?
My move to Austin wasn’t too calculated. I had been there once for SXSW and it seemed really fun. I knew I wanted something different from the East Coast. I knew I wanted a smaller scene to start out in, Los Angeles and New York seemed too big. I figured I would try Austin and if I didn’t like it I would head to the Northwest. I didn’t know anything specific about the comedy scene, but I knew it was an artsy town and that some kind of scene had to exist. I feel lucky to have stumbled onto such an amazing scene.

Are you keeping Austin weird?
I've been too busy keeping Austin well mannered.

Do you ever cater your set to your audience? Like, the joke I saw you perform at PSU, where you discussed how ridiculous pearl tampons were, would you not do that joke in front of, say, pad wearers?
I definitely have the audience in mind when I am figuring out my setlist. In Austin, you could get a bunch of rowdy UT students or suburbanites getting away from their kids, depends on the club and show you are doing.

How do you balance comedy and the 9 to 5 job?
Lots of naps.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Please excuse our lack of posts this week as Phillies Phever (clever!) has taken over the city and there's nothing going on comedy-wise.

For those comedy nerds that don't follow baseball, Game 5 held the promise of an end to the World Series with the Fightin' Phils triumphant. But, in sixth inning, the game was suspended due to downpour. The plan is to try to fit the game in tonight, but it's raining like a mother again right now. Until then, the city is in a holding pattern and it doesn't appear that anyone wants to go to a comedy show if it means missing the biggest sports moment for Philadelphia in 25 years.

UPDATE: The game has been canceled for tonight and they'll try to play those last 3.5 innings Wednesday.


Friday, October 24, 2008

ANIMOSITY PIERRE: The Inventionors Ep. Five

(Debuted at last night's DUOS show).

Catch up with past Inventionors videos.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 3 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 and II]

Gregg will be performing at our Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show on Monday, November 3rd at the Shubin Theatre.


The Cute Girl was back. This week, she passed an important test in my eyes, the footwear test. I will not date a girl if she wears retarded shoes. The Cute Girl was wearing these red suede Adidas shell-tops. Apparently, she shops at the same place Run DMC do.

Tonight’s class was more of a traditional class setting, as tradition as it can be with these people. Bob handed us these shoddy photocopied diagrams of a stage with words like “stage left” and “downstage” written on them in Bob’s Richard Ramirez-esque handwriting.

Bob began by telling us how “stage left” actually means to the right and how “stage right is actually to the left. Bob said this usually confused people, but not him. “I’m lefthanded… AND dyslexic!”

Bob then talked to us about the stage theory of “cheating” to help better communicate with the audience via positioning and playing the angles. Bob brought The Overly Competitive Hindu with him up on stage, and positioned him at an acute angle.

“You never see men talking like this -- but, honey, that’s another story altogether. But just remember, the only place where cheating is good is in theater and in gambling!”

Bob then went on to discuss the art of pantomime. He name-dropped some theater actress who was in a production of “Our Town” which had no props. Bob then imitated her pantomimes -- “She had all her eggs here and her pots and pans here.”

“It is like a kitchen came to life right in front of my eyes,” said The Hemaphroditic German, whose mouth was dropped like she had just witnessed a Christian miracle.

Bob then turned to the topic of improvisational theater, a topic close to my heart due to brother’s involvement with the UCB Theater. Bob began by going into a tirade railing against the tyranny that is improv.

“They act like they are just making things all up, but they really all have a lot of practice doing what they are doing. Believe you me, it’s not as made up as it seems.” He spoke with vengeful happiness while tearing down the oppressive walls of improv comedy, revealing the truth to us like he was The Masked Magician, speaking in hushed tones as to how the biz really works.

Bob then discussed with us about theater superstitions like “Break A Leg.” One superstition, we learned, is to wear an article of clothing from a previously successful show. This works, according to Bob.

“I was in a show in Morristown once. We had some wardrobe froma pervious show and I got to wear a jacket that was previously worn by…”

He paused for dramatic effect.

“JIM DALE. You know, THE JIM DALE? He had just finished a great run... just an absolutely fantastic run… And then I myself had a pretty good show, also. But what really surprised me… Jim Dale is the same size as me! The jacket fit perfectly!”

Bob, also, speaks at times like a vaudevillian carnival huckster, for no apparent reason. “Doesh anyong hath any quethstonth about thith shtuff?”

Bob mentioned Debbie Reynolds, whom he said in a 1996 performance brought her own kitchen to the set so she would feel comfortable in the role. Sagging Breasts asked Bob what Ms. Reynolds did with her kitchen at home.

He drew a blank, and then finally told her, “Well, I guess she has doubles of everything.”

He was then asked about how hard it is to memorize a script. Bob said some people can memorize things rote, others have to do it in stages. Bob described himself as an “organic learner.”

For next week, we have to come up with a short scene of our own. We have two options: we can either do a two-minute scene by ourselves or we can have a three-minute phone conversation by ourselves.

Voice Box Girl, wearing a Heinekin Beer t-shirt tonight, had a hard time picking up this concept. “Wait, so WHAT are we doing this week? Okay, do we have to bring anything in? How can we act without bringing anything in? Nothing? Okay. So, let me get this straight now.”

Bob also mentioned that our scenes had to have some sort of conflict. “Just don’t do ‘something,’” he said. “But you have to do… SOME THING. Act exasperated or tired or unhappy.”

Voice Box Girl again did not pick up on this concept.

“The thing I want to do is that I want to be getting ready to go out on a date. What kind of conflict thing can I have with that really?”

I was writing all of this down. Voice Box Girl saw this and started staring at me. I got nervous, thinking I was caught. She had the dead, cold eyes of a baby murderer. Then she apologized and stared laughing about how she had an itch on her neck.

Sagging Boobs then brought the conversation to the final week, where we have to prepare a monologue. She said she does not want to perform a play, but would rather do a “dramatic reading of a song lyric.” My initial guess was that she would do interpretive dance while reciting the lyrics to Stevie Knicks’ “Edge of Seventeen.”

“Just like the white winged dove…”

As for next week, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. The lover of absurd public situations side of my brain wanted to do something really bizarre, like have a three-minute conversation in Mandarin Chinese. But the journalist side of my brain wanted to remain as “neutral” as possible while watching the behavior of these strange strangers unfold.

At the end of class, we stacked our chairs. The Cute Girl let The Overly Competitive Hindu go first.

“How chivalrous,” he said, giving her a mocking curtsey.

He then took the pen he borrowed from Class Junkie -- he had pens for every person in class a pen -- and threw it side armed at the old man, where it hit him in the throat and fell to the ground.

NEXT WEEK: Next week, one of Gregg's classmates laughs about the possible molestation of retarded children.

DUOS Ticket Giveaway Winner

Jessica Ciaramella is the winner of our DUOS ticket giveaway. She's won two tickets to the show tonight at 8PM at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St.) with Animosity Pierre, Meg & Rob and Dave & Brian. Jessica writes that her favorite comedy duo are Abbott and Costello:

because I have been in love with the "Who's On First" sketch since I was a kid. My friends and I used to reenact it at random...because we were cool like that.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SATURDAY: Christian Finnegan taping new stand-up special in Philadelphia

Stand-up comedian and Best Week Ever panelist Christian Finnegan will be filming his new one-hour stand-up special at The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) this Saturday. The show is FREE. Straight from the source, Christian's Facebook event:

Beloved e-Friends,


Tickets are now available for the live taping of my very first comedy special, "AU CONTRAIRE!". The two big friggin' shows will take place on October 25th at the Trocadero Theater in glorious Philadelphia, PA. It will be a glorious night of awkward personal revelations and hypocritical assaults on your character!

I'm going to lay it bare, folks--this will be the most important night of my comedy life and I want as many friendly faces there as possible. Don't make me bus in a bunch of homeless people!

Some good news: These tapings will be completely free of charge. You hear that, cheapskates? FREE!!! Some more good news: If you attend a taping, there's a very good chance your mug will appear on the tee-vee when Comedy Central airs "Au Contraire!" in early '09. Think you can wait around to reserve your tickets? Au contraire!** Tickets are going to be extremely limited. SO GET YOURS NOW!

To reserve tickets, complete this online form.

Make sure to fill in the "Promo Code" section with the word "Finny". This will get you priority seating--it's my way of rewarding you, my true inter-pals. And this way you can avoid rubbing shoulders with the filthy, teeming masses!

You. Me. A bunch of cameras. What could be more enticing?

I'll see you October 25th, friendlies.

Christian Finnegan,
Ready for his close-up


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Comic Vs. Audience Could Use Your Help (Maybe!)

Are you a writer, photographer, filmmaker, mugger, buggerer or anything else with a thirst for Philadelphia comedy? Comic Vs. Audience could use your help! E-mail comicvsaudience AT gmail DOT com with some samples of your work, something about you, and what you'd be interested in doing. There are non-financial benefits!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: DUOS at Helium, 10/23

This Thursday, Philly Sketchfest presents a special event at the Helium Comedy Club: DUOS: A Night of Sketch Comedy.

In the grand tradition of classic comedy duos such as Abbott & Costello, The Smothers Brothers and Laurel & Hardy, and in the footsteps of modern masters like Tenacious D, The Sklar Brothers and Philly’s own Tim & Eric, PHILLY SKETCHFEST and HELIUM Comedy Club are proud to present DUOS: A Night of Sketch Comedy & Music, featuring ANIMOSITY PIERRE, DAVE and BRIAN, and MEG & ROB. Hosted by Pat House.

And we're giving away a pair of tickets! To enter, e-mail comicvsaudience AT gmail DOT com with the subject "DUOS", your full name and your all-time favorite comedy duo and why. The winner will be chosen at random and will have their name and answer posted here Thursday morning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

COMING SOON: The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show!, 11/3

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
Anton Shuford

To see what the show's like, 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!

Friday, October 17, 2008


First off, congrats to the Philadelphia Phillies on winning the National League pennant. Now let's make the World Series quick, you're killing the city's comedy shows!

A.D Amorosi's "Monday Night Club" comedy and music open mic hosted by Danny Ozark and Dani Mari is moving from The Trocadero to National Mechanics (22 S. 3rd) in Old City. The next show is Monday, October 27th at 9PM.

Connie's Ric Rac on the Italian Market has reopened and Corey Cohen of the sketch group THE SIXTH BOROUGH and improv group MEN ABOUT TOWN has plans. He's starting a new comedy variety show by the name of Steal This Show. The first installment will be Friday, November 7th.

Stand-up Chris Cotton has a new monthly show at Rembrandt's Restaurant & Bar (714 N. 23rd) called the The Kick Back Comedy Show. The first show is Thursday, November 6th. Kent Haines, Pat Barker, Omar Scruggs and Derek Gaines are set to perform.

Improv group Illegal Refill will be performing in the first ever Richmond Improv Festival in Richmond, Virginia on November 7th.

Last April, local sketch groups got together for Welcome to the Terrordome at The M Room and they're back again this November for Welcome to the Terrordome II: Back in the Habit. This time it's a two-night affair and includes stand-up by Doogie Horner, Chip Chantry, Gregg Gethard and sketch by NYC groups The Impending Moustache and The Chris and Paul Show. It's all hosted by 2008's Philly's Phunniest Person Kent Haines.

And speaking of Chip Chantry, he was recently interviewed by

Sketch group The Action Section will be presenting a weekend of Halloween shows with the Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin Theatre Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

E-mail comicvsaudience AT gmail DOT com with your tips, but not your Joe The Plumber jokes.

VIDEO: Philly Improv Theatre house team ACTIVITY BOOK

Today we offer you more video from the Philly Improv Theater house team premieres. Monday it was The Scramble, and up this time is ACTIVITY BOOK, consisting of Mike Schwartz, John Nolan, Jana Savini, Kim Breslin, Jason Stockdale, Alan Williams, and Kelly Jo Little. The group is directed by Rick Horner.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 2 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 1]


We had some defectors. Up to half the class did not show up, including The Cute Girl. This means I am now easily the best looking person in class.

Voice Box Girl, The Hemaphroditic German, The Overly Competitive Hindu, Class Junkie and at least one Interchangeable Housewife showed up. A new woman -- about 35 with Sagging Boobs and, no doubt, ownership of every Tori Amos album – made her debut. Joining her was a large Mexican guy wearing a shirt with no less than seven buttons left open. He dripped sexual charisma. I immediately dubbed him the Latino Bohunk.

The Overly Competitive Hindu walked into class and tripped over an extension chord and fell on his face. He got up and said “I was working on that all week.” Someone watches Who’s Line Is It Anyway! He also added he was impersonating Buster Keaton or, “Johnny Depp pretending to be Buster Keaton.” No wonder the local Blockbuster didn’t have a copy of Benny and Joon.

We began by doing warm-up routines that I usually associate with pony-tailed white guys in their 50’s. We looked into walls and described what we saw, laying on the ground and “relaxing” in a room with complete strangers.

Bob then told us we had to “envision a glow capturing your body, limb by limb, allowing us to reach a state of ultimate relaxation.” While Bob was busy hypnotizing me, I was thinking about how all of this sounded a little bit like Heaven’s Gate. And then I started thinking about how cool it would be if I really WAS trapped in a glowing cage of some sort, like from something in a bad 70’s sci-fi flick. So then I started giggling again and everyone was staring me down.

Next, we stood in a circle. Bob told us the directions: two of us would stand in the middle of the circle and we would take alternating terms describing each other, slowly expanding the depth and breadth of our commentary. He gave an example, telling Voice Box Girl she was wearing glasses. Voice Box Girl then had to repeat what Bob said and then come up with a retort of her own. She told Bob he was very slender.

I went third, pairing me with The Overly Competitive Hindu. He told me I was wearing black sneakers. I repeated that and responded by telling him he had haunting eyes. He then responded my pants were baggy. I then told him he had wispy chest hair.

After a few minutes, he was replaced with an Interchangeable Housewife, clad in a day-glo fanny pack this week. She sprinted up to the middle of the circle. Immediately, she commented on something she noticed about my appearance.

“You have two verrry cute earlobes.”

I then said something generic about her hair.

“You have very well-proportioned eyes,” she said.

For the following week, I was supposed to think of something I do when alone so the class can start to “block” it for a performance. I’m tempted to show the class what I do when I’m actually alone, which is download graphic Internet porn.

Class ended this week with Bob confiding something. Apparently, he’s the worst actor in the history of ever.

He asked the class if anyone came to the theater on Saturday to see his performance in The Crucible. But no one did. He then explained what happened. When he was on stage, he started to “incoherently babble” his lines and started breathing heavy, like he was having a heart attack. He then went off-stage and fell to the ground. The show was immediately stopped while he was rushed to the hospital.

Someone asked him.

“Oh, it was just a panic attack,” he said. “I get them whenever I perform.”


Next week, Bob reveals the truth about improv comedy while also introducing us into the magical world of miming.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VIDEO: Highlights from The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show, 10/6

Last week's Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show was a hilarious and fun night by all accounts, and we're sad that you missed it. Maybe you were busy, maybe you just couldn't get out there...whatever the half-baked excuse, we've compiled a few highlights for you.

(In order of appearance: Tim Ryan, Luke Giordano, Doogie Horner and Chip Chantry)

By the way, the video is Not Safe For Work

The next show will be Monday, November 3rd at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St). More on that to come!

By the way, our Scramble video from earlier this week now has sound! Yay!

David Terruso's LIFE OF LETTERS #12, The Finale

Comic Vs. Audience is proud to present every Wednesday, LIFE OF LETTERS, a new twelve-part comic strip series by David Terruso of the local sketch group Animosity Pierre.

(Click to enlarge)

Animosity Pierre will be performing at DUOS, October 23rd at Helium Comedy Club with Meg & Rob and Dave and Brian.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SECRET PANTS: The Firm of Pagano, Pagano, Tomarelli and Pagano


Monday, October 13, 2008

VIDEO: Philly Improv Theatre house team THE SCRAMBLE

This past weekend, the Philly Improv Theater premiered three new house teams and all this week we'll be showing their debut performances at the Shubin Theatre.

First up is THE SCRAMBLE, directed by PHIT founder Greg Maughan and composed of Shane Jenkins, Bob Swenson, Meg Favreau, Jefferson Haynes, Rob Cutler, Katie Horahan, Nick Gillette (not in this video) and AJ "Milkshake" Horan. Their format is, fittingly, "The Scramble", as Greg explained in an interview this April:

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.

UPDATE: Sound has been fixed!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 1 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.

Today, Gregg starts a new eight-part series on an acting class he took in Montclair, New Jersey.

The next installment of Bedtime Stories is TONIGHT at the Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge) at 8PM.


“I’m here because there’s this one movie that I love? And I wish I could always be in i? And I never knew if I had what it takes to make it? The movie’s called Steel Magnolias?”

“Get out of town. Just get out of town RIGHT NOW! That’s my favorite movie, too! And I wish I could have been in, too!”

The following exchange occurred between two middle-aged, Interchangeable Housewives. They were sitting across from me in the leaky, asbestos-filled basement of Montclair, NJ’s 12 Miles West Theater. And the reason I overheard this exchange was because we were taking an acting class together.

I guess some of my classmates were taking the class because of a craven, misplaced and desperate desire for fame. Others were just looking for fun. Me? I had a craven, misplaced and desperate desire to get laid. This was from looking at the experiences of my brother. He looks like me, we have the same sense of humor, but he did well with the ladies. Me? Not so much. And the one difference between us – he’s a professional actor, and I’m not.

Within the first 30 seconds of taking this class, I was confounded with a question. Was this class the biggest mistake of my life? Or was it the best decision I ever made?

Our instructor’s name was Bob, an even more flamboyant version of Jm. J Bullock. He talked like every audience member of Behind The Actor’s Studio – that annoying, super-serious “artistic” voice. After introducing himself to us, he began to speak in a series of New Age Platitudes such as “We are on a journey to find ourselves and each other” and “there is something we need to get out of this, something we may not even realize we need.”

We sat around in a circle, where after Bob’s introduction we introduce ourselves. There were a few other people in the class with me. I have to refer to them by their nicknames because, apparently, it’s not a good teaching technique to know the names of your classmates. They were, in order:

THE INTERCHANGEABLE HOUSWIVES – the aforementioned Steel Magnolias fans. One wore a shirt with a cat on it, the other spoke like every sentence was actually a question? There was no other way to tell them apart.

THE CUTE GIRL – A very cute girl in her mid-20’s. She looked kind of like the WWE’s Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, except without the years of cocaine-fueled sex romps.

THE THROAT BOX GIRL – Another girl in her mid-20’s who sounded like Fran Drescher with a throat cancer box.

THE HEMAPHRODITIC GERMAN – A German woman missing breast tissue, giving her a haunting transgendered appearance.

THE OVERLY COMPETITIVE HINDU – An Indian man in his 40’s who, when asked why he was taking the class, responded by saying “My 12-year-old son acts at his middle school. He’s a good actor. But I know if he’s good, I can be a great actor.”

THE CLASS JUNKIE – An older man in his 60’s, grey-haired and bespectacled who described himself as a “class junkie” because of his love of various classes offered in community centers located throughout suburban Essex County. This piqued my interest and, later that night, I looked into taking a ceramics class at James Caldwell High School.

And a few other people whom didn’t say anything particularly interesting.

After our introductions, Bob instructed us to focus on a certain, exact point in the room and breathe. And breathe. And breathe some more. And then, he said, for all of us at once we had to say what we were looking at. I thought this was a chance to make The Cute Girl laugh.

“I see the face of the Virgin Mary.”

She didn’t.

Bob then told us to pretend we were getting into our car, taking a trip to the grocery store, where we were to purchase an orange and then eat it. Then, he asked us how we felt about this experience.

“It really affected me,” said The Overly Competitive Hindu he said in his “o” voice. “I’m a real orange guy. I mean, I eat oranges alllllll the time.”

Bob then told us visualize ourselves in our “personal fear zone.” Everyone had to say theirs at once. Naturally, I did not say anything (as I am a man without fear) and instead eavesdropped on others.

Due to her freakish voice, The Throat Box Girl was the easiest to hone in on. “I’m in a bedroom. There are books by Jay Leno all over the place.” I started to laugh. How do books written by Jay Leno cause 20-ish girls panic attacks? She heard me laughing at her and then gave me a dirty look.

We then returned to our chairs to discuss our personal fear zones. The Hempaphroditic German said she thought of laughing children playing in her driveway. Class Junkie said he couldn’t think of one particular place, but instead thought about the time he battled prostate cancer.

I went next. I wanted to say what I was thinking: “My fear zone is being trapped in a basement with you people.” Instead, I made up something about the dark woods behind my grandfather’s house.

The Cute Girl said her fear zone was her ex-boyfriend’s house. I took that as a sign that she wanted to sleep with me.

Class concluded with all of us having to say what our “dream role” was. After the Interchangeable Housewives both admitted their love of Sally Field vehicles, the Hemaphroditic German said she wanted to play a villainess “in anything, whatever.” The Overly Competitive Hindu said he wanted to play Samuel L. Jackson’s role in Pulp Fiction. (The foot-rub debate scene would have been awesome with this re-casting.)

I said I wanted to star in a Vagina Monologue. Not one of my classmates laughed, even though some of them had vaginas.

Bob, the possible life-partner of Tim Gunn, said his dream role was to play the “American James Bond.”

After I left class, I wondered if I wanted to return. The Cute Girl was pretty cute and, most importantly, seemed emotionally vulnerable due to her fear of her ex-boyfriends house. However, she said that she wanted to star in a musical, and the last thing I ever wanted to do on a date was watch Newsies. And sitting in a poorly lit basement while I’m forced to do karmic breathing wasn’t exactly my idea of a fun Tuesday night. I would never use any of these relaxation techniques if I ever needed to clear my head at home. After all, that’s why God allows us to masturbate to Telemundo soap operas.


An older woman compliments my ears minutes after I was forced to pretend I was in awash in a glowing light orb.

David Terruso's LIFE OF LETTERS #11

Comic Vs. Audience is proud to present every Wednesday, LIFE OF LETTERS, a new twelve-part comic strip series by David Terruso of the local sketch group Animosity Pierre.

(Click to enlarge)

Check back next Wednesday for the final episode.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

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 photos and video later this week), but the meat of the week is still yet to come.

This week marks the debut of three new PHIT house teams. They're so new that we don't even have the names yet, they'll be announced at the shows.

Wednesday, October 8
8 p.m. – Bedtime Stories: Nerds, $10. The topic for this monthly sketch, video, etc. extravaganza are the socially inept, awkward, weird...nerds. Hey, what's nerdier than writing a bunch of comedy sketches? We aren't sure. Hosted by Gregg Gethard.

10 p.m. - Why Am I Not Famous?!?: A Comedy Talk Show w/ Kent Haines, $5. Kent welcomes comedian Brendan Kennedy and political candidate Eugene Grant to the show.

Thursday, October 9
8 p.m. – The Dave Hill Explosion, $10. NYC comic Dave Hill returns to Philadelphia and brings his explosion with him. Special guests: Food Network star Adam Gertler and the rock and roll band The Capitol Years.

10 p.m. - CAGEMATCH: Illegal Refill vs. reigning champ Cubed. $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, October 10
8 p.m. – PHIT House Team (dir. by Rich Horner) with New York UCB team Ragnarock, $10.
10 p.m. - The other two PHIT House Teams (directed by Scott Shepard and Greg Maughan respectively) debut, $10.

Saturday, October 11
8 p.m. – PHIT House Teams (directed by Scott Shepard and Greg Maughan respectively), $10.
10 p.m. - PHIT House Team (dir. by Rich Horner) with New York UCB team Ragnarock, $10.


Monday, October 6, 2008


Every comic has had the unpleasant experience of getting a lukewarm response to a hilarious joke, simply because they were telling it to the wrong crowd. Hey, how are you supposed to know they hate crab jokes in Maryland? Or that in Eastern Oregon, the only kind of fart jokes they like are "runny" fart jokes? Being a road comic for over sixty years, I've learned these lessons the hard way, and used my knowledge to draw a topographic map of the comedic landscape of the United States. Now you don't have to worry about whether or not your "My favorite pizza topping is fresh picked scabs" joke will play in Charlotte, you know it will.

Hilariously yours,

(Click to enlarge)

See Doogie tickle your (offbeat) funny bone at our show tonight!

TONIGHT: The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come! Brought to you in conjunction with the Philly Improv Theater, we're bringing you another four hilarious stand-up comedians once again. It's the only best stand-up show at the Shubin Theatre! This could be a night you'll never forget!*

Not convinced? See what the critics are saying!

"A fantastical adventure...a wonderful voyage!" -Asia Times Online
"High....larious! Two thumbs...up!" - Roger Ebert, film critic
"This show is as fun as shooting swine from your back porch in the freezing rain. Ho ho, Nixon was a crook." - Hunter S. Thompson, author

Tim Ryan
Luke Giordano
Doogie Horner
Chip Chantry

Here are the details:

The Comic Vs. Audience Comedy Show
Monday, October 6th, 2008
at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St.) [directions]
Five American Dollars

* = NOT GUARANTEED. Only applies if something extraordinary happens to you that night, like if you were to meet the man/woman of your dreams. Hey, the show is BYOB, it's a possibility!

Friday, October 3, 2008

BREAKING: Sketch group Stella to play at the Keswick Theatre in November!

Sunday, November 30th, 7:30PM
Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA
Tix $32.50 each, on-sale now!


Top Five Things About Lists That You Didn't Know

1. They are perfect for the semi-illiterate: Do you find articles with separate paragraphs too hard to follow? With lists, you don't need to worry about that anymore. By the time you've realized "wow, that WOULD be a funny name for a porno", watch out, here comes another one!

2. They are a great way to kill time: Wish you had something to keep you busy during those dreadful three seconds while a web video loads? A list is a great way to make sure that you're entertained ALWAYS!

3. You feel a sense of accomplishment reading them: "Look at me, on the Internet, getting stuff done!" You can cross each item off in your head as you go through them. "Top 10 Gym Exercises": good to know! Life has purpose after all!

4. They are easy to write: Seriously, this took no time at all. And that's all we're going to say about that.

5. They can be as long as you want: So you can think of only "12 Things A Penguin Would Say If It Was Appointed To The Supreme Court"? Stop right there, you're done.

If you like this list, make sure to Digg it!!!!


There's a new show in Ardmore at the Milkboy Coffee Acoustic Cafe run by stand-up Nolan Gilbride. LAST LAUGH will run every last Monday of the month, which means we just missed the first one this past Monday. The next show will be October 27th. "I want the show to be a venue for the Philadelphia comics to do a longer set. I think the city should have more rooms where comics can work on a 20-30 minute set," says Nolan.

NYC comic Dave Hill made his Philadelphia debut at BEDTIME STORIES in May (we asked him some questions then) and he'll back in town with his explosion next week (we'll have more info on that later). But that's not all, his Myspace page has scheduled for a few dates in December as well. HMMM!

Philly Sketchfest is presenting DUOS, a night of comedy duos at Helium on Thursday, October 23rd. Animosity Pierre, Meg & Rob and Dave & Brian are performing along with host Pat House. It's all done "in the grand tradition of classic comedy duos such as Abbott & Costello, The Smothers Brothers and Laurel & Hardy, and in the footsteps of modern masters like Tenacious D."

Speaking of Meg & Rob, their "Fog Of Love" video was a finalist in the Sketchfest Seattle video contest. Sadly, they did not win.

Recently Seth MacFarlane picked Secret Pants' "Bush Or Batman" as one of his favorite Youtube videos. You may know MacFarlane as the guy that created 'Family Guy'. Yeah, that Seth MacFarlane.

Luke Giordano presents Stand Up at the Bully Pulpit, a stand-up show at The Stein Auditorium on Drexel's campus on Friday, October 24th. Luke's website also includes his diary in the trenches of the NYC open mics.

Remember: you are beautiful, in every single way. And maybe you're funny. E-mail comicvsaudience AT gmail DOT com with your tips.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

David Terruso's LIFE OF LETTERS #10

Comic Vs. Audience is proud to present every Wednesday, LIFE OF LETTERS, a new twelve-part comic strip series by David Terruso of the local sketch group Animosity Pierre.

(Click to enlarge)

Check back next Wednesday for episode #11