Tonight, the Philadelphia Improv Festival kicks off its eighth year, with more than 40 different acts performing over the next five days.
This includes a mix of the finest improvisational talents in town in addition to several noteworthy troupes from some of the nation’s top comedy meccas such as the Upright Citizens Brigade and New York’s Magnet Theater. (Note: the same goes for many of our local improvisers.)
Unable to cherry pick my own personal faves from the line-up (really, there’s too many to count), I decided to poll some local comics to find out which shows/troupes they’re most excited to see.
Greg Maughan (Philly Improv Theater Founder and Executive Director): “On Friday, Mayor Karen and The Imposters and on Saturday, Hey Rube and Junior Varsity are must sees.”
Jason Grimley (member of improv duo Grimacchio and PHIT house team King Friday): “I am very excited to see BILLY HAWK from Los Angeles. I know those guys from IO West and they never disappoint.”
Chip Chantry (stand-up comedian): “I’m looking forward to RARE BIRD SHOW. The three of them are masters at what they do, and I’m so glad they’re getting the band back together.”
Paul Triggiani (member Secret Pants; host of PHIT’s TV Party): “Thursday’s show represents three cities, both non-native acts sound novel and intriguing, and King Friday and Iron Lung are great local groups. Iron Lung is also collectively very attractive. So I’d recommend this block.”
Brendan Kennedy (stand-up comedian; member of Camp Woods): ”Hot Dish at 7:30pm Wednesday night. I saw every night of their Fringe show “BackStory” and they were brilliant!”
Corin Wells (member of PHIT house team Hot Dish): “Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show because every time they get on stage together, not only do they perform amazing improv but they have so much fun together. The audience feels like they’re are having fun right along with them.”
Alison Zeidman (Editor in Chief at Witout.net): “ZaoGao. They perform the best organic improv in the city.”
Aaron Hertzog (stand-up comedian; member of Hey Rube and Hate Speech Committee; host of PHIT’s Hey Everybody!): “Davenger. Because they are dope.”
Kristen Schier (PHIT instructor; member of Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show): “I am totally biased but I want everyone to check out ZaoGao. I love me some BILLYHAWK boys too! This year’s fest will be a blast.”
FESTIVAL INFO: Each of the nightly performances (which are are split into either two or three hour-long blocks) will be held in the Prince Music Theater’s Independence Foundation Blackbox (1412 Chestnut St.). Tickets for an individual show block are $10 while a nightly pass costs $15-$20. As an additional bonus, a portion of tickets sales from this year’s festival as well as all proceeds from the annual Comedy Month raffle will benefit Career Wardrobe.
**PHOTOS: Tom Lovelund, Musher-Lovelund Photography for Philly Improv Theater