Last night, people packed into the Prince Music Theater for the third night of the Philadelphia Improv Festival where a total of ten acts took the stage, delivering a pretty stellar night of live comedy. With the line-up having been dominated by out-of-towners, here were the four most memorable performances of the night.
Hands down one of the funniest improv sets I’ve ever seen. Comprised of veterans from ImprovBoston’s Harold Night as well as a few newbies, the troupe was on fire from beginning to end. Did they potentially destroy the final seasons of The Wire for everyone? Yes. Did they make up for it with a few very clever and hysterical references to The Wire? Yes. It’s rare that something can make you laugh to the point of tears; so uncontrollably that you have to cover your mouth to help yourself breathe. So for that, I would like to thank them.
The NYC-based collective was definitely one of the more boundary-pushing troupes of the night, having poked fun at animal cruelty more than once and, more importantly, with success. Much of this was thanks to Elizabeth Findlay who I could have watched embody a Shih Tzu all night.
I knew I was in for a treat he moment Connie and Connie (Alli Soowal and Liz Scott) stepped on stage. Much to my surprise, inside their house dresses, they were actually packing real treats—little snack cakes that they proceeded to throw at audience members who dished one of their current problems. While the gals did little to actually solve any of these problems, they did exchange some hilarious impromptu banter while simultaneously engaging in nail art and crafting. Their set was sorta like SNL’s Coffee Talk with Linda Richman and Bronx Beat, except without the talk show format. Quite frankly, they didn’t need a format.
Now displaced between Philly and LA, these four local ladies and improv vets—Alexis Simpson, Alli Soowal, Kristin Finger, Maggy Keegan—were clearly excited to be reunited, with their enthusiasm having fueled every second of their time on that stage. It didn’t even matter if certain scenes got awkward—they we’re having a blast and so you did too. As two of the five original Real Housewives of Philadelphia, I’ve really only heard references of Alexis Simpson and Alli Soowal as local legends. And now I know for sure that they exist.
If you’ve yet to check out any of the Philly Improv Festival shows, I would highly recommend doing so tonight when the level of improvisational talent is sure to reach its peak with Austin’s Live Nude Improv at 10 p.m. (featuring Philly’s own comedic maven Kristen Schier—who may or may not be baring it all), followed by the reunion of local troupe Rare Bird Show at 11 p.m. Rounding out the 9 p.m. block are the boys of LA’s BillyHawk, who several local comics deemed the must-see act of the fest.