The glitz, the glamor, the gags—the 2013 WitOut Awards for Philadelphia Comedy had it all.
Held for the second year by the local comedy blog, WitOut.net downstairs at World Café Live, the event is basically the only chance comedians in this town have to receive a snazzy golden plaque and legitimate recognition for their hard work and talent. You know, given how incredibly undervalued comedy is as an art form.
This year, those snazzy gold plaques were awarded in a total of 13 different categories, not counting the ridiculous and totally made-up pre-show awards, which included “Most Exorbitant Ticket Fee” (Winner: the 2013 WitOut Awards) and “Most Embarrassed By His Delco Roots (Winner: Jim Grammond).
Following the traditional award show format, the ceremony opened with a song and dance number from Samantha Brown & The Grimacchio Dancers along with the evening’s co-hosts, Jason Grimley and Ralph Andracchio aka. Grimacchio. Not only did the platonic improvisational life partners prove to have surprisingly very lovely singing voices, but they did a stellar job keeping the show in check. And, of course, they did it all without a teleprompter (take that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey!).
Whether scripted or spontaneous, the night’s presenters and winners all brought their A-Game. Perhaps the most memorable acceptance speeches were that of Jess Ross who accepted the award for “Best Female Improviser” by kindly telling everyone who wronged her in elementary school to go fuck themselves and Mary Radzinksi who accepted the award for “Special Achievement in the Field of Tweeting” in only 140 characters.
Other highlights from the show: the squad of puppet police that chased John Kensil and Dr. Moody off the stage, the brief and tender kiss between Luke Field and Brian Kelly, the heated quarrel between improv duo Kait & Andrew, the mere presence of the Narragansett Tall Boy mascot, and the newly appointed house band, Philadelphia Slick who brought the funk all night long.
Having correctly predicted or voted for 9 out of the 13 winners, I can’t say there were any big shockers, except for The Feeko Brothers taking home the award for “Best Sketch Group” for the second time (I thought for sure this was going to be Secret Pants’ year).
As for the red carpet fashions, well, you’d be surprised just how well comedians clean up. My picks for the night’s best-dressed would have to go to Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez who came donning his usual oh-so constricting short-shorts and knee-high socks and the sketch comedy mavens of ManiPedi who made cornrows look dammnn good.
Anyway, without further adieu, I present the complete list of 2013 WitOut Award winners:
BEST STAND-UP COMEDIAN — Aaron Hertzog
BEST SKETCH GROUP — The Feeko Brothers
BEST IMPROV GROUP — Asteroid!
BEST STAND-UP BIT — First Guy in the World/Netflix (Aaron Hertzog)
BEST SKETCH — Mystery Science Andre 3000 (Camp Woods)
BEST MALE IMPROVISER — Luke Field
BEST FEMALE IMPROVISER — Jess Ross
BEST REGULAR SHOW — Camp Woods Plus
BEST SHORT-RUN/ONE-TIME SHOW — The Improvised B-Movie Double Feature (Asteroid!)
BEST PODCAST/WEB SERIES — Gettin’ Close with Mike Marbach
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF TWEETING — Mary Radzinski (@MaryRadzinski)
BEST OPEN MIC — Sketch Up or Shut Up
BEST NEW ACT — Davenger
**Photos courtesy of Erin Pitts