Of all the many fine comedy festivals Philly has to offer each year, I must admit that I have a certain soft spot for Duofest.
There’s just something about watching two lone souls standing on a stage with absolutely no clue what’s about to happen relying only on one another to figure it out and, eventually, give birth to a tiny, kinda weird looking comedy baby for all to see and enjoy. It’s really about as pure and intimate as comedy can get.
And if there were ever a time for you to experience it for yourself, it’s right now, right here in Philly.
Four years and running, Duofest happens to be the only improv festival dedicated to showcasing comedic duos, not just in Philly or the U.S, but the entire world. Starting tonight and running through Sunday, the festival will present more than 30 groups of twos, including this year’s headlining duo, Adsit & Eveleth, comprised of long-time Chicago improvisers, Jet Eveleth and Scott Adsit (aka Pete “Dallas” Hornberger from 30 Rock).
Currently touring the country, the two will be stopping here to perform on Saturday at 9 p.m. followed by Philly’s own dynamic duo, Kristen Schier and Amie Roe of The Kristen & Amie Show at 10pm, who, let’s just say, were chosen to follow the headlining act for a reason.
On the festival’s website, you’ll find bios for all of the performing pairs should you need help deciding when to go and who to see. Or, you can just buy an all-access pass for the entire weekend for the low, low price of $50—that way you don’t have to decide; you can just see them all. There will be several back-to-back shows every night, each block featuring two different duos. Single tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
All shows will be held at the Philly Improv Theater headquarters, the Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St.) and are BYOB. (Note: Do drink responsibly. You do not want to be a drunken heckler attempting to compete with the sharp tongue and quick wits of an experienced improviser, let alone two.)
If you’re thinking this city already has enough weekly and monthly open mic nights, then clearly you haven’t actually been to many of them. Because if you did, you’d know you can never have too many comedy showcases. That’s just silly talk.
It was with that philosophy in mind that local comedy two-some, Aaron Hertzog and Alison Zeidman conceived Philly’s newest weekly stand-up showcase aka. the Free For All Stand-Up Showcase. To make a good first impression, they’ve rallied up the crème de la crème of the local comedy scene to kick things off tomorrow night.
Let’s see, you’ve got some Helium regulars (John McKeever, Pat House, Darryl Charles and Pat Barker), the ladies of Laughs on Fairmount (Mary Radzinski and Carolyn Busa), a wild card (Joey Dougherty), two last minute New Yorkers (Travis Irvine, Ian Fidance) and finally, three Philly’s Phunniest champs (David James, Doogie Horner and Tommy Pope).
So all and all, you’re looking at a pretty solid night of laughs. Can’t make it out tonight? No worries—they’ll be doing it again next Wednesday, and every Wednesday to follow. The show starts at 8 p.m. and will be held upstairs at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar in Fairmount (741 N. 23rd St.).
Oh, and it’s totally free for all.
When NBC’s late night talk-show debacle finally blows over once and for all, with Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show, Seth Meyers moving to Late Night and Jay Leno deservingly shoved into retirement, you know who’s going to be the real winner? The guy formerly known as “Ross the Intern.”
Giving hope to lowly interns everywhere, Ross Mathews not only managed to go from a coffee-fetcher to a Tonight Show correspondent, but these days, he appears to be on the heels of the one-man media empire that is Ryan Seacrest. In addition to shedding 40 pounds on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club, serving as one of few male guest hosts on The View and appearing each week as the only tolerable panelist on Chelsea Lately, Matthews has become a regular fixture over on the E! Network, covering everything from the Oscar’s to the Olympics, even the 2012 Presidential Election.
Now the undeniably endearing comic is hitting the road to promote his new book, “Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence,” which traces all the hilarious and embarrassing moments of his journey from a chubby closeted gay kid in a small town to an ambitious super-fan in the big city. It just so happens that this fall, Mathews’ career will have officially come full circle when he serves as writer, co-producer and host of his own “interactive” talk show on E! called Hello Ross.
While obviously, Mathews may owe some credit to his nasally voiced former boss for his success, with that adorable voice and ever-bubbly demeanor of his, it was probably only a matter of time until someone was smart enough to give him a microphone. If not familiar with the comedian/personality, basically just imagine Elmo making snarky comments about Lindsay Lohan.
Sun., June 2. 8pm. $30. TLA, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.
What happens when you pack 10 talented improvisers on to one small stage, blind-fold them then turn out the lights? You get a uniquely visceral improv comedy show performed in the pitch black, duh.
After a successful run in the 2011 Philly Fringe Festival under the title Dark Comedy, the Philly Improv Theater is now reviving the production, now dubbed The Bat, for a three-week run with shows every night Thursday through Sunday, as well as a special second midnight show on Saturday. And having gotten a chance to attend a preview performance, I can assure you it lives up to the intrigue.
With both the audience and performers forced to exercise their imaginations even more so than usual, The Bat unfolds similarly to radio play all starting with a poem passage randomly selected before the show and read out loud on the stage. “It offers the cast and audience a feeling—a shared emotional connection that you really don’t get from just asking for a word,” explains local improv vet Jason Grimley, the show’s director.
From there, just sit back, close your eyes and prepare to have your mind blown as the cast use nothing but their lightening speed wits and uncanny human sound effects to craft a wild series of scenes and characters. While obviously you’d assume not being able to play off one another’s actions and expressions would be severely limiting to the performers, it turns out it can actually have some advantages. For instance, only in the dark could you have a character convincingly tumble down several flights of stairs without them ever having to leave their seat.
7pm. Through May 19. $12-$20. The Shubin Theater, 407 Bainbridge St.
You may’ve heard about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s fifth wedding anniversary trip to Cuba and the ensuing mini-scandal brought on by two Republicans calling for an investigation into the legality of the trip. We know that tourism and traveling to the Communist island’s restricted for Americans, but why The First Couple of Hip-Hop are being questioned for their sponsored and planned-out trip is pretty weird. Then, this morning, on SoundCloud, Jay-Z unleased a friggen’ nasty response called “Open Letter” and It. Is. Sick.
And maybe it was Stacey Dash’s dumbass tweet that sent Jay over the edge (probably not). But Dash’s used her Twitter to express lame views in the past, including a Mitt Romney endorsement and other inane conservative tidbits in 140 characters or less (often with less-than-savory grammatical attention to detail, one of the many dangerous pitfalls of trying to communicate something serious via Tweets).
Here’s what she tweeted:
Here are some of they lyrics from Hova’s venomous track addressing many different kinds of haters:
“Politicians never did shit for me/ Except lie to me, distort history/ They wanna give me jail time and a fine– Fine, let me commit a real crime/ Obama said, ‘Chill, you’re going to get me impeached’/ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach,” and “I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off you fucking dweebs/ I still own the building, I’m keeping my seats/ You buy that bullshit, you better keep your receipts.”
The Swizz Beats and Timbaland-produced track is pretty much straight-up fire. And the fact that it seems like he whipped it up in a matter of days is an even more impressive feat. Let’s hope it slays a thousands-strong crowd in Philly this summer with it if he decides to get on the mic at his Made In America festival on the Parkway.
With only four more performances left, you don’t have much time to debate whether or not you want to book yourself a ticket. So allow me to help guide you in this decision as quickly as I can…
Pro: The troupe’s signature choose-your-own-adventure narrative structure is incredibly innovative and fun. And unless you’ve seen an Applied Mechanics performance, chances are, it’s unlike any other theater experience you’ve had. The audience is free to roam the space as they choose and wherever they go, they become engulfed in the action.
Con: This “narrative” is convoluted to the point of unintelligible. It’s sorta like being led on a wild goose chase only to find out there was never an actual goose for you to chase—maybe a mutated duck, but no goose.
Pro: Every single member of the show’s whopping 26-actor ensemble is spectacular. With this having been my second or third time seeing several of the performers, I’m convinced they don’t get nearly as much praise as they deserve. Seriously, a bomb could have gone off and not a single one would have broke character.
Con: You may leave with a headache. There’s a lot happening around you and between trying to process all of it, making sure you’re not in a performer’s way and occasionally referring to the provided program/map/guide, it can be quite overwhelming.
Pro: They feed you chocolate. If you happen to be following the right character(s) at the right time, you might even get a little wine.
Con: As the explained by its subtitle (“The Epic Feats of Notable Persons in Europe After the Revolution”), the show revolves around the Napoleonic Empire and the French Revolution. I don’t know about you, but a lesson in 19th century European history doesn’t exactly elicit a great deal of enthusiasm.
Pro: For better or worse, you’re going to be enthralled. And for $15 bucks, I think it’s worth finding out yourself.
8pm. Through April 13. $10-$15. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.
Women of Philadelphia: Hooters now has patio seating, salads and beachy décor. OMFG!!!
While I scoffed a few months ago at Hooters’ plan to make their establishments more “female-friendly” with “girly things” like you know, fresher ingredients and décor that isn’t neon bar signs, it turns out, their plan actually worked. Well, sorta.
According to a new consumer report, this year women ranked Hooters at a -21 on a scale of 100 to -100, up from a -26. I take comfort in knowing that their ranking is still in the negatives, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s now apparently a small fraction of women who are flocking to Hooters in search of low-fat meals and an inviting ambiance.
Anyway, I was thinking of maybe throwing the franchise a bone and sending them a list of suggestions for how they could go about converting me into a loyal customer. Here’s the rough draft:
1. Change your name to Hooters & HooHas. Because it sounds funny.
2. If you insist on putting your waitresses in coochie cutters, the least you do is make sure they’re not neon orange yeast cesspools. Let their lady parts breathe, Goddamnit!
3. While you’re at it, get rid of those tacky-ass scrunched tube socks too. Seriously, I feel like I’m watching a Suzanne Somers “Buns of Steel” video from 1984.
4. Two words: arts and crafts.
5. Hire at least one security guard for every establishment to control the inevitable group of rowdy frat dudes. I pity the douche that stands between me, a cold beer and the football score.
6. Two more words: Free tampons!!
7. Remove all douchie classic rock songs from rotation, first and foremost, “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
8. Any chance I could convince you to throw a little Ani DiFranco into the mix?
9. Now that you’re attracting more women, how about you start focusing on attracting a slightly more sophisticated male demographic? What’s a sausage fest without any Grade-A meat? A shitty Tuesday night in Hooters, that’s what.
10. Lower your prices—I’m not paying for the extra T&A.
11. I will however, pay for some extra TLC. And by TLC, I mean French fries.
12. I’d like the women serving me chicken wings to be a little more ‘girl next door’ and a little less ‘JonBenet,’ so lets ease up on the hair and makeup requirements, okay?
13. Have waitresses ask me about my thoughts on the latest episode of Girls or Homeland. Actually, you know what, that might be all it takes to get me coming back every week. Forget everything else.