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Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

The Flat Earth

Posted September 24th, 2017

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani.

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The Flat Earth are Philly Improv Theater’s most senior sketch comedy team, pillars of Philadelphia’s flourishing comedy scene, and fan favorites of comedy festival audiences and fellow performers all across North America. The Flat Earth was awarded the Best New Troupe of the 2016 Montréal Sketchfest and runner-up for the Producer’s Pick of the 2016 Toronto Sketchfest. For their five-year anniversary, The Flat Earth return to the festival where it all began, the Philly Fringe.

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$12 / 60 minutes

The Flat Earth

Posted September 23rd, 2017

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani.

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The Flat Earth are Philly Improv Theater’s most senior sketch comedy team, pillars of Philadelphia’s flourishing comedy scene, and fan favorites of comedy festival audiences and fellow performers all across North America. The Flat Earth was awarded the Best New Troupe of the 2016 Montréal Sketchfest and runner-up for the Producer’s Pick of the 2016 Toronto Sketchfest. For their five-year anniversary, The Flat Earth return to the festival where it all began, the Philly Fringe.

Website Facebook Twitter

$12 / 60 minutes

The Flat Earth

Posted September 22nd, 2017

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani.

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The Flat Earth are Philly Improv Theater’s most senior sketch comedy team, pillars of Philadelphia’s flourishing comedy scene, and fan favorites of comedy festival audiences and fellow performers all across North America. The Flat Earth was awarded the Best New Troupe of the 2016 Montréal Sketchfest and runner-up for the Producer’s Pick of the 2016 Toronto Sketchfest. For their five-year anniversary, The Flat Earth return to the festival where it all began, the Philly Fringe.

Website Facebook Twitter

$12 / 60 minutes

The Flat Earth

Posted September 21st, 2017

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani.

__

The Flat Earth are Philly Improv Theater’s most senior sketch comedy team, pillars of Philadelphia’s flourishing comedy scene, and fan favorites of comedy festival audiences and fellow performers all across North America. The Flat Earth was awarded the Best New Troupe of the 2016 Montréal Sketchfest and runner-up for the Producer’s Pick of the 2016 Toronto Sketchfest. For their five-year anniversary, The Flat Earth return to the festival where it all began, the Philly Fringe.

Website Facebook Twitter

$12 / 60 minutes

The Flat Earth

Posted September 20th, 2017

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani.

__

The Flat Earth are Philly Improv Theater’s most senior sketch comedy team, pillars of Philadelphia’s flourishing comedy scene, and fan favorites of comedy festival audiences and fellow performers all across North America. The Flat Earth was awarded the Best New Troupe of the 2016 Montréal Sketchfest and runner-up for the Producer’s Pick of the 2016 Toronto Sketchfest. For their five-year anniversary, The Flat Earth return to the festival where it all began, the Philly Fringe.

Website Facebook Twitter

$12 / 60 minutes

Tall Tales: An Interview with Clayton Storyteller

Posted August 10th, 2017

Clayton Storyteller hails from Brunswick, Georgia, and has been telling stories for decades in the south, and now, in Philadelphia. He worked as a performer in Las Vegas, backpacked for two months around Europe, and is a two-time USDA Nutrition Study guinea pig. In his Fringe Festival Show Don’t be Cruel to Your Puppy…Lemme Give YOU A Twisted Tale, he has prepared three different programs of stories, each a mix of all kinds of tales. “Program A has westerns and ghost stories, B has science fiction, and C has darker, grittier, more violent tales, plus strange romances,” says Clayton. “Some tales are wilder, some milder, but they have no political or philosophical point, save entertainment.” Each program ends with his signature tale, “A Safe Sex Story,” which will also be available as an illustrated chapbook. He’ll be telling stories beginning before the official Fringe Festival kick-off on September 5th, and will continue to tell them every night afterwards until September 23rd, from 5:30 to 6:10 pm at the Philly Improv Theater. Audiences can come and hear his wild stories as an appetizer before the many events at the Philly Improv Theater and many locations in the nearby area. He hasn’t been to Philly since passing through on a 7th grade school trip, “a half-century ago.” I talked with Clayton about his life and work, and how he happily ended up as a newcomer to the 2017 Fringe Festival.

FringeArts: Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Were there storytellers in your family? 

Clayton Storyteller: I was born in Tampa. We moved some miles south to Bradenton when I was a toddler, then at age eight up to metro Atlanta, where I spent most my life (so far). I’ve been in Brunswick, Georgia, for last twenty years and enjoy it immensely. My southerner father went to Detroit for work and married a Michigan bride. We didn’t have any Deep South or Appalachian tradition of storytelling in our family. What fostered my love of stories was my mother, who was an avid reader and passed that on to my brother and me. Erle Stanley Gardner was her favorite author. A golden memory of my childhood was looking at black-and-white photos on a wooden stereopticon in the loft of an old library.

FringeArts: How did you learn to tell stories, and when did you start telling them?

Clayton Storyteller: Literature was always my favorite class. In my five-grade high school I wrote dark, dreck poetry—copies of which fortunately no longer exist—and funny stories. I was flattered when I was an 8th-grade “sub-freshman” and a 9th-grade girl in my science class—name sadly disremembered—liked one of these stories enough to copy it front and back on a piece of paper during a study period. Our friends in the desks around us laughed at this, but she scribbled on, repeating, “But it’s so funny!” This was some nonsense about a blackboard named Charlie who was actually green and the silliness goes on from there and is also now lost. That was the girl’s only interest in me, alas! I was a shy kid. My interest in actually telling stories started when I joined Toastmasters in the mid-80s. I also joined the Southern Order of Storytellers about then, which had several “cluster group” meetings in metro Atlanta neighborhoods, where aspiring storytellers could practice stories and get feedback. I started writing my own stories for storytelling, eventually working into all verse tales.

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Center City Fringe: Dangerous Fools & Nardo Are Making It up as They Go

Posted August 10th, 2015

DF&NImprovisational comedy may be pretty Dangerous, potentially Foolish, and possibly Nardo-y? for those of us clutching onto our ego and self-image. But, we’re glad to say that the members of the improv groups, Dangerous Fools and Nardo, just don’t operate under the same sort of anxieties that the rest of us do. Nope, the company of Thomas Fowler and Mary Carpenter (Dangerous Fools) and Steve Roney, Eoin O’Shea, and Joe Sabatino (Nardo), veer headlong into their wild brand of long-form improv as often as they can. All members of Dangerous Fools and Nardo have performed for years with the Philadelphia improv-centerpoint, ComedySportz in Center City. For this year’s Fringe Festival, they bring their comedy chops to the PlayGround stage at the Adrienne on Sansom Street. We posed a few questions for one half of the Dangerous Fools duo, Mary Carpenter.

FringeArts: What can audiences expect from Dangerous Fools & Nardo when you take the stage this summer?

Mary Carpenter: First and foremost, they can expect to laugh. I know I laugh every time I work with or watch any of these improvisers. Both groups do long-form improv, meaning they usually just take one suggestion and weave together a series of scenes and characters. With this group though, people should expect the unexpected.

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Twelve Years of Jersey Politics Later: Interview with Joey Novick

Posted August 20th, 2014

joeynovickMeet Joey Novick, the Political Comedian. For this year’s Neighborhood Fringe Festival show, Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey, Joey has decided to tell stories of his twelve years as councilman of Flemington, New Jersey. To learn more about Joey Novick and his comedic journey through politics, read on.

FringeArts: What was your inspiration for the show?

Joey Novick: In 1994, I was elected to the Borough Council in Flemington, New Jersey. At that time I was doing standup comedy with observational material—standard characters and such. So there are two sides of me—the political side and the comedic side. But I decided to do the show after discovering the area of storytelling. The Moth, The Liar Show, Stories from the Back Room, all storytelling nights that I began to do on a regular basis. The stories I was telling were all my political life as an elected councilman. Eventually, I discovered I had enough stories for a full hour and a half show.

FringeArts: What have you gained from performing?

Joey Novick: Money, notoriety, fame. Just kidding.

Actually I much enjoy performing my one-person show. It gives me an opportunity to share my values that I use every day as an elected person in Flemington. It is my understanding that one of the best ways to communicate to people is using real stories laced with a bit of humor. It’s a great way to get things done. Each year I conduct a panel for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities talking about how humor benefits people who govern. No matter what party you are in, you can communicate effectively using a bit of self-reflective humor. Kennedy, Clinton, Reagan all used humor to their benefit. Presidents like Nixon and Ford did not. George Will said, “On a throne at the center of the sense of humor sits the capacity for irony, all which rests on a cheerful awareness of life’s incongruities.” It is a genuine awareness, and no politician without it should be allowed near power.

FringeArts: Who are your role models and why?

Joey Novick: In comedy my role models are Abbott and Costello, George Carlin, Del Close (my improv teacher), Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby, and too many others to name. All strong performers with a strong voice in the world of performing for their audiences.

In politics my role models are Pete Seeger, Thomas Jefferson, Saul Alinsky, Ralph Nader, the ACLU, Cesar Chavez, and anyone who’s ever organized people they did not know for a cause they believed in. No movement forward ever occurs without a good organizer and passionate storyteller—someone with a keen intelligence and good critical thinking skills.

Finally, the best storyteller I’ve ever seen—my dad, Bernie Novick. He taught me how to tell stories to connect with people with great wisdom, passion, sense of home, and courage. I use those skills every day in performing.

Thank you, Joey.

Get your tickets here!

Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey
Comedy Cabaret
11580 Roosevelt Blvd
September 20 at 8pm
$20

—Devan Sims

Talking about The Talkback: Interview with The Berserker Residents

Posted June 5th, 2014

“We are satirizing everyone we’ve ever worked with and also our own lives as artists. No one is safe.”

Clockwise: Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain, David Johnson

Clockwise: Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain, David Johnson

For the next three Sunday evenings, the Berserker Residents will present in-progress showings of The Talkback at FringeArts (140 N. Columbus Boulevard). Philadelphia-based artists Justin Jain, David Johnson, and Bradley K. Wrenn joined forces in 2007 and created The Berserker Residents, performing a fantastical blend of physical theater, puppetry, music, sketch, and prop comedy. The group is in residence at FringeArts in June to finesse their 2013 Fringe Festival hit, The Talkback, before taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

Part-scripted and part-improvisation, The Talkback begins at the end of a show the audience has never seen, leading the audience through a discussion of the unseen show, which then goes completely awry. Curious, we went to Justin, David, and Bradley for the inside scoop on creating The Talkback, and what they’ll be working on while at FringeArts.

FringeArts: What was the inspiration for The Talkback?

Brad: It started back when Justin was a FringeArts LAB fellow. We had found ourselves in a rut. We were making the same show over and over. We spent a week or so exploring new ideas and trying figure out how we could mix things up and make ourselves uncomfortable. We finally hit on the post-production discussion as a format.

We generally aren’t big fans of improv, it makes us weak in the knees just thinking about it. But our aim was to disrupt our usual patterns, and we love playing with an audience. The form also allowed us to be ourselves, literally. We aren’t playing characters really, we keep our real names and plop ourselves into a fake theater company at the end of a fake show.

Dave: We often rehearse long blocks of stream-of-consciousness improvisation that make us laugh and push the boundaries of our own comfort as far as what is funny—and go on way too long. At one point we thought: how can we make this a show?

FringeArts: How did The Berserker Residents form?

Brad: The Berserker Residents didn’t form. The Berserker Residents have always been. Just like time or love or war. We were forged in the heart of a dying star and we’ll be here long after this feeble experiment called humanity has been snuffed out.

Dave: Brad and Justin wanted to create a show and they knew something was missing. ME!

Justin: In 2006 we came together to make The Jersey Devil for the Fringe Festival of that year. We do divide the labor. An unseen Berserker is Meghan Walsh, who also takes on some of our administrative work.

David Johnson, Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain

David Johnson, Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain

FringeArts: What is the process for creating a show like The Talkback, which depends so much on the audience?

Dave: The Talkback is a lot like stand-up comedy. It cannot be created in a vacuum. The show lives and learns in front of a live audience. The early days of this show were like imagining the worst stand-up comic you have ever seen, bombing alongside two other crappy comics, and none of them know how to leave the stage. Now we have better material, more confidence, and ripped abs.

Brad: It’s maddening rehearsing this thing by ourselves. We have dummy questions on a chair in front of us as we rehearse, and we each take turns wandering into the audience to pretend we are asking questions.

Justin: I love seeing what has stuck since that first showing in 2012. The usher character, the way we fuck with audience members, the dance, the all-bets-are-off logic that the show takes in the middle. All of these things have survived each revision and are essential to the show. Creating an audience-participatory show without an audience in the rehearsal studio is extremely difficult.

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A Micromanaging Comedy Lover’s Golden Opportunity: Audience improv with Matt Holmes

Posted July 11th, 2013

Have you ever been to a comedy show and thought about how much more infinitely talented you were at the comedic arts than the performers onstage? Alas, acting classes cost hundreds and the emotional damage suffered from the season finale of Game of Thrones has left you marginally less extroverted than is required of a professional performer.

MattAnd-improvSince 2008, Co-founder of Rare Bird Show, Philly Improv Theater team member, and regular fixture in Philadelphia improv Matt Holmes has been jolting audiences from quietly disgruntled passivity in a whimsical experiment that plucks a single audience member from the crowd and plants them onstage to create a boisterous, hour-long improv comedy show. Matt&, quickly attracting buzz as must-see innovative comedy, has toured in eight states spanning the country. In its milestone 50th performance, Holmes brings the daringly probing comedic feat to the upcoming 2013 Fringe Festival, starring himself and, possibly, you. FringeArts recently stopped in with Matt Holmes to get insight on the upcoming show, its stylistic evolution thus far, and a look back on his improvisational career and inspirations.

FringeArts: How did you first get into improv?

Matt Holmes: I’ve always been really interested in comedy. I remember staying up to watch The Tracey Ullman Show and getting really into Laugh-In reruns and tapes from the first cast of Saturday Night Live one summer. I was an eight-year-old who knew every stand-up’s act from TV. But, I was pretty shy until I was like sixteen or seventeen. I started coming out of my shell slowly. Improv really opened me up and trained me to be personable when I have to. I was in a college improv group after trying out on a whim. Then I formed a group with some other did-improv-in-college types, also kind of on a whim. Along the way, I did a bunch of projects and a lot of teaching, and of course, was always learning more and more myself.

FringeArts: Do you remember where you were when you first realized that this was what you wanted to do?

Matt Holmes: I don’t think there was one specific instance where it all came together. There was probably a point where the loose creativity of improv clicked in my mind as a particularly good fit for me, and there was probably a point where a certain project really felt like it was working, but I can’t think of one exact moment. It’s been more like growing a plant than getting hit by a lightning bolt.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Jesus Christ?

Posted September 14th, 2012

The Irish Catholic upbringing in me shudders, but here it is: writing in from sketch comedy troupe The Waitstaff’s The Real Housewives of South Philly Play Match Game! is Jesus H. Christ, apparently sacrificing (I’m sorry.) his time to perform in this year’s Fringe, and to Vital Stat us. Thanks Jesus for this, and for…well, you know. After the jump.

Jesus and his Waitstaff disciples?

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Preview Time!

Posted August 13th, 2012

I can’t hardly believe that it’s already preview time! If you’re involved in some pre-Fringe preview or showcase action, be sure to email me at NickG[at]livearts-fringe[dot]org, and I’ll be sure to plug you here. To get us started, the WaitStaff are bringing together a slew of people for their take on The Match Game, while giving you a taste of:


ComedySportz Philadelphia

Fringe Wraiths
Jeff Coon and Ben Dibble Must Die
Ivona, Princess of Burgundia
Raw Stitch
I Hate Monologues and The Alphabet Plays
Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost
The Grimacchio Variety Hour
Real Housewives of South Philly Play Match Game!

You get two nights of previews from this crew. Sunday, August 19, doors at 6:30 pm, show at 7:00 pm; Thursday, August 23, doors at 7:00 pm, show at 7:30 pm. Both shows at L’Etage, corner of S. 6th and Bainbridge Streets. $15. Click here for info and tickets.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Jeff Soles

Posted July 23rd, 2012

Started in 2006 by way of Craigslist and childhood friendships—the former not to be confused as a vehicle for the latter—IdRatherBeHere is a comedy troupe that loves making fun of all things Philly. For the 2012 Philly Fringe, the troupe presents Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost, the sixth in a series that has run in the past five Philly Fringes, all to sold-out audiences. Made up of nine performers, IdRatherBeHere sent us Jeff Soles, one of the troupe’s original members. Here are his answers to our questions.

Jeff Soles as an Apple employee in IdRatherBeHere’s 2011 Philly Fringe performance.

Name: Jeff Soles.

Age: Ugh 30.

Where were you born? Lower Bucks County (LBC in the house!).

Where do you live now? I fear change.

Show Title: Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost.

Explain your performance in 2 sentences. To an 8-year-old. We’re a bunch of grown-ups that make fun of other grown-ups who don’t realize we’re making fun of them. Why are you asking because this isn’t a kid-friendly show. Now get out of here.

What was your favorite toy as a kid? Nintendo. TV was my babysitter.

What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria? Give out free slices to hot chicks who flash me. Pizza be the new Mardi Gras beads.

Did you go to college or grad school? If so, where? Temple University Class of 2004!

Your refrigerator: condiments and beer, or real food? Right now there’s baking soda and left over Chinese food.

Favorite coffee shop? What do you order? Coffee is bad for you. I prefer Absinthe.

What’s your favorite nickname for Philadelphia? The Great Almost. New York’s Special Needs Cousin.

What’s the worst piece of advice you ever received? Did you follow it? I’m a stand-up and a club manager told me I should go by the nickname “Mr. Skinny.” I did not follow it.

A doctor puts a scope inside your ear. What does she see? This must be a hypothetical question because you said the doctor is a she. I’ve never seen one of those before. Oh sorry, I let Daniel Tosh answer that question. Actually I went to the doctor for my ear and it was filled with water and hot air.

Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost runs September 8, 15, and 22 at 7:00 pm and September 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 8:00 pm at Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, Society Hill. $15.

–Audrey McGlinchy