It’s once again Shubin week for the Philly Improv Theater and this month’s special guest is the NYC improv duo, Tybrus. I recently chatted with Jon Gabrus on their impending trip to our city.
Jon, by my count this is your sixth run of shows in Philly. What’s your favorite thing about the city?
You guys keep inviting us back, and that is more than enough. We love the city, it is a 20 dollar Chinatown bus ride away and always a good time. (Greg) Maughan puts us up and puts up with us, and being able to do that is enough to make that guy a saint in the Tybrus bible.
You’ve done a lot of different divergent comedy with Tybrus – in addition to your sketch show, You’re Out Too Far, we’ve seen everything from monoscenes to complete freeform improv. What can audiences expect on this run?
Great question, and probably something we can’t answer just yet. We will definitely be doing improv, as to exactly what form we do… That is a decision to be made on stage. We like to just go up there and see where that particular set takes us. Sometimes it is just a matter of ‘wanna do a monoscene tonight?’ ‘Yeah.’
You both have other popular projects you work on – Pig Brooch, Fwand, Sidecar, UCBW, writing and acting… what is it about Tybrus that brings you back?
Justin is my writing partner/neighbor/one of my best friends (and I just say ‘one of’ in case he doesn’t call me his best friend I don’t want to make things awkward). We are always hanging out together, he lives a block away in Brooklyn, and we are constantly working on writing projects together, and a plethora of drinking projects. We have all these other projects going on but they are side projects. We know where our bread is buttered.
We see a lot of pretty crazy characters come out on stage. But when watching it’s clear there’s a level of personal investment – you own those characters as a piece of yourselves. Do you see a lot of your character work being autobiographical?
It is safe to say that both of us are pretty crazy people on a very basic level. So all we have to do on stage is let our mask of sanity slip a little bit in a certain direction, and you have a fucking nutso character that is grounded in reality. Justin is a really talented actor and makes it look great/easy up there. But there is definitely a lot of ourselves or each other in our character work.
We’ve also seen a lot of crazy coming out off stage. How much of what you do on stage carries with you when you leave?
To be 100 percent honest this question can pretty much answer every other question. Why do Justin and I work together because we both are fucking nuts. It is so rare that you bump into someone in life whose sense of humor lines up almost totally with yours, and then also their outlook on life, and how they act in public is very similar. We were meant to perform together or at least fight each other in a bar. Also Matt, I think the question could be even worded as how much of what we do in life carries with us on stage? Either way, we are excited for this weekend. I know personally I am going to ensure that Maughan doesn’t sleep at all.
Tybrus performs tonight at 10pm and Saturday at 8pm. They’ll be joined by Holmes/Maughan, Tongue & Groove and the Ninjas. They will also be teaching a workshop on Saturday entitled Finding the Game.
PHIT @ The Shubin
407 Bainbridge Street
Fri @ 8pm: Tongue & Groove with Holmes/Maughan
Fri @ 10pm: Tybrus with the Ninjas
Sat @ 8pm: Tybrus with Holmes/Maughan
Sat @ 10pm: Tongue & Groove with the Ninjas
Jonathan Gabrus is a writer and actor living in Brooklyn. He has studied improv under Michael Delaney, Paul Scheer, Billy Merritt, Amy Poehler, Matt Besser and Matt Walsh. He is a current member of UCB harold team fwand. He performs sketch and improv around NYC and beyond with Justin Tyler as part of Tybrus, their sketch show You’re Out too Far ran at the UCB for seven months. His other UCB credits include: Sketch Cram, Hot Sauce 4th Floor Walk-up, UCBW, The Documentary, and Glue Trap Theatre. Gabrus has written for Spike TV, Heavy.com, Collegehumor.com, Toyfare Magazine and ClipsQuips.com. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O Brien, Best Week Ever, I Love 80s/90s/Toys, Spike Video Game Awards and many Internet shows. He can also be seen in a bunch of commercials and promos, usually as the slacker or shirtless slacker.
The Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) is the only longform improvisation theater in the Metro Philadelphia area. Founded in 2005, PHIT is a nonprofit theater company that embraces the art of improvisation as an end rather than a means – creating and producing improv, sketch, and alternate comedy shows in the tradition of theaters like Chicago’s Second City and New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade. To further this philosophy, PHIT offers it’s own take take on the theories and concepts behind good improvisation in a full curriculum of classes for performers of all skill levels taught by local talent and through master classes with distinguished performers and teachers from all over the world (including Impro author Keith Johnstone, Joe Bill and Mark Sutton of The Second City, and former SNL writer Ali Farahnakian). In addition to performing as part of PHIT’s weeklong residency at The Shubin Theatre each month, local improv troupes produced and presented by PHIT have toured extensively on the East Coast and performed in festivals throughout North America.