Who wants to go camping?


Next spring, some of our favorite folks from iO West are putting together an exciting improv-centric camping adventure nestled in the beautiful California Central Coast called CAMP IMPROV UTOPIA. This four-day experience sounds like it’s going to be an amazing time, and an incredible way to spend a vacation.

They’ll be offering workshops by instructors from all over the country like Craig Cackowski (iO, Second City, Dasariski), Shulie Cowen (iO, Second City, Opening Night the Musical) and the expletively delightful Susan Messing (iO, Annoyance Theatre).

The retreat is the brainchild of Nick Armstrong, member of the hilarious God Squad (amongst many other iO West projects), who also happens to be a camping lover with Eagle Scout credentials to boot. Along with improv/camp cohorts John Abbott, Jessica Young and everyone’s favorite bar manager, Brian O’Connell, they’re aiming to make this a spring for improvisers to remember.

It’s not all about the improv though… you’ll also be able to take in the breathtaking scenery while enjoying activities like hiking, basketball, archery and even a ping-pong tournament… And let’s not forget the beach!

scene painting at its best

It will be hosted at Camp Ocean Pines, a 15 acre retreat nuzzled in the pines right off the ocean. The Improv Utopia folks have arranged both co-ed and singe-sex cabins sleeping up to 10, with (thank goodness) working bathrooms and showers. You can learn a little more about the grounds in this little infomercial video the camp made:

The camp is in Cambria, CA… about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For those of you yet to experience the breathtaking views and charm of this area, you’re in for quite a treat. Cambria is a delightful seaside town, stretching against the rocky cliffs and sandy beaches of the coast (yeah, us native Westerners say coast instead of shore). If you go, you may want to make plans to check out the area before or after camp… just a short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway is Hearst Castle (something so grand, pictures cannot do it justice). Or a little to the south you can check out the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas. There are countless spanish missions throughout the area, and overall, is just a wonderful place to spend some time.

The camp runs May 27-30, 2011 and your $375 fee includes lodging in one of the shared cabins and 8 meals (Friday dinner through Monday breakfast). Workshops and on-site activities are inclusive with the fee as well. You can get additional information and register at www.improvutopia.com. You can also get updates and connect up with fellow campers ahead of time on Camp Improv Utopia’s Facebook page.

Insomniac Alert: Get Dazed and Amused this weekend


Ever get an itch for live comedy at 4AM? Then your insomnia-fueled dreams are about to come true my friend, as improvisers from both Philadelphia and Los Angeles take to the Adrienne’s Second Stage tomorrow for DAZED & AMUSED: THE 24 HOUR IMPROV MARATHON.

Produced by the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE and directed by MARY CARPENTER, the second year of this ambitious show runs from Friday at 10PM until Saturday at 10PM, featuring a full 24 consecutive hours of non-stop improv. Joining Carpenter on stage are Los Angelenos ALEXIS SIMPSON & THOMAS FOWLER (both former Philadelphians), in addition to local comedians MARIO FRABONINATHAN HOLT, KAREN GETZ, ALLI SOOWAL, JIM CARPENTER and DAVE DRITSAS.

The cast plans to keep a bit of variety in their games, performing both long and shortform formats. While they will remain on stage for the full marathon, cast members are allowed two 30 minute naps… however they must do so in full view of the audience, in one of two cots that will sit onstage. The only time anyone will be able to leave the stage is to use facilities, because according to cast member Simpson “hey, who wants to see that?”

In a world where the actors create everything, sleep-deprived hallucinations should pose no threat. “Not only did we survive,” recalls Carpenter of last year’s endeavor, “we put on a fantastic show.”

She adds, “Improv always makes people ask ‘How’d they do that?’ Doing it for 24 straight hours, well that’s ‘How’d they do that’ to the nth degree. For those final minutes, the entire audience was on its feet.”

All proceeds after production expenses benefit EDUCATIONWORKS, a non-profit organization that provides unique educational opportunities and academic enrichment for students in the Philadelphia area.

PJI has a variety of ticket options available… so if you want to just catch the opening or closing, want to come see middle of the night insanity or are brave enough to forge through the whole shebang, there’s an option to fit your both your wallet and your sleeping habits (or lack thereof).


FRI 8/27 @ 10PM – SAT 8/28 @ 10PM
TICKETS: $7 – $24

Doogies Got Talent


For those readers who may not be aware, local comedian DOOGIE HORNER has been making his way through the ranks of this season’s Americas Got Talent.

Doogie is a familiar site here locally, where in addition to performing standup all over, he’s run the MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES and is a regular panelist on THE BULLY PULPIT. He’s also made a name for himself creating hilarious flowcharts.

Doogie made his first appearance on AGT a few weeks back, and faced down a very hostile crowd. He won the hearts of Howie and Sharon, and they put him through to Vegas.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to see him during Vegas week. First to see if he got through, but also just to get to see him actually tell a few jokes. Well, we’ hit Vegas week… so what happened?

Doogie’s going to Hollywood!

Congratulations Doogie, we look forward to seeing more of you on AGT and beyond!

Found On the Internets: Reoccurring Newspaper


As improvisers, we live, breathe and relish in a world of patterns. For me, it’s always great when we see them outside the black box and in the real world.

Sometimes, the magnitude of these patterns reach such heights that it goes beyond interesting or comical, and becomes truly astounding. And thus, I present to you, the Reoccurring Prop Newspaper. (via /Film)

Improv stands tall in the Philly Fringe


After years of saturating the Theatre category of the Philly Fringe Festival, it looks as though the annual fest is taking notice. LiveArts/Fringe has released their virtual guide, and it’s exciting to see an entire category dedicated to Comedy & Improv.

In addition, the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER has gone big this year, not only with their ambitious lineup of events (we’ll follow with more on this later), but even going so far as to take out the entire inside front cover of the Guide:


It’s nice to see such a strong mix of recognition and prominence at a huge mainstream event that draws international attention.

PHIT secures Matt Holmes for first ever L4


Your improv future just got a little brighter. The PHILLY IMPROV THEATER has announced that next month it will launch its first-ever Level 4 class, and it will be taught by none other than MATT HOLMES. How’s that for a one-two punch?

PHIT_MattHolmes_bwIn Matt’s own words: “It’s time to break the rules and have fun. Fear will be eliminated. Students will stop thinking, worrying, and judging, and instead learn how to play and handle anything that comes up…”

LEVEL 4 – “Advanced Longforms Class”
Mondays, June 1-July 20, 2009, 6:30-9:30pm
The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Instructor: Matt Holmes
Cost: $199

Do. This. Now.

Things we want in Philly: Sunny cast performs live in LA



The cast of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA gathered this past weekend at the Troubadour in Los Angeles for a live performance of their infamous musical episode, The Nightman Cometh.

Eric Goldman of IGN was lucky enough to be in attendance, and offers his exciting recap.

The live format allowed the cast to escape their normal censors and add some extra material, including an entirely new number by McElhenney as Nightman.

In addition to the full cast, the show also featured a surprise cameo by Rhea Perlman as elderly piano player.