Video: The Roast of Meg Favreau

03/24/2011

Monday night during CHIP CHANTRY’S ONE MAN SHOW, the night was dedicated to roasting one of Philadelphia’s dearest darlings… MEG FAVREAU, who soon departs for Los Angeles.

For those who are kicking themselves for missing it, the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER was kind enough to get the whole thing on video for posterity.

Below is the start of the roast. You can check out the rest in 14 parts on PHIT’s YouTube channel


Stage Fright happy hour fundraiser tonight

03/24/2011

This evening from 5-7, join the cast of STAGE FRIGHT as they raise funds towards their improvised homage to Hitchcock.

The event will be hosted at Chris’ Jazz Cafe – bartender and Stage Fright cast member ROB CUTLER will be joined behind the bar by fellow castmate ALLI SOOWAL. They’ll be serving up delicious concoctions, including vertigo martinis!

There will be discounted advanced tickets available, and a raffle that includes all kinds of fun prizes. So come on out!

STAGE FRIGHT HAPPY HOUR FUNDRAISER
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 5-7PM
CHRIS’ JAZZ CAFE, 1421 SANSOM ST


Video Sneak Peek: The Gross Show

03/21/2011

Many of you might already be familiar with THE GROSS SHOW… one the newest and more lively additions to the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER‘s roster of recurring shows. For those still unacquainted, the live show takes aim at the most odd, extreme or unbelievable among our species with a Jerry Springer-esque slant. Host ALEX GROSS brings audiences into a world where taboo is typical and relationships have a bit of an edge to them. The show garnered so much attention in it’s first few runnings – the antics raised to such levels – that it had to be given a new night.  I think those that have seen it would agree that words somehow fail in adequately trying to explain this show to you. So instead, enjoy this little reel of moments past:

 

You can catch THE GROSS SHOW Tuesday, March 29th at 8:30PM. More info


Do This Now: Top 5 Edition

03/16/2011

Get tickets for STAGE FRIGHT on the cheap. Tickets will be available through the run of this Hitchcockian tribute, but instead of paying top dollar at the door, get them before March 24th and save 50%.

4 – Get tickets for the N CROWD Anniversary Show. Nearly every show in 2011 has been sold out. The six year celebration at the RUBA Hall on April 22nd shouldn’t be any different. Get them before they’re gone.

3 – Submit to DÜOFEST. March 22nd is the absolute last day to submit to this one-of-a-kind comedy festival. Get your stuff together and get it in. T-minus six days.

2 – Confirm your PHIT house team audition slot. The Philly Improv Theater is looking to expand their ranks with two new teams under the direction of MATT HOLMES and KRISTEN SCHIER. Slots for the open audition on March 27th are still available but limited.

1 – Get tickets for the Roast of MEG FAVREAU. Forget Trump or Hasselhoff… Philly comedians know how to roast their own, and if last year’s roast of Kent Haines was any indicator, then Meg will be taking some big hits and snapping back strong before she departs for LA. This will be packed. Period.


Tonight: Face Time w/ Chip Chantry at Helium

03/15/2011

Showing himself to once again be a man befitting many a venue, Philly comedian CHIP CHANTRY debuts his newest monthly show FACE TIME tonight at HELIUM COMEDY CLUB.

In what he’s billed as a “slightly skewed late-night format comedy variety show,” Chantry will feature local and national comedians presenting standup, sketch, video, music and anything else that might delight audiences.

In the premier show tonight, Chantry and his co-host / house band AMIR GOLLAN will welcome local standup fave AARON HERTZOG, TV’s MIKE VECCHIONE and what may well threaten to be the final swan song of beloved sketch duo MEG & ROB.

Do yourself a favor and check out this show now, so you can say you were a fan before it was cool (ETA: tomorrow morning).

FACE TIME w/ CHIP CHANTRY
TUESDAY, MARCH 15 @ 8PM
HELIUM COMEDY CLUB | 2031 SANSOM ST
TICKETS: JUST $5


Click This: IE Mission – King Philip IV

03/06/2011

In ImprovEverywhere’s latest mission, coincidences come together to resurrect 400 year old King Philip IV for a few celebratory autographs

[photo credit: Katie Sokoler]


Tonight: SFIT Fun-draiser for Amie & Kristen Show

02/11/2011

In the short time since its inception, the ladies of the AMIE & KRISTEN SHOW have garnered a nice little following and high praise for their organic, rooted-in-the-now playing style. After cutting their teeth playing around the East Coast, AMIE ROE and KRISTEN SCHIER are now westbound… for the SEATTLE FESTIVAL OF IMPROVISED THEATER (SFIT).

To offset some of the heavy cost burdens associated with doing a trans-continental journey for a comedy show, they are having a fundraiser show tonight at the ACTORS CENTER in Old City. They will be joined by improv friends MEDIC and IRON LUNG for a few hours of laughs, from which the proceeds will appreciatively help them “not be broke.”

L to R: Amie Roe, Kristen Schier

I had a chance to chat with the ladies about tonight’s fundraiser and their impending trip.

PHILLYIMPROV: With both A&KS and MattAnd performing at SFIT, this is the first time Philadelphia has been represented there. What are you looking forward to?

AMIE ROE: Wearing flannel shirts and listening to grunge! They still do that there, right?

KRISTEN SCHIER: We’re proud to be a selection… Mostly looking forward to going to the fest for the first time. I know only a few of the acts, and if they are any indication the festival will be a lot to watch and learn from.

PI: What about your show are you most excited to share with audiences?

KS: I am excited to share knowledge about the talented Philly scene…

AR: …bring a tiny piece of the amazing improv and comedy scene that’s developing here in Philadelphia to another city.  It’s an honor whenever you’re selected to appear in any festival, and a real privilege to be an ambassador for Philly comedy.

KS: And have a blast doing our girlish romp of a show!

PI: Anything you can share about tonight’s show?

KS: (Tonight) is about being thankful for anyone who is willing to come and see our show… Any money we raise will be received with much graditude.

AR: We’re going to look really hot.  I’ve been running a bunch and exfoliating… plus I got a hair cut two weeks ago, and I know my girl Kristen has been rocking the WiiFit.

KS: It’s about showing of some of Philly’s newest improv acts.

AR: We’ll be joined on stage by Medic, a collection of some of the most talented PHIT house team members, and Iron Lung, a brand new team that formed out of a PHIT level 201 class that I just taught.

KS: Iron Lung and Medic will be fantabulous!

The Amie & Kristen Show (Fantabulous) Fun-draiser Show begins tonight (2/11) at 10PM at the Actors Center, 257 N Third St. Tickets are $10 at the door. Additional information available here.


Little Plates, Big Tapas premieres this Friday

02/10/2011

Building on the success of last year’s Fringe show, HOW TO SOLVE A BEAR, The GROUNDSWELL PLAYERS – (aka LEO CALLAHAN) are mounting a new production this weekend in cooperation with the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE entitled LITTLE PLATES, BIG TAPAS. Billed as a ‘darkly comic offering’ – the show is a scripted play, workshopped from improvisation, and then subsequently fine-tuned under the direction of DAN PLEHAL.

L to R: Scott Sheppard, Jack Meaney

 

Set in a pasta joint, newly handed down to a culinary trained son – the show explores the comedic clash between big city dreams and small town realities as he attempts to turn the little establishment into a high profile tapas eatery.

SCOTT SHEPPARD, JESSE PAULSEN, JACK MEANEY and ALISON KING brought their previous experiences from How To Solve a Bear into the production, this time joined by long time Leo Callahan collaborators NICHOLAS MIRRA and NICK KERR. Kerr’s character even sets the mood with some piano playing.

While improvisation is a tool utilized by many writers during the development process, for theatrical newcomers like Mirra, the experience of honing and performing that material is something very different indeed. “I came to (the show) with the perspective of an improviser and writer, not an actor… it’s been an exhilarating and challenging process.”

For Mirra, the work has evolved from something familiar yet fleeting, to a body of work with real sustainability. “We tend to appreciate and then forget, because it’s improv and inherently transient… trying to capture, define and repeat is not something I’m accustomed to worrying about.” And it’s in that repeated execution that the reward becomes evident. “Everything we do on stage is imbued with intention and forethought.”

And just what can we expect from this little labor of love? I think Mirra sums it up best… “(the show) is a small-town comedy located at the intersection of food, family, love, loss, ambition, and Himalayan fungi.”

Little Plates, Big Tapas runs just four nights, Feb. 11-14 at the LATVIAN SOCIETY (541 N 7th St). But if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of this limited engagement, you’d best move quickly. Friday and Saturday shows are already sold out. Tickets are available at the Philadelphia Joke Initiative’s website.


It’s time to get PHIT

01/26/2011

I hope you’ve all resolved to get your comedy on… and during the next two weeks, the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER has what it takes for you to be the Biggest Winner:

Wed, 1/26
8:00PM – The Bully Pulpit ($10)
9:30PM – Rant-O-Wheel ($10)

Thu, 1/27
8:00PM – Hey Everybody! ($10)
9:30PM – Cagematch: Grimacchio v. Hans Gruber ($10)
11:00PM – The Gross Show ($10)

Fri, 1/28
8:00PM – Women w/ Class + Kristen & Amie Show ($10)
9:30PM – Rosen & Milkshake + Angry People Building Things ($10)
11:00PM – Hopper Bros Happy Magic Fun-Time Show ($10)

Sat, 1/29
8:00PM – King Friday + Asteroid ($10)
9:30PM – Fletcher + Mayor Karen ($10)
11:00PM – PHIT Improv Jam (FREE)

Sun, 1/30
8:00PM – Comedy University: Improv Kerouac + Guests ($10)

Wed, 2/2
8:00PM – Guilty Pleasures ($10)
9:30PM – TV Party! ($10)

Thu, 2/3
8:00PM – Hey Everybody! ($10)
9:30PM – Cagematch: 1/27 Winner v. TBA ($10)

Fri, 2/4
8:00PM – Suggestical! + Rare Bird Show ($10)
9:30PM – Medic + BWP ($10)
11:00PM – Sketch Open Mic: Sketch Up or Shut Up (FREE)

Sat, 2/5
8:00PM – King Friday + Asteroid ($10)
9:30PM – Fletcher + Mayor Karen ($10)
11:00PM – Never Have I(mprov) Ever ($10)
12:00AM – PHIT Improv Jam (FREE)

 

All shows are at the Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge St.

Tickets and additional information available at www.phillyimprovtheater.com


Ted Talk on improvisation and the brain

01/20/2011

Below is a TED TALK by DR CHARLES LIMB, researcher and musician, discussing the effects of improvisation on the brain.

Limb’s general thesis for the talk as well as his research is that artistic creativity is a neurologic product that can be examined using rigorous scientific methods.

For his experiments, he uses fMRI to map Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) Imaging, giving him a look at changes in brain activity. Although Limb locks his sights on more music-specific subjects – testing both improvisation jazz and hip hop freestyle… we improvisers can quickly see how many of the theories can be applied to theatrical improvisation as well.

Using pre-established memorized pieces as a control, during the improvisations Limb and his colleagues saw a deactivation of the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain associated with self-monitoring. He also found large stimulation in the medial prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with self-expression. Limb’s general hypothesis is that to fully engage creativity, your brain needs to disassociate with identity and consciousness, thereby stripping away inhibition, opening up the gates for unhindered expression.

“Don’t Think” indeed. These findings and initial theories sound eerily similar to countless late night conversations I’ve had with JOE BILL.

During exchanges between multiple musicians (‘trading fours’ in jazz), Limb also found a marked activation of the Broca’s area in the left inferior frontal gyrus, the language center of the brain. He postulates with further research, the adage of music being a language itself could very much hold true.

It makes me wonder about the brain activity going on in improvised musicals or during shows like The Beatbox. Shows where his research and our little hobby intersect. Watching those folks perform on stage, I am consistently in awe of what I’m witnessing, and soon science may be putting similar fascinations in the spotlight.

Limb goes on to ask some big questions on science’s ability, place and future in mapping creativity. I’m interested to see where this research is at several years down the road. Until then, enjoy the video.