Philadelphia Improv Festival tickets and workshops on sale


Tickets and workshops have gone on sale for the 6th annual PHILADELPHIA IMPROV FESTIVAL, kicking off the first week of COMEDY MONTH. This year, the festival will operate on two stages… the Mainstage and bulk of the shows will take place at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom St. Friday will also include a set of special shows taking place at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square.

More info on tickets and workshops are below…


Tickets are available in a variety of options to suit your needs. You can purchase a ticket for a single block of shows ($10), as well as passes for a whole night ($25), for the run of PHIF ($60), or even for all of Comedy Month ($100)! Tickets are available at:

Performers get access to all Mainstage shows for free, on a standby basis. For any performers wanting to guarantee seating for any particular show, PHIF is offering block tickets at a 50% discount (discount is not valid for passes).

PHIF also has two sets of shows at the Ethical Society on Friday 11/5… First up, Lekker from Baltimore opens for iO West’s EXTRA-STRENGTH. Then later, comedy duo Dangerous Fools, featuring Philadelphia’s Mary Carpenter and LA’s Thomas Fowler open for the festival’s main act… David Razowsky & Joe Bill. These two old friends and comedy veterans join up for the first time ever on a festival stage! Tickets for these shows are also $10 (passes are not valid – a separate ticket is required), and performers can use their 50% discount for these shows as well.

Also, on Tuesday – Thursday, PHIF is extending the price of a single block ticket to include the whole night. So you can come out and enjoy lots of great comedy for one low price!



Workshops are now available for registration at:

This year PHIF is offering eight different workshops from some of the best instructors in the country, including a longer Master Class co-taught by David Razowsky & Joe Bill.

PHIF is also offering a free workshop seminar about getting media attention, hosted by PHIF & NCCAF publicist Carrie Gorn. She’ll have tons of valuable information and there will be a Q&A to help you get the most out of your press efforts. There’s no registration for the seminar… just show up. But keep in mind to arrive early, as space may be limited.


Your Power Improv Toolkit

w/ Joe Bill
Friday 11/5 2pm – 5pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers

It’s Funny Because It’s True
w/ Mary Carpenter & Thomas Fowler
Friday 11/5 2pm – 5pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers


Falling In Love On Stage
w/ Will Luera
Saturday 11/6 10am – 1pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers

Getting Media Attention Without Committing Murder

w/ Carrie Gorn – PHIF, PCC & NCCAF Publicist
Saturday 11/6 10am – 1pm
A Special Free Workshop Seminar

w/ David Razowsky
Saturday 11/6 2pm – 5pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers

w/ Jen Caldwell
Saturday 11/6 2pm – 5pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers


Playing Around – A Master Class
w/ David Razowsky & Joe Bill
Sunday 11/7 10:30am – 2:30pm
$45 Performers / $65 Non-Performers

How To Have Fun & Play Pretend Without Wanting To Shoot Yourself In the Face
w/ Matt Holmes
Sunday 11/7 3pm – 6pm
$35 Performers / $50 Non-Performers

Armando Diaz featured instructor for CSz World Championship


In just over two weeks, twenty ComedySportz teams from around the globe will descend upon Philadelphia for the 2010 COMEDYSPORTZ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. Philadelphia is a city built on firsts… It seems fitting that in the inaugural year of Philly hosting the Championship, they’re busting out with another big first – the first time renowned instructor ARMANDO DIAZ will teach here.

Regarded as one of the best improv teachers in the country (very few people have both long-running shows and formats named after them), Armando will bring two workshops to Philly on Saturday, July 17th:


Great improv comedy is usually inspired by powerful ideas. When players find exciting concepts and truths to explore their scene work has higher stakes and is a lot more fun to watch. But where do we get these ideas? How do we use them? In this workshop we will learn to bring strong truths to our scenes. And we will learn to identify and explore the deeper concepts in the work which will always lead to funnier scenes.

Saturday July 17th, 10AM – 1PM
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel – 1800 Market St.


Beyond mastering the fundamentals of improv, sometimes your skills need a kick in the pants. In this workshop you will get some personal feedback on what you need to work on to make you a better improviser as well as getting a good work out.

Saturday July 17th, 2PM – 5PM
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel – 1800 Market St.

If you’re at all unfamiliar with his laundry list of credits and achievements, you can find about a bit more about Armando Diaz here.

ComedySportz Summer Camp now open for enrollment


If you have a teen (or are one yourself) that’s been bit by the comedy bug, then maybe they might enjoy a week of camp playing with the improvisers of ComedySportz Philadelphia. The day camp runs the week after Independence Day and culminates in an evening performance.

While honing their skillz, CSz campers will learn about creating characters, listening to others, building a scene off a suggestion and of course playing all the fun games you see at ComedySportz shows every week.

Camp is open to teens 13-17, runs July 5-9 and will set you back a mere $250.

More info can be found on their website.

ACT FAST: Second City Master Workshop


The SECOND CITY cast of CITY OF NUTTERLY LOVE will be teaching a master improv workshop tonight from 7-9PM at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. The class is geared for students that already have some improv experience under their belt. Instructors include EDGAR BLACKMON, RACHEL MILLER & KATIE RICH.

The class is $39, but if you mention and reserve your slot by 3PM today, you’ll pay just $25. Email Janette Amadio of PTC to RSVP.



EDGAR BLACKMON (Ensemble) is thrilled to be performing with The Second City. After graduating from The Second City Conservatory, he went on to work with The Second City’s Outreach and Diversity Program, starring and writing in four revues, including Six Degrees of Reparations and How The Kanye West Was Won. As a member of the two man comedy team,The Mad Highentists, he performed in All The Way Live and On Your Side in The Second City’s Skybox Theater and at Sketchfest in Chicago.He couldn’t do this without the support of his family, and for that he says thanks.

RACHEL MILLER (Ensemble) is delighted to be spending some quality time in Philadelphia. She is currently an understudy to The Second City national touring companies and the Mainstage Theatre in Chicago. She has also performed with The Second City throughout Mexico, New England and The Caribbean via Norwegian Cruise Lines. She spent 5-1/2 years in Amsterdam with sketch/improv theatre Boom Chicago, sings with guitar/vocal improv duet Vlad & Rachel, and recently created The Podcast at the Annoyance Theatre. Previous Chicago improv includes The Pat Shay Dancers, Kiki Greenwell and Baby Wants Candy. She has performed at comedy festivals in Edinburgh, Singapore, Berlin and Chicago and freestyle-rapped at U2’s European “Vertigo” Tour Party. She hearts this cast, her family and Mr. Hicks.

KATIE RICH (Ensemble) is very lucky to be a part of this stellar cast. A Chicago native, Katie earned a B.S. (yup) from Northwestern University before getting the opportunity to tour all over the world with The Second City. She also performs at the iO Chicago with Carl and the Passions, the Frank Hayes 4,The Deltones Improvised Musical and Women Aren’t Funny. You can see her in those ubiquitous Sonic Drive-in commercials, in Martin Short’s “Let Freedom Hum,” and in the movie The Ice Harvest. Katie is proud to be an instructor for both the iO and The Second City. She’d be nowhere without her friends and worse than nowhere without her family to whom she owes everything. Katie spends a lot of time figuring out what to do now that her dream has come true.

Alexis Simpson to teach Jekyll and Hyde workshops


AlexisALEXIS SIMPSON, Artistic Director of the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER, will teach a special two-part workshop on Saturday, July 18th. Although the workshops can be taken independently, prospective students are encouraged to take them together in order to benefit from the full experience.

In the first of the workshops, Alexis will take a soft, Jekyll-like approach in identifying the individual strengths and weaknesses of students:

You love improvisation, but you’re not sure you are getting the most out of every scene? What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What is my director/coach/teacher/best friend not telling me? Alexis Simpson, loving spirit, will offer firm but gentle feedback that is specifically targeted for you and you alone. True strength comes from knowing your weaknesses.

In the second workshop, the kid gloves come off, and Alexis focuses on her two immediate missions, to fix what’s wrong, and to make you cry:

Your improv is awful. Everyone is bored. Stop it; stop it right now. It isn’t your fault that all your other teachers and all your other directors are too nice to tell you that your worst fears are true: YOU AREN’T FUNNY. Worse, YOU AREN’T EVEN INTERESTING. Alexis Simpson will fix that. You will come to this workshop on time. You will do bad scenes. Alexis Simpson, total jerk, will bark mean things that are only mean because they are true. You may cry, which you deserve. So come do your shitty improv so that Alexis can fix it. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?

It sounds like a pretty intense day PHIT has put together, and I hope lots of folks plan to take advantage of it.

Workshop: Jekyll
Saturday, July 18th, 11AM-2PM
$35, $50 after 7/11

Workshop: Hyde
Saturday, July 18th, 3PM-6PM
$35, $50 after 7/11

Both workshops to be held at the Shubin Theater, 407 Bainbridge St. Register online.

You love improvisation, but you’re not sure you are getting the most out of every scene? What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What is my director/coach/teacher/best friend not telling me? Alexis Simpson, loving spirit, will offer firm but gentle feedback that is specifically targeted for you and you alone. True strength comes from knowing your weaknesses.

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.

Last chance for new PHIT sketch classes


Last week we told you about some of the great improv class offerings the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER has starting up this month. Well another exciting PHIT venture we’re seeing recently is the rise of sketch writing classes. Whether you’re looking to pen your comedy genius for the stage or the screen, the fine folks at PHIT have you covered with some serious teaching talent:


This is the place to start if you have never written sketch comedy before, or have dabbled in the past. Over eight weeks, students will watch and discuss a variety of sketches, learn about different sketch formats, and write and workshop their own material. The focus in Level 1 is on developing each student’s individual voice and comic sensibility. The class will conclude with established comedians performing a staged reading of students’ favorite sketches.


Dates: Sundays, May 10, 2009 thru July 5, 2009 (No class Memorial day weekend)
Time: 6-9pm

Location: The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philly, PA 19106
Instructor: Paul Triggiani
Cost: $150

Register online


For students who feel they have a solid understanding of how to work in the short writing medium represented by sketch but would like to expand their comedic ideas, Writing for TV will challenge you to create and sustain ideas over a longer period of time. The end product for this class will be an actual spec script for a 30-minute television sitcom.


Dates: Sundays, May 10, 2009 thru July 5, 2009 (no class Memorial Day weekend)
Time: 7-9pm

Location: The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philly, PA 19106
Instructor: David Warick
Cost: $150

Register online

Both classes start this weekend, so if you’re looking to get on board, you better act quickly!