Lineup for Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin

07/28/2010

UPDATE: We neglected to include the Guilty Pleasures shows next week. Our apologies!

The time is upon us as this evening the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER takes up residence at the Shubin for the next two weeks (albeit with a slight hiatus this weekend as they take to the Del Close Marathon). They’ve got shows featuring all the house teams, a first glimpse at a new one, the anniversary of the Bully Pulpit, standup, sketch, rant-o-wheel, visitors from Pittsburgh and the big ticket… SUSAN MESSING & BECKY DRYSDALE!

Wednesday, July 28

8:00PM – The Bully Pulpit, $10
The monthly show celebrates one year with a special panel – all the members of Secret Pants

9:30PM – Rant-O-Wheel hosted by Jaime Fountaine, $10
The return of the infamous Rant-O-Wheel – you never know what you’re going to get

Thursday, July 29

8:00PM – King Friday + Friends, $10
9:30PM – Fletcher + Friends, $10
In a prelude to their DCM shows this weekend, it’s two of PHIT’s house teams in back-to-back shows

Friday – Sunday

PHIT at DCM
PHIT takes the show on the road to the Del Close Marathon in NYC

Tuesday, August 3

8:00PM – Guilty Pleasures: Free Taping
The best kept secret in Philadelphia comedy looks to create some Internet notoriety. A special free taping featuring Roger C. Snair, Chip Chantry, Rob Baniewicz, Meg Favreau and Chris Cotton

Wednesday, August 4

8:00PM – Guilty Pleasures, $10
Regular installment of the monthly show. If you haven’t seen this yet, for shame as you are missing out. Featuring Roger C. Snair, JP Boudwin, Patrick Foy, Dominic Moschitti, Sam Narisi and Kevin J. Kelly

Thursday, August 5

8:00PM – Hey Everybody! hosted by Aaron Hertzog, $10
An evening of stand-up featuring David James, Steve Gerben, Luke Giordano, Blake Wexler, Carolyn Busa, Christian Alsis and Matt McCusker

Friday, August 6

8:00PM – Stranger, Danger + Friends, $10
Double trouble from the comedic pair Sarah Cowdery & Alex Gross

11:00PM – “Stormcrow” sneak-peek, Free
A special free sneak-peek at one of the new house teams, tentatively titled Stormcrow

Saturday, August 7

8:00PM – Irony City + Activity Book, $10
Improvisers from the far west (Pittsburgh) share a bill with the original PHIT house team

9:30PM – Messing with a Friend, $15
The incomparable Susan Messing (iO, Annoyance) is joined by the always unpredictable Becky Drysdale (Second City, UCB). This is one amazing ticket!

11:00PM – Sketch Up or Shut Up, Free
Sketch comedy twist on the classic open mic hosted by Meg Favreau

Advanced tickets for these shows don’t seem to be available yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know when they are.


Philly reps it up at DCM this weekend

07/26/2010

You might have heard us chatting here and there about the upcoming  DEL CLOSE MARATHON, and Matt Holmes was even kind enough to share his top ten picks.

Well, the weekend is finally upon us, and in addition to all of the great acts from all over converging on Midtown Manhattan, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight the groups that will be representing Philadelphia. So in order of appearance, here you have it:

RARE BIRD SHOW
Friday, 7/30 @ 10PM
Hudson Guild | 441 West 26th Street

The biggest name in Philadelphia improv takes the stage first, ready to set the bar and rock the house. They’ve played DCM for years and have become quite the belles of the ball. If you know them, you probably love them.

ROOKIE CARD
Saturday, 7/31 @ 1:15am
Urban Stages | 259 West 30th Street

These indie darlings host their own monthly show and held the Philly Cagematch title for nearly half a year. It’s their first time at DCM, and they’re looking to make it a memorable one.

KING FRIDAY
Saturday, 7/31 @ 4PM
UCB Mainstage | 307 West 26th Street

Newest addition to the PHIT roster, this team hosts their own monthly shindig at Studio 34 you may have heard of. A core young and energetic cast anchored by several Philly improv veterans… this group is quickly gaining a steady fan base.

FLETCHER
Saturday, 7/31 @ 9PM
Hudson Guild | 441 West 26th Street

An original PHIT house team and up-and-coming rockstars. They’ve been knocking it out of the park pretty consistently. A group to really keep your eyes on.

ACTIVITY BOOK
Sunday, 8/01 @ 6:45PM
Urban Stages | 259 West 30th Street

Also an original PHIT house team, this group experienced an infusion of new cast last fall and after working diligently to mesh the old with the new, they’re now looking to make a big splash in the big city.

You can catch more details on these shows and others at the DCM website.


Matt Holmes top ten picks for DCM

07/01/2010

The Del Close Marathon is fast approaching (July 30th – August 1st) and we asked MATT HOLMES to share his top picks to help you sort through the madness of show listings.

It’s time once again for the annual Del Close Marathon in New York City. This is a humongous improv festival that runs non-stop for three days on four stages; it’s like the Woodstock of improv. More than 150 shows from all over the country will converge to take the stage.

This is the 12th year that the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has organized and hosted this tribute to long-form improv guru Del Close, who trained just about everyone you think is funny. A $25 wristband will get you into any show (after probably waiting in line for a while, so get there early), except for some big-name special ones that cost $12 each.
More information is available at www.delclosemarathon.com.

Here’s my TOP 10 for this year’s Marathon (in no particular order):

Improvised Shakespeare
Sat 7:15 pm at UCB Theatre (with wristband) OR Fri 7:00 pm at FIT Kate Murphy Amphitheater ($12 separate ticket)

I actually haven’t seen this yet, but it’s gotten reviews beyond rave. I know that several of the performers in the cast are extremely hilarious and talented. It’s definitely got to be worth catching, even if you’re not a Bard-lover.

Baby Wants Candy
Sun 6:00 pm at UCB Theatre (with wristband) OR Fri 8:30 pm at FIT Kate Murphy Amphitheater ($12 separate ticket)

Whether or not you’re a fan of musical comedy, you’ll like this show. It’s big, it’s brassy, it’s improvised. The cast is TBA, but some of the funniest people in improv have been in it.

Mother
Fri 9:30 pm at UCB Theatre

Mother was the UCB Theatre’s biggest act for years, Cagematch winners and holders of the primetime Saturday slot. They reunite here to perform their signature formats, the Sleepover and the Soundtrack (which uses your iPod as the suggestion).

Big Bat
Sat 1:00 am at Hudson Guild Theatre

Take a slew of brilliant, hilarious people. Put them all on stage. Turn out the lights. Watch …no, Listen as improv happens. Close your eyes for this audio-only show.

Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah & other middle-of-the-night shows at UCB
Sat 2:30 am – 6 am at UCB Theatre

Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah is some big-name New York improvisers pretending to be a working-class Boston improv group, complete with the accent and tons of Red Sox gear. This is meta, fourth-wall-breaking, tongue-in-cheek, Boratesque improv. Warning: you might get beer on you.

If you thought Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah was weird, come back even later (or earlier) in the morning for more 15-minute experimental shows. These include improv done by all impressions of Bono or Jay Leno or Michael McDonald, a live improv anime show, some kind of underground crunk clown improv, and UCBW (where the improvisers are pro wrestler characters). The Saturday-into-Sunday middle-of-the-night shows include an all-Ray-Romano show, a restaurant scene with a billion waiters, a tea party improv show, and Strip-prov (you laugh, they take off an article of clothing).

What happens when improvisers do improv for improvisers? This stuff. It’s worth catching at least once in your life.

Match Game ’76
Sun 2:00 am at UCB Theatre

This show is pure insanity. If you’re not familiar with the old game show, Match Game, watch a clip on youtube. It’s a show where a ton of drunk 70s celebrities write pun punchlines with contestants. Imagine 40 or so improvisers Halloweened-out as 70s celeb charicatures trying to play a game show but ususally just devolving into chaos. If you like drag shows or that video of the blueberry-stomping reporter choking, you’ll like this show.

In the past, Jack McBrayer (30Rock’s Kenneth the page) was consistently the put-upon contestant.

onesixtyone
Sat 11:00 pm at UCB Theatre

onesixtyone are some hilarious improvisers. They’re the people who started what has become WIT (the Washington Improv Theater) in DC. They are a sure bet for some good, smart, funny improv that you and your friends will be referencing to each other for the ride home, if not for months after.

Omelet
Sun 1:00 pm at UCB Theatre

Imagine you’re eating in a Denny’s and two old ladies at the next table are having the most interesting conversation ever. That’s this show. It’s calm, quiet, patient, and hilarious.

Derrick Comedy
Sat 8:30 pm at FIT Kate Murphy Amphitheater ($12 separate ticket)

Derrick does sketch comedy and just did a movie (www.derrickcomedy.com), but seeing them do improv is a whole other ballgame. Dominic Dierkes, DC Pierson, and Donald Glover (NBC’s Community) are UCB Theatre improvisers that can’t be described without using the word “expertise.”

Upright Citizens Brigade
Sat 6:00 pm at UCB Theatre

This is the UCB4. Maybe you watched their Comedy Central sketch show or their ASSSSCAT special on Bravo; maybe you know that Amy Poehler is one of them (she probably won’t be there) or that the one guy is Sparky Polastri from Bring It On; maybe you know that the theatre is theirs and that they trained all the other funny people performing during this festival.

These guys are improv masters; they know what they’re doing, and this is them having fun and making stuff up. It’ll probably lean more towards talking to the audience and kind of bullshitting about whatever comes to my mind (as opposed to actually doing theatrical improvised scenes and characters), but it’s definitely worth catching this show.

Matt Holmes is a co-founder of Rare Bird Show and performs a full improv comedy set with a complete stranger from the audience as part of his project, m@&. He has also been involved with many other improv projects, including teaching workshops at improv festivals, improvising an all-audio improv show in the dark called “The Bat”, coaching improv groups, teaching with the Philly Improv Theater, and performing an mp3-infused improv project that was crowned grand champion of season 2 of Troika.

You can see Matt perform at the Del Close Marathon with Rare Bird Show Friday, July 30th, 10PM at Hudson Guild.


Philly represents at DCM 11

06/18/2009

The acceptance letters are rolling in, and it looks like there’s already a number of Philly groups slated to perform at DCM 11 this summer. The marathon runs Friday, August 14th – Sunday, August 16th across multiple venues in Midtown Manhattan. There’s no official schedule posted yet… but here are the groups who have so far announced their timeslots:

Fri, 11:00PM – Rare Bird Show (Hudson Guild)

Fri, 11:30PM – Fletcher (Hudson Guild)

Sat, 12:30PM – Activity Book (UCBT)

Sun, 11:30AM – Angry People Building Things (UCBT)

Sun, 3:45PM – Illegal Refill (Urban Stages)

I’ll update this as the list (hopefully) grows. Rock it out Philly!


UCBT announces DCM dates; opens submissions

03/23/2009

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has announced that the 11th annual Del Close Marathon will run from August 14-16, with over 150 shows playing across three venues.

The event was created in celebration of the late Del Close, a pioneer in the art of improvisation and an inspiration to generations of students:

“Del Close was the driving force behind improvisational comedy in Chicago for over 30 years influencing Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, John Belushi, Chris Farley and the Upright Citizens Brigade to name a few. After Del’s passing in 1999, the UCB started the Del Close Marathon to celebrate their mentor and keep alive his name and teachings for future generations.”

DEL CLOSE

DEL CLOSE

DCM is currently accepting submissions for shows. In particular they’re interested in out-of-town groups submitting late-night shows. The submission deadline is May 4th.


DCM 10 Dates Announced & Submissions Open

04/17/2008

We’re coming up on another year of the Del Close Marathon. For the uninitiated, DCM is an annual three-day improv endurance test. The 150+ shows run around the clock at UCBT-NY and other stages from Friday afternoon until late Sunday night. There are so many shows and people and laughs that this marathon has been known to cure junkies of their improv obsessions.

From their site:

“Del Close was the driving force behind improvisational comedy in Chicago for over 30 years influencing Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, John Belushi, Chris Farley and the Upright Citizens Brigade to name a few. After Del’s passing in 1999, the UCB started the Del Close Marathon to celebrate their mentor and keep alive his name and teachings for future generations.”

DCM will run a little later than usual this year. Running Aug. 8-10, it’s up against the DC Comedy Fest and the APW Music & Arts Festival (also NYC). So it should be interesting to see who we’ll have in attendance.

If you have a group that you’d like to submit to perform, all of the information can be found on their website.


Fear and Diplomacy in North Carolina

08/28/2007

First time poster, longtime reader.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to North Carolina and perform with members of the DSI Comedy Theater – playing in their ComedySportz matches as well as longform. I feel it is important to constantly push yourself in order to improve your craft. To that end, I was all set to try out something new – a celebrity impression for their Match Game longform show. To my surprise, when I arrived, I was informed by Zach Ward, executive producer of DSI, that I would also be playing in with MISTER DIPLOMAT. For the uninitiated, this is one of the more highly respected longform groups on the east coast. They had an amazing prime time set up at DCM that I had the pleasure to watch. Needless to say, I was terrified.

The show was great, their celebrity monologist was a local singer who told very colorful stories. I tried my darndest to keep up with the rest of the improvisers, but I could feel that I was out of my league. I did participate in a few good scenes, but spent the majority of the show hugging the wall. The speed at which offers were thrown and scenes were progressed was staggering – these are improvisers at the top of their game, and work so well together as a team. I am glad I was pushed to participate in the show, it made me want to keep learning and get better. Afterwards, the cast was so kind. They were each able to recall a scene where I participated and compliment me on a specific offer I made. Only Zach ribbed me a bit for holding up the wall so much – true!

The rest of the weekend was great. Zach and Jeremy Griffin do a 2-man show called Cajones which was amazing. Definitely make sure to catch them this year at the Philly Improv Festival (more details coming soon). Also, if you happen to be in or around the Chapel Hill/Carrboro, North Carolina area, be sure to check out the DSI theater. Quality shows, wonderful people, and a great time.