Ten days left to submit to the Philadelphia Improv Festival


The window is getting narrow for you to submit your group to be apart of the 7th Annual PHILADELPHIA IMPROV FESTIVAL, taking place October 3-9 at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. PHIF once again is teaming up with Philadelphia Comedy Collective partner Philly Sketchfest and local comedians to put on Comedy Month, running through October.

Submitted groups will be considered for performance slots Wed – Sun of that week. All submissions are processed via the online form. I recommend you review the submission guidelines so you can make sure you’ve got everything together. If you still have questions after reviewing the guidelines, they can be directed to submissions@phif.org




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: http://phif.org/tickets.html

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: http://phif.org/workshops.html

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

A new Cagematch champ arises


Last week, newcomer JESSICA TANDY (Jessica Ross & Andy Moskowitz) took down longtime reigning champs, THE ONES YOUR MOMS WARNED YOU ABOUT at PHIT’s CAGEMATCH.

After seeing The Ones toppled after holding on to the title for the better part of the past year, I thought I’d get a bit of insight into how everyone feels about the upset…

J: “I’d say we are definitely proud of our run at the top. The loss stings a bit, especially because we had one of our best performances, but we sure went out fighting.

JESSICA: “It was an awesome night. The Ones really set the bar high and as always put on a great show, they’re one of the best teams in Philly.”

ANDY: “We’re thrilled to be the group to finally take down The Ones, and we’d be lucky to keep our streak going even half as long as they did. We we fresh and new… and with each successive show we will be less fresh and less new, so we know it’s an uphill climb.”

B-LIBS: “As for our run, I personally felt like Julius Caesar: conquering all and then holding massive orgies. So I guess that makes Jessica Tandy Brutus. ‘Et tu, Tandy.'”

JESSICA: “We were just happy to share the stage with an amazing team and debut our work. Andy and I had so much fun performing together and were really proud of our work. Winning was just the icing on the cake.”

ANDY: “I think the most important thing is for us to keep having fun and delighting and surprising each other on stage.”

Finally, THE RICHNE$$ had a final message for their groupies: “Dear Ladies, It was a fun run, but we can’t be tied down right now, girl.  We’ll see you around and all.  Remember, girl, hate the game not the playa!  Most Sinceriously – The Richne$$”

So there you go, some broken hearts, some high hopes and lots of praise and mutual respect for what were a couple of great shows. For fans of The Ones, despair not, as they’re slated to play PHIF in a couple of weeks.

As for Jessica Tandy, the duo needs to be on their game tonight if they’re going to hold on to their newly won title. They take on another newcomer, RINTERSPLINT (Joe Gates, Matt Akana & Marc Reber), at CAGEMATCH 9:30pm tonight at the Shubin.


Schedule announced for 2010 Philadelphia Improv Festival


Now in its sixth year, the PHILADELPHIA IMPROV FESTIVAL is expanding in some big ways this November. In addition to partnering with the Philly Sketchfest and the Philadelphia Joke Initiative to create Comedy Month, the improv festival itself is branching out to include a full week of programming and is set to present shows on multiple stages. The mainstage for this year will be the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (2111 Sansom St), with secondary shows held at the Philadelphia Ethical Society (1906 Rittenhouse Square).

Highlights throughout PHIF include acts from cities all across the country, including Extra-Strength and BillyHawk from iO West in Los Angeles, Atlanta’s Einstein Meets Elvis, Detroit’s Simply Coney and ImprovBoston’s Mainstage show, as well as a large and exciting collection of groups from around the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.

PHIF will also boast an assortment of local acts including critically acclaimed groups like Ladies & Gentlemen, M@& and Fletcher, an indeed rare full-cast appearance of Rare Bird Show, six-time Cagematch Champions The Ones Your Moms Warned You About and 2010 Troika Champs, Pasiónes de Pasiónes.

An exciting theme emerging in 2010 is also a myriad of multi-city shows that put groups of improvisers together that normally can’t be seen anywhere else. Musical group Vox Pop features players from DC and New York. Former Philadelphian Tom Fowler returns from LA to perform with local fave Mary Carpenter, reprising their highly praised duo, Dangerous Fools. Players from Philadelphia, Chicago, LA, Boston, DC and Atlanta will be jumping in the raft for Adrift. Finally, two improv legends, David Razowsky from LA and Joe Bill from Chicago, will join one another onstage for the first ever festival performance of Razowsky & Bill.

Here’s a full rundown of the schedule:


Comedy Month Opening Night Reception


Pasiónes de Pasiónes
The N Crowd

The Ones Your Moms Warned You About
Ladies & Gentlemen


The Cascade
The Dogs Bollocks

The Moving Walkways
ComedySportz Philly: Improvised Shakespeare


Strippers Picnic

Rare Bird Show


Plan B
Einstein Meets Elvis


Leo Callahan
Identity Theft
Vox Pop

Dangerous Fools
Razowsky & Bill

The Imposters
Simply Coney
Red Dragon
Hello Laser



Jaye Stays

Real Housewives of Philadelphia
Surf ‘n Turf
ImprovBoston Mainstage
All Star Show


College Night

Tickets go on sale next week, and range from $10 for a single show, up to $100 for a full Comedy Month Pass. Visit the PHIF website for more details.

Tonight: Sketchfest Comedy Competition at Helium


ANIMOSITY PIERRE, the organizers of the PHILLY SKETCHFEST, host a sketch comedy competition tonight at Helium Comedy Club. Up and coming sketch groups each compete to earn a performance slot in PSF2010. On the bill for tonight:

Camp Woods
Young Folks Comedy
Bare Hug
Brendan and Aaron
Second Place Champions
Chris Jones (Schwarzkopf Entertainment)

Each group gets six minutes to wow the audience and the judges. The judges include Rob Baniewicz (of Meg & Rob), Alli Soowal (of Real Housewives & PHIF producer) and PSF producer Ben Maher.

Tickets are $12 (w/ two item minimum) and proceeds benefit PSF2010. Also, performers from last year’s Sketchfest get a half price discount.

TICKETS: $12 | 21+

PHIF now accepting submissions


Submissions are now open for the sixth annual PHILADELPHIA IMPROV FESTIVAL.

This year, the festival has expanded to seven days and two venues, kicking off the first week of the Philadelphia Comedy Collective’s Comedy Month.

PHIF has commissioned several big acts this year and tapped instructors the likes of JOE BILL, DAVID RAZOWSKY and WILL LUERA.

More details and the online submission form can be found here.

Announcing Philadelphia Comedy Collective and Comedy Month


Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in November

Three of the top forces in the local comedy scene are teaming up this year, becoming The Philadelphia Comedy Collective, and presenting Comedy Month. Forming the new collaborative are the Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative. Their first endeavor, Comedy Month, will run from November 1-21 at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom Street. The producers will announce the performance schedule later this summer.

The first week of the festival will be the now week-long Philadelphia Improv Festival featuring local longform and shortform improv acts and troupes from all over the country. Now in its sixth year, the Philadelphia Improv Festival has hosted top-notch local acts along with teams from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (NYC), iO West (LA), DSI Comedy Theater (NC), Second City (Chicago), the Magnet Theater (NYC), Washington Improv Theater (DC), and the People’s Improv Theater (NYC). The Philadelphia Improv Festival is produced by Matt Nelson, Alli Soowal, and Jason Stockdale.

Following the improv festival, Philly Sketchfest will present its third annual event, a full week dedicated to sketch comedy. Philly Sketchfest is the brainchild of sketch troupe Animosity Pierre’s manager Ben Maher and Pierre members Matt Lally and Dave Terruso; Jessica Ciaramella and Cathleen Collins are associate producers. As active members of the Philadelphia sketch scene, these comedians have experienced the growth of comedy in the city firsthand. In 2009, the festival grew to include over a dozen local and national sketch groups.

The Philadelphia Joke Initiative (PJI) will handle the final week of performances. The comedy advocacy organization recently completed a successful run of its improvised musical, “Rodgers and Hammerstein are Dead.” The group was founded in 2009 and is dedicated to supporting comedy and comedians in the greater Philadelphia area. PJI recognizes comedy has inherent cultural value, and will foster Philadelphia’s cultural community by regularly producing comedy events, nurturing local talent, encouraging that talent to remain in Philadelphia, and raising the profile of Philadelphia-based comedy on the national market. PJI is run by Alexis Simpson and Kate Sabato.

About The Philadelphia Comedy Collective

The Philadelphia Comedy Collective is a consortium of local producers, performers, and companies unified for the purpose of comedy advocacy, cultural vitality, and excellence in improvisation, sketch, stand up, theater, film, music, and other comedy media.

Philadelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in NovemberPhiladelphia Improv Festival, Philly Sketchfest, and The Philadelphia Joke Initiative Join Forces To Form Philadelphia Comedy Collective

New Collaborative Set to Present Month of Comedy in November

Interview: Tamara Nolte visiting from CSz Chicago



This weekend, Chicago based improviser Tamara Nolte (of Comedy Sportz Chicago, the Beatbox & Infinite Sundaes) is in town and will be joining ComedySportz Philly for this Saturday’s double header.

We got a chance to chat with the Philly native…

Q: You’re going to be playing in with ComedySportz Philly this weekend. How long have you been involved with CSz?

Since 2006

Q: You’re originally from Philadelphia. How does it feel to come back here and perform for friends and family that don’t get to see you in Chicago?

It’s really hard to explain to my 82 yr old grand mother what improv is. So I’m excited to show her what it’s all about.

Q: The last time you performed here was with Beatbox at PHIF. Did you see those locals come out to cheer you on then as well?

Yes, I had some family and friends come out then too! Although with ComedySportz being a clean, “family friendly” show, my mom is now inviting her coworkers!

Q: The two (CSz & Beatbox) are obviously quite different styles of improv. What would you say is the biggest difference?

The biggest difference is that the Beatbox is a long form show that has short-form improv elements in it. The entire story arch is improvised, including when and how we bring in the short form elements. ComedySportz is a short-form show where the story arch is somewhat set (Red vs. Blue) and short form improv games are played within that structure. Oh… and in one we rap a lot.

Q: How does it feel to step out of Chicago CSz and play in with a group of people you’re less familiar with?

I really enjoy playing with new people, I think it keeps me much more on my toes, and ready for anything. It’s scary… in a good way.

Q: Any old haunts or must-sees while you’re in town?

Nicks Roast Beef, the Friendy’s by the Granite Run Mall, Swarthmore Players Club.

Q: What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

Besides CSZ, I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family, meeting up with people I have met at PHIF, and Rita’s Water Ice.

Q: Give me one word that describes what you’re going to be bring to the stage on Saturday night…



Dept of Far Away Improv: Brian O’Connell named iO West POTM



For those of you who have made it out to PHIF the last couple years, you may likely know our improv crush Brian O’Connell as half of the awesome improv duo BillyHawk. Well being on the east coast, we only get to delight in a small part of all the improv this guy does… and word has come down the pike that Brian has been named iO West’s Performer of the Month.

A big and well deserved congrats Brian!!

PHIF4 Workshops!!


Workshop registration is now open for the 4th Annual Philadelphia Improv Festival.

All workshops will be held at the Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. The cost is $50 and they will be 3 hours in length.

If you are a PHIF4 performer, you will receive an email pointing you to a page where you can register at a 30% discount. You can also emailfor the link.

Friday, Nov. 14th

Starting Out Strong
Instructor: Bill Binder
Friday, 11/14 @ 10AM

The beginnings of shows should be more than a chance to create chaos or fulfill some requirement of your format. Those beginning minutes of a show are a chance to check in with your ensemble, to find and agree on the focus and direction of your show, and hopefully, to invite the audience to come on the journey with you rather than confusing them. This workshop uses techniques to unify and strengthen your ensemble’s openings.

Deal With It
Instructor: Mark Grenier
Friday, 11/14 @ 2PM

As improvisers, we often expect others to play by certain rules and we get frustrated when teammates don’t meet our expectations. Sometimes we need a reminder that the improviser’s job is to accept – to accept everything and to embrace every contribution as a gift. Your ability to “yes and” is truly tested when encountering the unusual, the unexpected, and the undesired. Well, in this workshop you’ll be confronted with the things you may despise – questions, denials, curve balls, poor listening, bad object work, selfish partners, and complete stupidity – and you’ll learn ways to not just accept it but to make magic out of it. Stop wishing for the ideal partner and deal with it!

Breaking Out the Scene
Instructor: Asaf Ronen
Friday, 11/14 @ 2PM

Learn how to go beyond the linear storytelling of improvisation by incorporating editing and presentation techniques appropriated from independent films like Amelié, The Royal Tenenbaums and Reservoir Dogs. Techniques will be shown on developing a group’s awareness to all the possibilities that are available to a group at any given moment in an improv scene including ways to build mood, theme and character.

Saturday, Nov. 15th

Instructor: Rene Duquesnoy
Saturday, 11/15 @ 10AM

Learn how to rap for an improv show. Rene Duquesnoy, creator of the hiphop improv show The Beatbox, will teach freestyling techniques, short-form rap games (like Rap Line, Beastie Rap, and Audience & Hammer Time) and different effects used in The Beatbox. Learn how to enhance a scene by adding quick hiphop tricks. This class will help longform and shortform improvisers alike.

Advanced Dialogue Techniques
Instructor: Kevin Patrick Robbins
Saturday, 11/15 @ 10AM and/or 2PM

Learn to economize your dialogue and strip out unnecessary exposition, explanations and justifications. A variety of dialogue techniques will be explored that will improve your scene work, lead to more relationship-driven scenes, and some that just make your scenes cooler.

You can choose to take this at either time slot individually or combine them for a six hour dialogue intensive.

Improv Diagnostics

Instructor: Asaf Ronen
Saturday, 11/15 @ 2PM

No lesson plans. Instead, the focus is on pinpointing the individual students’ tendencies. Find out what your strengths are and where you could explore further. Working in a non-stop series of short, quick scenes, you will learn what your patterns are and how to break them through personalized challenges. Maximized stage time guaranteed. Great for beginners who want to develop new skills and for professionals who want to keep fresh.

PHIF is also offering a Special Student Pass for $50 that gets you full access to all shows and a 30% discount on workshops. Signup before 10/20 and you’ll also get a free PHIF4 tshirt!

Questions can be directed to workshops@phif.org