Black History Monthly

Black History Monthly is a new diversity-focused variety show at PHIT Comedy. Every second Friday of the month, they create a space for stand-up comedians, sketch comedy, improv, visual artists, and dance, which you can see below. The show was created and is hosted by Leticia Viloria, Ronald Metellus, Brandon Mitchell, and Keane Cobb. With their next show approaching on April 14th, we had to know more about Black History Monthly.

We spoke with the show’s hosts to learn more about their thoughts and dreams.

What sparked you to start this series?
Keane Cobb: I wanted to produce and host a show from scratch. As I was thinking about how to go about it, I was approached by Ronald and Leticia and I jumped at the opportunity.
Leticia Viloria: The lack of places where you can see a wide variety of comedy.  Not just stand up and improv (although I love those as well).
Ronald Metellus: There are a lot of talented POCs who don’t get booked enough. I wanted to stop complaining about it and find a way to get people quality stage time. I also wanted to work with Brandon, Leticia, and Keane.
Brandon Mitchell: Ronald, Keane, and Leticia already had a super fire idea and when I was asked to be apart of it, I couldn’t turn it down.

How do you prepare for a show?
Brandon: When I was a year into stand up, whenever I told my mom I had a show she would tell me “Get rich or die tryin”, so now I listen to 50 Cent before every show.
Keane: Stretch, drink a lot of water, take a deep breath and remember how dope I am
Ronald: I try to find a good shirt to wear. Once, I’ve picked something presentable, I jump around backstage to work out my nerves.
Leticia: Squats

What do you want to get out of this project or where do you see it going?
Brandon: I try not to think too far ahead about where I want this show to go. I’m just hoping that it can me in a position where I could buy a fur coat.
Leticia: Encouraging different types of comedy and hopefully inspiring others to think outside the box.
Keane: I want to be able to show as many different forms of performance arts to the general public as possible. I also want to introduce artists to other artists that may not cross paths. The dream scenario would be for Black History Monthly to get to a national level where stars got their first big break, or just the other hosts and myself become well known and wealthy because of the show. Whichever comes sooner
Ronald: It’d be interesting to do the show in different cities.

Who are your dream guests?
Brandon: Dave Chappelle
Ronald: Saul Williams and Kevin Hart and my grandma.
Keane: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza
Leticia: Reggie Watts

What makes you feel passionate about this show and comedy?
Brandon: Comedy is dope, my friends are dope, and this show is dope. I know that every second Friday we are going to do super fly shit and that right there keeps me going.
Keane: Making people laugh is my best skill. I love how much making someone laugh can change so much for their day. Any way I can provide that, I am more than happy and willing to do so
Leticia: Variety! In New York  (where I’m from) there were so many different types of comedy that labels couldn’t catch up with them! This was good and bad. Burlesque and comedy are great, but watching someone take a nap on stage is not.
Ronald: When I tell people about the show, they’ll sometimes use the word “necessary.” So far, the audiences have been great, so it feels necessary. I’m always excited for them to see the acts we brought together.

You can see the next Black History Monthly show on Friday, April 14th at 9:00 pm!
Follow Black History Monthly on Facebook!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just One More Chance to Catch Just Right!

After 27 shows it’s time for the final line-up for Aaron Abramowitz and Mekki Leeper’s Just Right. We’re sad to see the show go, and hope you’ll grab a ticket to help us celebrate the end of it’s run at 9:00 p.m.  on March 27th (that’s next Monday)! You can get tickets for the final show here.

Mekki and Aaron have done an amazing job since the show’s inception bringing top-notch stand-up comics to PHIT Comedy’s stage – and mixing local performers with great out of town guests. The show really did become a destination for visiting stand-ups who were passing through or wanted to make a day-trip over to Philly.

“I was always impressed with how dedicated Mekki and Aaron were: not just to improving as performers, but also as show runners,” said PHIT Comedy founder Greg Maughan. “They really out-hustled anyone when it came to getting talent on the show, and they were serious about only having people perform who could really hold an audiences attention and keep them laughing.”

Although Just Right is ending we hope we’ll continue to see Mekki and Aaron on our stages and shows, and they’ll also be producing and performing all over Philly. PHIT will be continuing our commitment to stand-up comedy as well.

If you’re a comic looking to start booking a showcase or running a mic, you can always reach out to us via email (contact@phitcomedy.com). If you’ve got weird offbeat ideas that mix stand-up and other comedy you can also send it to our variety producer Joe Moore using our variety show pitch form.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Introducing The Codename: Bacchus Actors!

The writers for our newest sketch house team, Codename: Bacchus, directed by Kathryn codenamebacchusAmrhein, have been hard at work getting ready for the team’s premiere, so we’ve cast the actors that will help bring their sketches to life.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come out and audition. There were far more talented performers than we could cast at this time, which is very exciting for future projects. We hope to see all of these talented people, and others interested in performing in sketch comedy, get involved by bringing material to PHIT’s sketch open-mic Sketch Up or Shut Up, performing on a show like Theme Show or Monologues, participating in Up All Night (our Improv-to-Sketch 24-Hour Cram), or producing their own independent sketch show at PHIT. Opportunities to grow as a comedian are on the rise in Philadelphia: we look forward to seeing what talented people will assemble the next time we hold performer auditions.

Several Codename: Bacchss writers will act in the team’s shows, and joining them onstage will be:

CODENAME: BACCHUS ACTORS

Nathaniel Biagiotti

Derrick Houck

Jenna Kuerzi

Wendy Lenhart

Brooke McCarthy

Chuong Pham

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PHIT Seeking Pitches & Partners For Our 2017 FringeArts Shows!

PHIT Comedy’s transfer of The Cambridge Footlights “Canada” from the Edinburgh Fringe. (Pictured from left to right: Jason Forbes, George Fouracres, Emma Powell, and Phil Wang).

PHIT is proud to be returning to the FringeArts Festival and is excited to work with members of the theater community with new comedic show ideas. PHIT’s experience in successfully producing shows at the Philly Fringe Festival and FringeArts stretches back over a decade and includes 50+ productions, including: improvised soap operas, live podcast recordings, sketch comedy, storytelling showcases, full-fledged variety shows (complete with dancers and a live band), an original musical, and multiple transfers from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We’re excited to hear what you’d like to do and see if we can help!

Ralph Andracchio in PHIT Comedy’s “The Grimacchio Variety Hour” at the 2012 Philly Fringe Festival.

Use the form linked here to submit your idea for a 2017 FringeArts show to be performed at PHIT Comedy and we will consider your pitch for possible inclusion in our slate of shows this September. On the application you will be asked to provide information about yourself and your collaborators; your pitch, your needs for cast, crew, and production; ideas you have for marketing of your show; and any other artistic support you feel it will require. The pitch form can be edited at any time after you submit up until the deadline for submissions on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Rich Lee and Harry Watermeier (as part of the cast of nationally recongized sketch comedy group The Flat Earth) in a PHIT sketch comedy revue at the Philly Fringe Festival.

All pitches will be reviewed by PHIT’s artistic team and administrative staff and receive a response. If your pitch is selected for inclusion in PHIT’s programming for the 2017 FringeArts Festival, you will receive:

  • A run of performances on one of PHIT’s two stages during the dates of the festival.
  • Help developing a budget for your festival show, with PHIT covering all budgeted festival show costs.
  • Assistance in casting your festival show, if needed.
  • Rehearsal space to prepare for your festival show.
  • Marketing and public relations assistance for your festival show.
  • Box office, house management, and backstage support for your festival show.
  • Archival video and photo recording of performances of your festival show.
  • Compensation for your show based on its commercial success.

“Reasonable Doubt” – an improvised homage to Law & Order, which premiered on PHIT’s stage as part of the Philly Fringe Festival and went on to perform at New York City’s Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theatre. (Pictured left to right: R.J. Payne, Scott Hinners, Quinton Alexander)

We expect many more great pitches than we will be able to produce. If your pitch is not accepted as part of our Fringe run, you are free to submit the idea to PHIT for production at another time throughout the year or you to take it (and the feedback you receive) elsewhere to produce with another organization or on your own. Chosen submissions will be notified by Monday May 1, 2017.

Thank you for considering PHIT Comedy as a partner in producing your show at the 2017 FringeArts Festival, now send us your ideas!

Kristy Goldy and Aaron Hertzog in Goat Rodeo’s “Cart Before The Horse” – an original sketch comedy revue PHIT Comedy produced for the 2013 FringeArts festival.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New York’s Annoyance Theater Coming to PHIT for April Residency!

Continuing our longstanding record of bringing the best emerging comedic talent in the country straight to Philadelphia audiences, PHIT Comedy is excited to be partnering with the famous Chicago/Brooklyn based Annoyance Theater in April for a series of eight performances spread across every weekend of the month. PHIT and Annoyance have worked together bringing shows to Philadelphia since 2007 and this special month-long residency is a celebration of our decade of collaboration.

Annoyance company alumni include Saturday Night Live cast members and household names such as Vanessa Bayer, Stephen Colbert, Jon Favreau, Jane Lynch, and Andy Richter. Annoyance is best known for its absurdist and outrageous brand of comedy made famous in shows like Co-Ed Prison Sluts (the longest running musical in Chicago theatre history), The Real Live Brady Bunch (which starred a young Jane Lynch as Mrs. Brady), and the controversy-stirring You Darn Antichrist!

“Annoyance has been the bleeding edge of bizarre emerging comedy in the United States for almost thirty years, and we’re excited to be bringing the best of their NYC work to Philly audiences again this spring,” said PHIT founder and executive director Greg Maughan.

Jessica Snow, PHIT’s Artistic Director, described her excitement. “When I graduated from college and thought it unlikely I’d improvise again, someone gave me Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier, who founded Annoyance in Chicago, and I was pulled in harder than ever before. I became obsessed with Napier and his theater. I was excited to see them start doing things in New York because Chicago is far, so having Annoyance shows visit PHIT is awesome for me. I can walk to Annoyance shows in April without leaving Philadelphia; I love that.”

The Annoyance Residency Performance Calendar:

  • Friday, April 7th, 10:30 p.m. – Bleech. A one-man sketch comedy show from Anthony Oberbeck, a regular at the famous Just for Laughs comedy festival.
  • Saturday, April 8th, 9:00 p.m. – Postmen. An unrelenting sketch comedy show from the creators of the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour, featuring a line-up of comedic heavy hitters that includes Matt Barats (Just for Laughs Fresh Face – 2015), Carmen Christopher (Chris Gethard’s The Special Without Brett Davis), and Anthony Oberbeck (multiple Just for Laughs appearances).

 

  • Friday, April 14th, 10:30 p.m. – Nervosa: The Musical. An original sock-puppet musical comedy about body image, featuring book and music created by an all-female creative team.
  • Saturday, April 15th, 9:00 p.m. – Disco Demolition. A comedic recreation of the most infamous baseball game promotion in history, which caused the Chicago White Sox to forfeit a game against the Detroit Tigers on July 12, 1979 after a crate of disco records was detonated on the field, sparking a riot.

 

  • Friday, April 21st, 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 22nd, 9:00 p.m. – Secret Shows!
    If we can’t tell you about it yet, you know it has to be something special.

 

  • Friday, April 28th, 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 29th 9:00 p.m. – Moon Crew.The Moon Crew answers an S.O.S. distress signal from Dr. Shelley and her crew of AmazonSky scientists stranded on Mars. It was supposed to be an easy shoot-and-scoop job, but the mysterious Dr. Shelley forgot to mention one thing: The musclebound, vodka Red Bull-chugging, shirt ripping…MEATHEADS ON MARS! The stakes launch into the stratosphere when one of the Moon Crew starts lifting… a lot.There’s a sandstorm brewing on Mars, y’all. Strap in.

 

“We’re very excited to take Philadelphia to the Moooooon (and Mars),” says Riley Taggart of Moon Crew.  Charlie Walden of Disco Demolition Night added, “We’re pumped as hell to bring Disco Demolition Night to PHIT. The show takes place mostly at a baseball stadium in 1979 and involves a live organist.

Annoyance’s residency also includes a set of workshops for Philadelphia performers. PHIT Education director Mike Marbach said “We are excited to offer five workshops throughout the month of April covering both improv and sketch comedy. It will be the first time time most of the instructors have set foot here. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of what makes the Annoyance Theater so special.”

 

The Annoyance Residency Workshop & Master Class Calendar:

So there it is – another amazing opportunity for comedy fans and comedy students right here at PHIT Comedy next month. We hope you are as excited as are!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EVENTS AT PHIT FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH ARE CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

PHIT has decided to close this evening and will not be having any events. Although the snow appears to have stopped in Center City at this time, the fact that much of the accumulation downtown was sleet and freezing rain means that local authorities are discouraging travel, and most of SEPTA’s non-subway routes are shut down. We don’t think it is worth the risk for performers, staff, volunteers, students and audiences to travel under these conditions. Relax, stay warm and stay safe!

If you’re bored and thinking about comedy today, you can always check out our list enrolling classes starting this weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank You, Places: An Improvised Musical

Thank You, Places is PHIT’s premiere musical improv team. Every 1st and 3rd Friday they create an hour-long musical on the spot that you’ll never be able to see again. Thank You, Places was cast in the Fall of 2016 by their director Dave Sucharski. Each show, Music Director, Kevin Mucchetti accompanies the cast on the keyboard bringing their songs to life.

We wanted to know more about the cast of Thank You, Places. So we asked them a few questions to get to know more about this multi-talented team.

What have you guys liked about playing with each other so far?
“It’s so fun to collaborate and write songs together on the spot. Everyone is super talented, so it’s so fun to be in scenes and also to watch and listen from the sidelines.” Steve Holland

“Everyone brings a unique angle! Some people have more background in improv while others are musical theater experts. We have trained opera singers, dancers, and word-slingers. Every rehearsal is full of surprising, hilarious and dramatic moments!” Claire Halberstadt

“The team is a force of fresh, positive energy which makes practice and shows incredibly fun.” Scott Hinners

“Holy cats, these folks are talented! Each member has multiple skills, like Angelina who is both a beautifully poetic lyricist and can sing like a bird or Rob who has a bass voice that sounds like butter and creates so many hilarious characters. Together we make one hell of a well-rounded team.” Sue Taney

“Not only is everyone an extremely kind, funny, and gifted improviser, but I adore how our shared love of music, musicals, and the accompanying tropes makes it super easy for us to just read each other’s minds. I was first super intimidated by the idea of doing a 45-minute improvised show with multiple musical numbers, but with my teammates, it feels so easy and seamless.” Angelina Meehan

“Is everything a valid answer? Everything. This group never ceases to amaze me with their talent and wit.” Rob Alesiani

What is your background in musical theater or music? 
“I was briefly in the Philadelphia Boys Choir at the same time Rob Alesiani was in ’95, but we didn’t find that out until we met at PHIT a few years ago. Other than that I sang in a punk-ska band in college. This will be the first musical I’ve ever been in!” Steve Holland

“I have been a life-long musical theatre nerd from age ten on. I saw my first musical (Titanic) on Broadway when I was 7, and was sold. For most of my high school career I was involved in a wonderful children’s theatre in Wilmington, DE, where I had the chance to play a lot of chickens and plates and turtles. Today I’m happy when I’m doing anything related to music or musicals- whether it’s improv, being part of an a cappella troupe, or rage tweeting during an NBC Live musical.” Alanna Shaffer

“Let’s just say that I didn’t listen to “normal music” until I left for college and learned to branch out from strictly original broadway cast albums… I was a typical musical theater child- tap shoes, jazz squares, gay boyfriends, the whole package. I spent every summer doing musicals at Upper Darby Summer Stage (where we do, in fact, have magic up our sleeve). There’s no bad day that a musical-theater-power-ballads-playlist can’t turn around.” Claire Halberstadt

“My mom was a punk rock musician in the 80s and I was singing with her both on stage and off as long as I can remember. I also loved performing in the musicals and chorus in high school and got my bachelor’s degree in theatre. Music is something that has always brought me great joy.” Sue Taney

“I went to my first Broadway show when I was 3 (Phantom of the Opera!) and stayed obsessed with musical theater ever since (theater camps, school plays, college theater, the whole nine). I play a few instruments, have sung in a cappella groups, arranged and written music, directed, choreographed, and co-written musicals. Before coming to Philadelphia I worked in theater professionally and was in the Broadway tour of Wicked as the standby to Elphaba. Now I have an online business where I teach singing.” Felicia Ricci

“I did a lot of theater throughout middle school, high school, and college, on top with being an excruciating musical theater nerd on top of it. I also play the French horn, badly.” Angelina Meehan

“Member of high school chorus and did a few musicals as well, typically one-line characters (but very important lines!).” Scott Hinners

“I started singing in the Philadelphia Boys Choir when I was in 5th grade. Since then I’ve never really stopped singing. In college I was a classical vocal major at Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers University.” Rob Alesiani

What is a musical or musical soundtrack you can’t live without?
“I love The Book of Mormon and sing it with my fiancé in the car all of the time! I sang the beginning of ‘All-American Prophet’ at my audition.” Steve Holland

“Pretty much all of them. But if I have to pick one, I will say that one the most important shows to me is Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. I don’t even think that it is necessarily the best musical or even my favorite, but it was one of the first shows I fell in love with as I discovered everything that musical theatre could be. No matter where I’ve been in my life, since I discovered it at age 12, there has been a line or a moment that spoke to me. When I made my boyfriend watch the 1987 taped production and he didn’t like it, I nearly ended the relationship. That show will always be a huge part of my life.” Alanna Shaffer

“I’m pretty into Hamilton. Whenever the Bruce Springsteen jukebox musical comes out I’ll probably be really into that too.” Rob Alesiani

“I hate to be basic but Les Misérables is 💯🔥(fire emoji)” Sue Taney

“Les Miserables. It is so epic and every song makes me cry.” Felicia Ricci

What would you like to hear someone say after seeing a Thank You, Places show?
“I can’t wait to get my old buddy Stephen Sondheim down here to see this show! I think he’d like it!” Angelina Meehan

“The first time I saw musical improv, I thought it must be something close to magic. Now, of course, I know all of the mechanics and techniques that we practice to pull it off, but I hope that each time we perform there are a few people who still walk out saying “how did they do that?!” I want it to feel magical.” Alanna Shaffer

“I forgot they were making it up on the spot!” Felicia Ricci

“Thank You Thank You, Places. Really it’s great to hear anytime someone really enjoyed themselves.” Scott Hinners

“Hot Damn!” Claire Halberstadt

 

You can see Thank You, Places on Friday, March 17th at 7:30!
Check them out on Facebook!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m Ok, Are You Ok? A One-Woman Show

Molly Scullion performs her one-woman show I’m Ok, Are You Ok?  this week at PHIT. In this show, Molly tells us about going to therapy and the ups and downs that surround her experiences. This is her second run of the show after it premiered last month. We wanted to learn more about the work behind I’m Ok, Are You Ok? so we asked Molly a few questions.

Why did you want to create I’m Ok, Are You Ok?

“I wrote this show because my outlet is comedy. Comedy is my best therapy and the thing that makes me happiest, and I loved the idea of finding a way to merge that world with my unhappiest moments.”

This show is about a topic that is very personal for you, did you find it difficult to write the show? 

“It is definitely hard to write such personal material, but it’s also the most rewarding. I’ve really loved the process. You certainly relive some less fun moments, but it is such a cathartic feeling to find humor in those darker moments.”

What do you like about performing a one-woman show? 

“What I like about a writing a one-woman show is just being alone with my brain. I talk out loud to myself a lot. I work on it in the car while driving, which I am certain looks crazy to other drivers because I’m just talking to myself non-stop. It’s nice to have the freedom to work on it wherever and whenever since it’s just me. What I don’t like is the lonelier aspect of it. I really like collaborating and pitching ideas back and forth with somebody, and I can’t really do that with this show. That being said, I love the challenge of a one woman show so much. It’s terrifying, but really exciting at the same time.”

You can see I’m Ok, Are You Ok? on Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th at 8:30.

Please note that this show has a trigger warning but it is also funny.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Andrew Makes a Case Podcast

The podcast Andrew Makes a Case is hosted by Andrew Nealis and Tom Hannigan. As described by Tom, Andrew Makes a Case is about “me hate watching a terrible movie while Andrew Nealis bends over backward to explain why things we just watched were good.” This podcast is produced through PHIT Comedy’s Rocket Podcast Network. Last fall, people had the opportunity to pitch podcast pilots to the Rocket Podcast Network and Andrew Makes a Case was one of the eight chosen to be produced.

Andrew and Tom joined forces to create this podcast after they had tossed around the idea of creating what became Andrew Makes a Case. Tom said they would joke around about terrible movies they love and hate at Oh! Shea’s, which is a pub one block away from PHIT Comedy. Andrew felt that he is better at expressing his thoughts through talking than writing and can “ramble all day.” So the podcast format was perfect for him.

When asked about what they want to do with their podcast, Andrew said “I hope to make a very funny show that appeals to bad movie lovers. With the show, I hope I can get my voice out there and share my opinions about dumb things I love.” Tom said this is a project he is excited about and hopes everyone who listens will enjoy it as much as he did.

You can listen to Andrew Makes a Case on Itunes and Google Play!
In this episode Andrew has to watch the movie Bewitched that was released in 2005, staring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PHIT SKETCH TEAM ACTOR AUDITION SIGN-UPS OPEN NOW! MARCH 12TH!

The writers of PHIT’s newest live sketch team, Codename: Bacchus, are cooking up a hot batch of fresh sketches for their debut show– and as Jane Austen once almost wrote, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sketch team in possession of good sketches must be in want of actors.” That means it’s time for another round of Sketch House Team Actor Auditions!

PHIT will be holding open-call auditions in search of actors for our newest Sketch House Team on Sunday, March 12th from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Auditions will be held in the PHIT’s Rehearsal Room B, located in the basement of The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Auditioners do not need to have prior improv, sketch or even acting experience (although none of these things will hurt!), and auditioners who have taken classes at PHIT will not be given special preference over those who have studied elsewhere (although we will have had more time to see you perform which may help).

Actors for our new Sketch House Team will need to be available for all shows in the debut run of Codename: Bacchus shows (These dates are: May 11th, 12th, 18th, and 19th), as well as as-of-yet-unscheduled rehearsals and read-throughs. You must be available for the audition time to be considered. No other audition times are available.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR AN AUDITION:
 Sign-ups begin immediately. To secure an audition time please fill out PHIT’s “Codename: Bacchus” Acting Auditions Submission Form, linked here.
You will receive a confirmation message within two (2) business days – for example, if you contact us on Monday you’ll hear from us by Wednesday, or if you contact us on Friday, you’ll hear from us by the following Tuesday.

We will accept sign-ups until no audition times remain. All specific audition times are first-come-first-served. There are no alternate times. If you are not available for these audition dates and times, please do not email or call to ask for an exception – you simply will not be able to audition. If you are interested in auditioning, you must sign-up for one of our announced timeslots.

ON THE DAY OF THE AUDITION:
 PLEASE ARRIVE AT LEAST FIFTEEN (15) MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED AUDITION TIME. You will be handed scripts from pre-written sketches from which you will be asked to read. After you’ve checked in, we encourage you to take this time to go over the script. Auditioners should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Resumes are not required but will gladly be accepted. Please bring a headshot with you.

Auditioners will be seen individually for 5 minutes each. You will be expected to perform 2 – 2 1/2 minutes of a comedic monologue. It can be anything you would like, as long as it’s funny! We recommend doing something that showcases your strengths as a performer and brings plenty of laughs out of the present director and producers. After this, you’ll read/perform some of the material that you receive at check in.

Everyone who auditions will receive a reply letting them know whether or not they have been cast.

Still have questions?
 Send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Improv Everything Podcast

In the Improv Everything podcast, the worlds of improv and business come together. This podcast teaches its listeners how to take the concepts in improv and apply them to business. The masterminds behind the Improv Everything podcast are Rob Alesiani, an instructor and performer at PHIT, and Jon Hansen who is the CEO of the Deleware River Port Authority and an improviser.

Last year PHIT’s Rocket Comedy Podcast Network opened their doors for podcast submissions and John wanted to do a podcast about improv and business. He said that from what he sees when people want to apply the concepts of improv into the business world, they are usually improvisers first. But John wanted a different viewpoint on it, “the view from the business side with a businessman and a comedian who are each translating other’s ideas into their own language and worldview.”  So John asked Rob to join him in this podcast adventure and Rob was more than happy to get on board. Rob is a big fan of podcasting and has been a contributor on the Game of Thrones podcast “Stark Raven Mad” which was created and produced by Mike Marbach.

When asked what they hope to do with the Improv Everything podcast, John said, “I want to help people apply improv principles in business and personal relationships in a way that makes them more productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling. I believe that leadership is a collective art form, just like improv, theater, and orchestra. Leadership is truly an act of self-discovery. Done properly, they allow creative expression of the product of the “group mind” as well creative self-expression. In improv, relationships and any type of leadership, there are common tools like listening, conceiving and conveying ideas, interpersonal and group dynamics and status.  When things go well, leaders (and improvisers) work together to create something of value. This act of creation is the act self-expression and collective expression.” And Rob had a similar vision stating, “I hope that we can show folks that the core concepts and practices of good improv can help everyone in many different aspects of their lives.  A huge amount of people find their way into the world of improv for a completely different reason besides wanting to be professional comedians.”

As one of the pilots chosen to be a Rocket Comedy Podcast, John and Rob are excited to be a part of this project. Rob said, “PHIT has been my home for a tenth of my life, and the Rocket Comedy Network is just the next step in showing the world what comedy and content creators in Philadelphia can do.  It’s a very exciting place to be.”

You can listen to Improv Everything on Itunes and Google Play. In their first episode, John and Rob talk with Camden County College President Don Borden.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Snow Day Schmoday! We’re Open Tonight!

After The Great Snowpocalypse of 2017 turned out to be more of a Snow Scam, we’ve decided that all our shows and classes tonight are on! Please come out and enjoy the night with us (you can laugh while you try to forget it was almost 70 degrees out yesterday).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mainstage Improv: Favorite Moments

Every Saturday night a group of experienced improvisers take the PHIT stage. The Mainstage Improv cast is made up of 13 comedians and the show’s cast rotates, which means every week there are different players. With a group of comedians this funny, you never know what could happen when you come to a show.

This made us think that the cast must have had some fun moments together over their months of performing. So we asked some of the Mainstage cast what their favorite moments have been together.

Kristen Schier
“I recently have enjoyed the bold choices a cast of this level of talent and experience makes on a regular basis. Pim played a snake eating people at an office.”

Robyn Cartlidge
“Two shows ago, Erin made this awesome move and named Dan’s character Tim Allen. He was auditioning to be a super hero’s (Lali & Shelia) sidekick and Erin came in like his assistant telling him he was late for the show. He spent the rest of the show doing walk-ons and just grunting like Tim “Toolman” Taylor. It was brilliant!”

Caitlin Weigel
‘There are some hula hoops in the green room and we’ve all gotten SO GOOD at doing tricks with them. Like a group of very impressive seals! That’s us!”

Jessica Snow
“My favorite moment from a Mainstage show so far was Pim’s snake. Kristen and Sheila started a scene with Kristen announcing that her snake was loose in the office. Pim immediately started slithering on the ground way upstage behind them. Throughout the show I think that snake ate three people on stage and a bunch of people and cows offstage. It didn’t look terribly fun to do physically, but Pim committed and everyone jumped on board, sacrificing themselves to be eaten by this snake. I imagine it looked really ridiculous from the audience; it felt ridiculous doing it.”

That’s one of the best parts about Mainstage. Everyone is so good, but they have their own specialties. I also really enjoy any time Marcely sings.”

Marcely Jean-Pierre
“My favorite part of being on the mainstage cast is being able to play with so many people I have looked up to and admired as performers. A favorite moment of mine was during a rehearsal when a bunch of us were making goofy noises as sideline support to a scene and we all made one another laugh a whole lot. Robyn cried from laughing so hard.”

Photograph by Michael Marotta

Reading about how much fun the cast has probably made you want to see their show and you can! Every Saturday night at 7:00 the Mainstage Improv cast brings the laughs.

The current full cast features Caitilin Weigel, Dan Corkery, David Donnella, Erin Pitts, Hasreet Gill, Jacob Todd, Jess Snow, Kristen Schier, Marcely Jean-Pierre, Pim Van Huijkelom, Robyn Cartlidge, Sheila Master, and Whitney Harris. 

You can get tickets for Mainstage Improv and check out all our shows on PHIT’s website!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Podcast Spotlight: Sarah & Andrea Should Smile

Sarah Carter and Andrea Duffy have created the podcast “Sarah & Andrea Should Smile” through the Rocket Comedy Network. Andrea is a local radio personality on 101.1 more FM. Sarah works in higher-ed as a diversity, social justice, and inclusion expert. Together they combine their awesomeness and expertise to create this podcast about women in comedy.

We wanted to know this dynamic duo got started, so we asked them a few questions on what inspired their podcast.

What made you two want to join forces in creating this podcast?

    When we were developing the pitch for the podcast, I really wanted to ensure that the podcast represented all types of women and perspectives on feminism.  Andrea and I disagree on as many things as we agree, and I think that that is a beautiful thing.  We come from different places in our feminism, our comedy, yet it’s all geared to the same goal.  I think our styles complement each other well so I reached out to her to be a part of the podcast.

Why did you want to make a podcast about women in comedy? What is it about that topic that makes you passionate about it? 

    We wanted to take the conversations that we have as women in our friend groups, our improv teams, online in secret all-women Facebook groups, into the public sphere and connect women of all backgrounds and in all types of comedy as well as let women in comedy know that they are not alone.  Additionally, we wanted to give women a chance to dialogue about what to do next so that we’re taking risks on and off stage, making on and off stage better for us.  While it’s about women in comedy, we hope men listen and learn something to make both their relationships and comedy with women better experiences.

Why did you title the podcast Sarah & Andrea Should Smile?

    We named the podcast Sarah & Andrea Should Smile to reclaim the age old catcall “Hey Baby, you should smile.”  Because we smile when we want to smile.  Also, we smile at good comedy

You can listen to Sarah & Andrea Should Smile on

iTunes and GooglePlay

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Fond Farewell to Two Late

This month we will bid farewell to the late night talk show, Two Late with Rob and Joe. The Two Late crew are hanging up their hats after two and a half years of fun. We have had the pleasure to see them host local interesting guests and entertain audiences with their jokes and bits.

Since the show is coming to it’s close on December 30th, we asked Rob and Joe what Two Late has meant to them.

twolate2

Joe (right) and Rob (center) with guest, WMMR’s Pierre Robert

Rob Alesiani

Philadelphia is a place where so much is possible. Two weirdos who are the best of friends but are very different comedians could come together to make something that was greater than they are. Something special and fun.

There were those early on, that told us we could never really depend on anyone other than each other to make the show work. We’ve found that time and time again, that wasn’t the case. There have been those who have been with us the whole journey who we couldn’t have done this without. There were those who were only with us for part of the journey, either early on, or later on, and those people were equally indispensable in making the show run successfully. Two Late was always about the team and wtwolate1hat they brought to the table. We never once found ourselves without help when we asked for it.

So if anyone is reading this and wants to create something here, do it. Take the leap and get a group together and get to work.

This isn’t the ending, just the end of this chapter. We’ll see you guys at the next Two Late.

Joe Tuzzi

Two Late has made me happy. It was the first risky thing I tried in the city and it has taught me more about who I am as a comedian than anything else. More importantly than that though the show gave me a chance to work with so many amazing people. The group of writers we had on the show over the last 2.5 years have been wonderful people. Without a good group of people behind us I don’t know if two late would have been what it was so I want to just say thank you to every single person who helped.

I’m going to miss this show because damn it, I loved it all.

You can see the final Two Late show on Friday, December 30th at 10:30 pm!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Podcast Spotlight: Should Have Gone Home

Rocket Comedy Podcast Network is live and ready for your ears to enjoy those podcasts! With the launch of eight brand new podcast pilots, we wanted to learn more about what inspired these podcasts and the people who created them. This week we spoke with the brains behind the podcast Should Have Gone Home, Robyn Cartlidge and Sean Sullivan.  We asked them a few questions to learn more about what inspired them and discovered some very interesting things.

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

How did you come up with the idea for this podcast, Should Have Gone Home?
Robyn and I were tailgating for a Tibetan soccer match that ended up being canceled due to the lack of adequate dancing, our bad Tibet, our bad. We fell into it with a couple of merchant marines, that took offense to Robyn’s ability to slide perfectly down the stadium railing. They called it show boating, I call it gravitas. So, I told them to go back to the boat showing, then came the lols. Eventually they embraced us as their own, and before we knew it, we’re docked in Calcutta at a spice market looking for some damned rare flower. I said, “From now on, we’re recording the rest of our conversations, forever, and we have to have another person there as a buffer.”

What makes you passionate about this project?
Education people! Education is failing us! We feel anyone we can reach with such sage wisdom as, adding maple syrup to your Rumple Minz (take THAT, mixology) can be freed up to solve the world’s bigger problems. We got this one science nerds, just kidding, please pay attention to scientists and teachers* (not all).

Have either of you worked on or been on podcasts before?
We used to tour with a Grateful Dead podcast, but we both hated the music so much, we figured out we were just into sitting in a room with microphones, talking to people with horrific or inspirational stories involving a whole spectrum of drunken or equally idiotic failures and or triumphs. And neither of us have the stomach or brain power to spare for a strict diet of nitrous oxide.

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

Picture by Erin Pitts Photography

How do you know when you should go home?
If you have a responsibility, not a task. A responsibility is feeding your pet, or being a concerned global citizen. A task is washing out the drink you just spilled on your shirt. Take your shirt off, you’re a citizen of the world! That stain is a memory.

Why should people listen to your podcast?
The same reason you listen to any podcast. You want to take part in a conversation, but refuse to engage the 1000’s of physical people around you. RUN AWAY! We can learn you, and maybe save your life.

What podcasts would you recommend and why?
Too many, probably everything except for rap or country podcasts. I’m sure there’s a child-podcast savant about to be born that’s had a pair of Bose headphones around it’s womb apartment, piping in NPR. Save us Podcastina! Until then, speed through the hot pods on our network. There’s something for all of you!

Anything else you want the public to know?
We’re going to turn this into a live show and bring a keg of Non-alcoholic beer so we can see who’s totally faking, ignore the pink elephants guys they’re a distracting cliché, we scooby doo’d you fam! The penalty is to subscribe to SHOULD HAVE GONE PODCAST on iTunes or Google Play.

You can listen to the first episode of Should Have Gone Home where they interview Philadelphia comedian, Caitlin Weigel, on iTunes and Google Play!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Introducing Codename: Bacchus

For the second time in 2016, myself and a few select readers had the pleasure of pouring over 40 submitted packets for the latest PHIT Sketch House team – and for the second time in 2016, putting together this team proved to be a challenging process given the sheer amount of talent present in Philadelphia. Despite the difficult process of narrowing 40 great packets down to a six-person writing team, Director Kathryn Amrhein has assembled a formidable collection of strong, varied writers that will be taking the to the PHIT stage in May 2017.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a sketch packet. The amount of talent in Philadelphia is growing every day, and I look forward to seeing everyone who submitted a packet continue their relationship with sketch writing at PHIT – whether through our sketch open-mic Sketch Up or Shut Up, performance opportunities with Theme Show and Monologues, participating in Up All Night (our Improv-To-Sketch 24-Hour Cram), or producing their own independent sketch show at PHIT. There have never been more opportunities for up-and-coming sketch comedians to grow their talents in Philadelphia, and I look forward to seeing every writer who submitted growing and continuing to produce great comedy.

– Jack O’Keeffe, Sketch Producer

CODENAME: BACCHUS

codenamebacchus

Director – Kathryn Amrhein
Head Writer: Andrea Duffy
Writers:
Alexis Howland
Alyssa Truszkowski
Ian Thomas Fletcher
Kristofer W. Hodge
Patric Ciervo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Pilot Season! Rocket Comedy Network Podcasts are Live!

The Rocket Podcast Network has launched its pilot podcast episodes!

“I’m very excited that you can now listen to these eight great podcasts on iTunes, Google Play, or your favorite podcatcher app,” said Rocket Comedy Network Podcast Coordinator Hunter Steffes.

The podcast releases mark the culmination of almost a year’s work at PHIT Comedy laying the groundwork to expand our presence onto the web. The Rocket Comedy Network will provide new avenues for the amazing talent in Philadelphia’s comedy community to reach a larger audience on the internet (which we’ve heard everyone is using now).

Here are your podcast pilots for 2016…

 

andrewmakesacaseAndrew Makes A Case with Andrew Nealis and Tom Hannigan

For every episode of Andrew Makes a Case Andrew Nealis will watch whatever movie his listeners ask him to endure – then try to convince co-host Tom Hannigan and a guest that everyone else has it all wrong and they are missing out on a hidden gem of the silver screen! Will he succeed?

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT FACT: Tom and the internet forced Andrew to watch the 2005 movie version of Bewitched with Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

 

geekgirlrantsGeek Girl Rants with Anita Nicholson

Geek Girl Rants is a monthly pop culture rant/rave/review round-up of the issues within popular culture (especially television) featuring female and minority perspectives with a humorous bent. From episode to episode you’ll get passionate rants, round table discussions, interviews with local female, minority, and transgender comedians, and spotlights on upcoming geek events.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT FACT: Anita’s first episode is dedicated to female super heroes.

 

improveverythinggraphicImprov Everything with John Hanson and Rob Alesiani

Improv Everything takes on the task of educating listeners on how different improv concepts can be applied in the business world. Each episode a guest from the world of business, government or education joins co-hosts John Hanson (CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority) and Rob Alesiani (PHIT Comedy Instructor) for a lively discussion on the intersection of comedy, improv, and professional life – to lay out how improv concepts can be beneficial in professional leadership and personal growth.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: John and Rob talk active listening with Camden County College President Don Borden.

 

kidgogglesKid Goggles with Matt Garren, Jeremy Keys, and Stacie Lyons

Each week the Kid Goggles hosts, Matt Garren, Stacie Lyons, and Jeremy Keys, invite a guest to bring a beloved piece of entertainment from their childhood to the studio in order to discuss if the things they once loved were things worth loving. With hindsight on their side and their kid goggles gone, they will see past nostalgia to pass final judgement!

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: Matt, Stacie, and Jeremy are talking wrestling for their first episode.

 

oddventuresOddventures with Brendan Kingston and Mo Manklang

A show that has the goal of being just like This American Life – but creepy and focused in Philadelphia. Each episode Brendan and Mo will explore areas of local significance, interview experts and comedians, and find interesting (and maybe creepy!) things to bring to your attention.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: This episode features a bucket filled with human teeth.

 

Sarah and Andrea Should SmileSarah & Andrea Should Smile

Local radio personality Andrea Duffy and higher-ed diversity expert Sarah Carter bring you the latest from the ongoing discussion of lady comedians (of all types!) through interviews, games, and clips of the best comedy by or related to women. Featuring discussion of current hot topics around women in comedy like harassment, being one of the guys, etc., mixed with historic context from the stories of ground-breaking female comics, this podcast promises to inject these important conversations into Rocket Comedy Network’s offerings and the national conversation.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: Sarah and Andrea’s first episode discusses the difficulty of being a “difficult woman” in the world.

 

Should Have Gone HomeSHOULD HAVE GONE HOME with Sean Sullivan and Robyn Cartlidge

Have you ever been out all night and watched the sunrise or ended up at a strangers apartment and had to make a great escape? Did you wind up in a jail cell or help apprehend a criminal yourself? Fall asleep on a train or bus with no phone or wallet stranding yourself far from home? Have you started a dance party at a Wawa? Did you do shots with Justin Bieber? Said I love you to someone at the worst possible time? Been beaten up by a senior citizen? Skinny dipped in shark infested waters? Sean and Robyn will be listening to all these stories and sharing their own similarly inspired drunken or misguided acts that were all in the pursuit of squeezing every ounce of juice out of seemingly doomed evenings. The focus in SHOULD HAVE GONE HOME will be discussions of where guests’ stories went wrong or right, what was learned and applied to future escapades, or what ended up burned into their memories (or bodies) for life.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Writer Caitlin Weigel is Sean and Robyn’s first guest.

 

sketchcomedywriterspodcastThe Sketch Comedy Writer’s Podcast with Matt Schmid

A podcast from Philadelphia sketch writer, performer, and PHIT Instructor Matt Schmid, focusing on sketch comedy and featuring interviews with comedians from across the country (those you know and those you *should* know) about their sketch comedy writing practices and philosophies.

Listen via iTunes, Google Play, or another podcast app of your choice!

PILOT TIP: Matt’s first interview is with Emmy award winning writer Rich Talarico (Key & Peele, Saturday Night Live, MAD TV, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Review).

 

If you especially enjoy any of the podcasts you listen to, it would be a wonderful holiday gift for our hosts if you subscribed or left a review!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mainstage Musical Improv Show to Debut in 2017

PrintWe’re excited to announce that our new Musical Improv ensemble has been cast and will begin performing early in 2017 on first and third Fridays of the month. The show will be directed by Dave Sucharski. Dave, who has an MFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Central Florida, is an improv coach, director, performer, and current member of PHIT Improv House Team Channel 77. He was formerly on The Future and Trash Island at PHIT, and has worked as an actor, director and musician around the country. Kevin Mucchetti will be the Musical Director and accompanist for this show.

The cast includes Rob Alesiani, Claire Halberstadt, Scott Hinners, Steve Holland, Angelina Meehan, Felicia Ricci, Alanna Shaffer and Sue Taney.

Congratulations to the members on this new team! It was incredibly difficult to cast the ensemble due to a large turn-out of very talented performers. Look for PHIT’s Musical Improv program to grow in the new year to showcase Philly’s incredible talent and provide more performance opportunities for this growing community.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

VIDEO SKETCH WITH JON PLESTER

Video sketches have become an important part of the comedy world. SNL regularly features digital shorts and shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Key and Peele, from Comedy Central, are comprised of video sketches. Over the past few months PHIT’s digital sketch team, The Worst Generation, have been premiering their sketches online. Jon Plester (1816, Music Show) cast the team in the spring of this year and is their director. He has experience in video production and studied Film and Media Arts at Temple University.

To learn more we picked Jon’s brain on advice he has for aspiring digital sketch creators.

What advice would you give to people with no video production experience who want to start making videos?

Make stuff, just do it. Shoot something dumb with your friends and then figure out howto edit. All I did when I was in high school was force myself to figure things out that I wanted to figure out. Take an afternoon with your footage and google how to add gun shot effects or how to make a title sequence and then follow along with the tutorial. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, film things like your favorite video or filmmakers do, then film something that is in the complete opposite style. Never allow yourself to tell yourself you can’t do something because there’s always a way to cheat it. Accrue tips and tricks from people who have been doing it, because there are so many little things you can do that can save you time or money or make whatever you’re making look better. Never compare your work to someone else’s and feel discouraged, always ask them how they made their thing look so good and learn from it. Create, create, create.

Plester on set with sketch group ManiPedi.   Photograph courtesy of Aubrie Williams

Plester on set with sketch group ManiPedi.
Photograph courtesy of Aubrie Williams

Cameras are expensive. What should someone do if they don’t have access to equipment?

Grab your phone, download the apps that are available to make your phone’s video functions more free and manually controlled, then see the above answer.

If you don’t have a smart-phone that can shoot video then write endless amounts of scripts, storyboards, create things in your head. Without a doubt, if you want it badly enough, you will one day be able to create the things you wanted to create.

Are there any “must do” rules you follow when creating a video sketch?

Make sure you have an idea of what you want it to look like before you end up on set, otherwise you’ll have a hard time communicating to your actors, director of photography, gaffer, whoever you’re working with. Never perform for actors and then state “you know, do it like that”. Always declare you’re going to finish half an hour to an hour after the time you intend to finish, so everyone is happy that you got out early. Or you have time to fix a problem without going over time. Always have a good attitude, never critique someone in front of a group of people, do your best to have snacks.

What resources would you recommend?

NoFilmSchool.com is a website I visit often.
Vimeo.com has a ton of great tutorials for beginners.
Philipbloom.net is a site run by a very talented filmmaker who does gear review, tutorials, and posts brilliant work.

In the spring of this year, you cast The Worst Generation. What was the most difficult part about cast a digital sketch team?

The Worst GenerationI don’t think there was anything specifically difficult about casting my team that isn’t a universal difficulty in casting a team. I definitely wanted to have an even balance of men and women, sensibilities, writing styles, backgrounds, as well as predict the chemistry between writers as well as roles within the team. They’re all wonderfully talented writers and their writing packets made it very easy to decide on casting them.

What do you like most about working with them?

My favorite part about working in the writer’s room is just gaining so many different perspectives on comedy and sketch writing. I’ve learned so much just from listening to each of them give notes on sketches.

Starting in January, you’re teaching a class on how to create video sketches. 

I’m personally very excited to teach this class. I think, no matter who you are, you will get something out of it. Whether it be conceptualizing sketches for video or learning the rudimentary concepts of filmmaking, there is a ton of information packed into the 6 weeks of this class. It’s very hands on and active, which I think is going to be a ton of fun.

 

If you want to learn how to create video sketches you can learn more about the class here. It runs on Sundays at 4:30 pm in January and February.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment