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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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 The 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!

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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.

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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.

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A FOND FAREWELL TO DIRTY LAUNDRY

After two years of following the lives of the Pinwright family, we sadly must bid farewell to Dirty Laundry. The show premiered in September of 2014 as a part of the Dynamite Series and was created and directed by Steve Kleindeler. Every month we peeked into what was happening with Connie (Kelly Jo Little), Bob (Rick Horner), their two kids Haley (Molly Scullion) and Marcus (David Donnella), and Connie’s sisters Elaine (Susan LaPalombara), Peg (Mary Eklund).

Since the show is coming to its close, we asked the cast what being a part of Dirty Laundry meant to them.

4x6FrontKelly Jo Little
Being in the cast of Dirty Laundry has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had during my improv career. We had a unique form that allowed us to explore our characters, growing and changing them over time.  We built a nice audience base that came month after month to see what was going to happen next. I want to thank the rest of the Pinwright/Connelly family, and Steve, who brought us on this journey together. I’ve grown as an improviser through this production, and will cherish the experiences I had on Dirty Laundry.

David Donnella
There are many things I will miss about Dirty Laundry, but the thing I will miss the most is the tenderness we had for each other. That tenderness took time to build and we cherished it both on and off stage. I hope the audiences saw and felt it, too.

Dirty Laundry

Susan LaPalombara
Imagine, if you can, that you’re one of those perplexingly giving/insane people who eagerly brings into your home an adorable puppy in a service dog training program, agreeing to raise and love her for a year and then hand her off at year’s end, agreeing never to see her again because it would be confusing for the dog? Now imagine that the program makes a mistake and forgets to come collect the dog until two and a half years later, well after the bond between dog and human has grown into a deep, loving, sometimes complicated, but always fulfilling relationship. Each of you has grown into your potential as individuals and you know, in your heart, that you are truly a family. But the reality is that that dog needs to move on, and if you’re being completely honest with yourself, you know what you signed up for: you knew this day was going to come. And, really, there is great joy that comes along with the sadness in letting her go, because you are truly proud of the work you have done with her. You have made each other better and stronger and you have brought joy to the lives of others who have watched you cavort and support each other; revel in each other’s successes; and laugh at each other’s crazy antics. Let’s call that dog Dirty Laundry. Let’s face it, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. This is not a hypothetical situation. This is my life. And the truth is that when I went to pick up that dog, two and a half years ago, I fell in love with the whole damn litter and ended up taking all 5 puppies and their trainer home. When they arrived, they had puppy names, but my puppy trainer, Steve, suggested that everyone rename themselves in the spirit of creating a new family. Rick became Bob; Kelly Jo, Connie; Mary, Peg; David, Marcus; Molly, Haley; and I changed my name from Susan to Elaine. Bob, in a rare alpha dog moment (because we all realized early on that Connie was the alpha dog), decided that Pinwright would be our family name. And so, a family was born. But our two and a half years are up, and it’s time to let you go. I love you, my crazy, galumphing puppy. God speed.

Dirty Laundry

Molly Scullion
It’s a weird feeling to be cast into a family and then actually feel like a family, but that’s what Dirty Laundry is to me. It’s been an honor to not only play with these talented performers, but also to feel so loved and taken care of on and off stage. I’m grateful for every second I spend with my family, and I’m going to miss them dearly. PS: I am still waiting for them to ask about Haley’s road trip.

Mary Eklund
Wow, what a gift to be asked to join the cast of Dirty Laundry!! I am the newbie with the least experience. It’s been an honor to be part of this. Glad I did not know how much experience everyone had-I would have been intimidated! Steve made it so easy to begin rehearsing and learning about the characters. What a great time in the summer of 2014 practicing and rehearsing. PHIT was very gracious to welcome the concept and host the show. Many thanks to everyone who supported the show and came out each month. We had great audiences.
Peg: My sisters hate my best friend (poor Madge!) IT’S SOOO UNFAIR! She’s the MOST fun to be with. Who else would I want to be in a jail cell in New Mexico with?
As the oldest sister, I see my job as looking out for everyone, BUT Bob and Connie’s latest discord has been wearing even for me. Who knew that I would HATE overseeing a household after Connie left. I just thought of myself as someone who gives and gives…But, really, these people do not have it together. Bob asking Elaine out; is he insane???? I really thought Connie would kill him.
Dirty LaundryHaley is growing into an independent young woman-good for her! She overcame her postal anxieties. The trip, though it’s still a bit unclear what happened to her while on the road, did her good.
Marcus is a great guy-he is also coming into his own with a job and lots of thoughtful ponderings about the world. Still love that he regularly asks me about my own dear Charlie. Charlie was full of opinions and interesting takes on the world. Still miss him every day, but Marcus helps to keep him alive with his questions.
Bob is really a great guy and I’m happy Connie realizes this-though she’s sometimes slow to wake up to the obvious! Bob is patient, a hard worker and a great dad. He does have his quirks: he cannot be without a tool in his hands, his glove collection is unrivaled and he obsesses over his special funds. If I could change one thing about Bob—no way would he have dated Elaine first. On the other hand, if he had fallen for Connie first, I guess Marcus would have been born a LOT earlier. That would have killed Mom, so I guess maybe dating Elaine first was better after all.
Elaine is always going to be rehashing the same issues-I want her to move on from dating the boss and moving in and out of employment too quickly. She has a good heart and does not realize how much she brings to everyone in her family. Until she finds herself and is happy, she won’t find the world a comfortable place to be. Being attracted to a priest is not a good first step to finding herself.
Connie is truly magical. She has this intuitive understanding of her kids and her husband. Yes, she is domineering; really, making a date to meet Marcus’ secret Irish pen pal in Dublin without his knowledge was a bit much (!). But she is always wanting the best for her family and I am always surprised at how she is dead on about what is best for each one. At other times, it is clear how much she needs them to be near for her own well-being.
What a great family!

Rick Horner
Dirty Laundry is totally unique, and never will happen again. Thanks to Steve, Mary, Susan, K Jo, David and Molly for regularly exploring the world Pinwright. Cheers!

Dirty Laundry

You can see Dirty Laundry in their final show this Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 pm.

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Page One Returns to PHIT’s Dynamite Series in 2017

Page OneA unique collaboration between talented improvisers and local playwrights, each Page One performance begins with the opening pages of a new script in development, which is then completed by the cast creating unscripted, original one-act plays in the moment.

Local playwrights are now welcome to submit the opening of original plays on which they’re working to the Artistic Director. The cast takes it from there, creating funny, wistful, and engaging theater based on the playwright’s thoughts and ideas. Each performance is a never-before-seen production — it’s new even to the playwright!

Steve Kleinedler directed Philadelphia’s original iteration of Page One based on a concept developed by Will Luera during his long tenure as Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. Lizzie Spellman, a member of PHIT’s first Page One cast, will direct this time around. David Donnella, who also performed in the original run, will return working with new cast members Gab Bottoni, Robyn Cartlidge, Rob Cutler, Shannon Fahey, Jamie Glasheen and Cecilia Watson.

Congratulations to everyone cast on this new team! And a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and audition for this project. We’re excited to team-up with Philadelphia’s inspiring, diverse and talented playwrights on the return of this beloved show.

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ONLY 4 DAYS UNTIL BLACK FRIDAY COMEDY MARATHON 2016

BFCM_2016The Black Friday Comedy Marathon is back at PHIT Comedy! This Friday the 25th at 9:00am the fun begins. There are over 150 shows for you to see in these two comedy packed days. Comedy goers can purchase a wristband for $10 to get into any show they desire.

But wait! There is also a way you can get a wristband for free! Go shopping at a local small business in the Rittenhouse Square area around PHIT starting on November 21st through the marathon. Get your family and friends their holiday gifts and then bring your receipt of $10 or more to the theater. The local businesses eligible are located from Front Street to 30th Street and between Market Street and South Street.

The 40-hour marathon is hosted by local cool kids comedy group, Hey, We’re Cool. In addition, they will be hosting a live stream through Facebook Live during the entirety of the marathon.

So on Friday after you’ve recovered from all the turkey and shopped and shopped until you have to stop, come to PHIT for some laughs.

You can check out the show schedule for BFCM here!

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PHIT Comedy Training Center’s Conservatory Classes Are Expanding!

For several years, we’ve been offering a special Conservatory class for graduates of our improv program as way for them to do more intensive work and have the experience of performing a run of several shows. Our Conservatory classes have typically been offered a few times and year and those performances have taken place on weekend afternoons at the same time as Training Center class shows.

During the course of this year, we’ve noticed a surge in the number of students trying to get into the very limited number of spots in Conservatory classes and have also been getting requests from students for more higher level elective courses and more shows for those courses. As a result we’ve spent the last few months figuring out how we can offer more Conservatory opportunities to graduates of our training center.

Today we’re excited to announce we will begin offering more conservatory classes for graduates of the core curriculum immediately. A new conservatory application is now live for a class to start in December with veteran performer and director of Untitled, Rachel Semigran! We intend to offer conservatory classes as often as demand and space in our classrooms allows. Conservatory classes will now fall outside of the standard five sessions we offer each year with most beginning toward the start of a month.

The newly expanded conservatory classes will come in several varieties: in addition to continuing to offer our traditional conservatory class which focused students working with their instructor on creating an original form or style, we’ll now be offering classes that experiment with established forms and styles, taught by all of our amazing faculty (and occasionally veteran performers from PHIT’s stage). As 2017 progresses we hope to include a sketch conservatory class once we’ve completed the roll out of our new sketch curriculum, and we may have other experimental conservatory class types as well.

The main differences that distinguish the conservatory classes from classes in our core curriculum will be the expanded performance opportunity of a month-long run at the theater, a prerequisite of having completed the core curriculum, and the requirement of all conservatory students to apply for and be accepted into each conservatory class they take.

As another addition to the new Conservatory, workshops we previously labeled as having a prerequisite of completing the core curriculum and our Master Classes will now fall under the umbrella of the conservatory as well.

Students can also take conservatory classes multiple times and have a new experience each time since the form, style, focus, instructor, students, etc will always be changing. If you’ve completed the core improv program or have already done a conservatory class and have wondered what’s next- here it is!

Hope to see you in a class soon!

Mike Marbach
Education Director

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ROCKET PODCAST NETWORK IS READY FOR TAKE OFF!

The Rocket Podcast Network is ready to take off with the premiere of its pilot podcast episodes this week! In April of this year, it was announced that a new podcast network was in the works at PHIT Comedy. The network’s Podcast Coordinator is Hunter Steffes, who is also a performer on the improv house team Big Baby and the director of Hackett Park. Hunter had the task of picking eight pilot episodes out of more than 85 pitches that were submitted to be recorded and produced.

We asked Hunter some questions to get more intel on the new podcast network.

Sarah and Andrea Should Smile

Why did you want to start the Rocket Podcast Network at PHIT?
We wanted to give our talented community another platform to create something, and share it with both Philadelphia and also the entire internet.

What is your goal with the network?
We just want to continue to help people make their voices heard. Hopefully there will be a great mix of long-running shows and exciting new ones, all with unique, interesting and funny voices.

What do you love about podcasts? 
I like the more personal nature of podcasts, the format allows listeners to feel more connected to and invested in the hosts of their favorite shows. My favorite show is Comedy Bang Bang.

What do you want people to know about the Rocket Podcast Network? 
We have 8 great pilots, all covering different interests and with great, unique voices and points of view. Please listen to them all! You might find your new favorite show!


The podcast pilots debuting include: improveverythinggraphic

Improv Everything with John Hanson and Rob Alesiani

Andrew Makes The Case with Andrew Nealis and Tom Hannigan

Geek Girl Rants with Anita Nicholson

SHOULD HAVE GONE HOME with Sean Sullivan and Robyn Cartlidge

Should Have Gone HomeKid-Goggles with Matt Garren, Jeremy Keys, and Stacie Lyons

Oddventures with Brendan Kingston and Mo Manklang

Sketch Comedy Shop Talk (working title) with Matt Schmid

Sarah & Andrea Should Smile

Look out for these podcasts and more to come from the Rocket Podcast Network!

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SPOTLIGHT: PHIT HOUSE TEAM PG-13

PG-13 is one of PHIT’s improv house teams that was cast in May of this year. David Donella, who is the theater’s Diversity Coordinator and an improviser on The Future, cast the team. When improv teams are cast they begin performing shows on Wednesday nights. They use a form called The Harold, which students are taught in Improv 401. Since PG-13 has been together for a few months now, we decided to ask them a few questions and learned a few interesting facts about this team.

pg-13-1

How is performing now different from PG-13’s first show?
We like each other enough now to get really riled up about the dumbest stuff before our shows. Like cartwheels and juggling and shoe bits.

Why did you pick the name PG-13?
It’s not a good story, actually. Please don’t ask.

What movie would you sneak into? pg-13
Casey: Ghost
Sue: Ghost
Soumya: Ghost
Stacie: Ghost
Matt: Ghost
Nicole: Ghost
Kilo: Ghost
AJ: Ghost
Nick: Ghost

Does PG-13 have any rituals before a show?
Both before and after our shows, we do the chant from Coach Reilly’s team in the hit movie The Mighty Ducks: “It’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!” It gets us hyped. We also do something with our hands to remind us to “get messy” (a favorite coaching tip from our leader, David Donnella).

What are your favorite things about your teammates?
The sexual tension.

What would you all like to hear an audience member say after seeing a PG-13 show?
We already got the best audience comment we could have hoped for. “You did a Harold.”- Mike Marbach (PHIT Comedy’s Education Director)

What would you say to people who have recently started taking improv classes?
It’s not worth winning, if you can’t win big.

You can see PG-13 every Wednesday night at PHIT Comedy!
Get tickets here!

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The Family Friendly Improv Show Is Cast

PHIT Comedy’s Kids & Teens Program is excited to be one step closer to the premiere of family friendly shows created for grade school-aged children. We can’t wait to offer a show specifically designed for our littlest students to enjoy with their parents and families!

PHITKidsTeensPostcardFront-01

JoeTuzziSmall2014The Family Friendly Show, directed by Joe Tuzzi, will feature many of the instructors in the Kids & Teens program along with some other experienced Company Members and some new faces. The cast will include Sam Abrams, Neil Bardhan, Sarah Clemency, Mary Collins, Kate Fruhman, Nick Gillette, Kyle Hancock, Geoff Hartmann, Kris Hodge, Derrick Houck, Sue Jay, Danielle Klaiman, Susan LaPalombara, Courtney Painter, Brett Rader, Kristen Schier, Rachel Semigran, Sue Taney, Melissa Widhson and Renna Wirchin.

Congratulations to everyone cast on this new team! And a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and audition for this project. The talent in Philadelphia is growing larger and stronger each year, as is the number of opportunities to perform improv, sketch, stand-up or in a variety show at PHIT and throughout the city.

Kids, we’ll see you early in 2017 with programming created just for you!

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SPOTLIGHT: PHIT HOUSE TEAM HACKETT PARK

Hackett Park is an improv house team at PHIT that was cast by Hunter Steffes in May of this year. Since their debut show in August we’ve seen them grow as a team. We asked Hackett Park a few questions to get to know them better and find out what performing on PHIT’s stage has been like for them so far.

Hackett Park

Now that you’ve been performing on the PHIT stage for a few months, what is something that you’ve learned?
There’s a lesson you learn over and over in improv, namely that anything can be fun and funny if you have your teammates’ backs. Whether it’s been a catcalling moon, some hand holding or the many explorations of pirate psyche, it’s been great for us to revisit that together.

What are the best parks?
We have our individual favorites but Insider Louisville makes a VERY compelling case the 120 Metro Parks inside of Louisville.Hackett Park

Where did the name Hackett Park come from?
It is a translation from the Latin on our family crest.

What are your favorite things about your teammates?
How weird we are and how everybody’s own particular strange-musk compliments each other to make the eau de toilette you’ll recognize hanging in the air of any Hackett Park show.

Do you have any advice for aspiring improvisers?
Learn as much as you can and play with people you like.

 

See Hackett Park every Wednesday night at PHIT Comedy!
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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PHIT Hiring Tech Operators

Ever wondered how all of our shows look and sound so cool? Wanted to know what kind of magic makes fog appear on stage sometimes or understand how the lighting can add to the atmosphere of our sketch and variety performances? You’re in luck! PHIT Comedy is once again hiring Tech Operators for our shows – looking for people who want the answers to these questions (or already know them) and would like to help keep our performances looking and sounding like the most professional comedy shows in the city.

Production Coordinator Molly Scullion is looking to hire and train several techs in the coming weeks. Teching is a very flexible commitment, but it’s also a really valuable skill set to develop because once you know what the theater has and is capable of doing with tech you are a valuable asset as a team member or director who can imagine effective, exciting, and unexpected ways to stage performances at PHIT.

Full details of the Tech Operator job posting are on our Volunteering/Jobs page and we welcome applications from anyone with an interest in helping make Philadelphia a funnier place. We are especially interested in receiving applications from applicants from diverse backgrounds. Even if you aren’t interested in serving a tech we are still accepting applications for several other positions – please check out the postings, which include volunteer, occasional, and part-time positions with detailed directions about how to apply for each opening.

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THE WIZARD OF OOZE

wizard-of-oozeThere’s no better way to celebrate the spookiest time of the year then by creating a sketch show with your friends. With Halloween around the corner, a couple of pals Joe Tuzzi (Fjörd, Two Late) and Gab Thom (The Worst Generation) decided to make The Wizard of Ooze.

We asked them some questions to get to know what makes their show the ooziest.

How did the Wizard of Ooze come to life and what inspired you to create this show?
We have been dying to work on a project together for months now. We both love Halloween and decided there would be no better time! With help from our great friends who are great writers and great performers, we were able to put it together.

Are there any writing techniques or games that you use to generate material?
A lot of it was finding our favorite parts of Halloween and twisting it. But not candy corn, because gross, we aren’t monsters.

If this show was a Magic 8-Ball and had only one phrase it kept telling you every time you shook it what would it be?
Probably “lol ok.” Real vague but not directly negative.

What makes the best kind of ooze?
Ivan Ooze from Power Rangers certainly makes the best kind of ooze. He is our daily inspiration.

What would you like to hear people say after seeing your show?
We’d be fine with a gentle “that wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” But mainly, we’re just looking to get our audience in the spooky Halloween spirit! *insert evil laugh*

What advice does the Wizard of Ooze have for aspiring sketch writers?
Just do it (Nike). If you have an idea, don’t let it go. Keep thinking about and keep working on it until it’s what you want it to be.

Will the show be spooky?
THE SPOOKIEST! You won’t sleep after seeing it. (You will likely be able to sleep after seeing it, so still come please.)

PURCHASE TICKETS
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016

 

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Announcing Fall Improv Auditions: Musical Improv Show + Dynamite Series Show Casting Now!

Auditions for our new family friendly improv show took place this past weekend, but we’re not stopping there! This fall PHIT Comedy is also casting a musical improv show and a remount of the popular Dynamite Series show Page One, both of which will premiere early next year.

We’re excited to announce that PHIT’s first ever musical improv show will be directed by our own Dave Sucharski (Channel 77, Trash Island, Detention, The Sham), who has an MFA in Musical Theatre from University of Central Florida, with assistance from musical director Kevin Mucchetti (most recently heard in Deep Blue Theatre Collective’s A Streetcar Named Desire for the 2016 Philadelphia Fringe). The musical improv show will premiere early in 2017 on PHIT’s Mainstage.

In addition, we’re thrilled to have director Lizzie Spellman – Swan Year, Hey Rube, Mayor Karen, Page One (original cast) – helping us remount Page One. In this popular Dynamite Series show, which ended it’s original run in 2014, performers improvise a one act play on the spot- using only the first page of an actual play currently in development as their inspiration.

If you are interested in auditioning for either – or both! – of our new shows, read on for the details of each separate audition.

PAGE ONE AUDITIONS – 11/5/16 & 11/6/16

PHIT Comedy’s remount of Page One will premiere in 2017, running monthly on the 4th Saturday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The cast will rehearse weekly on Sunday mornings starting this fall and continuing until the premiere (with rehearsals scheduled as needed after the show has begun performances).

Initial auditions for Page One will take place Saturday, November 5th. Callbacks (if necessary) will be held on Sunday, November 6th. There are no other auditions times – you must be available on these dates in order to audition.

Auditioners must have completed PHIT’s improv curriculum, currently be enrolled in Improv 401, or have the approval of the Artistic Director. Some work in scripted theater (acting, writing or behind the scenes) is also strongly preferred. If you’d like to audition, please use the link below to let us know of your interest:

Click Here to Complete The Page One Audition Request Form!

MUSICAL IMPROV – 11/13/16 & 11/14/16

PHIT’s Musical Improv Show will take place on first and third Fridays of the month at 7:30 p.m. starting early in 2017. The group will rehearse weekly on Monday or Tuesday evenings until it’s premiere and then the rehearsal schedule may alter slightly as the director and musical director see fit.

First round auditions for the Musical Improv Show cast will take place Sunday, November 13th with callbacks the following evening, Monday, November 14th. There are no other auditions times – you must be available on these dates in order to audition.

Auditioners must have completed PHIT’s improv curriculum, be currently enrolled in Improv 401, or have the approval of the Artistic Director. Experience in musical theater, choruses or playing a musical instrument is strongly encouraged. If you’d like to audition, please use the link below to let us know of your interest:

Click Here to Complete The Musical Improv Show Audition Request Form!

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STAY DEAD! IS BACK FROM THE GRAVE

stay-d3ad-fb-profile-01In the season of spook and pumpkin spice lattes, one show comes back from the dead to get us all into the Halloween groove. Stay Dead! is an improv show inspired by a variety of horror films. The cast has been studying spooky films to create this one of a kind horror comedy. Stay Dead! is directed by Mike Marbach and the spooky cast includes Andrew Coppola, Lali Gill, Tom Hannigan, Brendan Kingston, Kevin Ruth, Molly Scullion, Gabriella Bottoni, Randie Welles, Shannon Fahey, and AJ de Leon.

To learn a little about the cast, we asked them the creepiest questions we had to know the answers to.

What is your favorite scary (or Halloween) movie?
The Craft. I, too, was a braless teenage witch that went to catholic high school, so I really relate to this one. –  Gabriella Bottoni
The Thing and the episode of The X-Files that’s like The Thing – Andrew Coppola

What king size candy bar would be in your pillowcase?
Reese’s and all of my sibling’s almond joy’s – Shannon Fahey
Reece’s cups stuffed with Reese’s pieces (pronounced pee-seize) – Brendan Kingston

If you turned into a zombie, who would you eat first?
Whoever’s closest. I’d be a very practical zombie. – Tom Hannigan
Terrell Owens. He’s just got one of those faces. – Molly Scullion

What has been your favorite thing about being a part of Stay Dead?
Long answer: I was a part of the original Stay Dead cast two years ago and it was honestly one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had onstage. It’s a really great group with really fun people — some of which I haven’t played with before. That’s exciting to me. Plus, having an hour onstage to discover the character(s) I’ve created while being completely narrative is something I don’t get to do too often in improv. My background is screenwriting so I really get off on blending those worlds and forcing those two parts of my brain to work together. Short answer: Andrew Coppola. – Gab
Watching it turn into the show it’ll be. This is my third year doing it and it’s been a little different every time and I’m really excited for this year. – Tom
Makes it look like I’m a creep on purpose. – Andrew
I love the entire cast. They’re incredibly talented and 100% alive humans. None of them have ever been not alive or not human. – Brendan

What was your best Halloween costume ever?
Sexy Guy Fieri… fishnets and all. – Shannon
One Halloween when I was a kid, my cousin Mike let me borrow the homemade Godzilla costume my aunt made him that he wore the year before. I just looked like a big green lizard but it felt really badass and scary at the time. Never topped that. – Gab
A couple years ago my Halloween costume was a slightly oversized suit coat, and I held salad forks shaped like little skeleton hands where my real hands would be. Like many of my costumes, it wasn’t really of anything it was just an excuse to do bits where I picked up beer cans with those tiny metal hands. – Brendan
Sarah Palin in ’08. Killed it. – Molly

Everyone will die… not everyone will Stay Dead!

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Thu, Oct 20, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sat, Oct 22, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sun, Oct 23, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Thu, Oct 27, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 28, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sat, Oct 29, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sun, Oct 30, 2016 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Mon, Oct 31, 2016 10:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

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Seeking Writers For Live Sketch House Team! Submit Packets Now!

Since the beginning of 2016, PHIT Comedy has cast two new sketch teams to join its ranks – producing new, hilarious content for PHIT’s stage and for the internet. Both The Decoy and The Worst Generation have premiered and we couldn’t be more proud of the work they’re doing. And now, we’re doing it all again! We are happy to announce that we are accepting submissions now for a new live sketch team to premiere in Spring of 2017.

Sketch house team writers meet weekly with a director and head writer working to create new shows at a consistent rate. Teams get a two-week headlining sketch slot at PHIT – a total of four performances for each show – every four months. PHIT is looking for writers who can think outside the box, surprise the audience, and (most importantly) make our audiences laugh.

The theater is excited to announce Kathryn Amrhein as the director for our new house team. Kathryn has a bevy of sketch experience: as a performer and writer of musical comedy as part of duo Kathryn + Sarah, as co-director of the improv-to-sketch project Saucy Sally And The Jean Gals, and as a founding member of all-female sketch collective Barbara Bush. Kathryn has performed across North America, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and we’re happy to have her talents at work putting together PHIT’s newest group of sharp and silly scribes.

To be considered for a writer position on the new sketch house team you must complete two steps. First, complete the Fall 2016 Sketch House Team Packet Submission Form. Then, submit a Writing Packet by email which adheres to the guidelines below:

  • Your submission packet must be no more than 11 pages.
  • The first page of the packet should contain 15 sketch pitches (1-2 sentence descriptions of sketch ideas).
  • After your page of sketch pitches you can include up to three sketches (10 pages maximum) that demonstrate your best comedy writing.
  • Your submission packet must be a single file, saved in PDF format.
  • Your submissions packet must not contain your name or any identifying information.
  • Your submission packet must be emailed to sketchpackets@phitcomedy.com with the subject line “Sketch Submission Packet – [FULL NAME]” no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 31st, 2016.

We ask that all writers submitting packets are either enrolled in or have completed Sketch 101 at the PHIT Comedy Training Center. Writers who do not meet this per-requisite can still apply with permission of the Artistic Director.

If you are interested in acting for the new sketch team but not writing, keep an eye out for sketch house team actor auditions in early 2017!

With so many skilled writers in the Philadelphia comedy community, we are excited to create another opportunity to showcase their talents. We look forward to reading your submissions and adding another new group to the growing PHIT House Team roster!

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