It is always bittersweet when PHIT must say goodbye to a talented, multifaceted, and delightfully boisterous team such as Sabotage as the members embark on new and exciting opportunities.
During their run as a PHIT house team, Sabotage has grown into a collection of extremely talented performers that clearly love and support one another in every single show and always bring an engaging and charismatic energy.
In honor of Sabotage’s FINAL show on Saturday June 18th at 9:00 P.M we’ve asked the cast to share their thoughts about their time on the PHIT stage in a post that is gonna get you feeling some very real feelings.
I’ve got your back.
My fellow Saboteurs and I say this to each other before we go out on stage. It means that no matter what, we are in full support of each other’s choices. We pledge to make each other look like superheroes. Whatever our choices may be, we are made stronger by each team member’s swell of support. When we premiered, our first group game involved lifting and parading Derek across the stage. Through the shows in the years to come we’d continue lifting, carrying, piling, contorting, huddling, bracing or holding each other scene to scene.
It goes much deeper than that, though. Our love, trust, and support of each other is thorough and immersive off stage as well.
I’ve been fortunate to hear countless people say, “I can see that you love each other. It shows on stage.” It’s true. Early on, when we were musing about what kind of team we were going to be, Hannah said, “Let’s just be the team that loves each other.” It was already true. Even today, playing with my fellow Saboteurs at rehearsals and shows is a diamond-bright point in my week.
Sabotage is my improv family through and through. Each of us has had an immense milestone occur while we were a team. They’ve had my back celebrating my successes, been pillars of fortitude during my struggles and have always been there as sources of strength and joy in my life. I cannot say how thankful I am to have had such a courageous and loving family there to lift me up and remind me of my own strength. I’ve become a more experienced improvisor and more loving person because of it.
I’ve long used the analogy that Improv is a lot like the X-Men. If you’re Storm and I’m Wolverine, whatever you do I’m going to make you look ten times cooler. Imagine that a thousand fold with more wiggling, knife-hands, bird-hands and women named “Owl,” and you’ve got Sabotage.
Brendan – I’ll miss exploring creepy haunted mansions, castles and graveyards with you and just sharing our mutual love of horror. If I ever go ghost-hunting, you’re the first person I’m calling.
Danielle – You are the most supportive performer I’ve ever seen. I love seeing your filter drop and how honest and surprising you can be. I remember the best man speech I wrote for you and I meant every word. You’re the best.
Jimi – I still remember our first audition and callback scenes together. I knew immediately you were someone I wanted to create brilliant, hilarious scenes with. I’ll miss making music with ya. You get that get.
Adam Steiger – Instantly the most grounded, honest actor I’ve had the pleasure of improvising with. You carry a kindness in you that is illuminating. You are the best spaghetti man named Luigi.
Jeff – No one can deliver a deadpan line about how grandma, “really cleaned house at bingo,” and immediately make everyone on stage break. I’ll miss our scenes together and correcting how you play an improv flute.
Hannah – Perhaps the bravest improvisor I know. Your energy is contagious and I can’t count the times you’ve made me break on stage. Your courage is something I strive to match.
Derrick – I am continuously amazed by the exciting stories you casually bring out in your monologues. I can’t wait to be in your scenes and meet your characters. We’ll miss you when you’re a superstar in LA.
Rachel -The air itself changes when you walk on stage and you charge each scene with such emotion. I think we’ve all said it before, but you’re the heart of this team and you bring the best out in everyone.
Thanks to Jess Ross for bringing us together, providing us such a solid foundation and giving us the homework assignments to better inform us ( I still remember how to sing the Finnish anthem.) Brian Rumble, thank you for opening our eyes to our potential and arming us with tools for any scene. Fred Brown, thanks for the “this little light of mine,” speech, it’s exactly the reminder I needed.
Despite our last show rapidly approaching, remember that we’re still a family off stage. No matter where we go from here, whether it’s moving far away or the minute changes of life here in Philly, I hope you know I’ll still have your back no matter what.
I’ve got your back.
And you’ve got this. – Joe Gates
Being a part of Sabotage has made me a better human being. This team has been my second family for the last two and a half years and trying to imagine a world where I don’t get to see them and perform with them weekly is heartbreaking. I have learned and grown so much as a performer and a person. The love, trust and respect that we have for one another as not only performers but people is insurmountable. These people are a part of my life, and I am honored to call them my friends. Together, we have been through weddings, engagements, breakups, breakdowns, babies, new jobs, losses, etc. When audience members say, “It looks like you guys really love each other up there,” it’s because it’s true. We are a family. – Yellie, out.
I was having trouble coming to terms finding a proper level of detachment to hide my feelings, and putting off writing this. Thankfully, I discovered an email I sent myself from the far future, which along with dire warnings about global calamity, contained my reminiscences of my time with the wonderful people of Sabotage.
Danielle was one of the first people I met in Philly comedy, a true talent, and an amazing friend. She was also one of the last people I saw in Philly comedy, when the Atlantic ocean consumed Fishtown in a particularly ironic tidal wave.
Jimi either had a baby or turned into a baby. Either way, he made us laugh.
Hannah was a fearsome improvisor who surprised no one when she became the first female president of the War Republic, and surprised a few when she killed and ate her opponent to gain his strength.
Joe Gates brought enchantment and wonder wherever he went. No one’s seen him since the bad times started, unless you count the times he’s been spotted in the background of oil paintings riding unicorns.
Adam Steiger is both the calm and the storm. He still searches for the monster who left their toenail clippings in the practice room.
Jeff has and always be the master of specificity. If you walk near where the theater used to be, you can still hear a quiet voice asking for a sandwich “au juice”.
Derrick – I knew him before he was in so many acclaimed comedy films that everyone was like “jeez let someone else be in something you super smart jerk”.
Rachel was the heart of the team, and brought her all to the stage, and to taking care of her friends. She became an eagle forever.
That’s where the message ends.
Also to the three directors we’ve had – Jess brought us together, Brian showed us how much we were capable of, and Fred focused us. We had more directors than most teams, and they all brought different, excellent skills to the table. I’m grateful for all of them. – Brendan Kingston
I love these fools I got to see weekly and as we approach the end of our time on the PHIT stage I’d like to say thanks.
To our directors, thank you. Jess, Brian and Fred you each helped us grow both as a team and individuals. Your efforts were appreciated.
To my fellow Saboteurs, thank you. Joe, you’re a wellspring of esoteric knowledge. Brendan, the keeper of the wiggles. Hannah, you’re a fearless friend and incredibly dedicated to us. Danielle, you’re so supportive. Derrick, I couldn’t have asked for more stimulating conversation. Jimi, your levity was buoy when spirits were low. Jeff, I imagine you were a magician in another life ’cause you magical. And Rachel Semigran. If Sabotage were a person, she would simultaneously be our heart and brain. She’s always caring, generous and brilliant on and off stage. You all have a John-Travolta-salad sized place in my heart.
To PHIT, thank you. We were given an opportunity because of the incredible efforts of Greg, Ralph, Jess, Marby and Kristen on making our new home an amazing place to perform. The blood, sweat and tears you all put into PHIT is praiseworthy, though it should likely be cleaned up at some point.
It’s been a helluva run. – Adam Steigner
People are attracted to improv for a variety of reasons, and you see many of those reasons personified in the members of Sabotage. For me, Sabotage was a way to cool off, take a minute out of life and think creatively. What made our team so special is that we allowed each other to comfortably live within the motivations each of us had for doing improv – to use the time together as enjoyment versus getting caught up in the competitive or self-questioning nature of performance. We made a promise early on to love each other first, and that promise allowed us to change and grow without the pressure of outside factors. Everyone single person on Sabotage went through major life events during our run, and because we were about each other, we continued to laugh at each other on stage and give each other big hugs off stage.
Sabotage was often told that we looked like we had a lot of fun together when we performed – that’s because we do. The most fun times were when a performer would do something that would make the sidelines split over in laughter, even if the audience only chuckled. These guys are the funniest people in the world, and it’s so amazing that after two and a half years and three coaches we all feel that way about each other.
A goodbye wouldn’t be complete without a class will, so as I move on to the next phase of my life, I leave the following to my Saboteurs:
– RS: We were destined friends before we were friends. I leave you a gingerbread cookie that says “Pat” and all of my feminism.
– DK: When we met I thought you were too cool and badass for me. I leave you a tattoo of three ladies touching their tatas.
– BK: You’ve saved me in so many crazy scenes. I leave you our spare key, in case you and Mo want to sleep in our guest bed.
– DH: I know you hate when I hug you, but I actually do think you like it. I leave you a lunch lady sex partner.
– JK: Stop making me laugh on stage. I leave you Jimi getting the get.
– JH: Doesn’t it feel like we are brother and sister? I leave you a bathrobe from the night we spent in a hotel room as two male cops.
– AS: You’ll always be my hottest nicest friend. I leave you that rage face you do that makes me pee.
– JG: Everything you say makes me laugh so hard, but question if you are a human. I leave you 5 spells.
Thank you to my best friends in improv that made two and a half really stressful years of my life a whole lot funnier.
Before getting into this, I want everyone to picture me ugly crying while I write this…because I am.
The first night I met Sabotage, I laughed so hard that my sides ached and my cheeks hurt. We played games, ate pizza and let our freak flags (and spider chandeliers) fly on Jess Ross’ porch. I think that’s what has always been so special about this team. We’ve all embraced each other —all of our quirks and peculiarities—and joined in the weirdness.
When it comes to picking out my favorite moments with these beautiful freaks, it often has nothing to do with improv. Watching Hannah get married and getting the whole party to join us in a diamond dance…road tripping with Jimi at the wheel and Adam singing Taylor Swift…partying at the movies with contraband mini wine bottles with Hannah and Danielle…LARP-ing with Joe…having long talks with Derrick about music and relationships…Jeff coming to a Backstreet Boys concert with me and my screaming girlfriends (yup, he did)…watching Brendan (my improv husband) live his best life during a ghost tour…wiggling…taking over Bob and Barbara’s….eating 37 hot dogs at a Phillies game…getting yelled at by grumpy customers at brunch in New York…and singing ABBA at Derrick until his ears bleed.
As performers, Sabotage is stacked. I know I’m deeply biased, but you will rarely find a player who can lay out a premise and bring a scene together like Derrick; or have someone constantly surprise you like Danielle; fill you with whimsy like Joe; make you feel safe like Jimi; be so committed to emotion and absurdity like Brendan; be as grounded and unflinchingly supportive like Adam; make you break and revel in silliness like Jeff or be as brave and gangbusters as Hannah. I still can’t wrap my head around how I got so lucky.
Thinking about shows and rehearsals—it’s all one fantastic blur of piling on top of each other. My favorite scenes are when the whole squad is so overjoyed by an idea that everyone dives in, head first. I like to think our legacy as a team is that we slayed group games and loved the shit out of every moment together.
Sabotage has made me a better performer. More importantly, they’ve been my safety net and a constant reminder that nothing is ever so bad that I can’t find the space to laugh. I love this team. If you ever have an opportunity to work with a Saboteur, or better yet, get a chance to know one, TAKE IT. I promise your life will be so much better for it.
Lastly, the thing that everyone has always said about our team is that it looks like we have so much fun being on stage and we really love each other… it’s all true. When we started, we set out to love each other. And we succeeded. The love and absolute joy you saw from the audience was tenfold on the inside.
I’m still ugly crying.
(If you have access to Spotify and/or YouTube, please play “Exhale” by Whitney Houston while reading this)
I suck at writing stuff like this. I’m gonna keep it short and sweet. Thank you, Jess, Brian and Fred for controlling the chaos that is Sabotage. Thank you PHIT community for being so awesome. And special shout-out to Bill Parks for being the side chick to my baby mama. Continue to “Murder Dicks”. Now, some love for my fellow Saboteurs:
Joe is the most charismatic improviser in Philly. The audience loves everything he does.
Hannah is bold and fearless. She’s not afraid of going there or anywhere.
Danielle is unpredictable. She’s so much fun to play with when she cuts loose.
Jeff is an all around solid improviser. I don’t think we’ve ever done a bad scene together.
Jimi is making babies and I saw one of the babies and then the baby looked at me. Seriously, Jimi is a great guy, a great improviser and a great father.
Adam is a role model on and off the stage. We should all try to be a little more Adam
Brendan is a ball of pure improv energy that wants to kill everything. He’s also very funny.
Rachel is the truly the heart of Sabotage and one of the main reasons this team was such a love-fest.
As for me, I’m off to LA to eat In-and-Out Burger while stuck in traffic on the 405. – Derrick Hackett
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE FOR SABOTAGE’S FINAL SHOW JUNE 18TH 9:00 P.M. !