kidhandsomeTaking the PHIT stage every Wednesday night in October is Kid Handsome! These devilishly handsome kids are part of the Launch Pad program. Here independent improv teams have the opportunity to participate in a three-month intensive development, coaching, and performance run at PHIT. Kid Handsome is coached by Melinda Messina who is a performer on the PHIT Dynamite Series, Study Hall.

Find yourself wanting to know more about Kid Handsome? We certainly did! So we asked them a few questions to get to know them better and find out what really makes them so handsome.

What brought you all together as a team?
Remember that scene in Disney’s 1997’s hit film Hercules when the planets aligned and then Hades released the Titans from their prison (spoiler alert)? And they all started stomping around and unleashing chaos on both the world and the heavens? Sometimes it feels like that was how we were brought together. In reality, some of us were in Steve Kleinedler’s 201 class and decided to start an independent team, and it kind of branched out from there.

What have you all most enjoyed about the Launch Pad experience?
Melinda brings us treats every time we practice. Also, we’ve been hitting game really hard and have been very focused on finding the fun in things, which we think suits us well and lets us be the weird little monsters that we are.

What sort of themes often find their way into a Kid Handsome performance?
Complete absurdity. Finding the fun in historically not-fun things. We sing a lot. We’d probably be a really good show for someone who is battling some serious demons. Like, just for our edification, if someone out there who is suffering emotionally can let us know if this is true, that’d be great.

How does Kid Handsome “get in the zone” for a show?
Big booty, Mind-Meld, and Five Things. Sometimes Jeremy sings Cotton Eyed Joe and we play the accompanying instruments. It’s just such a jam, you know? We also talk about Juggalos and chant “fam-il-y”. We’re not Juggalos. Yet.

What makes Kid Handsome so handsome?
Dan’s mustachioed smile.
Matt G.’s Michael Caine impression.
Gab’s eyebrows.
George’s shirts.
Jeremy’s charisma.
Matt R.’s beard.
Jonathan’s eyes.
Stacie’s cat earrings.

What makes Kid Handsome laugh the most?
Impressions? Probably impressions. We make a lot of the same jokes when we hang out and laugh over and over again. We think we’re really funny.

Who is Kid Handsome’s celebrity crush?
Jeremy, when he becomes famous. Until then, Natalie Imbruglia.

What would you all like to hear an audience member say after seeing a Kid Handsome show?
An anonymous person told our coach that he “wished he loved anything as much as Kid Handsome loves each other.” It made us feel a lot of feelings. We hear from people that we seem like we’re best friends, and it’s because we are. Our improv comes from a place of love and support. We hope it shows. Other than that, we’d love it if someone would yell “BLAMMO!!” afterward. Out of happiness.

What is Kid Handsome’s advice for aspiring improvisers?
Don’t be afraid to be weird. Be really, really weird. Be a creature in someone’s nightmare. Be brave. Do improv with people who will support your choices and not judge you. Hang out a lot. Love and trust each other.

You can find Kid Handsome on Instagram @kidhandsome and on Facebook @kidhandsomecomedy. They host a semi-monthly show at Ortlieb’s.

See them every Wednesday night this month at 7:30pm!
You can purchase tickets below.

Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, October 19 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30pm

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New Hires & New Hiring at PHIT!

We are very excited to announce several new hires at PHIT today, and another round of job openings which we are looking to fill in the coming weeks as we continue to expand our role as a hub for the comedy community in Philadelphia.

Our first new hire is our Lead House Manager, Carolyn Beatty. Carolyn previously served as a House Manager at PHIT, so she will be familiar to regular patrons of the theater, students in our Training Center and performers. She’s a graduate of University of Delaware, who also has experience working on large scale productions – most notably Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We couldn’t be happier to have her stepping up into this role.

Our next new hire is Production Coordinator Molly Scullion. Molly has been with PHIT for several years in a variety of roles – first as a student, then performer, intern, tech operator, and for the last several months she has served as Interim Production Coordinator. We’re happy to drop the “interim” from that title today, in recognition of her amazing work as we transitioned over the summer from one to two stages. We are excited for the further changes she’ll implement this fall into the new year – which will help to guarantee that PHIT’s stages remain some of the best in the country for improv, sketch, stand-up, and variety performance.

Our third new hire is Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Nicole Zeits. Nicole comes to us as a recent college graduate from Temple University, who has several impressive pas internships under her belt doing exactly the type of work she will continue at PHIT. In addition Nicole is a talented writer and performer in the comedy community here in Philly and performs on PHIT improv house team 1816.

Finally, I’d like to welcome several new Teaching Assistants to our Kids & Teens program. Our Kids & Teens Coordinator, Susan LaPalombara, was overwhelmed by the incredible response to our posting for teaching artists to fill these positions for our fall session and after interviewing a large group of candidates has selected five new TA’s. They are: Kate Fruhman, Derrick Houck, Kilo Martin, Sue Taney, and Melissa Widhson. They are a wonderful group with a diverse set of backgrounds and life experience who are already making a difference for the next generation of great improvisers in their classrooms.

As you can see, things have been very busy here in our office – but we’re not done yet. Today we are posting another series of job openings and volunteer openings on our Volunteering/Jobs page and welcoming applications from anyone with an interest in helping making Philadelphia a funnier place. We are especially interested in receiving applications from applicants from diverse backgrounds. Please check out the postings, which include volunteer, occasional, and part-time positions with detailed directions about how to apply for each opening.

Our biggest hire at this time is for an Office Coordinator to replace our outgoing Office Coordinator, David Donnella (don’t worry, David isn’t going away completely – he will be remaining with us as a valued instructor, director, and the head of our Diversity Program)! We are looking to fill this position as soon as October 17th and it is a salaried, 20 hours/week job at PHIT with limited benefits.

In addition we are continuing to look for House Managers (we will be hiring a limited number of house managers to begin training in October) and have posted for resumes and cover letters for instructor positions with the PHIT Comedy Training Center. We will be hiring all instructors through a more formal process going forward, and this is the first public submission period we have ever held for instructors. We are currently hiring for a limited number of improv, sketch, stand-up and acting instructors.

Finally, we’re looking for a few key volunteers. Specifically, we are still accepting resumes and cover letters for a Social Coordinator, and a Properties & Costumes Master. In addition, we have a new posting up for Assistant Marathon Producers for the Black Friday Comedy Marathon and Assistant Festival Producers for Duofest – our two major annual comedy events. We’re excited to open new volunteer opportunities to the comedy community helping put on these special events, which put Philly on the map for the comedy scene around the United States.

Again, all these jobs and volunteer opportunities are available on the Volunteering/Jobs page of the website. Good luck to anyone applying!


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core-bannerCORE is one of PHIT’s newest initiations at the theatre to provide students involved in the current training center with more chances to perform on the PHIT stage and gain valuable experience with seasoned PHIT performers.

Each week a student from one of the particular class levels (101, 201, 301 or 401) is chosen along with their class buddy to play with the CORE ensemble for that week. Meredith Weir (Big Baby, 1816, Stipend for Life) the creator of CORE kindly answered a few questions to about this new show.

What was the inspiration / goal behind creating CORE?
My inspiration came from multiple 101 classes I had taught. Basically, students would come in super excited having scene Saturday night teams, and/or Wednesday night teams and would be like “is that what our show will look like” or “when will we learn the tap out thing” etc…I realized there was no place for students to actually see what they were working toward. I wanted to create a show, where I could tell my students, ‘Hey do you want to see exactly what our end goal is, go to CORE after Dean’s List’ – because it cycles through, every class has two opportunities to see their class show before they get to perform it.

What is your favorite part about being a part of CORE?
Oh man, my favorite moment – that’s tough. I think each week watching the student, who is randomly selected, go from nervous and intimated to excited and full of energy in 60 minutes is so exciting to watch. The student is there to play alongside company members, so when they go back to their class not only is their buddy and teacher there to help other students, but students themselves can become sort of liaisons for the form.

What is your favorite part about being a part of CORE?
My favorite part about being in CORE is performing a variety of ‘forms’ each week. It’s fun to push yourself in 101 to only do two person scenes, no walkons, no tag-runs, 101 students don’t have that in their toolbelt so we can’t either. In 201 we work second beats hard, because thats what the curriculum teaches. So it’s fun to bounce around and play with some restrictions every now and again.

Any advice for aspiring improvisers?
To all the students who are performing for the first time with CORE, they just need to remember, they can’t do anything wrong. The CORE ensemble is made up of so many supportive players in the PHIT company who will work to make the students look like a geniuses, much like The Dean’s List. They should make choices left and right and the cast will help make those choices stick.

If your actual core as a human being was a dessert what would it be?
My actual core would be made up of Sweedish Fish.

We then asked the ensemble of CORE some questions and then compiled their glorious answers!

If each member of CORE’s actual core was a dessert what would it be?

Kilo: Churros.
Marcely: Cookies and Cream ice cream… cold at first but tasty when you get to know me…
Susan: My actual core is molten chocolate cake.
Andrea: Nalesniki. A Polish crepe filled with sweet cheese. I am Polish and sweet!
Adam: Molten Iron.
Rachel: A fancy cheese plate, duh!
Sarah: Key lime pie with meringue top.
Molly: Butter pecan ice cream.
Joe: Strawberry cheesecake.
Aaron: Funfetti cake.
Pim: Fudgey brownies.

What is your favorite part about being a part of CORE?
Having a new student each week forces us to keep us on our toes and energetic. Watching the student performer crush it. Playing with a fun, goofy, incredibly talented cast each week. The chance to welcome one student performer to join in our improv love-fest each and every week. Yes, it’s a love-fest because this team is full of Elmos, Pillsbury Doughboys, puppies and kittens. Performing with different improvisers and returning to the core class forms. Showing students what their show is going to look like so they will be more comfortable for their class show.

Any advice for aspiring improvisers?
Listen to Everything and Take Big Risks. Be yourself and listen to your parents, unless they tell you not to be yourself…Do not make improv your whole life. Make and nurture relationships outside of the comedy community and live a life that takes you into the wonderful, wide world so that you have rich, lived experiences to draw from when you hit the stage. Make your partner look good: this piece of advice has always stuck with me and I will stress it to any new improviser. If you are both taking care of each other, the scene will be so much easier and you will have more fun. Have fun. Stop worrying about having a “good” idea or making the “right” choice. This art is all about the people who create it. So go DO it. Love your scene partner. Love the scene. Follow the joy.

Check out CORE every Sunday @ 8:30 P.M. as part of PHIT’s SUPER FREE SUNDAYS!


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PHIT Comedy’s Rocket Comedy Network Announces Fall Podcast Pilots!

Rocket Comedy Network, PHIT Comedy’s new digital playground for the Philly comedy community, is excited to announce the launch of a first for Philly Comedy: a podcast network dedicated to developing and promoting Philadelphia comedy talent to a national audience. Heading up this exciting expansion of PHIT Comedy’s support for comedy in Philly is Hunter Steffes, our Podcast Coordinator.

Hunter actually started work this summer when we solicited and reviewed podcast pitches from across the comedy community in Philadelphia. We were so pleased with the amount of interest around our new podcast program – over 85 pitches! – and were faced with the good problem of having to choose from a ton of great ideas. We deliberated, and have ultimately chosen the eight great shows  below to debut pilot episodes in November.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, are the first Rocket Comedy Network Podcast Pilots…

Photo Credit: Tom Gralish

Photo Credit: Tom Gralish

An Improvable Approach with John Hanson and Rob Alesiani:
An Improvable Approach: Applying Improv Concepts to Business, Government, Education, and Community will take on the task of educating listeners on how different improv concepts and can be applied in the business world. Each episode a guest from the world of business, government or education will join 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.

Andrew Makes The Case with Andrew Nealis and Tom Hannigan:
For every episode of Andrew Makes the 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?

Geek 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.

I SHOULD 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 Beiber? 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 I 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.

Kid-Goggles with Matt Garren, Jeremy Keys, and Stacie Lyons:
Each episode of Kid-Goggles will aim to answer the question: did we like that thing as kids because it was good or because we were idiots? Hosts Matt Garren, Jeremy Keys, and Stacie Lyons will invite guests to bring a piece of entertainment from their childhood that they loved to the point of obsession – a movie, a musician, a toy, etc. –  then pass final judgement on it with the benefit of hindsight. Watch out nostalgia!

Oddventures with Brendan Kingston and Mo Manklang:
A show that has the goal of being just like This American Life – but creepy and focused in 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.

Photo Credit: Sam Abrams Photography

Photo Credit: Sam Abrams Photography

Sketch Comedy Shop Talk (working title) with Matt Schmid:
A podcast from 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.

Photo Credit: Andrea Duffy

Photo Credit: Andrea Duffy

Untitled Women in Comedy Podcast with Sarah Carter and Andrea Duffy:
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.

Work is already underway to bring these ideas to life in just a few short weeks – stay tuned for more news on when/where/how to listen to all these shows when they premiere online this fall!








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This week’s new Dog Mountain show is inspired by our real national past-time – channel surfing!* It will feature over a dozen brand new shows. Recent studies says people love shows, so we think people will love this show which is made entirely of shows.

Here are the names of 5 shows Dog Mountain dreamed up, but unfortunately didn’t make the cut:

1. Drug Priest – How about a TV show about a  priest? Got your attention? How about also this priest smokes cigarettes all the time, and lives by the philosophy “Drugs are good, and life is shitty.” Pretty edgy right? Maybe TOO edgy….

2. Moonwalking Renovations with Valarie Devlin – Valarie Devlin has a new spin on the hot craze – a home renovations show that turns fixer-uppers to walker-backerwardsers!

3. Painting with Mark Brode, Tortured Artist – Why does Bob Ross get to have his own TV show? There are tons of other great artists who could teach you how to paint. Why not one of those guys?

4. The Yawn Outbreak – You know how if you yawn, sometimes its contagious. I heard that is because yawning is your body’s way to changing the pressure in your immediate vacinity. That’s why your ears pop when you yawn. This sketch wasn’t about that, but sort of.

5. Unethical Police – From the creators of “Drug Priest”, Unethical Police is about some cops with real bad attitudes. They also always smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, and think drugs are good and life is shitty.

Can’t believe we left all those killer shows behind. Come see why this week (or next!)!

*Take a hike, Baseballl!

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd, 2016 9:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2016 9:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 29th, 2016 9:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30th, 2016 9:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

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PHIT’s New Family Friendly Show Seeking Improvisers!

Another announcement! With the re-opening of our performance space on Second Stage, PHIT is excited to announce the expansion of our Kids & Teens program to include  family friendly shows specifically created for grade school-aged children to enjoy with their parents. We are very excited to finally offer a show our littlest students can see without an adult having to cover their ears and eyes!


The initial cast for our family friendly show will feature current instructors in the Kids & Teens program, along with a few more performers – who we are looking for now! Interested improvisers who have completed Improv 301 at PHIT Comedy’s Training Center are encouraged to complete our Family Friendly Show Interest Form. Teachers, nannies, coaches, children’s theater performers, clowns, magicians, and parents with a flair for storytelling and improv experience should complete the form to let us know you are interested in being cast as performers for this exciting new show!

JoeTuzziSmall2014The Kids & Teens Family Friendly Show will be directed by Joe Tuzzi under the supervision of Kids & Teens Coordinator Susan LaPalombara and PHIT Artistic Director Jessica Snow. The theater will be announcing general fall auditions shortly, and if we would like you to audition for the family friendly show, we will be in touch to arrange a time for you in mid-October.

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Big Baby and The Future Coming to Tuesday Nights!

Baby FutureAs PHIT continues to expand its programming across days and stages, we are excited to announce that our two most veteran teams are getting their own block on Tuesday nights! Starting on Tuesday, September 13th at 9pm and every effin’ Tuesday at 9pm after that you’ll be able to see Big Baby and The Future!

The new Tuesday night show will cost only $5.00 and will, of course, still be free for students of the PHIT Training Center. If you’re not available on Tuesdays and sad that you won’t be able to see either team- fear not! Both teams will still have limited appearances on Saturday nights throughout the end of the year.  After that you might need to rearrange your life, but we promise it’s well worth it.

Big Baby and The Future are super excited about this new show and are cooking up lots of fun things to do with their new weekly slot. So eat your Tuesday tacos and then come down PHIT for some laughs!

Big Baby + The Future Tuesday Debut
September 13th @ 9pm
$5.00 / BYOB
Ticket Link
Facebook Link

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As paKilimanjarort of PHIT’s Launch Pad program, PHIT stage will be the proud home of independent team Kilimanjaro every Wednesday night in September at 7:30 P.M.! The Launch Pad program is an opportunity for local independent improv teams to participate in a three-month intensive development, coaching, and performance period with PHIT. Kilimanjaro is currently coached by Rob Alesiani of PHIT Sketch House Team The Worst Generation.

We have put together a very adventurous and bold and airy and mountainous Q&A to help you get to know the lovely team that is Kilimanjaro.

What brought you all together as a team?
It all started in a 101 class this past January. Thanks to a great mix of authentic and supportive personalities, we naturally grew closer through weekly jams and late nights at O’Shea’s. Kilimanjaro officially became an indie team when we couldn’t all take the same 201 but wanted to continue improvising and hanging out together every week.

What have you all most enjoyed about the Launch Pad experience?
What’s not to enjoy about the Launch Pad experience? Not only has it been like our very own specialized class, but we have loved having the opportunity to learn from another experienced improviser, Rob, and being challenged in new ways.

What sort of themes often find their way into a Kilimanjaro performance?
Wizardry and Adventure. Or neither of those things. We flip flop.

So say Kilimanjaro actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and each teach member developed a catchphrase along that climb what would be each team member’s catchphrase?
“Where’s my water bottle?” – Alexis
“I don’t do sports.” – Adam
“I don’t know, man…” (scratches head) – Tom
“That’s sexual.” – Meghan
“Don’t worry, I have a plan.” – Catherine
“Hang on, I need to get a picture.” – Michael
“Ass, ass, ass.” – Johnny
“That would make a sweet-ass back tattoo.” – Allison
“Chill hard.” – Chris

How does Kilimanjaro “get in the zone” for a show?
We gather around a table of snacks and talk about Mike’s refusal to sleep, Adam’s new favorite sports team, Alexis’ mad DJ skills, what Tom thinks sucks today, Meghan’s insane roommates, where in the world Johnny is, Catherine’s most recent dating fail, Allison’s festive quinoa summer salads, and Chris being the most stable out of the group.

What makes Kilimanjaro laugh so hard that they feel like throwing up, but they won’t?
When we finish the show and Chris finally realizes we’ve been doing a Harold the whole time….

What would you all like to hear an audience member say after seeing a Kilimanjaro show?
“You guys didn’t use my suggestion.”

What is Kilimanjaro’s advice for aspiring improvisers?
Don’t go home after class. Stay, hang out, do the jam, make friends…be silly. Be yourself.

Catch Kilimanjaro every Wednesday this September at 7:30 P.M. !
You can even purchase tickets for their first two shows below!


Follow Kilimanjaro on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @KilimanjaroPHL !

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24ebc42e-3aa2-4a81-b12e-859499bebc99Every first Friday of the month at PHIT Brought To You By… showcases submitted video sketches. These submitted videos are then watched and curated into a show by a group of writers. These writers get a sponsor every month that they are obligated to do several commercials and plugs for. Often more plugs than they would like. Often hilarious plugs. Now you are probably wondering about the writers. You probably want to meet the writers. Here is information about the writers:

Casey Hogan: The Nick Fury of Brought To You By. His crisp writing, eye for detail and inventive ideas are all clear signs he’ll be just as funny as Pete Szekeres some day.

Andrea Duffy: Andrea’s dog, Spencer, is one of the greatest sketch writers that ever lived and Andrea is the only one who can translate his barks to English. This comedy conduit is well on her way to becoming just as funny as Pete Szekeres some day.

Emma Needleman: Emma “Mad Dog” Needleman is a comedy force of nature. Her sharp wit paired with her hysterical “tell it like it is” demeanor are all clear signs she’ll be just as funny as Pete Szekeres some day.

Droob: Droob doesn’t have money but what he does have are a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a laugh-out-loud riot for people like you. All reasons that he will be just as funny a Pete Szekeres some day.

Hodge: Hodge is a delightful man who brings snacks and spreads cheer to every writing room he’s in. He’s well aware that the highest form of comedy is prop comedy and it’s evident he’ll be just as funny as Pete Szekeres some day.

Pete Szekeres: No one knows Pete’s current whereabouts but every new moon he leaves a freshly caught salmon wrapped in a freshly written sketch submission on Casey Hogan’s door step.

Written by: Pete Szekeres.

Have a sketch video? Submit it to for a chance to have it showcased during an upcoming show!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd, 2016 9:00 P.M. 

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14079838_10153882127186279_4550366285159845284_nPHIT’s brand new live sketch house team The Decoy (formally known as Codename Athena) debuted their first show “Presumption of Love” this past week and continues their run of shows this Thursday and Friday at 9:00 P.M.!

PHIT cast The Decoy this spring with Brian Rumble as director, Molly Scullion as head writer, and Carolyn Beatty, Tyler Bonner, Jolie Darrow, Dan McClory, Annie Paradis, and Nicole Yates as writers and actors. Shortly after, PHIT cast these additional glorious actors: Shannon Fahey, Pat Reber, Kelly Conrad, Christopher Esperance, Chris Berg, and Emily Kinslow to join the team.

Members of The Decoy will now share with you all their thoughts on LOVE:14068472_10101144742339019_7836758652127655125_o

“Love is like wearing clothes, because if you don’t do it, you’d just kinda feel embarrassed.” – Tyler Bonner

“Love is like an Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel: twisty, salty, and chewy, and sweeter than you’d expect, but not unpleasantly so.” – Dan McClory

“Love is like going to the mall in your hometown – there’s always a hot and sexy new frozen yogurt spot, but as an entity you find the whole thing pretty depressing.” – Annie Paradis

“Love is like a rocket ship, fast and cool to see from a distance or in a museum.” – Chris Berg

“Love is like sushi, everybody’s real into it and I pretend like I’ve had it even though I never have.” – Molly Scullion

“Love is like a Wawa classic with extra cheese and meat. You know you wanted it normally, but the extras make you sleep sounder afterwards.” – Nicole Yates

“Love is like a hermit crab– it’s fun when you find it one summer on the boardwalk, but eventually you realize it’s gross.” – Jolie Darrow

14053868_10101144743416859_8102169215538894778_o“Love is like cheese, sometimes it’s really stinky and sometimes it’s good on bagels!” –  Shannon Fahey

“Love is like Beanboozled Jellybeans; sometimes you get pineapple and sometimes you get moldy cheese.” – Kelly Conrad

“Love is a movie, two boxes of gushers, and no one to share it with.” – Christopher Esperance

“Love is a fire truck; it can’t be stopped, not even by traffic lights. Also it’s very loud and bright red or yellow.” – Pat Reber

“Love is like a grandfather clock, it wakes you up in the middle of the night and you think there is a burglar but then you realize it is just what you knew was there all along and that is comforting to you.” – Carolyn Beatty

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love is 5′ 5”, love is a wizard. It’s Daniel Radcliffe, love is Dan Radcliffe and I think that’s something we can all agree on, okay?” – Emily Kinslow


Photos posted above are by Michael Marotta!

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13892301_1300303143322364_8737041021245700915_nIn Metropolis, a mysterious city of perpetual rain, it seems like everyone has a secret. And no one has more secrets than the nine improvisers who gather together every Wednesday night under the auspices of Mayor Erin Pitts to participate in the ancient ritual of the Harold. These strange citizens come from all walks of life and include:

CARA MCGUFFIN, a kind-hearted schoolteacher with a dark past.
CHRISTOPHER ESPERANCE, a newspaper reporter who will follow a story anywhere it leads.
TOM HANNIGAN, a small-town sheriff who won’t give up on the truth.
JIMMY WYATT, a high-school basketball star who isn’t as “All –American” as he seems.
ANGELINA MEEHAN, a debutante who will go to any lengths to find her missing son.
DERRICK HOUK, an amateur mathematicians whose equations are leading him into danger.
EMMA NEEDLEMAN, the town archivist who knows more than she dares reveal.
CHRISTOPHER GORY, a logging industry tycoon who isn’t afraid to “chop down” the competition.
And MEREDITH MCDONALD, a madwoman whose macaroni collage art hides wondrous secrets.

What’s in store for these strange citizens? Who are they and what are their secrets? Find out every Wednesday at the Philly Improv Theater!


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HaroldNight4x6FrontThe time has finally arrived! It is now! Sound the alarm! Groundhogs emerge! This Wednesday, August 10th, marks the debut of PHIT’s brand new improv House Teams PLUS the reveal of each team’s name that they have chosen for themselves.

This past spring over 100 improvisers came out to audition for new improv House Teams at Philly Improv Theater. Our three directors, David Donnella (Codename Hamilton), Erin Pitts (Codename Istanbul), and Hunter Steffes (Codename Johannesburg) had quite a challenge in casting these teams from the incredible talent seen over those two days.

Over the last few months each team has been working with their director and teammates to find their own voice in the form of a Harold. We are incredibly excited to see the work of these new ensembles in the coming months. For now, check them out every Wednesday in the 7:30 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. blocks and stay tuned for upcoming feature posts on each team!





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13603255_548582842011487_476487092937127963_oAs part of PHIT’s Launch Pad program, PHIT stage will be the proud home of independent team HOTLINE every Wednesday night in August at 7:30 P.M.! The Launch Pad program is an opportunity for local independent improv teams to participate in a three-month intensive development, coaching, and performance period with PHIT. HOTLINE is currently coached by Whitney Harris of PHIT House Team Hoffman.

We have put together a very hot hot hot Q&A to help you get to know the enigmatic team that is HOTLINE. They also requested we post this “internet video” directed by Jon Plester. They also requested that we call it specifically an “internet video”.

What brought you all together as a team?
Physically – Classes at PHIT.
Spiritually – Kristen Schier.
Professionally – Whitney Harris.
Emotionally – Butts.
Politically – Brunch!!!1111!!1

What have you all most enjoyed about the Launch Pad experience?
Getting to work with Whitney. Have you met Whitney? Are you familiar with that moment right before it snows and all day leading up to that snow everyone is like “hey it is going to snow today” and even on TV you see images of what that snow will look like because the people that run TV want you to know that they also think it’s going to snow tonight and they want you to remember that snow before this specific snow has happened? Whitney comes into this metaphor much later. She is later on in the evening when you are making that Swiss Miss and you’re like “wow I feel safe!!!”

What sort of themes often find their way into a HOTLINE performance?

12670331_486122028257569_8229503761554686808_nWho does HOTLINE wish would pick up the phone?
“Eddy Vedder.” – Annie
“Lord of the Rings.” – Katie
“Literature.” – Emma
“Hugs.” – Cara
“Cats.” – Jamie
“My biceps.” – Stef

How does HOTLINE “get in the zone” for a show?
Ginuwine’s “Pony”.

What makes HOTLINE laugh so hard that they feel like throwing up, but they won’t?
When someone brings up the fact that everything is impermanent.

What would you all like to hear an audience member sa13568977_547858915417213_4319034895576278731_oy after seeing a HOTLINE show?
“I wonder if they do weddings, or funerals…heck I would sure like to have them do a set at the next ‘difficult conversation’ I’m a part of!”

What is HOTLINE’s advice for aspiring improvisers?
See lots of shows! Take classes! Do some breathing exercises! Find an improvisor that you think is cosmically inspiring and ask that they lead you and your friends into the sweet sweet void. Once you are near the sweet sweet void, but not technically within the sweet sweet void do an extremely butt-oriented improv set.



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Changes to Booking A Show at PHIT!

Hello Indie Improv Teams!

Starting in August, PHIT will begin using a new process to book and schedule indie teams on our stages. This process is meant to streamline booking, listing, and promoting Independent Teams – guaranteeing the highest quality shows and the better marketing of those shows so they can play for larger crowds on our stages.

The submission process will happen via a Google Form posted at the beginning of each month in the PHIT Company Members Page, PHIT Training Center page, The Philly Comedy Network Page, on our website blog, and on other relevant improv and performance opportunity outlets as we identify them. The form will accept information for booking two months in the future (i.e. in August, we will book for October; in September, we will book for November; etc.). The deadline to submit the form will be on the 7th of each month, giving teams a full week to get their requests in while still allowing PHIT’s artistic staff plenty of time to review submissions and send/confirm performance offers so that the theater will have a minimum of one month to promote the shows we book.

Here is the Booking Request Form for October: PHIT October Booking Request Jawn

It is my sincere hope that this form is helpful to Independent Improv Teams as it will allow us to collect information about your show so we may more effectively market it. The form asks teams to provide a cast list, specific promotional materials, and links to their social media outlets. This information will then be used as a way of doing a more specific event listing for the shows that get selected to perform on PHIT’s stage.

Thanks everyone – now get those booking requests in! (We have put the first form live a week early, along with this announcement, so people have time to review it and start collecting the materials/answers they will need to complete booking requests).

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It is always difficult when PHIT must say goodbye to a dedicated, talented, and incredibly present team such as Masher as changes at the theater occur and members embark on new and exciting opportunities.

During their run as a PHIT house team, Masher has grown into a collage of extremely supportive creating truly unique and simply enjoyable shows. In honor of Masher’s FINAL show on Wednesday July 27th at 9:00 P.M we’ve asked the cast to share their thoughts about their time on the PHIT stage.

There will never be another Masher, and I don’t mean that in the “every team is a unique snowflake” sort of way. I mean this team was a group of purposeful weirdos. We played the characters who were endearing but awkward, the well meaning but oblivious, the tragic braggarts, idiots, and liars of the world. We celebrated the best and worst parts of a person and showed how they were inseparable. We made a mess. We played dirty. We almost did a Harold once. We could bring the heat or the chill in an instant to a packed room of astonished eyes. We played open. We got real. We shied from nothing. We revealed the broken parts of ourselves and played in that beautiful damage. We brought to the stage that beautiful human damage, every week, for years. I’ll miss Masher. – Nick Gillette 

In true Melyssa fashion, we decided to make a video. Thank you to every single person who has supported us over the past year and a half. Whether it was coming to one of our shows, watching our Launchpad parody videos, liking/sharing a post on Facebook or accepting us into a festival – we thank you. You are all an important part of the Masher family and we love you all. Glory be to Megatron now and forever. K, byeeeeeee…..

Since the night I saw my first show at PHIT in 2012 I knew I wanted to be on a house team. I auditioned and I was rejected many times for teams. It was beginning to feel like I would never make it. However, I decided to give it one more try and sure enough Nick [Gillette] gave me the call and I was in. I had to make a lot of a sacrifices in my schedule but it was worth it. Even though it was shorter lived than a lot of other teams I wouldn’t trade my time with Masher for anything in the world. I quickly realized why it didn’t work out with getting on those other teams. I had finally found my team, a team with people on it that I have the right chemistry with, a team with people I trust absolutely, and a team I intend to continue working and growing with even when the lights go out on July 27.

Alyssa, you are one of the greatest actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing the stage with. Your level of commitment and ability to not only be vulnerable but your ability to make your scene partner vulnerable in scenes has resulted in some of the highest tension scenes I’ve ever been a part of.

Sue, you have this ability to always get the audience on your side. You aren’t afraid to be vulnerable on stage but you also aren’t afraid to take scenes on a darker path.

Melinda, I know it took some time for us to begin playing in scenes together but I’m so happy because I’ve always admired how smart and how witty of a player you are. You’re also not afraid of looking foolish or playing characters that can be a little scary.

Remi, you take to the stage in such a confident way that there is never a question that you belong there. We play well when we’re doing peas in a pod but admittedly I absolutely love throwing you an occasional curveball to try and make you break character.

Mike, you are truly the strength of this team. I never shared the stage with someone with more intensity than you. You’re not afraid to “go there” and take the scene in a crazy or unexpected direction. I know you departed from the team when you heard the news of the end of our PHIT run and it hurt to see you go, but I hope you can find some time to play with us in the aftermath.

Pim, you’re a superstar. You love improv so much and it really shows on stage. You’re not afraid to play the fool in the scene and you’re one of the most supportive players I’ve ever seen.

Andrew, I never know what I’m going to get with you but I know whatever it is it will be funny. Whether you’re playing the straight man or the crazy person in the scene you commit fully and completely. Its always a pleasure to see you and be with you on stage.

Nick, you are the best director we could have hoped for. You took this team of people, many of whom had never worked together previously and turned us not only into viscous improvising machines but a family. Your kindness and your patience molded us into top tier performers. You pushed us to experiment with forms rarely attempted and made us ready for any possibility. We have always been proud to have you as our director and we are eternally grateful for all that you have given us.

These are only a few reasons why my experience with Masher has been such an important part of my life. If I could say anything to someone who has not yet made it onto a house team I would say don’t let it discourage you. Keep auditioning, keep trying new things with a bunch of different people. Eventually the right team will come along and when it does you’ll be at home. – Quinton Alexander

Being a part of Masher has been a great experience. From working with the very well-respected coach and performer Nick Gillette, to performing on PHIT’s stage weekly and being a part of this growing, amazing community, to performing with some of the most talented improvisers I know, being a part of Masher been amazing, exciting, and fun. I remember clearly the day I received the email stating I was on the team, I couldn’t have been happier or more excited. The audition was stressful and fun; to hear I made a team after was absolutely amazing. I have learned so much about being on a team and improv in general, I thank PHIT, Nick, my teammates and Tommy Wiseau. Exploring the city, warming up in the dark, lifting rocks, and Pac-Man, Masher was my weekly adventure. Lots of love Masher. Best of luck to the new house teams! – Remi Dhillon

I don’t think I’ll ever have words to describe what Masher means to me. I remember before auditions how people already on teams said they wished they could be on Nick Gillette’s team. I remember after callbacks realizing how badly I wanted this and how it might not happen. I remember getting the email saying I was on Dresden and crying because I’d just moved to the city and was feeling very unsure about it, but knowing at that moment that I made the right choice.

I remember the first Harold we ever did and how it just felt right. I remember feeling intensely intimidated being on a team with some of my improv heroes, people that I’d watched since I started and people who had been around for years. I think everyone has the feeling of ‘how did I end up on this team’ but for me it was almost paralyzing. And then to watch these people become my teammates, my friends, is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Thank you to Melinda for being our heart and for always putting your all into everything. For always remembering our birthdays and applying to every festival for us. You’re the reason we have so many amazing memories and the reason we figured out we are an away team. You’re an improv machine and I know that if I look at you in a show and say something, anything, you will know what to do and will take us somewhere great.

Thank you to Remi for always being our straight man and for telling it like it is. Thank you for always being down to hang and for being the one that pushed us to become closer as friends and as teammates. Thank you for always caring and checking up on people if they were having a bad day and for prioritizing Masher even when your life was crazy busy.

Thank you to Alyssa for always being our voice of reason, for logically walking us through to the solutions that you always saw. Thank you for always listening and being there for everyone. For being the one that everyone could always go to to hear us and let us know that we were cared for (and for being our reality check when we were wrong). Your relentless support and caring has made us who we are.

Thank you Mike for being our driving force. Thank you for always running out when the rest of us were scared or worried or unsure. Thank you for pushing us and for encouraging us and for making us better by playing hard and making us play hard too. Thank you for being yourself and for teaching us all so much both on and offstage.

Thank you to Quinton for always supporting any dumb idea any of us had to the fullest. You’re one of the most supportive and kind people I’ve ever met and thank you for always jumping on anything we did no matter what. Thank you for being selfless and enthusiastic and always down for anything. Thank you for being fearless and honest and teaching us to do the same.

Thank you to Andrew for always saying the thing all of us were afraid to both on and offstage. Thank you for always seeing every situation as a whole and for making us realize things we may have missed. Thank you for letting us be there for you like you are there for us. Thank you for messing with us, for your intelligence and for never letting us rest on what’s easy. Thank you for guiding us and being exactly what we needed when we needed it.

Thank you to Pimmy baby for caring so much about us as a team. Thank you for encouraging us and especially me in the beginning, it meant more than I can say. Thank you for your enthusiasm for improv as an art form. Thank you for grounding everything in emotional reality and for making us all look great. Thank you for your dedication and for sticking with us through it all.

It’s been a privilege to be on this team and I can never be anything but thankful for everything. This hurts so badly because I love you all so much. Thank you all for being there for me. These past two or so years have been some of the hardest for me, personally and professionally, and I could not have done it without every one of you. I care about you all so much.

Thank you to Kristen, Jess, and Greg for this opportunity. It’s been an incredible experience and one I am so grateful for. Masher has done 68 shows at PHIT and I am so thankful for each and every one. We would never have ever had the chance to do all of this without you, so thank you.

Thank you to everyone that came to a show, for spending your time with us. Thank you to Steve and Frank for workshopping with us. Thank you to Hunter for letting me talk through every show and practice in painstaking detail and for your love, patience, and support through it all.

Lastly, thank you to Nick for putting us together, for your immense foresight and for your passion and energy always. Thank you for being our biggest cheerleader and for caring so much about all of us. I can only hope that we accomplished some of what you set out to do. Thank you for your vision and for encouraging us. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you are the one who has held us together and held us up all this time. We could never have done any of this without you. You are our rock.

And last, but never least, glory be to Megatron. – Sue Nelson

To be honest, I am not interested in writing any thoughts about my experience with Masher.

I would much rather sing them to the tune of “Father of Mine” by Everclear. Please listen along and hear these words as urgently as Art Alexakis might have sung them.

Masher the team
We have become such great friends
You know we just did improv
And that was nice and fun.

Remi the guy
Tall and friendly and kind
He has got a way of saying things,
Understated. Also his mom.

I remember the bow ties, Quinton would wear
I loved it when he said funny stuff
It was helpful for us.
I remember our good scenes.
I remember our great scenes
I remember our scenes that were just ok but ok is still good.

Pim pim pim pim
Pim pim pim pim pim pim
Pim pim the world pim pim his hand
Pim pim pim pim pim pim pim

Alyssa my pal
Is a big fan of snacks.
She’s great at singing, acting, and driving and putting stuff together
She’s really smart
I like her a lot.
Holy cow there’s a pretty racist line in this Everclear song.

Melinda would send me a birthday card
She was good at that
She’s also good at improv and smart as a tack.

Butler knows krav maga
Mike B knows krav maga
Then he punched a groin
Butler knows krav maga
Then he improvised well
Butler knows krav maga.

Sue the Nelson
Is talented too.
Her wit is good, yup
That’s an asset. Good for us!

Director named Nick
Was a mentor to us
He’s patient and insightful
And he can do great mime stuff

I am happy for this
I am happy for that
I will miss these guys very much
Another thing about this:
Now I am a grown man
With a new thing to do.
And I swear I’m going to do reunion shows, so,
acoppolalypse at gmail dot com

Becca is great too
But she moved away
Becca is so talented
But she moved away
Becca is really swell
But she moved away

Now that you are done singing, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to Nick, PHIT, my weirdo Masher friends, all the interviewees who shared their experiences with us so we could turn them into really great fart jokes, and the kind audiences who enjoyed our fart jokes. See you all around, I hope! – Andrew Coppola 


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Introducing The Codename: Athena Actors!

In the ongoing travel down the road to the premiere of PHIT’s latest sketch team, we’re very happy to announce that Codename: Athena has picked up some incredible onstage talent to help bring their sketches to life. After seeing over 50 people – making up some of Philly’s best comedic talent – in auditions, director Brian Rumble has chosen six individuals to join Codename: Athena with a focus on bringing the sketches cooked up in the writer’s room to the stage.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come out and audition. We saw a wide variety of performers with different styles and levels of experience, and can confidently say that we were consistently impressed by the dedication and creativity we saw in the audition room. We hope to see all 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 and Monologues, showcasing a video at Brought To You By, 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. Thank you, everyone, for everything you do for this community.

– Jack O’Keeffe, Sketch Producer


Shannon Fahey

Pat Reber

Kelly Conrad

Christopher Esperance

Chris Berg

Emily Kinslow

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TWO LATE 1It’s a new month which means a new show from the late night comedy talk show “Two Late With Rob and Joe”! Co-hosts Rob Alesiani and Joe Tuzzi have sat behind the hosting desk together since August 2014. The monthly show combines humorous scripted commentary on current events both national and local, live sketches, audience games, and interviews with local guests. The hosts have built their rapport as improv comedy duo Roomies. Each has played on PHIT house improv teams and taken on roles with numerous independent comedy projects.

“Rob and Joe” are fiercely loyal to Philadelphia. The Alesiani family has been in the region for four generations. When asked about the show’s regional connections, Joe Tuzzi said he loves “…that we focus on something local. We have had Dr. Timaree Schmit, Tom Henneman of Federal Donuts, and Pierre Robert. Our list of dream guests keeps growing.” Alesiani added “We chose to put this show on in Philly because we woke up one day and realized that Philly was the city that we were in.”

tooooo lateRob and Joe host Brittany Rafalak as a guest this month. The local filmmaker recently released a trailer on Vimeo for her new film “Try Try Again.” The film focuses on Pilar, who travels back in time to pursue her love interest. The film’s cast will also be on hand for Two Late. Rafalak graduated from University of the Arts in 2010 and received a Small But Mighty Arts grant. Local duo The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie (Matthew Schmid and Jacquie Baker) are scheduled to perform their character-driven “Best Friend Sketch Comedy” pieces during the course of the show. Stand-up comedian Chanel Ali, who performs around in New York and Philadelphia, will close the evening with a set. Her stage presence and story-teller style make her a crowd favorite as she covers current topics, her upbringing and her worldview. Ali was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Philly’s Phunniest Competition.

Two Late with Rob & Joe is Friday, July 22 at 11:55pm. Purchase tickets here!

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PHIT Seeking Kids & Teens Program Coordinator

PHIT is excited to announce our search for a new PHIT Kids & Teens Coordinator to join our amazing team. The Kids & Teens Coordinator reports to Greg Maughan, PHIT’s Executive Director and supervises all of the Kids & Teens program within PHIT’s Training Center.

The Kids & Teens Coordinator is responsible for managing and supporting Kids & Teens faculty; developing class and workshop curricula; communicating with PHIT staff, Kids & Teens faculty, and parents; scheduling of classes, open houses, and shows; and maintaining a safe space for learning during program hours. The Kids & Teens coordinator works closely with instructors and teaching assistants to provide the very best in improv comedy education for students in grades K-12. A more detailed explanation of the position is available in the Kids & Teens Coordinator Job Description.

Submissions for the new Kids & Teens Coordinator are being accepted beginning immediately through Sunday, July 17th, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. We ask that any interested applicants send the following in an email to contact<at> with the subject line “Kids & Teens Coordinator”:

  • a resume
  • a one-page letter explaining your prior experience with children, teaching philosophy, how you believe improv education can be of benefit to kids and teens.

Interviews for qualified candidates will take place during the weekend of July 18th-22nd, 2016. A final decision will be announced by August 1st.

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Early Registration Discount Ends on Sunday, 7/17!

PHIT Session 4 2016 Sale

If you’re on the fence about getting into an PHIT class, jump off now! Our Early Registration Discount is ending on Sunday, July 17th! Enroll in ANY Improv, Sketch or Acting class before Sunday and you’ll save $50 off the full enrollment cost! Our 101 classes are as low as $199 for the best training in the Philly area!

You’ll learn from the best, get a pass to see most PHIT shows for free, opportunities to perform as soon as your first week, meet lots of new people, and more! So what are you waiting for?? Click here to view our full list of classes enrolling now!

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13627083_1086907844735689_8765786308490651156_nThe Flat Earth Needs your help!

They’ve created a brand new sketch show where YOU decide how it ends!

ONE show.
TWENTY-EIGHT possible endings!

The Flat Earth presents…CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!

Fresh off a tour of the great, white north (Toronto and Montreal Sketchfests; Runner-Up: Producer’s Pick & Best New Comers, respectively), The Flat Earth returns home to the PhIT stage to deliver their most ambitious show, yet!

Join Jacquie, Vincent, Rich, Matt & Molly for a night you won’t forget!

THURSDAY JULY 14th @ 9:00 P.M.
FRIDAY JULY 15th @ 9:00 P.M.
THURSDAY JULY 21st @ 9:00 P.M.
SATURDAY JULY 23rd @ 9:00 P.M.

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