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Get Up, Stand Up: Our favorite Philly comedy clubs
by Sabrina Benun
Longing for a repeat of the NSO comedy show? Aspiring to one day make it big on Comedy Central? Hoping to make people laugh with you instead of at you? Whether you're interested in watching some of the best stand-ups around, participating in an improv bit or taking a few classes to up your "funny-game," these comedy clubs are some of the best that Philly has to offer.
Philly Improv Theater (PHIT)
407 Bainbridge St.
PHIT is the only longform (think full-length play gone improv) improvisation theater in Philly and most nights a show will cost you between $5-$10. However, what makes PHIT unique is its improv classes. With a strong emphasis on creating the next generation of improv performers, PHIT boasts an extensive 8-week curriculum that offers classes at four levels, as well as refreshers and special workshops. The teachers have been performing improv comedy for years, and many of them are regulars at PHIT shows. The great thing about this program is that one week you're watching a show and the next week you're acting in it.
Helium Comedy Club
2031 Sansom St.
Not too far from campus sits the Helium Comedy Club, a stand-up club that offers a three-act shows every Wednesday through Saturday night. The show always includes an opener, a feature and a headliner with national TV credits (D.L. Hughley will be performing Oct. 24-26). Every Tuesday night, an open mic night allows anyone who arrives before 7 p.m. to sign up and show off their comedy chops. Be warned that the showroom has a two-item minimum but offers a diverse food selection including a roasted pear salad, Hawaiian chicken skewers and Snickers pie. And for that comic whose jokes just aren't that funny, hit up Helium's full bar (the club is a 21+ venue, so if that's an issue, you best bring your fake). And bring your PennCard Wednesday through Friday to enjoy the show for only $5 (with a reservation).
The N Crowd @ the Actors Center
257 N. 3rd St.
If you're in Old City on a Friday night, make sure to check out The N Crowd. This short form (sketches and games) improvisational group performs in an intimate 24-person theater. In each $10 show, the performers play a series of games in which they act out scenes based on audience suggestions. Philadelphia Style Magazine named them the Best Theater Group in 2006, so you know they're legit. Remember that this kind of show is only as good as its audience participation, so consider loosening up at one of the nearby BYOs, like Chloe, Farmicia or Radicchio Café.
-Taken from The Daily Pennsylvanian's weekly magazine, 34th Street (September 25, 2008)
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