Tina Fey: Don’t Ask Me to Explain My Jokes

If you’ve followed Tina Fey over the past few years, you know she’s no fan of the Internet — despite the fact that the Internet really, really loves her. On talk show interviews she’s rolled her eyes at blogging culture, and the need to regurgitate stories over and over again. In The Advocate in November, she turned up her nose at the web: “I don’t worry about what the Internet says. Getting in trouble with the Internet is not real. The Internet is not a force you have to obey.” And now, in a new interview with a Net-a-Porter, she attacks again, saying “Steer clear of the Internet and you’ll live forever.”

That statement followed a discussion about a couple episodes and characters on her Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt that some deemed racially insensitive. “We did an  episode and the Internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist,’ she told the magazine.

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INTERVIEW: Comedian and 30 Rock Star Judah Friedlander

Judah Friedlander | Photo by Yoko Haraoka

Judah Friedlander | Photo by Yoko Haraoka

Judah Friedlander is probably best known for his work on the television comedy 30 Rock, where he played the lazy, porn-loving skit writer Frank Rossitano. He’s also known for his signature disheveled look: bespectacled, unshaven and sporting a trucker hat with ever-changing messages on the front. But Friedlander has also morphed his look for roles such as the critically acclaimed American Splendor and The Wrestler, as well as for cameos in cult favorites including Zoolander, Wet Hot American Summer and Sharknado 2.

Friedlander explores another area of creative expression in his new book, If the Raindrops United: Drawings and Cartoons, published just last month. The 208-page book provides a window into the actor’s quirky, original brain. His previous book, a self-help karate manual titled How to Beat up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion, was written by his alter ego, the World Champ, whose specialty is deadpan narcissism with a touch of supremely inflated ego. The World Champ has been an integral part of the comic’s standup for years and talks like a twisted amalgam of comedian Steven Wright, boxer Muhammed Ali and martial artist Bruce Lee — a lethal blend of low-energy, raging confidence.

Friedlander is currently on tour doing standup and visits the Helium Club for a four-day run beginning this Wednesday. Friedlander says he plans on stopping by a table tennis club as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art while in town. (He’s a devotee of both ping pong and the visual arts.) We caught up by phone with the actor from his hotel in Buffalo to discuss 30 Rock, cartooning and his plans for taping his own comedy special next year.  

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Dan Soder Taping his Comedy Central Special at the Trocadero

dan-soder-comedy-central-trocadero

At 32, comedian Dan Soder is no longer the rookie on the comedy circuit. Nor is he quite the senior comic with bragging rights to his own sitcom or an appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s cliquey Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But things are breaking his way, and he is moving steadily up the comedy ladder. Yes, he played “dumpster guy” with no lines in Amy Schumer’s summer comedy, Trainwreck, but hey, he got to make out with Schumer, and that Judd Apatow movie was definitely the party to be at with A-list comedians, actors and athletes piled into every scene.

Soder is a Queens-based blunt talking regular guy — a self-described “Beta male smartass. I’m the least dude-bro-guy you could ever meet” — who’s taping his Comedy Central hour-long special at the Trocadero on December 3rd. The special is expected to run in early 2016. He also scored a regular radio gig this July when Comedy Central launched its first live weekly show on SiriusXM. Soder co-hosts the two-hour, twice-a-week radio show, The Bonfire, with Philadelphia comedian Big Jay Oakerson. He is a regular on Inside Amy Schumer and The Half Hours, as well as MTV’s Guy Code.

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The View Co-Host Raven-Symoné Surprises Whoopi Goldberg at Valley Forge Casino Show

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg on stage at Valley Forge Casino

Whoopi Goldberg came to Valley Forge Casino Resort this Saturday night as part of their ongoing Valley Forge Music Fair. She played to a packed house — and for the last hour of the show she took questions from the audience. Attendees grilled her about The View, reminisced about favorite movie moments, talked about what an inspiration she was to them, and even brought gifts for Bear (her shelter dog that is deaf and blind). She adopted him locally from Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs. (She visited there Saturday afternoon before her show.)

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WATCH: Judd Apatow Impersonate Bill Cosby On Fallon

Director Judd Apatow is everywhere lately, making the media rounds to promote his new Amy Schumer-starring film (and from what I hear a must-see) Trainwreck. Last night he stopped by Fallon, where he got a chance to show off the trade that got him started in show business: standup. His 4-minute set is pretty great — especially the moment where he does his Bill Cosby impression and confronts the allegations against the legendary comedian.

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Delco Comes to Comedy Central

DelcoProperComedyCentral-LRG

Delco Proper premieres online Monday as a web series with potential to be picked up by Comedy Central on television, and its Philly-based creators say it’s a humorous homage to the local area.

Tim Butterly, John McKeever and Tommy Pope — each successful comedians who are part of Deer Prom comedy troupe — said they’d been pitching executives at the network various concepts for a comedy series but couldn’t settle one until earlier this year.

“We thought, ‘Every time we hear about somebody making it big it’s because they’re writing what they know,'” says McKeever, who grew up in Northeast Philly. “Instead of pitching a show, we pitched a world with characters based where we grew up in our hometown. And Comedy Central said, ‘We love it.'”

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Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari Coming to Susquehanna Bank Center

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival starts next month, kicking off an 18-city tour that promises “the return of the cut-throat freak show, and a roaming troupe of misfit performers.” Each stop on the cross-country romp will feature headliners Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer and a lineup of other big-name comedy acts.

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Aziz Ansari Coming to Philly on Modern Romance Book Tour

aziz ansari modern romance

Standup comedian and Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari just announced his 10-city tour in promotion of his new book, Modern Romance.

One of those stops—the very last one, in fact—is at Philly’s Annenberg Center on July 19th. It’s not clear whether or not the tour includes a standup performance or if he’ll just be signing books, though he does verify via Twitter that he will be talking:

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6 Top Places to See Comedy in Philadelphia

Performers with the N Crowd | Photo by Katie Reing

Performers with the N Crowd | Photo by Katie Reing

Where to Get In On the Action

The N Crowd, 257 North 3rd Street, Old City
215-253-4276, www.phillyncrowd.com

The N Crowd specializes in short-form improv comedy, the kind that you might know from Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Following a few simple rules and based on audience suggestions, the performers put together hilarious sketches out of thin air. Participation is very much encouraged, both by the small room and by the possibility of getting a free ticket, so don’t be afraid to shout something out or even volunteer to go onstage.

Where to See a Big Star in a Small Room

Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse Square
215-496-9001, www.heliumcomedy.com

Helium is the simplest kind of comedy club: round tables, two-drink minimum, low lights, and comics saying funny things into a microphone. What makes it stand out is that, on a regular basis, those comics are television stars and nationally famous standups. Over the years they’ve played home to Norm MacDonald, Kevin Nealon, Patrice O’Neal, and Demetri Martin. Helium also hosts open mics and features local talent, so don’t feel pressured to shell out for the biggest names—often the unknowns are the funniest of all.

Where to See Old-School Standup

Comedy Cabaret, 11580 Roosevelt Boulevard, Northeast
215-676-5653, www.comedycabaret.com

It’s a small room in a hotel bar in a Ramada Inn in the Northeast, so the Comedy Cabaret is not exactly the place to go for glamour. But the headliners are usually experienced pros, sometimes with national appeal, and the openers tend to be local up-and-comers. It’s a good place to go for no-frills, unfiltered standup that makes you laugh—and you never know, you might be the first to spot a diamond in the rough.

comedysportzWhere to Bring the Kids

ComedySportz, 2030 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse Square
877-985-2844, www.comedysportzphilly.com

If you think “clean comedy” is bland, smiley, and unfunny, then you clearly haven’t seen ComedySportz. These skilled improv performers are sometimes sharp and sometimes goofy, but they’re pretty much always hilarious. To be sure, the sports uniforms and whistles are a little kitschy, but get into the spirit of it and no matter how old you are, you’ll be shouting and cheering in no time (it doesn’t hurt that the venue is BYOB).

Where to See Comedy’s Cutting Edge

Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse Square
267-233-1556, www.phillyimprovtheater.com

PHIT, as it’s affectionately known, showcases every kind of comedy, from sketch and standup to improv and innovative forms (like A Few Short Answers, a monthly gonzo game show). As the name might suggest, though, PHIT really excels at improv—in particular, it’s the best place in town to catch a long-form improv show, where performers improvise long scenes or even whole plays based on a few audience suggestions.

Where to Get Cozy with the Comics

Crazy Cow, 4414 Main Street, Manayunk
267-368-6379, www.scoopermanwaterice.com

Crazy Cow is not exactly a typical comedy club. In fact, it’s not a comedy club at all. It’s an ice cream shop and restaurant. But on Friday and Saturday nights, in a tiny upstairs lounge, local standups perform their best stuff for an appreciative audience. The comics change night t -night, so you can never be sure what you’ll get, but no matter what it makes for a cheap date and a good story. The ice cream isn’t bad, either.

Scene from a Mask & Wig Club performance | Photo by Evan Robinson Photography

Scene from a Mask and Wig Club performance | Photo by Evan Robinson Photography

Where to Relive Your College Days

Mask and Wig, 310 South Quince Street, Midtown Village
215-716-7378, www.maskandwig.com

Every year, this venerable society of Penn kids set aside midterms and binge-drinking to put on a full-length comedy musical—which they wrote from scratch. Without fail, the production is professional, the singing is passable, and the jokes bring down the house (which just happens to be a beautiful old theater). Some nights, the audience will largely consist of very vocally enthusiastic Penn students, but that only contributes to the experience.

WATCH: Hannibal Buress Talk About Ruining Bill Cosby’s Reputation

Hannibal Buress hasn’t talked too much about the fact that it was basically him who reinvigorated the discussion around Bill Cosby and the sexual assault allegations surrounding him. After his performance in Philadelphia last year, when he flat-out called Cosby a rapist, countless other women spoke up saying they were sexually assaulted by the comedian.

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