Madonna Refugia brings her one-woman show, Not That Madonna, to Plays and Players. Photo by Johnny Bleibdrey
The Borscht Belt @ Gershman Y | Thursday, August 11
Marisa Scheinfeld documents the decline of the Catskills in the photo exhibit The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland. It opens Thursday with a tour and a joke-telling competition in homage to the place where the likes of Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, Billy Crystal and many others got their starts. I did a quick search and I’m pretty sure Wikipedia’s description of “Borscht Belt humor” is spot-on: It typically includes bad luck, puns and aggravating relatives. Read more »
The Oval opens Friday. Photo by Steve Weinik
This is Spinal Tap @ Schuykill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge | Thursday, July 14
Schuykill Banks turns the amp up to 11 with Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary about (the fake) heavy metal band Spinal Tap. It’s rated R, mostly for cursing — 36 F-words, says IMDB’s parental guide. Read more »
Alison Zeidman and Aaron Hertzog will be at Boot & Saddle on Saturday.
Comedians and former Philadelphians Alison Zeidman and Aaron Hertzog have left us for New York (and feel a little guilty about it), but they’re paying South Broad a visit this weekend for FFA Comedy Jawn at Boot & Saddle, a showcase they co-produce and perform in. Read more »
Eman El-Husseini and Jess Salomon.
After a year of marriage, and some concern over whether one of them might actually be a spy, Jess Salomon
and Eman El-Husseini
have decided to stay together no matter what.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” Salomon says. “It doesn’t matter what either of us does, we aren’t going to break up. Mostly because we can’t let people be right.” Read more »
Chip Chantry (right, with his dog) opened for Louis C.K. on Tuesday night at Helium.
Chip Chantry is having one hell of a week.
On Sunday, he proposed to his longtime girlfriend. She said yes. On Tuesday, he got a call in the afternoon — about an hour before Louis C.K.’s surprise show would been announced — that he would be opening for the star of Louie. It was just a two-man show, so he got to do a 20-minute set before Louis C.K. Chantry will open for Louis C.K. again tonight at another show where C.K. tries out new material.
Chantry grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and has been a fixture of the Philadelphia comedy scene almost since he started doing stand-up more than a decade ago. He won the 2013 Philly’s Phunniest contest at Helium, and tours around the country. He’s also one of my favorite comedians. I chatted with him about opening with Louis C.K., crowds in Philly versus crowds on the West Coast, how he got his start in stand-up and his own process of trying out new material.
How did you come to open for Louis C.K.?
It literally happened at noon yesterday when I got a phone call from the owner. I had heard about [a surprise] show, but I didn’t know it was going to be him. I know the owner, so when we were talking I said, “Hey, if you need an opener, let me know.” And he called me yesterday at noon so I had about eight hours to prepare myself. It was just a two-man show, which was nice. Read more »
Trim and dapper in a dark suit and bright tie, Louis C.K. looked surprisingly businesslike for a guy testing out new material last night at Helium. The club had announced a little after 1 p.m. yesterday that C.K. — arguably the biggest star in the comedy galaxy at the moment — would be that evening’s surprise headliner. Within minutes, a line stretched down Sansom Street and around the corner; hours later, a second show was added, and both were sellouts. Word from those leaving the 8 p.m. set was that he was polished, smooth, hilarious — less like a stand-up sweating it out at the comedy gym and more like he’d been doing these bits for years.
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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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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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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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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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