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.
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.'”
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.
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:
Where to Get In On the Action
The N Crowd, 257 North 3rd Street, Old City
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
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
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.
Where to Bring the Kids
ComedySportz, 2030 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse Square
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
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
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.
Where to Relive Your College Days
Mask and Wig, 310 South Quince Street, Midtown Village
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.
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.
Philly comedian Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell are teaming up for Get Hard. The film flips the switch on your typical white-guy-black-guy buddy comedy, finding Ferrell playing a white-collar criminal who hires a black guy (Hart) to prep him for his time in San Quentin prison—a subject Hart’s straight-laced character actually knows nothing about.
The film hits theaters nationwide on March 27th, but gets its world premiere at SXSW on March 16th. Check out the just-released video above.
Just a heads up for all you Broad City fans: The show’s stars, Philly comedian Abbi Jacobson and her cohort Illana Glazer, will be on the Late Show With David Letterman tonight to plug the latest season of their gut-wrenchingly hilarious Comedy Central series.
It’s not clear if they’ll be doing standup or sitting down for an interview or both, but they’ll be sharing the hourlong slot with actor Don Cheadle and musical guest Mikky Ekko. And they’ll probably also be stoned out of their minds.
Every year, a group of rebellious local comedians get together to produce an anti-awards show called the WitIns Awards. It’s a chance for them to make fun of the local comedy scene, giving out awards for “Worst Comedian,” and the like. It’s not meant to be mean. Think of it as the Razzies; a funny way to point out some less-than-LOL-worthy moments in comedy throughout the year.
The latest installment happened this Sunday, and last summer’s comedy competition at Tabu, “Last Laugh,” took home the award for “Worst Comedy Competition.”
Comedian and Last Laugh contestant Rachel Fogletto accepted the award, which was a garbage-filled plastic bag with a penis drawn on it. In her acceptance speech, she pretty much zeroed in on the problem with the competition: “I made it through to like week 10, and we all lost to some lady from Atlantic City who missed like eight weeks of the competition, so fuck the Last Laugh.”
Ouch-worthy, yes, but it’s all in good fun, people. I went to a few performances last year, and actually had a nice time—especially watching local legend Needles Jones crack a few zingers about AIDS.
But this isn’t the first criticism I’ve heard of Last Laugh. Even creator Josh Schonewolf agrees. When I asked him if he’d bring it back, he said “Hell no. … That was a bonafide flop.”
See, everyone agrees!
Check out a video of Fogletto’s acceptance speech above. I have it set to start at the right time.