Interview: Comedian Jo Firestone

Jo Firestone started a pun-based comedy show with her dad called Punderdome.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Jo Firestone had to cancel her appearance in Philly this Saturday due to health reasons. She’ll be replaced on the bill by Emmy Blotnick.

Jo Firestone’s got an impressive resume: She does standup all over NYC, hosts several shows, co-created a pun-based card game with her dad, DJ’d on WFMU, did a freaking hilarious TEDx Talk (see below), created an amazing web video series with Aparna Nancherla and has worked on a bunch of funny TV shows including The Chris Gethard Show and (currently) The Tonight Show. This Saturday she’s performing back to back shows at Good Good Comedy Theatre at 8 and 10 p.m. Because she’s so busy we did this interview over email…

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Eat This Now: Love & Honey’s Fried Chicken

Photo by Alex Jones

Last year, we reported that chefs Todd and Laura Lyons would be opening a fried chicken-centric restaurant in their Northern Liberties neighborhood.

Last month, Love & Honey Fried Chicken debuted in a cute, cheery storefront at 1100 North Front Street.

I’m excited to report that you should absolutely eat this now.

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Ben Simmons Eats a Dalessandro’s Cheesesteak on Fallon

Ben Simmons and Jimmy Fallon eat a Dalessandro's cheesesteak on the set of The Tonight Show

Ben Simmons, the presumptive first pick in tomorrow’s NBA draft, got a taste of what Philly might (will) be like if (when) the Sixers select him. Simmons dug into a Delassandro’s cheesesteak with host Jimmy Fallon (a known Dalessandro’s fan) on the Tonight Show last night.

As everyone knows, Philly’s most famous musical export The Roots are the house band on Fallon’s show. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer and bandleader for The Roots posted a selfie with Simmons on Instagram yesterday, captioned “So… welcome to Philadelphia or nah?” with a slew of quintessential Philly hashtags (#hoagies; #Cheesesteaks; #Krimpets).

When asked about where he will end up, Simmons said that we’ll find out on Thursday, despite a prompting drum roll from Questlove. That being said, reports surfaced yesterday that the Sixers alerted Simmons that he will be their first pick. He worked out for the team this week, and posted a pic on Instagram with injured center Joel Embiid. Another picture was simply captioned “Trust the process.”

Watch the full interview below:

Mayor Kenney Ducks Cataldi Question About The Roots and July 4th


Philly’s July 4th celebration will feature an homage to the “Philadelphia Sound” of legendary producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Mayor Jim Kenney said in a radio interview today. But he ducked questions about whether the Roots — who have headlined and curated the celebration recent years — will have any involvement.

“Sometimes groups do things, entertainers do things every year and sometimes they want a break” Kenney said, speaking on Angelo Cataldi’s morning show on 94 WIP. “We have to talk to them and see what they want to do. They have families, they have a holiday too, maybe they want to celebrate the holiday with their family. So we’re working it through.”

The Roots haven’t publicly stated their preference for involvement in this year’s festival, which takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. When it became public they might not have a role this year, drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson tweeted Billy Penn’s story on the matter, along with a cryptic comment: “#goodluckwiththat.” Read more »

Philly Music Royalty Turned Out to Celebrate Lee Andrews’ Life

Lee Andrews (left); his children Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Donn T (right). Photos | Bobbi Booker

Lee Andrews (left); his children Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Donn T (right). Photos | Bobbi Booker

A collective gasp erupted in the Philadelphia music community when news of doo-wop superstar Lee Andrews had died March 16th at the age of 79. It was over five decades ago that Andrews — then a Bartram High schooler — formed and become the lead singer of the 1950s doo-wop group Lee Andrews & The Hearts. Andrews’ strong-but-tender tenor voice and the groups’ harmonizing four-part vocal base was the foundation of The Hearts’ hard-to-beat sound that influenced similar vocal acts like The Moonglows, The Orioles, The Drifters, The 5 Royales, The Five Keys, The Midnights and The Ravens.

On Saturday, a memorial tribute to celebrate Andrews was held, as per his request, at the Clef Club of Philadelphia. Born Arthur Lee “Andrew” Thompson in the summer of 1936 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Lee relocated with his parents to Philly as a toddler. He dropped his first name and added an “s” to Andrew, and began performing as Lee Andrews as a teen. His father, Beachy Thompson, sang with the pioneering gospel group The Dixie Hummingbirds, so one could say Lee was born into — and contributed to — a storied musical lineage. In addition to being the father of The RootsAhmir “Questlove” Thompson, Thompson and his wife, Jacqui, parented a daughter, the enigmatic vocalist Donn Thompson — known by audiences as Donn T.

According to his children, it was just two weeks ago that they discovered 50 pages of Lee’s handwritten life story and that list morphed into a final wish list that only a sage performer such as Lee could craft from the wealth of his experiences. In the months prior to his death, Lee had taken pen to paper and charted his life performing for sold-out audiences at Madison Square Garden, The Beekan Theater, The Bottom Line and Radio City Music Hall in NYC. He told of taking the stage of The Spectrum in Philadelphia and held-over performances at the Valley Forge Music Fair and the Claridge in Atlantic City, N.J., along with the countless nightclub and television appearances throughout the United States and Europe.  Read more »

No Roots on July 4th?

The Roots' Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Say it ain’t so, Questo.

The Roots won’t be headlining the Wawa Welcome America! Festival on July 4th, according to this report from Billy Penn.

The Philly natives have played the annual concert since 2009. But new Mayor Jim Kenney is apparently doing some behind-the-scenes tinkering.

“There are exciting changes going on at WaWa Welcome America and we look forward to announcing them at a press conference in the coming weeks,” Lauren Hitt, the mayor’s spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

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Lawsuit: Former Roots Bass Player Sues Questlove, Black Thought

Leonard "Hub" Hubbard -- second from left -- and other members of the Roots in happier times. (AP Photo)

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard — second from left — and other members of the Roots in happier times. (AP Photo)

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard joined The Roots in 1992, back when the Roots were just a really good local band and long before Questlove and friends showed up on America’s television screens five nights a week with Jimmy Fallon. But Hubbard left the group in 2007 after a cancer diagnosis, and now he is taking Questlove and others to court. Read more »

WATCH: Adele Sings “Hello” With The Roots On Toy Instruments

Every once in a while Jimmy Fallon brings on a singer who has a huge hit and has her/him sing it with him and The Roots playing along on classroom instruments. Mariah Carey once sang “All I Want For Christmas,” Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” and Madonna did “Holiday.”

Last night, British songbird Adele stopped by to sing her current hit that has changed the way we’ll greet people for years to come: “Hello.” As you can probably imagine, she tears it up. Check it out below. You’ll love it — even if you’re sick to death of hearing the song.

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