So That’s Why Funk-O-Mart Has Been Calling Itself “The Wiz”

The venerable electronics shop has been operating under a prop sign from last night's “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” season premiere.

The Wiz - It’s Always Sunny

At left: The Gang from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” gathers outside The Wiz, a fictional store in the first episode of Season 12. At right: An actual electronics store using The Wiz prop as its sign.

Last night was the premiere of the 12th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the raunchy, clever FXX comedy starring Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito. In last night’s premiere — “The Gang Turns Black” — Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, Charlie, and Frank found themselves turned from white to black thanks to an electric shock they received while watching The Wiz. (The characters look the same, but look like black people in their reflections; it sounds confusing but was actually done pretty well.)

The best thing about It’s Always Sunny is how it plays on TV tropes, and last night’s episode was a great example: Thrust into a musical version of their own lives, The Gang realizes it must be a plot to make them learn an important lesson. They sing “What are the rules?” throughout the episode.

Without spoiling it, at the end of the episode they end up at an electronics store called The Wiz — figuring that they’re stuck in a version of The Wiz somehow, they can maybe get back to their real lives by going to the store. The Wiz in the episode is a fictional electronics store, not related to the defunct Nobody Beats The Wiz chain (famously featured in the Seinfeld episode “The Junk Mail”).

The store marquee is not shown in the episode, but the It’s Always Sunny crew did create a prop sign for The Wiz electronics store on the 1000 block of Market Street, where the scene was filmed. How do I know this? Because the sign has fronted an actual electronics store since the summer.

The Wiz, electronics store on Market Street

Photo | Dan McQuade

Yes, the fake electronics store from last night’s episode – filmed back in July — is an actual electronics store. It’s actually the Funk-O-Mart, a store name that’s been around in various locations in Market East for decades.

It was actually once a great record shop! Chino Mena from Funk-O-Mart was a legend in the local music scene, though the store’s record department shut down a few years ago and it’s now more of a generic electronics retailer. The one at 1020 Market Street has been around since about 2012; it previously had a sign calling itself Funkomatic and was closed for Yom Kippur earlier this year.

So there you have it. Life imitates art: A real electronics store in Philadelphia is using a prop from an It’s Always Sunny episode for its sign. Perhaps it can be another new tourist attraction! Nobody beats the Funk-O-Mart.