September 21, 2015 |
More than three years have passed since Archbishop Charles J. Chaput held a little press briefing in the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul to tell a few reporters - me among them - that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Philadelphia to host the 2015 World Meeting of Families. I sometimes liken that moment to a soccer ball kicked at me from across a whole soccer field. It just got bigger and bigger and finally, this week, has thumped me in the head. In July, I had learned that I'd be among the journalists traveling with Pope Francis on his trip to Cuba and the United States that ends next weekend in Philadelphia.
September 9, 2015 |
Winter is coming, so instead of sulking about impending hibernation, perhaps time is best spent going for the laugh. The Oddball Festival will kick off the fall season with its murderer's row of comedians who would usually play anything from a large theater or a club like Helium, Philly's go-to venue for on-the-road funny folk. The big guns will still hit Atlantic City, but there are hidden gems to be found at smaller, non-traditional venues like Underground Arts. PHIT's Super Free Sundays Every Sunday, Adrienne Theater Looking for some local comedy?
September 5, 2015 |
The exit referred to in the title of Exit the King is the Big Exit, and this play by Eugène Ionesco is a 90-minute meditation on dying. The central metaphor is that the King's death is echoed by the crumbling of his kingdom, and given recent news of buildings falling into sinkholes, Alaska melting, uncontrolled wildfires, and general ecological mayhem, Exit the King seems to be what is called "ripped from the headlines. " Berenger (Robb Hutter) is the 400-year-old king, but unlike Rhinoceros , Ionesco's earlier play about Berenger, where the controlling metaphor was political, this one is existential.
August 14, 2015
THIS IS ABOUT YOU, even though it appears to be about me and the Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night. Tuesday's finale took in more than ever - $40,000, for a 25-year total in excess of $550,000. The show benefits Variety, the Children's Charity. That we broke the $33,000 previous high was due in large part to the title sponsorship of Comcast and a substantial gift from ThermOmegaTech in Warminster. This suggests that corporations are not always, nor all, villains. The show flew for 25 years on the wings of the charitable spirit of the politicians who participated, leaving their comfort zone for charity, and I'll get back to that in a minute.
August 13, 2015 |
TO STEAL a line from Carnac the Magnificent, a/k/a Johnny Carson, I have here in my hand the story of the last Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night. Thunderous applause! OK, maybe that's a little unfair, even here in Santa-Claus-Snowball City. After all, in its rarely glorious 25-year run, the amateur stand-up event accomplished two remarkable things. It showed that Philadelphia's politicos can (occasionally) be intentionally funny, in the tough-crowd arena of stand-up comedy.
August 10, 2015 |
Ten years ago last week, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia served notice it was going to be a very funny show about very terrible people. The audience was not yet large when the show established that premise, in the first episode, "The Gang Gets Racist," which premiered on Aug. 4, 2005, on FX. Last year, however, with a two-season renewal, It's Always Sunny became the longest-running live-action comedy on cable. It's tied for second of all time with My Three Sons . ( Sunny 's 11th season will premiere next year on FX's sister channel, FXX.)
August 6, 2015 |
WHILE "Trainwreck" and "Ted" spark debate this summer as to who's funnier, men or women, the correct answer turns out to be "sheep. " For wall-to-wool laughs, you can't top "Shaun the Sheep," a consistently and sometimes prodigiously amusing claymation cartoon from Aardman studios, in England. The story: Farm animals grow tired of their rustic routine, so they put the farmer to sleep (the sight of sheep jumping sequentially over a fence hits humans like a massive dose of Tylenol PM)
July 22, 2015 |
THE JOKE was on outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, but he didn't find it a bit funny. Blatter, who resigned as the soccer organization's leader last month amid a corruption scandal, had called a news conference yesterday to announce that an election for his successor would be held in February. Before he could begin, however, British comedian Simon Brodkin walked up to Blatter and placed a large pile of funny money on the table. We know it was fake money because if it had been real, Blatter would have pocketed it. In a video that has gone viral, Brodkin introduced himself as a delegate from North Korea and said the money was a bribe to secure the 2026 World Cup. Blatter called for security and, as two men approached, Brodkin threw another stack of "bills" into the air creating a hilarious scene in which "money" rained down on Blatter.
July 21, 2015 |
BRETT FAVRE was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame Saturday night. While giving his speech, Favre recalled a time when then-Packers assistant Andy Reid had a problem with another staffer during a game. "So Andy gets his cord caught and he looks back, and it's this heavy-set guy who's standing on his cord," Favre said. "And Andy says to him, 'Hey! Get off the cord, you fat ass!' "This is one of our guys, now. He looks at Andy and says, 'Who are you calling a fat ass?' " The best part is that Reid, who was in attendance, laughed as hard as everyone else.
June 26, 2015
IT'S PROBABLY safe to assume that most folks who take up improvisational comedy do so with the intent of making audiences laugh. John Hanson had other ideas. By day, you can find Hanson in the Camden waterfront headquarters of the Delaware River Port Authority, where he serves as the CEO of the entity that oversees such crucial regional assets as the ports on both sides of the Delaware, the PATCO Hi-Speed Line and the Ben Franklin , Betsy Ross and Walt Whitman bridges.