SHOW: GET REAL: Comedy You Can Believe In!
GROUP: Visible Friends Network
ATTENDED: Thurs., Sept. 19, 8 p.m., Underground Arts
CLOSED: Sept. 19
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: "A showcase of Philly's stand-up comedy talent, scientifically formulated to cause laughter while simultaneously stimulating your cerebral cortex. Featuring Doogie Horner, Dave Terruso, Mary Radzinski, James Hesky, Alex Grubard, Darryl Charles, Carolyn Busa, Alex Pearlman, Mika Romantic, music, and more."
WE THINK: How does a stand-up show dedicated to promoting rationality and scientific skepticism succeed without being overly dogmatic?
The answer, clearly, is by not sticking too hard to the mission. Visible Friends Network, a local group of like-minded people promoting the burgeoning freethought movement in arts and media, perhaps aimed to set a more inquisitive tone for the night by laying out James Randi Educational Foundation flyers on each table (the foundation, by the by, will give you a million dollars if you can prove any paranormal abilities – get on it). But, the roster of comedians only really engaged with the objective in superficial and seemingly obligatory ways. The only comic who was really successful with the objective, perennial Philly’s Phunniest finalist Darryl Charles, did so by making repeated jokes about circumcision rituals (so, basically, the jokes he’d already be making).
Still, this was a pretty solid lineup of acts. Take away the Fringe association, and you’d still have phenomenal sets from some of the city’s best comedians. Charles’s performance was the best-received by a long shot (Sidenote: This wasn’t a great comedy show audience. Reacting to Joke X by saying “Man, he just said Joke X!” is not an adequate replacement for laughter. Come on.), but each performer had moments of side-stitching ecstasy emanating from the crowd. The inclusion of burlesque into the show (courtesy of the always-dazzling Mika Romantic) seemed arbitrary, but maybe that juxtaposition was VFN’s nod to the “Fringe” elements of the show. Few other groups are this successful at getting so many top-billed Philly comedians under one roof, so VFN’s bills are certainly worth checking out throughout the year.
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