For those of you haven’t seen the circulating posts on facebook, comedian Chris Gethard (of The Chris Gethard Show, UCB) wrote an article on Vice.com entitled “Philadelphia is The Worst City To Perform Comedy”. He gives his thoughts on Philly as an audience in general, using personal stories and the Bill Burr incident as examples.
[Update: Even though the article is entitled "Philadelphia is the scariest place to perform comedy", it was originally entitled "worst", Gethard has since changed his phrasing for the moral of his article.]
You can read the article by Chris Gethard here.
Do I feel obligated to give Chris Gethard a mandatory “Go Fuck Yourself” if I were to ever see him in person? Yes, but that would only further validate the image of Philadelphian audiences that he accurately showed us in his article.
I have to say that after working in a major comedy club and attending local comedy shows in this city for years now, I can’t say that Chris’ accusations of us in large groups can be called accurate, but this is coming from someone who rarely attends venues with a capacity over 200. I’m sure it’s a totally different experience in theaters like the TLA or even the Electric Factory.
I’d be lying through my fucking teeth if I told you that we had a stellar record for large entertainment event. We booed Santa Clause at an Eagles game. Hell, I even posted the Bill Burr incident video that Gethard refers to in his article on this site. Trust me when I say that I’ve seen new comers to comedy have their new found dreams absolutely shattered by a disgustingly drunk, hell-spawned creature that slid out of the sewage drains for a night of binge-drinking. It happens. Unfortunately, I think it happens in our city a little more often than the land of milk and honey that is New York.
So yes, Chris Gethard can easily say what he says about our city as much as I can say that he’s just being a pussy. Seems fair, right?
Having said that, I’d have to say that Gethard doesn’t quite see the positive side of our aggressive comedy consumption. Although that it could be difficult to get started in comedy in this city at times, being that if you bomb, you may be constantly reminded of the fact by one of the audience members until you get off stage, that kind of treatment can help you thicken your skin for the next time you go at it (if you’re serious about it). As many times that I’ve seen a heckler try to take down a comic on stage, I’ve seen them get absolutely demolished in their attempts. Countless times I’ve seen seasoned comics like Chris Cotton, Tu Rae, or Joe Derosa so ready for someone to open their mouths and try to ruin the event. And to be honest, it never ends up good for the heckler. It usually ends with the crowd turned against them, being insulted that someone would have the nerve to tell them, in so many words, to shut their fucking mouths and watch the show. For example, here’s a video of Joe Derosa, a Philadelphia comic who’s seen his fair share of disruptive audiences in Philly, handle an audience member in New York (notice how ready was for the incident and managed to keep on point).
Let me just end the article with a light hearted video of Chris Gethard brutally attacking a defenseless comedian in South Philly.