Banford, Cupps, Trav & Abramowitz on Good Good’s One Year Anniversary

Good Good Comedy Theatre is celebrating its one-year anniversary all week, culminating in one massive clusterfuck of a show this Friday, October 13th at 8:30 PM called Good Good’s One-Year Anniversary Sampler.

In our penultimate day of coverage, we’ve asked four more Good Good showrunners and frequent performers to tell us about the funniest, weirdest, and dumbest stuff they’ve seen during our first year of over 800 shows – from the stage and from the audience.

Kate Banford
(Co-Founder, Good Good Comedy Theatre)

Good Good has been open for a year and yet it feels like we’ve had this space for a lifetime. When the people of Holy Fuck Comedy Hour came through last November, they couldn’t believe it when we told them it had only been open for a month. Either a testament to how much of a home it felt like already or how ragged and scuffed up the space already was (they insisted it was the first one).

The cast of Holy Fuck (Mitra Jouhari, Steph Cook, Matt Barats, Anthony Oberbeck, Carmen Christopher, Andrew Tisher) during the first Holy Fuck performance at Good Good back in November.

It was as if the life we lived in other spaces – The Shubin Theatre, Plays & Players, Vox Populi, PhilaMOCA, etc. – had been injected into Good Good on day one. But also, by November, we’d already put up over 70 shows. So maybe that’s what wore it in.

A shot from the closing show of the first ever Five Dollar Comedy Week, held at the Shubin Theatre in August 2014.

At the end of the first month, our fourth ever Five Dollar Comedy Week premiered 30 + shows in the span of a week. To this day, Five Dollar Comedy Week holds my favorite, most unexpected memories. The most recent one (the fifth) was a heap of gems.

I love a comedy show that makes you feel, and two comedians who consistently execute that are Matt Schmid and Jacquie Baker. This year, they put on Hidden Cam, a live prank show that, a few weeks before premiering, they admitted they didn’t know if they could pull off. Spoiler alert: they did for sure.

Matt Schmid & Jacquie Baker host the sold-out Five Dollar Comedy Week premiere of Hidden Cam.

At the top of the show, they ordered a pizza which was to (hopefully) be delivered at the end – triggering a surprise party for the delivery guy. Throughout the hour, they set up a piñata that audience members had stuffed with cash and, after a tall stack of hilarious prank videos, the pizza guy walked through the theater door to showers of confetti, a sold-out audience screaming “Surprise!” then led to the stage to smash the pinata. Cash. Confetti. Hugs. High Fives. I can’t imagine the feeling. It was so profoundly touching, this man was overwhelmed with appreciation.

It was a moment that punched my heart in. Then we had to rush clean the theater and the next show was oversold out and a lady was angry that she couldn’t get her seat, so everything reset. But that show did a number on me.

Johnny the pizza guy takes home a birthday card, a signed doll and a piñata full of cash at his very on surprise party on Hidden Cam.

I feel like the shows where a person wants to give up, but they don’t – they power through it and turn the frustration into gold – those end up being some of the best shows. The perseverance to create comedy when it’s so easy to say to yourself “it’s already been done” or “I can’t do it” is inspiring.

There’s so much more that I’ve loved through the year, so many serendipitous moments that you can’t capture. They live under the lights and you go back to them in your brain thinking, “How did that happen then, at that perfect moment, right here, with all of us?” It makes you feel so lucky.

I love this place. I love the people. I love the opportunities it brings. I love the people it connects. I love the chances it takes. I love so much about it. It’s such a silly thing to love a place because when you look at it, it’s indistinguishable walls and seats and doors, but without this space there would be much less joy and wonder and happiness in my life. I am immensely grateful for the people that make this scuffed-up ragged little black box a home.

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Aaron Abramowitz
(Darlings)
One of my favorite things that I’ve seen at Good Good was Sadie Hawkins Day. This was the first live comedy show I’d ever seen that wasn’t stand-up and it BLEW MY MIND! The show was soooo ridiculously hilarious. All I remember was I kept wiping my eyes because I was laughing so hard.
John Reynolds & Matt Barats show that love knows no bounds on Sadie Hawkins Day.
My other favorite show was probably seeing the stand-up comedian Sam Tallent. Holy shit was that a great show.
Denver’s Sam Tallent brandishes a switchblade while headlining Good Good.
My favorite memory preforming at Good Good was probably opening for Mekki Leeper’s Good Good Hour. The show was PACKED and the energy in that room was infectious. Everybody had a great time that night.
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Hannah Trav
(Ur Mom Is Funny, Best Show In Town)
The first month Good Good Comedy Theatre opened, I had the pleasure of watching my friend Chris O’Connor do an hour of stand-up comedy. As comics, we’re often well-acquainted with each other’s jokes from years of flocking to the same open mics week after week. But what I found I enjoyed most was watching Chris’ familiar jokes become longer streams of consciousness that put the audience in his head for more than a couple minutes. My favorite moment was how Chris spent a roughly five minutes describing how distraught he felt when he finally learned about menopause.

One of my favorite moments performing came during the May edition of One Minute Monologues. Earlier that week, the Washington Post had announced that Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President, was a “significant person of interest” in the Russia investigations. At this point, most of the country had never heard Jared Kushner speak, so I decided to do my monologue as a silent Jared Kushner. It was outside of my comfort zone to go on stage and try to make people laugh without using words. My friend Rose Luardo played the perfect Ivanka, interrupting me as soon as I took the mic.
Jared Kushner (Hannah Trav) performs a One Minute Monologue, aided by Ivanka Trump (Rose Luardo).
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Daniel Lewis Cupps
(That Just Happened, Darlings)

The things I have seen since this theater has opened have proven to me, hands-down, that Philadelphia as an art community is very lucky to have a venue like Good Good Comedy Theatre.

Comedian Psychoanalysis truly gave me honest moments of dizzying laughter this year. Michael S. Watkins and Joe Bell have such fun chemistry that never stops surprising me. Eat Your Beats has such inventive characters like Mr. Happy Meatball, Carrot Cake, and Li’l Nugget that make me want to keep coming back every month. Hosts Alejandro Morales and Alyssa Al-Dookhi run that show with such fierce energy and precision.

Financial Guru Gregg Gethard, Sadulous, and Countdown Ur Music (C.U.M.) were some of my other favorites this year, with such great collaboration and tight presentation.

Financial Guru Gregg Gethard leads an exciting seminar at the sold-out premiere of Money Talks.

Some of my favorite moments performing on shows were Talkmasters, where I make a theme song for an audience member. Kate Banford has concocted a show the likes of which I would never miss even if I wasn’t involved. Also, That Just Happened, my own show, where one of my favorite people, Pete Steele, truly shines as a brilliant improviser, especially when he is listing off the ways in which he expresses his deep love for horses. And another show that really was a lot of fun to be a part of, with a stacked cast of some super talented performers, was Shane Barbera’s Save the Universe, a choose-your-own adventure play.

The cast of the choose-your-own-adventure show Save The Universe takes a bow.

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Come back tomorrow for our final day of favorites from Good Good’s first year, and don’t forget to grab your tickets to Good Good’s One-Year Anniversary Sampler.