Good Good Talks To The Audience

This Saturday, Good Good Comedy Theatre is celebrating two years as a full-on comedy venue in Philadelphia with a big blow-out show and after-party. What started in 2014 as Five Dollar Comedy Week, a one-off festival of new shows, has bloomed into a year-round theater with nearly 2,000 incredible, hilarious and weird-as-fuck live comedy shows under our belt.

Good Good owners Aaron Nevins and Kate Banford decided the best way to commemorate the occasion would be to talk to the people who have made this possible for the last 2+ years – some of Good Good’s most frequent audience members.

So they dug through the records to find some of the people who have seen the most shows here over the past two years and asked if they’d come by and chat about why they keep coming back and some of the best stuff they’ve seen.

Kiki, 27 & Cody, 30

What do you like about Good Good?

Cody: I feel like from the get-go, when I started going to shows, it felt really special. Like right off the bat. And then when the brick-and-mortar came to be, it was just like “Holy shit, this is really fucking cool.” It felt like the group of weirdos that I was always looking for and didn’t even realize it.

Kiki: And also, obviously the stuff you produce is hilarious, but the model of how you’re fans of comedy first and foremost – the love really comes through.

Cody: There’s no other place in the city that’s like it, in terms of comedy spaces.

What are some of your favorite shows?

Kiki: I love Eat Your Beats. Love Darlings. Weeding Out The Stoned. Sex with Ecks. Comedian Psychoanalysis.

Does anything stand out as the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen?

Kiki: I mean most of it is pretty weird. [laughs] When we first started going to Darlings, I think I described it as a Lynchian SNL. Surreal sketch. I think Darlings in general has a lot of the weirdest stuff I’ve seen here.

Jackie, 24 & Annie, 26 & Maddie, 25

What do you like about Good Good?

Annie: It’s a different type of comedy. More interesting people trying different things.

Jackie: It’s a very comfortable environment that you’ve curated, and the people you bring in definitely represent that. I honestly feel like we’re obsessed with so many comedians now, because they’re comedians we’ve seen here. We’re fangirls now. [laughs]

When people come to perform here, they’re like “I tell everyone to come here. It’s such a cool place.” We just saw Chris Gethard, and onstage he was like, “So many people talk about how cool Good Good is and how good the energy is here.” And like, that’s cool. We love seeing shows, and it’s nice that they enjoy performing here.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen here?

Maddie: Jamie Loftus eating dog food out of a can and talking through it.

Jackie: I saw Darlings: Kill Us Please. That was one of the best things I’ve seen here. And in that show – the prisoner [Julia Celley] eating a full jar of mayonnaise. Full globs. And she cleared it. It was so gross. I loved it.

Any favorite shows over the years?

Jackie: I’ve seen Jaboukie [Young-White] twice here. He’s so funny and I just need to mention it.

Maddie: The Anna Drezen show.

Jackie: Oh my god – I was hunched over laughing. Everybody was. Red in the face. And we met her after the show, and we were going to this ‘60s-themed party afterward so we were dressed super weird, and she took a picture with us and put it on her Instagram and said “These are my Manson wives.” [laughs]

Annie: Dare To Dream // Dare to Cream was our first time seeing those three together [Sarah Squirm, Jamie Loftus & Ruby McCollister]. And that’s one of the things that made me fall in love with this place. I was like “Holy shit, this is so good.”

Jackie: I liked Weeding Out The Stoned. Make Up or Break Up was really, really good. Alyssa [Al-Dookhi] is really funny.

Darlings: Kill Us Please was awesome. It was insane and so funny. You know that thing where you’re not thinking about how much time is passing – when you’re actually, like, very invested in something. That was just an out-of-body experience for a little bit there. It was very great, I loved it.

Daryll, 28

How did you hear about Good Good?

When I first moved here. I just remember coming every night of the week, multiple nights a week. My sister would be like, “What do you wanna do?” And I’d be like, “Wanna go to Good Good?” We actually spent my birthday here too.

Any favorite shows or experiences?

Darlings is probably my favorite show. The Color Urkel was fucking great. You guys had the sketch group that was all people of color [American Express] which was absolutely hysterical. Weeding Out The Stoned. Sex with Ecks is another show that stands out.

My old boss and I are friends, and she has a baby. One night she was like “It’s my first night out without my husband and my kid – what are we gonna do?” So I took her to Good Good, and it happened to be the Found Footage Festival show where it was all these, like, strange, sexually graphic videos. She was crying in her seat next to me like, “What did you bring me to?” My face hurt after that show. It was so good.

What’s your favorite thing about Good Good?

Everything? [laughs] I went to college in New York, and the only comedy I saw then were places that were like “Hey, come see the same people all the time, and there’s a two-drink minimum and those drinks are $20 a piece and the show’s not that great.”

At Good Good, it seems more like a comedy community. You clearly want people to enjoy themselves. You want the comedian to enjoy themselves. You let people try stuff out. I love it. It’s not gonna be the same show every time I come.

And I think the other thing I love about Good Good is that everyone’s comfortable. I’ve never sat at a show and felt, “Oh, this is weird.” I’m always like, “You know what? That’s hilarious.” It’s super diverse – the comedy’s diverse, the people are diverse, the jokes are diverse. I never know what I’m gonna get and it’s great.

Maya, 19

How did you find out about Good Good?

I was trying to remember the first show I came to – I’m thinking maybe it was Brandon Wardell. And I realized, “Oh, a lot of people I like come here. And it’s a cool place.”

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen here?

One thing that stands out clearly in my mind is the Grosslesque show [hosted by Libby Reindell]. I was sitting on the stage in the front, and I looked back, and an acquaintance of mine was sitting directly behind me. He thought I was a very strange person, but after that, I was like, “Listen, we were both at the same fucking trash-themed burlesque show. And we were both in the splash zone.”

I also saw Darlings: Kill Us Please and, just…the mayonnaise. It was so captivating. In the most disgusting way possible.

What do you like about Good Good?

The reason I really appreciate this space is that it feels like it was built up from a very DIY standpoint. Being here kind of makes me feel like the only thing between me and the people I admire – besides, like, talent and a huge amount of hard work [laughs] – is that they put themselves out there. And that’s cool.

Especially because it’s such a small venue, there’s such a dynamic between the audience and performer that you just don’t get if you go to, like…god forbid, a stadium comedy show. Which to me just seems kind of wack.

Nick, 28

How did you first hear about Good Good?

I remember when I first moved here, you were all at the Northern Liberties 2nd Street Festival. And you were hanging out outside, and somebody was playing, like, a keyboard? And I had been trying to get a read on what was going on comedy-wise here, and you were doing the first Five Dollar Comedy Week. So pretty much from that point, I tried to catch your stuff whenever I could.

Then I remember first hearing about y’all opening a theater here, and I was actually at the first show here as well. I’m in that polaroid of the crowd that you have on the fridge in the lobby.

What do you like about Good Good?

I appreciate the style and brand of humor that you all bring. I love the local shows and the group of Philly comics that you do stuff with. They put on really fun shows. There’s a lot of stand-up and sketch stuff out there, but I think what you guys offer that’s really interesting are the concept-based shows.

Do you have any favorites?

I loved The Slam. Let’s Start a Cult is great. Those Powerpoint presentations are so good. Eat Your Beats is great. I love Darlings. I’m usually at these cracking up in the front row.

I saw Blueberry Tour recently [Joe Pera, Jo Firestone, Conner O’Malley & Dan Licata]. That was really fun. I love when, like, Catherine Cohen and Mitra Jouhari come through. Most recently I saw James Acaster and that was amazing. Julio Torres – the first time he came here. I remember he came with Joe Rumrill and Lorelei Ramirez, and she did this guided meditation thing in the middle of it that went from being really relaxing to nightmarish. It was great.

Any other favorite moments?

I always think about this Eat Your Beats moment where Joe Bell was Big Papa John. I get his rap stuck in my head. “I like it when you call me Big Papa John. ‘Cause that’s my name. I’m Papa John.” [laughs] Especially with Papa John being in the news cycle – it comes up.

Madeline, 23 & Sophie, 23

What do you like about Good Good?

Madeline: I love variety the of shows. It’s so different every time. I love that it’s very affordable. It’s a good way to get out with your friends and do something fun that’s not at your house.

Any stand-out moments?

Sophie: Seeing Maria Bamford was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. [laughs] When I think about that, I’m still like “Wow, I can’t believe we saw Maria Bamford for $5 and, like, sat in the very front and then interacted with her.”

Madeline: Andre Hyland’s show [The Jesse Miller Talk Show] was one of my favorite things I’ve seen here. I won a Monster Energy drink in some sort of contest and drank it the next day. [laughs] Also Make Up or Break Up was great. I really loved that one.

Samantha, 25

How did you hear about Good Good?

I found you guys when I was having a really hard time – being like, “I don’t have any friends. I feel like I hate my job.” When I got here, I was instantly like, “Okay, this seems like a good comedy theater, and not the weird kind run by, like, 50-year-old white dudes.” [laughs]

I was in a place where I had kind of just moved to Philly, and I was in a slump where I’d been here for a little while and wasn’t really sure what to do next. So I was like, “This might be a good way to fill my time.” But then I ended up just totally loving it.

What’s your favorite thing about Good Good?

I like that this is a built-from-the-ground-up kind of place. I’ve never been this up-close to a small business before, and watching everything that you guys do is really cool for me. And that’s what kept me coming back when I first started coming.

Any favorite shows?

Any show Jamie Loftus has done has been amazing. Whitmer Thomas is so good. I also really like Patti Harrison, Catherine Cohen and Sarah Squirm. Sarah Squirm is another person where, any time she’s here, I’m like, “Okay.” Any time people come back, you know it’s going to be real good.

Josh, 31

What do you like about Good Good?

It’s definitely my favorite comedy venue in Philly. The overall conceptual vibe that you guys have here, where it’s never cookie-cutter. It’s always like, “Let’s see how we can break the mold.” That’s one of the things I respect the most about you guys.

I like the myriad of different comedians you get to see here, especially on shows like Weeding Out The Stoned. I like that you can hear a lot of different voices, and be like “Wow, I really like what this person said” and become of fan of that person, and see that they’re doing another show here and go to that one as well.

Any favorite shows?

My favorite show ever was the Blueberry Tour. That was so incredibly good. And getting to see Conner O’Malley there. All four of them were so good.

Jason, 27

How did you hear about Good Good?

I think I first came across Good Good just seeing flyers around for Five Dollar Comedy Week, so the name was in my head. Then when I started seeing shows with people I knew coming down, I was like, “Oh, this is rad.” I think the first thing I saw was a Jo Firestone show. I came in and I was like “Oh, this is a small theater and they’re bringing in awesome comedians.”

What do you like about Good Good?

I think you do an awesome job booking. Good Good has always had people that are on the verge and like, next up. I feel like regularly, I’ve either just recently read about a person, or just started following them on Twitter, and then suddenly it’s like “Oh shit! They’re coming to Good Good.”

I also think the vibe is great. BYO is awesome, and having a really small theater to see some really incredible people is special.

Do you have any favorites?

One of my favorite shows was Cole Escola’s one man show, and Patti Harrison opening up for him. That was the first time I saw her and I just remember thinking, “She is incredible.” And then, like, a week later she was on The Tonight Show.

It’s A Guy Thing was awesome. There were so many great people on that. Catherine Cohen and Mitra Jouhari and Steven Markow. The Blueberry Tour was so good.

Does anything stand out as the weirdest thing you’ve seen?

Sarah Squirm may have been some of the weirdest shit I’ve seen here. So funny. That really craftsy aesthetic combined with some really grotesque shit is so wild.

Pat, 27 & Zoey, 26

What do you like about Good Good?

Pat: It’s good a cool, local feel. And it’s intimate. You’re just more likely to have a good experience at a smaller space. It’s easier to get close to the performers.

Zoey: I like the different types of shows you do, besides just stand-up. Ur Mom Is Funny, Weeding Out The Stoned, One Minute Monologues. It’s a lot of different stuff.

Any favorite shows?

Zoey: I really liked Pizza, Soda & Chips, in this last Five Dollar Comedy Week. I really like [Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s] stuff, and the whole ensemble he had was great. It just started on a great note, with him falling onto and crushing the pizzas. And we got the world’s tiniest piece of pizza at the end.

Lys, 23

How did you first hear about Good Good?

So back when I was in college, I saw a show you guys were doing at PhilaMOCA. I really just liked the feel of it because it was really natural, and I just thought “This is really cool.” And then, when the theater opened, I saw Joke Bath, and I just kept coming more and more frequently. So my friend Clay and I have pretty much made it a habit to come here Thursdays and Fridays, and sometimes Saturdays, and just get drunk afterwards. [laughs]

What do you like about Good Good?

I like the fact that – yeah, you bring in big names, and you’re such a small theater that that’s impressive in and of itself. But I also love local talent and supporting local art. And I just like to see rising names. And there are people I’ve seen at Good Good, especially at Joke Bath, who are really fucking funny, and I’m confident in saying they’ll make it.

Any favorite shows?

I love Cómo Se Dice. I’m bilingual, and when I saw that, I was like, “That’s fucking awesome.” Like, I’ve never felt more included by a comedy thing. I was crying laughing at those shows. It’s just relevant and it’s pointed, more than other shows. I feel like Good Good shows often have some sort of sociopolitical message behind them.

What about the weirdest thing you’ve seen?

Probably the Grosslesque show during Five Dollar Comedy Week. There were two girls [Rose Luardo & Shannon Fahey] dressed as waitresses flinging pancakes into the crowd. There was definitely a lot of clean-up involved after.

Maggie, 20

How did you find out about Good Good?

It was just about two years ago. I had this class called First Year Seminar. It’s just like a “how to college” one-credit course. And our peer instructor would give us different events going on in the city every week, just to help us find stuff to do. And he told us about Five Dollar Comedy Week. I was seeing someone at the time who was really into comedy and was like, “This is a cheap, easy way to take someone on a cool date.” So I came, and I’ve been here a lot since.

And now I’m the peer instructor for that class, and I tell all my kids about Good Good. [laughs]

What do you like about Good Good?

It’s honestly my first or second date spot a lot of the time. I have a strong case for this: First off, it’s cheap. Usually five or ten dollars, so it’s easy to be like “My treat.” They’ll leave laughing. So they associate you with a good time. It’s immediately something to talk about when you don’t know someone super well. And it’s easy to get to.

Does anything stand out as the weirdest thing you’ve seen here?

I saw Abstracto during Five Dollar Comedy Week, and I remember someone [Beth Heinly] getting inside of a pair of pantyhose and rolling around everybody onstage.

Bradford, 31

How did you hear about Good Good?

My job at the time, I was working in a community kitchen. I’d be in there all the time – cleaning, listening to comedy podcasts. And I was telling my co-worker Emily, “I’ve been getting into this thing. Where can I go see comedy around here?” And she was like, “Oh, you should come to Hang On [Aaron’s first monthly show].”

Then I think I got on a mailing list and ended up following along. I realized there’s a lot of talent here, and I’m already so proud of Philly, so immediately I was like, “All right. Philly’s the best. We have the best comedians.”

And from there, it was Five Dollar Comedy Week, upstairs at Plays & Players. And I think I just, like, followed everyone on Twitter. Just being like, “I need to know what’s going on. This energizes me.” The idea of coming to a show, it’s 50 minutes, and you leave well-entertained and I supported something. That really excited me.

Any favorite shows from over the years?

The Johnny Pemberton show was out-of-control. It was so fun. It used the theater really well – it could only happen in that theater at that time. That was very much like, “I am uncontrollably laughing.”

The other show that makes Good Good kind of indelibly linked to my decade was on election night [Party Lines]. I remember being like “Hey, it’s election night. We’re gonna be celebrating. This is how we should do it. We should go to the comedy show and run out the doors at the end to celebrate this big night.” And seeing focus turn more and more toward the phones, and seeing the hosts’ [Max Barth and Joe Messina] spirits start to deflate as this looks more and more inevitable. That was definitely…a memory. [laughs]

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at Good Good?

I don’t think I’d ever seen anything like Andrew Jeffrey Wright. Whenever he pops up. And that’s something where I’m always like, “I’m really glad he’s here.” Always very strange and very good.

What do you like about Good Good?

I think early on, I recognized that there’s a community here that’s collaborative. And when you buy a ticket, you get to feel like you’re a part of that for a little bit. And I feel like it’s been a lot of the same people for a long time, which I think is really cool, and I think it’s probably because you’ve given people a reason to stay here.

I’ll often invite friends. When people come from out of town, I’ll be like, “This is what we have to do.” You’ve sort of become as uniquely Philly for me as the Italian Market or something. All these bars and coffee shops all over the country all look the same now. But I can be like, “Come to Good Good – I’m gonna show you something you can’t get anywhere else, that’s super quality, and is uniquely Philly.”

Another reason I really love this theater is that you get to support two people who really bootstrapped their destiny and invested in doing something. And creating a business, taking a huge risk. So supporting that you said yes to that. And you’re both very funny people, and you spend probably a lot of your time helping other people be funny.

I feel like artists are entrepreneurs. Even if you don’t start a business, you are a business. And “entrepreneurial” is often used to describe bros with apps, instead of some person who’s silk screening all night with vegetable ink and then goes to work the next morning. How is that not entrepreneurial?

You get to do that here. You get to invest in two people who started a business, took a risk, and could have easily said “I’ve always wanted to do that but it’s just too hard.” But you did it. So that’s exciting. You guys bust your ass.

Come to Good Good’s Two-Year Anniversary Sampler + After Party this Saturday, 10/13 at 8 PM at Good Good Comedy Theatre.