Steal This Show: Philly is Phunny Again

Time was, our sports teams never won, cultural references were nowhere to be found and parts of the city looked like rotting corpses.

Philadelphia has long been the butt of a joke that everyone was laughing at but us. But with a revitalized film industry, a new mayor, an emboldened youth population and the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphians are ready for some laughs of our own.

And finding one has never been easier. FX's It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is a national sensation. And with clubs like Helium and the Laff House drawing national acts and comedy troupes eschewing the normal career path of New York/L.A. wannabes for hometown hero status, Philly is phunny. And its comedians are ready to prove it.

No one knows the dues-paying, pavement-pounding struggle of hustling yuks to a city that often has a tough time laughing at itself better than Corey Cohen. As a member of The Sixth Borough, he and his mates explored Philly's identity crisis, provincial nature and tough edge with raucous sketches and performances on stages across the city. Now Cohen is back, contributing the newest addition to the burgeoning Philly alt-comedy scene, Steal This Show.

Cohen's bi-monthly comedy revue contains appearances by stand-up comedians, sketch comedians, musicians, and even a quiz show. And all for just $5. The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach should suit potential attendees just fine, as they are likely to get more bang for their buck.

And what better place to poke fun at Philly's gruff, housecoat-wearing homers than Connie's Ric Rac, the first art house to hit the Italian Market. As everyone knows, the Italian Market is where Philly stereotypes reside; a neighborhood full of pride, soul and unintended irony. In short, the place is rife for parody.

Started as an electronics store and later used as a storage space, Connie's Ric Rac has since become the doing of Connie's son. More an artistic collective than a performance space, the Ric Rac hosts seminars for would-be comedians, musicians and artists. With Steal This Show, the Ric Rac brings nightlife to a neighborhood decidedly low on performance-based entertainment. And with a $5 price tag, BYOB rules and a shared refrigerator in place of a liquor license, it does so in true South Philly style.

If you are happy being the butt of the joke from Staten Island to San Francisco, then by all means, forget we had this talk. But if you are ready to see Philly draw some laughs of our very own, come out to the Ric Rac this Friday, Nov. 28. Help put Philly on the comedy map once more.

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