Chip Chantry may be, in most people’s eyes, Philly’s funniest comedian, with a handful of annual awards since 2012 stating such acclaim.
However, Chantry is also an Italian Market neighbor, a fellow local walking dogs and dodging traffic in the early hours and late at night. And with that, this fast interview could have been conducted with each of us yelling at the other from out of our windows during any busy rush hour morning.
“Which would have been perfectly acceptable in South Philly, right?” says Chip Chantry. “No one would have even noticed that we were screaming at 6 a.m. Just another day of hollering in the neighborhood.”
Chitchatting with Chip Chantry
The reason for talking more quietly now, beyond neighborly pleasantries, is Chip Chantry’s newest endeavor: the live recording of his second stand-up comedy album on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Helium Comedy Club at 8 p.m. When you go (and get there early), prepare to sit up front and laugh. Not only because you won’t be able to help yourself Chantry’s acerbic retinue of hard won obsessions and twisted takes on everyday existence have always made him smartly and snarkily hilarious, whether he’s at Helium, Punch Line Philly or the Philly Improv Theater.
The secondary reason for laughing is that Chantry is doing this new hour-plus material and upcoming live album in one take. So what happens if people don’t laugh?
“Ah, that’s another of my nightmares: people walking into a room, my jokes told – jokes I put hard work into – then nothing,” he says with a laugh. “Luckily, there is editing, but what you hear is what you get.”
There’s no doubt that, like his comedy album debut, 2012’s “Across from the Adonis” (also recorded at Helium), Chantry’s weird fresh stories and new-found feelings about death and decrepitude will delight. “I am a hypochondriac to begin with, and I am getting older, so the thought of dying just gets worse,” says Chantry.
If his upcoming live comedy is anything like that of his heroes, listeners will be handsomely rewarded.
“I grew up, in terms of comedy albums, with my dad’s old 8-tracks in his Chevy Malibu, stuff like all of the legendary George Carlin recordings,” says Chantry of “FM & AM,” “Class Clown,” and “Occupation: Foole.” As a grown-up stand-up, Chantry moved up and onwards to weirdly expansive storytellers with killer one-line, one-two punches such as Dave Attell and the late, great Mitch Hedberg. “Dave Attell’s ‘Insomniac’ stuff is classic, off color humor, and Hedberg was just… unpredictable. I hope some of their magic rubbed off of me.”