It would seem corny to start this story with the hackneyed phrase “three comedians walk into a bar, and …” if it wasn’t for the fact that this story is about three experienced local stand-up comics, walking into a bar (Center City’s MilkBoy at 1100 Chestnut St.) and kicking off a new monthly series, “Unpasteurized,” this Wednesday night.
Devised by two longtime Philadelphians (Alejandro Morales, Eddie Finn) and one Boston-to-NYC-to-Philly transplant (Alex Grubard ) as part of the Laugh On Philly collective of comics, “Unpasteurized” is unique in that it takes one evening’s event, and splits it in two. “Hey, we have the room for the night; might as well do something great with it,” says Finn. “What better way to showcase more?”
The “more” in question is what the trio delineated as the split between the 8 p.m. show’s “Cream” and the 10 p.m. show’s “Curdle,” with a screening of short comedy films from local auteurs between them. Morales claims that while “Cream” features “straight up stand-up comedians the likes of which you’d find doing sets at Helium,” the “Curdle” showcase is darker and more alternative, “with sketch troupes, performance artists and nonlinear humorists” taking the stage. “Tim Butterfly and Matt McClusker are finely honed and straightforward,” notes Morales. “Later in the night, there’s the art house sketch work of Matt & Jacque and Robert X, who is hardly traditional, more off-the-beaten path, say like Steven Wright.”
What gives this trio insight into what’s funny in Philly is that, collectively and apart, they have mined the Philly stand-up scene for 10 years. “We have witnessed a lot of comedy and hosted a lot of stand-ups, so we know what’s funny and think that ‘Unpasteurized’ is a great insider’s look about what is special in Philadelphia comedy,” says Morales.
Grubard has spent the most time in-and-out of this city and has a good idea what makes Philly tick when it comes to being noticed. He credits the local guys from “Delco Proper” and Wayne native Abbi Jacbson of “Broad City,” who both have shows on Comedy Central, with helping put Philly on the map. Then there’s Live Nation’s soon-to-open Punchline Comedy Club across from the Fillmore and the upcoming Good Good Comedy Theater space that are also helping Philly solidify its reputation as a comedy town. “Comedians here are in it for the love of the game,” says Grubard. “Philly is fertile ground. You can hit the ground running here. A city like New York, there’s this constant influx of new people moving in every day — too many people looking to be the new alpha. Philly is less about the transplants. It is about community. If you want stage space, time to develop and to be part of a comedy family, Philly is your town.”
Laughs On Philly: Unpasteurized — every last Wednesday of the month — starts Wednesday, April 27 with Cream at 8 p.m. and Curdle at 10 p.m. at MilkBoy, 1100 Chestnut St. $8-$10. milkboyphilly.com
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