Düofest Kicks Off

By Nicole Finkbiner
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 3, 2011

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Over the next three nights, you’ll have a chance to witness the hilarious, unscripted antics of some of the best improv duos in the country right here in Philly.

Organized by the Philly Improv Theater, the second annual Düofest officially kicked off last night with a total of eight comedic twosomes sharing the stage at the quaint Shubin Theater in South Philly. This year’s line-up boasts more than 30 duos, two performing during each of the four nightly shows.

Some of the must-see duos performing this weekend include Matt& featuring Matt Holmes and an unsuspecting audience member, Trotsky & Hutch, a pair from Toronto that incorporates current events in their improvised sets and the leading ladies of the local improv scene, The Amie & Kristen Show.

Tomorrow, Philly native, Christina Gausas who has appeared on 30 Rock and Late Night with Conan O’Brien will also be performing as half of the headlining duo, Messing with a Friend.

A clear indication of the hilarity to come, here’s a quick roundup of a few of last night’s most memorable acts:  

Grandma Hates Technology: This father-daughter duo from New Jersey certainly brings something different to the table. Specifically, an adorable little girl. That’s right, accompanying stand-up comedian, Mike Weiss is his 13 year-old daughter, Jessica. Playing a smart-ass, trouble-making teenager and a fouled mouth, grouchy old aunt, the middle school student actually upstaged her middle-aged father.

Upstate: Hailing from New York’s top improv schools, these two guys took a nonsensical monoscene to incredibly gross and bizarre levels of funny. They also did it while harmoniously playing at least six different characters interchangeably.

Grimacchio: This local duo is comprised of Jason Grimley, an improv vet who has taught and performed all over the country and fellow member of the PHIT house team King Friday, Ralph Andracchio. They ran with an audience member’s suggestion of “Star Trek” even though it was clear that neither of them were very familiar with the series. What they did aboard the Starship Enterprise was as comedic as it was creative.

Mañez: Many comedy scholars argue that women actually tend make better improvisers and after seeing these two ladies from Toronto in action, I think we can go ahead and consider that a fact. Naturally more magnetic on stage than their male counterparts, I think they may have even stolen the show.

Dave and Ethan: In 2008, childhood friends, Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell started a YouTube comedy series tracking their experiences as they went on over 200 double dates.  Now they have a monthly show at the People’s Improv Theater in New York in which they invite an audience member to share their worst first date horror story then proceed to humorously reinact the date before showing how it could have gone better. As funny as this sounds, I can assure you its even funnier live.

Hans Gruber: Before this local twosome took the stage, the crowd was asked to shout out a place that they would never send a friend and an expensive hobby that isn’t illegal. The guys then appeared as prisoners tied to chairs and with bags over their heads. Their crime: trying to go horseback riding in Camden. 

Through June 5. 6pm. $10-$15. The Shubin Theater, 407 Bainbridge St. 267.233.1556. duofest.com

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