Chris Hardwick at Helium Comedy Club
Fri., June 28. heliumcomedy.com
Overall vibe: The well-versed and charming host of the Nerdist pop-culture podcast, Hardwick gets a +2 on his roll to cast a spell of Fangirl Summoning; the audience at Helium’s early show almost entirely comprised geek couples and double-dates wearing “Stay Calm and Don’t Blink” T-shirts.
Most memorable moment: Hardwick’s veritable spit-take when someone in the front row had a skeptical reaction to his setup line, “My girlfriend Chloe, who likes cosplay ...” A quick detour followed, unlikely as it seemed that anyone here would need cosplay defined: “It’s just wearing costumes! It’s not some sex thing.” At which point, someone farther back in the audience murmured to her companion, “Except the furries.”
Scene stealer: Opening act Chris Lamberth—a New York comic with a podcast of his own called The Mundane Festival—may have been a Philly newbie, but he described his visit in just the right words for this crowd: “I went to the ... Reading Terminal Market? That place is intense. It’s like Narnia for fat people.” (Stephen H. Segal)
Navasha Daya at World Cafe Live
Monday, July 1. philly.worldcafelive.com
Overall vibe: A lively crowd—a mix of old, die-hard Fertile Ground fans and new people who didn’t know of her initially, but once they went on YouTube and liked what they saw, purchased tickets.
Most memorable moment: Daya started off the show with a beautiful tribute to ailing South African leader Nelson Mandela, then she sang the haunting song “Umhome” by the late Miriam Makeba, aka Mama Africa, which was very powerful and moving. And even though onlookers may not have understood the language, just her voice, her vibration and her spirituality took them to another place.
Scene stealer: The cute little boy, about 5 years old, who started dancing—popping and locking—in the audience. She called him to the front of the stage, then went from her African dance to popping and locking, enjoying him so much that she did everything he did. (Arnetta Reddy)