An ensemble of Philly comedians led by Joe Bell and Michael S. Watkins make fun of network television for your viewing pleasure in the Fringe production of “Prestige Drama” at Good Good Theatre. | Image: Ryan Greenberg

If you’re looking for intense situations mixed with ridiculous drama, then we’ve found the Fringe show for you. 

“Prestige Drama,” an upcoming comedy performance at Good Good Comedy Theatre, will be here to load audiences up with the aforementioned — and then some. The show will run twice a day from Sept. 18-21. 

Philly funny men Joe Bell and Michael S. Watkins are the creators and stars of this parody show, which also features a long list of talented Philly comedians: Caitlin Feeney, Kyle Harris, Tan Hoang, Julia Celley, Zak Krone, Chris McGrail, Pim Van H., Pat Reber, Robert Ecks and Good Good’s resident funny woman, Kate Banford. 

The show is based mostly on network dramas with exaggerated storylines and in-your-face character personalities.

“It’s a lot of ‘Breaking Bad’ and [a little bit] of ‘Mad Men’ and there’s some ‘Sopranos,’” Bell said.

“Yeah, it's basically anything that you might have seen on HBO or AMC [at] the start of the golden age of TV,” Watkins added.

All the joking is done in good fun, though.

“I think it’s coming from a place of love for these shows,” Bell said, adding sarcastically, “It’s not like we’re making fun of it in any way.”

Embracing their comedic weirdness is no new task for Bell and Watkins. They’re in a sketch comedy duo, “Scrote,” and both star in another show, “Comedic Psychoanalysis,” an audience-interactive show at Good Good.

The brand of comedy explored in “Prestige Drama” isn’t too far off from the comedy they’re used to performing in their other acts.

“I guess it's mostly similar to ‘Scrote’ in that we're going to be in character the whole time,” Watkins said.

“Prestige Drama” may remind you of familiar TV themes, but the stars will be delivering a performance different from any of their previous — one that will test their mental acuity, for sure. For example, Watkins is faced with the ultimate responsibility of playing six characters. 

“I have a cheat sheet,” he said. “I’m wearing costumes under costumes and I'll pull one off halfway and put a shirt on over another one — which is really, really hard to do.”

As long as you’re a fan of weird comedy, you’re gonna love the show, said Bell, who added, “I think you can have a vague knowledge of Breaking Bad — or even any of those shows — and still enjoy this show.”

“Prestige Drama” won’t be the first Fringe show that Bell and Watkins have been behind. They also run with “Darlings,” a comedy collective. They performed in the show “Darlings: Kill Us Please” during the 2018 Fringe Festival. 

“If people liked that last year, I’m sure they’re going to enjoy this,” Watkins said.

The comedy duo recognize the importance of Fringe in helping to get their names out to a wider audience than they usually perform for.

“It pulls out not just regular comedy fans, but fans of art and theater in general,” Bell said.

Bell also pointed out that, unlike the typical comedy show that they would only perform once or twice, “Prestige Drama” will be performed six times — which gives Fringe Festival goers even more chances to check out the show.

You don’t have to catch all six shows, though — unless you want to. If you’re a fan of their kind of comedy, Bell and Watkins suggest you check out “Queer Bait,” another show that’s happening at Good Good. It features an experimental comedy duo that will be serving up tons of buffoonery and costume changes on stage. Sounds a little familiar, huh?

Although “Prestige Drama” is for the fans of alternative sketch comedy, it’s still relevant enough for anybody who has watched TV before to understand.

“It’s like a rubber band for us to stretch out and get weird,” Bell said.



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