BY JOE MOORE
Live Nation announcing plans to open a 450 seat comedy club in Philadelphia — apparently as part of the sprawling Fillmore complex in Fishtown — is sort of like a "dream" come true. Not in the sense that I have been wishing this would happen, but more in the way how dreams are a hazy amalgamation of disparate things coming together in an odd way while you were asleep. A "Philadelphia Live Nation Comedy Club" is an a bunch of ideas that on their own are fine but make less sense together to me. Is Live Nation (the name is Algonquin and loosely translates to "Fifteen Dollar Surcharge") committing big to the comedy game? Is there even a comedy game?
But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.
Comedy as an industry is growing, both in and outside of Philadelphia. I hesitate to call it a "boom" at the risk of sounding like a hack, but there is more attention towards, interest in, and outlets for comedy today than there was ten or fifteen years ago. With the help of some media attention, there is a good chance your mom's friends know names like Marc Maron and Amy Poehler.
But why Philadelphia? Because Philadelphia is a comedy city. The line for tickets to see Louie CK at Helium a few weeks back stretched as far as the Blue Route. Philly Sketchfest drew acts from as far as Alberta, Canada, to perform in front of our crowds. The NCrowd is celebrating 11 years of performing short form glory for sold out crowds. Good Good Comedy ran a successful kickstarter for over $30,000 that will make a home for great comedy and free pizza forever. The Philly Improv Theater is teaching over a dozen 101 classes, and are moving into a 100 seat theater this summer. There is an open mic virtually every night of the week... and they are actually pretty good! Comedy acts are appearing on non-comedy stages like the Tower Theater and Trocadero.
So good. Hooray for The Fillmore. I hope they get a bunch of cool acts and that beer isn't too expensive. Maybe we can show both nationally touring comedians and tourists that cheese steak was a thing of the past. Comedy is our new best trick.