improv comedy with an audience member

CityPaper Agenda Pick: Duofest

City Paper
September 30, 2010

Sept. 30-Oct. 3, $10 (per show), $20 (per day) or $50 (entire festival), Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge St.,

The high-wire analogy in improv comedy is so overused, it's become meaningless. But it's also not necessarily apt. In large improv groups, there's safety in numbers; have an off night and your partners can carry the weight. Not so with duos, the focus of Philly Improv Theater's (PHIT) four-night Duofest.

"When there are just two people on stage," says PHIT's Greg Maughan, one of the festival's six producers, "there's no backup. It's all them, no net. Nobody can have a bad night."

Duofest was inspired by Scott Adsit and Philly girl Christina Gausas' May PHIT improv gig and will feature local (Till Death Do Us Part, Hans Gruber), national (IMP, Landry and Summers) and international (Calgary's Rock Awesome) duos, 38 in all, including local Matt Holmes' double-death-defying M@& (Friday, 10:02 p.m.), which pairs Holmes and an audience member picked at random.