Tim & Eric, Bob & David, Rowan & Martin, The Smothers Brothers, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy – comedy is full of famous duos going back as far as anyone can remember. In improvisation especially, the duo is time honored tradition: from the early success of Nichols & May to the present success of TJ & Dave – ask almost any improviser and they will tell you about the side-project they pursue with someone else.
Duos are a fantastic challenge for those that perform in them – there is no chance to take a break, no room for someone else to carry the show on a bad night, and no way to avoid showing up. Performers form strong connections and working relationships with one other person and then embrace jumping into the lights with no one on the back line.
But sometimes jumping into the lights out-of-town can be hard. The difficulty of drawing a crowd when only two people are inviting their friends, the demands of larger groups on performers time, and the general reluctance of theatres and other venues to book all but the absolute best comedic partners have made it hard to celebrate these pairings.
In the fall of 2010, Philly Improv Theater changed all that with Duofest – a little festival we threw that surpassed our wildest expectations and ended up being a complete blast. We did it again just 8 months later when Duofest 2011 moved to the start of summer and drew raucous and enthusiastic crowds for a second time. We were blown away for the third time in 2012 and then things only got better again in 2013.
So we’re doing it again and hope you’ll join us. We’ve moved things around a bit – to Philly Improv Theater’s beautiful new permanent home – but we’ll stick with everything else that has been great for the last four years. There will be acts from across the country, important pairs you’ve heard about but maybe never seen, and workshops geared specifically to the unique challenges of performing with just one partner. There will also be an excited audience, fun excursions during the day to Philly attractions, and great parties to build camaraderie between duos and fans of comedy.
We are once again proud to present a festival dedicated to comedic partnerships and humbled by the incredible enthusiasm and love both audiences and performers have expressed for this little idea of ours. We couldn’t have done it without the broader national comedy community, the close collaboration of our producers (located in two cities) and artistic associates (located everywhere), our incredible local sponsors, and our loyal local audience.
– The Duofest Producing Crew (Ralph, Rick, Greg, & Kristen)