Philly Comedians: Kent Haines

Save for the rare sighting of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast, Philly isn’t much of a celebrity town. Chances are pretty slim that you’ll run into a totally famous person on the street”¦OR SO YOU THINK. Local stand-up comedian and fine citizen Kent Haines is currently starring in a web series called “That Guy” that is appearing on Hulu, the site where NBC hosts all of its TV shows and a handful of specially picked web series. “That Guy” is hilarious, and so is Kent’s stand-up, which features everything from the difference between British and American sports commentators to a southern family comic trying to do humor for hipsters.

Despite “That Guy,” however, Kent does not think he’s famous yet. That’s why, starting July 9th, he’s going to be hosting a monthly show through the Philly Improv Theater called “Why Am I Not Famous?!?” Each month, Kent says he’s going to “display a new talent to show the audience why I should be famous. Then I’ll bring out some other performers to do their thing and make me look good by comparison, you know, in case there’s any industry in the crowd.”

Whether you consider him to already be famous or not, Kent is definitely a funny guy, and we spoke recently about stand-up, “That Guy,” and where to see comedy in this town.

Why did you start performing stand-up?

I had just finished up a really long run writing and producing a TV show with my best friend in college (Elected), and I wanted to try something that I had complete control over. I loved being able to succeed or fail on my own and not feeling guilty for screwing up someone else’s night (apart from the audience’s). I work occasionally with other people, but stand-up is still my favorite thing to do.

Why do you like performing in Philly?

“¦[There] is something really great happening in Philly comedy right now. There are so many really nice and really funny comedians who are working around town”¦It’s great to be a part of a community that is strong and getting stronger. I don’t think Philadelphia is known for its comedy scene nationally, but that’s going to change in the next few years.

So holy crap! You’re in a big-deal web series! And it’s hilarious! Can you tell us about that?

For a short period of time after college I tried to become a writer in Los Angeles without ever moving to Los Angeles. This series is proof to my parents that it wasn’t a 100% failure. I made it with my friend Matt Vascellaro, who is a fantastic writer and my best friend in the world.

What’s your favorite place in Philadelphia?

Helium is a fantastic club, and it’s a goal of mine to get work there eventually. Apart from that, I have to recommend the Ministry of Secret Jokes, which is the last Wednesday of every month at Fergie’s Pub. There are a lot of great monthly shows going on right now, but this one really captures the feeling of the stand-up community. Doogie Horner, who runs the show, is one of those guys who makes everyone else around him work harder because he’s so good already.

See “Why Am I Not Famous Yet?!?” the Wednesday of the first full week of each month at 10 p.m. at the Shubin Theatre. Tickets are available through the Philly Improv Theater.

Shubin Theatre
407 Bainbridge St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 592-0119

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