Most Fallsers remember Dan Ostrov as the local artist/fabricator on the Knotted Grotto installation for Pope Francis’ visit in 2016. Or maybe you recall how he & his wife Stephanie — who designs our printed newspaper, btw — created a pop-up playground for Falls Flea last year? He’s also a regular at East Falls Glassworks but in a completely different track altogether, Dan’s an emerging stand-up comic.
He’s also buds with some of the city’s best known stand-ups, and now he’s bringing them to East Falls for one great night of live entertainment at Trolley Car Cafe.
Thursdays are the perfect nights to kick off a summer weekend early — with seasonal beers and menu, yet. Trolley Car Cafe and East Falls Beer Garden are teaming up to make sure everyone’s well-fed and ready to laugh in this Dirty Old Town.
What’s the deal with that name, anyway? Is this gonna be some kinda raunch fest? “Nooooo…” Dan assured us, the name “Dirty Old Town” comes from an old folk song about tough industrial towns. “We think Philly is that kind of town,” he explained, “Some of the guys might drop an occasional f bomb but it’ll be a pretty clean show as these things go.” After thinking a sec, he added, “Probably.”
We caught more scoop from Dan about East Falls’ first-ever live comedy showcase, including who’s who plus tips for local comedy fans.
How did this comedy showcase in East Falls come about?
It was talking to Brian Six telling him I was going to organize a comedy showcase and asking him how do I do it cause it’s my first one and he just said me and the guys’ll do it. Which kinda blew me away because these guys are accomplished and well-known in the Philly comedy world.
Trolley Car Cafe’s got a great space out back under the canopy. When Jasmine said their chef could create a menu that paired with selections from East Falls Beer Garden, we were pumped to pull this together.
How did you get into stand-up?
My best friend and I used to tell each other jokes all the time — my favorite were “shaggy dog” stories (a long joke with a silly premise, usually where an animal talks). The high school I worked at had this annual festival, and I’d tell the kids one of my shaggy dog jokes — that’s how I first got used to telling jokes to audiences.
I liked it. And I started writing down thoughts that seemed funny to me, and then awhile back I found out about Open Mic Night at the Grape Room in Manayunk, that’s when I really got into it.
What’s your comedy like? Will you be performing stand-up?
I do a lot of acting in my routine, more than most comedians. I also do voices and move around stage a lot. Thursday, I’ll probably do a set but mostly I’ll be emceeing.
How do you know if you’d make a good stand-up comedian? What does it take to become one?
You have to know how to get to the punchline. It’s easy to come up with thoughts you think are funny, but you have to distill it to a punchline that the audience gets. It’s the most important thing about comedy.
Where are your favorite spots to see comedy in Philly?
Grape Room in Manayunk (Tuesdays). Fergie’s (Sundays) and Raven Lounge (Thursdays) on Sansom. Also Good Good Comedy, which has a variety of shows seven nights a week (plus classes and resources for new comics).
What’s the deal with the comedians in the show?
They’re all really cool. In fact, three of them were at my first standup routine at Medusa Lounge. So it’s kinda cool that I’m now working with them in Dirty Old Town.
MEET THE COMEDIANS
Some of these guys had bios for us but the others did not get around to it. See if you can tell which is which!
Shane Gillis stumbled into stand-up one summer on the Jersey Shore when a bushel basket barker asked him to hold his mic while he took a cigarillo break. Shane refused to give it back, and instead spent the remainder of his vacation practicing stand-up on reflective surfaces and French Canadian tourists. These days, he divides his time between performing and learning to drive the big rigs.
Don’t let the name fool you — Brian Six is a solid four. Understandably, he’s put a lot of time and effort into his personality. He also taught himself to play mournful tunes on the theremin, which he considers the only music truly suitable for his haunting singing voice. Brian loves hard boiled eggs.
Jon DelCollo is a comedian from Philadelphia who can regularly be seen at Helium Comedy Club and Punch Line Philly. He will be opening for Pauly Shore at Helium 7/21-22 and for Chris Franjola at Punch Line 7/27-29. He’s also the host of Golden Thrones (where he had a chance to “visit” the Guggenheim’s 18 karat gold toilet on display).
A quick wit coupled with an awkward grace has gotten some of Matt McCusker’s work featured on both radio and television. In 2014 he was named “Philly’s Funniest” out of over 200 comics competing from the Tri-state area. He also played a small role in the Comedy Central webseries “Delco Proper” and can be found opening for national headliners throughout the year.
Expect the unexpected with Chris Wood, who spent his formative years with feral dogs and to this day occasionally reverts to his wild instincts. Though he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Empire Cosmetology School in 1996, his true love has always been performing. And rawhide. He’s pretty sure he’d do anything for money.
Like comedy? Buy tickets!
Trolley Car Cafe
3269 South Ferry Road
Special dinner menu for sale, including paired beers from East Falls Beer Garden.