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Lights. Camera. Action!


While there are a ton of great stand-up comics and improv troupes in Philly, the heart of the local comedy scene lies with the city’s many great sketch comedy groups. One of the best of the many talented local groups is The Action Section.

The Action Section will be performing during this year’s Fringe Festival. The name of their show is “Life,” which details childhood, growing up, becoming an adult and death.

“We didn't start writing with that theme in mind -- it just happened that our best sketches had a strange theme of mourning childhood and fearing huge life changes. It's a loose theme, but hopefully the show takes people from Point A to Point C while still being funny,” said Action Section member Joe Gribbin. “The idea is to get honest emotions out of ridiculous situations. Without getting into a big discussion about comedy and tragedy, I think you need both to make either work. And I don't see much difference between the two.”

While the show may sound a bit dark, the Action Section’s past shows have been something that anyone can relate to. The group prides itself on moving fast – the longest sketch they’ve ever performed clocked in at about four minutes. And, unlike a lot of other sketch comedy acts throughout the country, the Action Section also tries to keep their material somewhat friendly to audiences of all ages.

“We try to keep things PG-13,” Gribbin said. “It's more of a craft thing than anything else. If you can't make it funny without cursing, you need to write better dialogue. It keeps our ideas funny and our writing sharp.”

The Action Section also stands out for the locale of its members. Most Philly-area comics live in the city itself; however, the Action Section got its start at Villanova University and to this day proudly calls the western suburbs home.

“The suburbs are nice. I have a driveway. I don't really get the whole American Beauty/Revolutionary Road idea of soul-crushing suburban alienation,” Gribbin said. ”Sure, I don't know my neighbors, but that's why I have friends. When friends are cool, they come over. When they're annoying, they live kinda far.”

The Action Section will be performing in this year’s Fringe Festival. Dates are: Saturday, 9/5 at 8:30p.m., Sunday, 9/13 at 5 p.m., and Friday, 9/18 @ 7p.m. All shows are at The Adrienne Theater, located at 2030 Sansom St. in Center City. Tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Philadelphia Fringe Festival at this website: http://www.livearts-fringe.org/