Stand-up comedy finds a new home at the Drake

Comedian Brian Isley performs at The Drake this weekend. | Provided

It’s no secret that the Philadelphia comedy community is thriving. Local comedians and even their nationally-known counterparts are constantly taking the stages of the city’s numerous clubs, theaters, and other venues (even bars) to hone their craft in front of appreciative—yet honest—audiences. Now, one Center City Philadelphia location aims to be the next comedy hotspot, joining the likes of Helium, PHIT and Good Good Comedy Theatre in bringing local stand-up comedy to the city’s center stage.

Behind the famed Kimmel Center, the ground floor of the 32-story Drake building will be the latest comedy stage in the city. On Saturday, Jan. 27, the comedy production company Starving Artist Prevention will hold its 17th show in the building’s intimate Drake Room. Steven Ziegler, one of the company’s co-producers, is eager to work within the historic art deco building and its pristine location.

“Our shows at The Drake will help us to create more of a presence within the city limits, which is my goal with this location logistically,” Ziegler said. “Audiences can always expect a quality show that delivers tons of laugh while elevating deserving ‘local’ comics to center stage.” He added that future shows at the Drake will move to The Proscenium Theater at The Drake.

The headliner on the Jan. 27 show will be none other than Brian Isley, recently coined “South Jersey’s Funniest Man.” Isley, who is also host of the podcast NBA Panel and a writer for, is currently working on his debut album, which will combine his stand-up comedy with bits from his podcasting experience. With the show, the producers are hoping to capture a vibe similar to that of Richard Pryor’s much-respected stand-up special “Live & Smokin’.”

“Our experience with Isley has been great all around,” Ziegler said. “The feedback I received of him being an excellent storyteller and a hilarious comedian on the first show was echoed by the laughs in the crowd when he headlined recently. For his show, his talent will shine as he is not only performing twice, but is rumored to be performing two completely different sets. This is what I love about comedy.”

Despite scoring the coveted stage in the middle of downtown, Ziegler and Starving Artist Prevention will ensure that all areas of Philadelphia are covered. On Feb. 15, the company will make its debut at Chuck’s Alibi in Northeast Philadelphia, for the first in what Ziegler hopes will be a monthly showcase. It will be co-headlined by local comedians Shane Gillis and Chris Cotton.

If you go:
Saturday, Jan. 27
6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., $20
The Drake Room
1512 Spruce Street, Philadelphia