In EXIT INTERVIEW, local improviser Steve Kleinedler asks former members of the Philadelphia comedy scene about their time here and what they’re up to now.
Today, Steve chats with Nathan Edmondson. Nathan was 1/3 of the early long-form troupes in Philadelphia, Rare Bird Show; was one of the original producers of the Philly Improv Festival; and directed PHIT house team Mayor Karen. (Together, Nathan and Steve were Half-Life: Requiem for the Cold War.)
1. What years were you in/near Philly?
2. What prompted you to leave Philly?
Adventure! I had always wanted to live in Los Angeles at some point in my life, and I was itching for something new. We had been producing films with our company Reel 9 Productions for a few years so as an actor and filmmaker I was interested in exploring larger markets with greater opportunity.
I had never set out to live in Philadelphia. It happened by chance to some degree so even though I fell in love with the city, it was never my intention to stay there forever. That I stayed for ten years is a testament to how great a place it is. It was hard to leave.
3. What do you miss most about Philly?
So many things, my friends first and foremost. That you can easily travel around by bus or bike. And you can walk across the city in no time at all if you want. I miss the Terror Behind the Walls community at Eastern State Penitentiary and all the lovely people in the Philly comedy scene. I miss the theater scene. There’s a hungry, motivated artistic community that’s an inspiration to be around.
The food in Philadelphia is incredible. I miss countless restaurants and various watering holes. After ten years, Philly had the familiarity of home which was nice. Philly has a strong sense of itself as a community that I miss.
4. What’s your favorite recollection about the Philly comedy scene?
Being a part of Rare Bird Show. Helping launch the Philadelphia Improv Festival. Working with PHIT, and all the other projects I worked on including Stage Fright, Mayor Karen and Half-Life. Still one of my best improv shows ever was a Half-Life show. I was really lucky to be around when the improv comedy scene took off and be a part of that wave
All my favorite memories include the lovely, fun, smart and hilarious people I was able to spend time with and call my friends.
5. What would it take for you to move back?
I imagine the desire to be close to family will bring us back at some point in the future. That would be the most likely motivation. Whether that’s Philly or somewhere else on the east coast. Growing up I never imaged I’d live in a city so after Philly and LA, I may be ready for a less densely populated area.
But who knows what the future holds. Reel 9 Productions continues to grow, and we’re very excited about the work we’re doing with our comedy group Unimaginary Friend and our podcast the Unimaginary Friendcast. Our Los Angeles collaborations continue to increase. Maybe we’ll be stay for the long haul. You never know when a project or job will nail you down or take you somewhere else entirely.
But the great thing today is that distance is less of an obstacle to staying in touch and supporting each other in the creative world. I still follow a lot of what’s happening in Philly and enjoy hearing about people’s new projects and watching their work online. More so now than ever, Philly seems like a great place to be.
Check out Reel 9 Productions at https://reel9productions.com/
Check out Unimaginary Friendcast at https://unimaginaryfriend.com/friendcast/