When we are in need for a good laugh in order to escape reality, we turn to stand-up comedians. A great stand-up comedian is a magician of sorts: with little more than a microphone, they can have an entire room full of people erupting into side-splitting laughter. But what happens when the comedians themselves need to deal with their own reality?
One local comic has answered that question by doing what she does best: producing material. Except this time, it is on a far more personal level, one that goes beyond simply entertaining an audience.
On Jan. 5-6, local comedian Hannah Trav will be presenting her multimedia comedy show "The Way I Remember It" at Philly Improv Theatre (PHIT) on Sansom Street in Rittenhouse Square. It marks the third outing for the show, which Trav first workshopped in September 2017 and expanded to a half-hour show two months later.
“Everyone who saw it before told me they felt hopeful and invested in the success of my character ‘Hannah’,” Trav said. “I put so much of myself out there in this show but it was 100% worth it. Now I just feel proud of myself and excited to do the show again.”
In the vein of similarly personal shows such as Maria Bamford’s "Lady Dynamite" series, "The Way I Remember It" chronicles the difficult experiences in Trav’s life from April through November 2017. Through the use of stand-up comedy and video sketches, the show allows audiences a glimpse inside Trav’s head for an hour—giving them the chance to possibly see something to which they can relate.
“I am not embellishing when I say that this year was one of the most difficult of my life,” Trav admitted. “This show is about me trying to achieve a goal and the many barriers I faced in trying to accomplish that goal.”
In addition to Trav herself, The Way I Remember It will also feature fellow comedians and sketch performers Jolie Darrow, Sean Sullivan, Bill Reick, and Maddie McLennon acting as various people in Trav’s life. Local comedian Erin Donohy will open the show with stand-up comedy on January 5, while comedian Michael Kelly will do the honors on the following night.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the show is the fact that singer-songwriter Bruno Mars is a character. Mars will be portrayed by local comedians Kyle Harris and Annie Paradis.
“I’ve always liked Bruno Mars, but it wasn’t until this year that I really connected with him,” Trav said. “I dance every day alone in my apartment and this show takes place at a time where his album 24K Magic was on heavy rotation for my dancing sessions. I found that album picked my mood up during some dark times. I started writing stand-up jokes about Bruno Mars helping me through dark times and it just felt like a natural progression to include him in the show.”
Trav hopes that her story helps audiences who may be suffering through similar trials. “During this time, my mom said that I needed to ‘be a better friend to myself’,” Trav said. “That advice stuck with me and really helped me endure some of these challenges and experiences. I think to achieve your goals you have to be your own ally and advocate.”
If you go:
Friday, Jan. 5 and Saturday, Jan. 6
9:00 p.m., $12
Philly Improv Theatre (PHIT)
2030 Sansom Street