House of Solitude is the sketch comedy duo of Daniel Corkery & Caitlin Weigel. Some might ask, where do they both find the time though? Dan writes and performs on PHIT Sketch House Team, Goat Rodeo as well as improvising with Triple Double. Caitlin improvises with two acclaimed groups, The Future and the aforementioned Triple Double, directs the PHIT Improv House Team, Outside Voices, teaches improv at PHIT and writes & performs with sketch groups, ManiPedi and Sketchier. Oh, and they have day jobs and a show this Friday night at 8:30pm with The Wire Mothers (NYC) and stand-up comedian, Jake Mattera as part of Philly Sketchfest Presents December showcase. We found a little room in their schedule this week to sit down with us to talk about their origins, if improv informs their sketch writing and some details on their upcoming show, ‘Home for the Holidays’….
Daniel Corkery – To be honest and definitely unfunny, I was very depressed and Caitlin – being the person that she is – encouraged me to start writing more sketch and that she’d work with me if I wanted her to. Then we just started going to each other with different ideas. Then we started writing together. Well, that’s a bummer that you can absolutely edit out.
Caitlin Weigel – I always thought Dan was the smartest dude in the room, and when he said he wanted to write more I jumped at the chance to write more with him. We were both in a weird sort of sad place at the same and I would send Dan his horoscope over g-chat every day. And one of the horoscopes said he was in a “house of solitude” so that became our name.
Philly Sketchfest – While not at the same time, House of Solitude performs as both an improv and sketch group. As far as ratios, how much improv do you work on as a group versus sketch?
Caitlin Weigel – Before HoS, we were (and are) both on the improv team Triple Double. We still do improv sometimes as House of Solitude, because we just really like playing together in any capacity, but we definitely lean towards the sketch side.
Daniel Corkery – I think we consider ourselves a sketch group first. One of us will have a idea, or we’ll both have a few ideas, then it’s just a matter of making the thing in the other person’s head a reality either on video or on stage.
Philly Sketchfest – You’re both experienced improvisers and performers. Do sketches come out of your improvs?
Daniel Corkery – Damn. Come to think of it, not a lot of my own premises come from improv. But improv has definitely helped improve my sketch-writing.
Caitlin Weigel – While I don’t think many of the sketches we write come directly from improv, I think it’s important for me to always be doing both. Improv sometimes feels like fuel for the sketch automobile – sketch takes so long to put up and is so much more time intensive, whereas improv shows have this immediate, wonderful pay-off. I think it keeps your brain sharp and your spirit light and helps to motivate me when I’m feeling sluggish about the for-e-ver process of putting up a sketch show
Daniel Corkery – I have to be careful when I write in public. I catch myself mouthing words or gesturing as characters when I write. I have not made any new friends by doing that.
Philly Sketchfest – So what brought each of you to sketch comedy?
Caitlin Weigel – I’ve always been an indoor kid and I’m garbage at painting and playing instruments, so I gravitated towards writing and performing. I wrote a ton of plays in high school that were actually just very long sketches. Then in college, I got involved with the student sketch show Temple Smash and eventually started working with ManiPedi.
Daniel Corkery – I got into sketch comedy in college at the University of Delaware, writing and performing on a student TV show. I got to pitch ideas and host and produce the show. It was really great. Before that? I just liked funny stuff and trying to be funny. When I was even younger I loved all the standard sketch stuff like Kids in the Hall, Chappelle’s Show, and Saturday Night Live (in the same way everyone loves the SNL happening in their formative years, then swears it just ain’t what it used to be).
Caitlin Weigel – My biggest influences are Mighty Boosh, That Mitchell & Webb Look, the pay day rap from Community, that one Halloween Snickers commercial, Snuffbox, Welcome to Nightvale, Pete & Pete, Pushing Daisies, the “Let Us Play With Your Look” sketch from the tonight show, the moon, and the idea of angels.
Daniel Corkery – Seinfeld, South Park, and Arrested Development. If anyone ever wants to talk all day about The Simpsons I can take time off to do so.
Philly Sketchfest – What can’t you get enough of right now? Literature, Music, Food, Activities…
Daniel Corkery – Oh man, I gotta get a life. This question has made me realize I go to work, come home, and then work on goober comedy projects with my lovely goober partner.
Caitlin Weigel – I’m all about soup for lunch right now because of convenience. Buy all your soups on Monday and keep them at your desk, then you’re covered for lunch the rest of the week. Other stuff: playing dominoes, drinking shower beers, wearing my roommate’s clothes, checking Craigslist for rugs, watching Twilight Zone until it gets dark out and then switching to Muppet Christmas Carol.
Philly Sketchfest – Getting back to your current group, House of Solitude shows feature sketches that take place in a shared world. What draws you to that formatting for a show? Is it born out of a central theme for your comedy or more narrative driven?
Daniel Corkery – I think our first show (‘Together Forever’ at Plays & Players Theater) was just about relationships because we had a few sketches about that. Otherwise, the dates we booked shows dictated what we wrote toward. One was near Halloween and now one is around the holiday season.
Caitlin Weigel – I think improv trains you to always be looking for connections so we always sort of start out just writing sketches that we like or think are fun and end up figuring out ways they’re all connected.
Daniel Corkery – Also, Maggy Keegan, who has directed us in the past, and Sean Landis (Director of ‘Home for the Holidays’) are excellent and are both great at tying everything together in brilliant ways.
Philly Sketchfest – Could we go far as to say your shows are part of a shared universe too or do they all take place in separate bubble universes?
Caitlin Weigel – Oh man, I want to say that yes we are smart enough to be building a whole friggin’ multiverse but it’s not conscious. Dan will bolt up in the middle of the night one of these days and understand how the whole thing links together and have an animation about it done by the time the sun comes up.
Daniel Corkery – I’d love for us to get a multiverse going like they have with Marvel stuff. Instead of superheroes it’d be sad weirdos, but still. Multiverse, baby!
Philly Sketchfest – What world can audiences expect to be taken to in ‘Home for the Holidays’?
Daniel Corkery – The holidays are great. Family’s great. Friends are great. But they’re surrounded by this awful, stressful time traveling. This show is about the awful time. There’s nothing funny about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Unless…damn.
Caitlin Weigel – Sadtown Airport, USA. EveryoneIsAlone Terminal, Gate Don’tWeJustWantToBeUnderstood.
Philly Sketchfest – What’s the longest you ever had to wait in an airport?
Daniel Corkery – As far as airports go, the longest I’ve had to wait was probably around 6 hours, which is nothing compared to some people.
Caitlin Weigel – I was recently delayed on the tarmac for 3 hours before a 12 hour flight. Which is awful. Another time a security scanner machine thing ate my passport and no one believed me until I cried because shit gets done when adults cry. Everyone just wants to make you stop crying because it’s so uncomfortable.
Philly Sketchfest – Do you find planes a good place to get shit done or just Sudoku?
Daniel Corkery – Once I’m on the plane and we’ve taken off and I take a quick moment to grapple with the fact that I’m FLYING THROUGH THE AIR GOOD LORD I’m fine. I try to convince myself I’ll get work done, but what I really need is my music and a good book.
Caitlin Weigel – I love flying because I don’t understand it at all and it’s an excuse to watch movies without feeling like I should be multitasking. I rode my first airplane at age 8 and I’m a big fan of napping, watching movies, and knitting on planes. You’re allowed to take your needles on the plane! It’s true!
Philly Sketchfest – House of Solitude is a duo but you often bring in other comedians to perform in your material. Who are you working with on this show and in what capacity?
Caitlin Weigel – Sean Landis is our director and man, do I have a crush on his brain. He sees how everything fits together and just has an awesome vision for the whole thing on top of being one of the most lovely people walking around in the 215. Maggy Keegan is actually the human equivalent of a sparkler and she’s acting in it along with Frank “his-face-is-doing-everything-right” Farrell and Joe “who-has-the-technology-to-shrink-this-man-and-make-us-all-miniature-versions-to-carry-around-in-our-pockets-and-make-everything-funnier-and-funner-i-need-that-technology-asap” Moore.
Daniel Corkery – They’re all awesome and have made this show into something much, much better than it would have been. There are a lot of people I admire in Philly, so to be able to write with these people in mind and have them willing to put their time into this is so great.
Philly Sketchfest – We are huge fans of your ability to encapsulate characters with facial expressions. Could you take a picture of yourself making a facial expression that encapsulates the other member of your duo and may we share that with our readers?
Daniel Corkery – This face is the face Caitlin will make when she sees this picture. She is gazing upward because I’m much taller than her.
Caitlin Weigel – This is the kind of picture Dan would take of himself on my phone if I left the room.
Philly Sketchfest – What’s next for House of Solitude? Where can we see you next? What are your plans? Are you going to see Star Wars : The Force Awakens? Did you get your tickets yet? It’s going to sell out you know.
Daniel Corkery – We’re performing on the sixth annual Secret Pants holiday show, ‘Should I Sleigh Or Should I Go’ at Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, December 23rd! Come to the Sketch Hangover you’re putting up on New Year’s Day! Otherwise, we’ve got a lot of the aforementioned goober projects in the works for 2016. I’m excited.
Caitlin Weigel – We’re already booking shit deep into 2016. A web series, weirder shows that are borderline not even sketch – just really mucking around with our favorite people and doing shit that makes us laugh.
Daniel Corkery – And hell yeah I’m gonna see Star Wars bro. Pumped, bro..
You can see Caitlin & Dan as House of Solitude along with Maggy Keegan, Frank Farrell, and Joe Moore in ‘Home for the Holidays’ directed by Sean Landis this Friday night, December 18th at The Playground of the Adrienne Theater at 8:30pm with The Wire Mothers (NYC) and stand-up comedian Jake Mattera! Tickets are $10 and available online via TicketFly, Keyword – House of Solitude.