Tim Butterly: A priest, a Rabbi and a Local Comedian Walk Into a Bar…
You may know him from Comedy Central’s Delco Proper, a new web series about three blue-collar friends struggling to avoid trouble while trying to make a name for themselves, but comedian Tim Butterly is in fact from the Riverwards.
Born and bred in Harrowgate, Butterly came from a very large Irish Catholic family. As children, in an effort to combat the reality of their less-than-lavish lifestyles, Butterly and his friends liked to pass the time by engaging in good-natured ribbing and ferocious battles of wit. This is when his sense of humor really started to blossom.
Butterly attended St. Joan of Arc Elementary School and graduated from Northeast High School after having been accepted into a magnet program for gifted students. He would rather have gone to North Catholic — the neighborhood parochial school all his friends attended — but was instead forced to take two buses every day to Northeast.
“In high school I was constantly acting out, probably in response to feeling so isolated from everyone I knew,” Butterly said. At one point he and several of his classmates created a website on which poked fun at their peers, in a sense, roasting them online.
He has now been working as an IT employee for the past 10 years. He despises his job and is not at all ashamed to admit it. “Every day you show up, and [there are] new problems,” he said. “You never feel like you finished your job.”
Butterly likes to counter his customers’ unsavory attitudes with a dash of friendly comedy to ease any tension. “Getting a laugh out of someone like that goes a long way toward making your own day easier,” he said. “Humor is the ultimate defense mechanism.”
He also has worked as a tour guide for Philadelphia Brewing Company, a side gig he much more thoroughly enjoyed.
Though quite the traveling enthusiast, Butterly is without question a homebody and is not at all interested in permanent relocation. “Sometimes I worry that if I moved somewhere that was different, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night,” he said.
He married a friend from high school with whom he reconnected several years after graduation. The couple has two kids: an eight-year-old daughter named Lucy and a five-year-old son named Ben. Both children are currently enrolled in Northwood Academy Charter School.
Butterly, though always a fan of comedy, admitted he never would have attempted stand-up had his wife not repeatedly urged him to do so. “If I hadn’t gotten married and had kids, I never would have tried it,” he said.
He first performed at a bar called NoChe in Center City by Rittenhouse Square. He was understandably nervous the first handful of times. “I used to pace back and forth hours before I would even leave to go do stand-up,” he said.
His style was introspective and opinionatedly observational. He attempted to steer clear of more traditional, garden-variety approaches to comedy. Butterly was influenced a great deal by local, lesser-known comedians as opposed to those of more widespread renown.
When he first began, Butterly was performing roughly four nights a week. He kept at it for five straight years, honing his craft and perfecting his routine. With the passage of time, he began to perform less and less; it has now been more than six months since his last show. “Maybe I could like it again someday,” he said, “but right now I just don’t enjoy doing stand-up.”
Though his stand-up career has been placed temporarily on the back burner, his comedic muscles are still very much being flexed.
Butterly, along with fellow comedians Tommy Pope and John McKeever, launched a web series entitled Delco Proper whose pilot episode was picked up by Comedy Central. They have since been asked to make three more shows, and if all goes well, Delco Proper will eventually earn itself a regular spot on cable television. Butterly co-stars in and co-writes the show. He admitted, though, to being more a man of ideas.
“I think in my ideal situation, I would just sit in a room and someone else would be sitting in there with a typewriter, I would just throw ideas out and they would organize them into something that could work,” he said. “I’ve found people that that works well with. Hopefully, that’s the key to success for me and my buddies.”
If Delco Proper continues to grow and develop, Butterly will unflinchingly, summarily and joyfully quit his IT job without so much as a moment’s hesitation. “I’m going to write my resignation letter on a football and spike it into my boss’s office from a helicopter outside of the building,” he declared.
In addition to his web series, Butterly serves regularly as a panelist for local theater groups such as Good Good Comedy.