Laugh a Minute: Steel City Improv Theater

Steel City Improv Theater is the only space in the ‘Burgh devoted full-time to teaching and performing Improv comedy.

A while back, I was working on a story that looked into the comparative lack of an improv comedy scene in Pittsburgh. If New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., all have full-time theaters dedicated to Improv Comedy, I wondered, why didn’t Pittsburgh?

Then one of the dedicated improvisers I was chatting with clarified that there was just such a place, it just wasn’t quite open yet.

So, that answered that question.

Founded this year by NYC improv vets Kasey Daley and Justin Zell, Steel City Improv Theater is the only space in the ‘Burgh devoted full-time to teaching and performing Improv comedy. Hidden on the far end of the North Side, the new space is just right for intimate, energetic performances—and there are plenty to go around.

Two house teams (groups of improvisers that work together regularly, based at SCIT) perform every week on the aptly named Totally Free Mondays event, and Saturdays and most Fridays are stocked with shows.

This Saturday boasts a trio of shows that’ll serve as a fine introduction to the uninitiated. Things kick off at 6:30 p.m. with a free-for all “Social” open to any improviser, professional or amateur—arrive at 6 to sign up or 6:30 to watch, and its free either way.

I’m most interested in what they’re calling Impression-Prov, at 8 p.m. They give little detail, but claim the show will revolve around simultaneous impressions—a total of five performers all doing Christopher Walken, or Mel Gibson, or what-have-you. I’ve seen similar shows elsewhere, and they’re usually uproarious. If you’re unaware of the power of unscripted comedy, this will be a perfect introduction.

And while you’re there, stick around for Post-Crisis, the regular Saturday night show featuring some of Pittsburgh’s best-known improvisers. This is a long-form show (not the short, game-focused improv you may have seen on Who’s Line is it Anyway, but more theatrical improvisation), and these performers seriously know what they’re doing.

And if, somehow, you just haven’t had enough offbeat comedy Saturday night (or, I suppose, if you ignore my above recommendations), you could certainly check out John McIntire’s Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show at the Cabaret Theater. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a member of John’s bizarre panel discussion show many times, but I’m not on this one, so I can in good conscience encourage you to attend.

After sets of stand-up by McIntire and the acclaimed Gab Bonesso, John will bring up a trio of guests to launch into a round-table discussion, somewhat similar to the format of John’s former gig as a TV and radio host. This time around, he’ll be joined by Councilman Bill Peduto, P-G advice columnist Cat Specter and nationally syndicated cartoonist Rob Rogers. They’ll be chatting about all the current signs of the apocalypse, like the tsunami, Pittsburgh’s much You-Tube’d tornado, and Charlie Sheen on tour.

McIntire’s show makes perfect use of the Cabaret Theater—get there early and order a cocktail, won’t ya? (808 B Tripoli St., Deuschtown. Info: 412/322-1000, steelcityimprov.com)
 

The 412

Love Cheetahs? Get to the Zoo

Love Cheetahs? Get to the Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is home to four cheetahs who particularly like to move around in the morning.
All That You Need to Know about the Pirates’ Wild Card Game

All That You Need to Know about the Pirates’ Wild Card Game

Think you’re ready for Wednesday? You will be after reading our rundown on the matchup.
Does Pittsburgh Have the Nation’s Best Riverfront?

Does Pittsburgh Have the Nation’s Best Riverfront?

Then help the Steel City to earn that title by voting in an online poll.
Watch: The Cooking Channel Goes Inside Pittsburgh Kitchens

Watch: The Cooking Channel Goes Inside Pittsburgh Kitchens

Several restaurants along Penn Avenue will be featured in tonight’s episode of “Chuck’s Eat the Street.”

Hot Reads

Made in Pittsburgh

Made in Pittsburgh

The city of steel always has been known for its industry – what we make. Today, that defining characteristic expands beyond manufacturing into every aspect of modern life.
Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Comic-book artist Ed Piskor continues to win critical acclaim and international fame with his “Hip Hop Family Tree” series of graphic novels.
Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Love Cheetahs? Get to the Zoo

Love Cheetahs? Get to the Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is home to four cheetahs who particularly like to move around in the morning.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Food trucks. Pizza boats. Bagel Clubs. The best on-the-run food in town.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

Given recent developments, our resident fan of Pittsburgh — and football — says enough is enough.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments


Ask a Foodie: Is Cereal Really the Breakfast of Champions?

Ask a Foodie: Is Cereal Really the Breakfast of Champions?

Short answer: No. But we’ve put together a list so that you may change that.

Comments


Bar Exam: Wheelhouse at Rivers Casino

Bar Exam: Wheelhouse at Rivers Casino

The casino's popular sports bar gets a long-overdue review.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Find Your Flair

Find Your Flair

Hit the fall chill head on with style.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
This Just In: Crested Duck Available Across the Country

This Just In: Crested Duck Available Across the Country

For a limited time, genius chef Kevin Costa will share his cured meats with the rest of the nation.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

This weekend, the PBT presents its annual production at Hartwood Acres under the night sky.

Comments