AJ Ortiz is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut this Friday at the Shubin Theater.
How and why did you get into comedy? I got into comedy when i was in High school, there was a company that came to high schools in NYC to teach improv to students.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I can say that i have many different styles that come from influences and factors in my everyday life. It gives me a variety of things to pull from when i’m on stage.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? Favorite show that i would love to be a part of is “In The Heights” which is on tour now. For venue, I’d have to say anywhere in the world. Im not a big broadway person, but for a musical I would do it all the way. Really any venue would be fine with me
Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I don’t have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy. I travel from NYC to Philly once or twice a week to be with my team, so I haven’t seen much comedy here to pick my favorite yet.
Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? Writing new characters all the time (which is amazing way to start writing). I do a lot of writing for my one man shows and i’m always writing new ideas and anything that comes to mind.
What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Improv has changed my life so much, I don’t know where I would have ended up without it. Not a big fan of stand-up, but I don’t mine getting in front of a mic, in which case I would pick doing a one man show over stand-up. Sketch is something I’m looking forward to doing in the future.
Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Most of my bad experiences doing comedy have come from team members not bring on the same page.
Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? My personal goals are to learn from everybody and to become a great spanish/english teacher and improv coach as I continue doing comedy.