Erin Pitts is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team codenamed Shadowfax. They make their debut this Friday night at the Shubin Theater.
How and why did you get into comedy? I came to Philadelphia for graduate school in May 2010 and told myself that I was going to take advantage of all the opportunities this city has to offer. One of my goals was to some how get back on stage, I had done theater and a little bit of improv in high school and missed it tremendously, so I signed up for a PHIT level one improv class with Kristen Schier. Her enthusiasm and welcoming attitude were mimicked in every person I met in the comedy community, so I’ve been hooked ever since.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I don’t know if I have a style, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to figure out. I often give myself little challenges to improve, for example, I think I’m awful at miming, so I would make myself mime in every scene I did to feel more comfortable doing it.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? The Shubin is the only place I’ve performed in Philadelphia; I really enjoy everything about it.
Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? I’d have to say, how smoothly my level 1 class show went. We we’re all a little nervous, I think mainly because we ended up only having 5 people left to perform with. It was a super fun show with a lot of different material and a reoccurring missing penguin (who later ended up being stuck in the bathroom) that really helped keep the show moving. It was great to see people from our class who would never be found on a stage in any other instance have a really great time in the spotlight that night.
Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? I focus on keeping my mind as open as I can to the endless possibilities that can be generated from a suggestion. And as Kristen always tells us… to never expect to do a scene, because you never know what’s going to happen when you step out.
What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? I am such a worrier that improv is so freeing for me; it allows me to not think or hesitate before I act. I love how I feel when I just let go of any rationalized thoughts and allow my body to move before I know why it’s moving. And let’s be honest… when people laugh at something you do, that’s pretty cool.
Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? I love watching so many different people for so many different reasons! …I guess I’ll just answer this with some of my favorite shows to see.. The Amie and Kristen/Kristen and Amie Show, Jessica Tandy, Asteroid, Suggestical and Hate Speech Committee.
Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? I was in the premiere of The Gross Show… I think we all know what happened that night…during the segment I was in…
What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? Exactly what it’s doing right now, which is generating new, enthusiastic performers through classes, workshops, festivals and the number of independent groups popping up. I think the family-like attitude of the community makes it an enticing one to be apart of, I don’t know for sure, but I feel like a lot of other cities don’t have what we have, and that’s a who lot of love and respect for another.
Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I’d like to be sillier and smarter. I really want people to enjoy watching me perform, to feel at ease knowing they’re going to have a good time no matter what is thrown at me.