FAQ

Here are some questions people tend to ask us.  Have one of your own?  Ask away!

Where did the name Irony City come from?

While auditioning, we went by the name Currently Unnamed Improv Troupe.  That didn't have a good ring to it, so we decided to brainstorm some others.  We really wanted something that represented our Pittsburgh pride, so while we loved names like Iguanatron, Chubby Chess, and The Linking Wizards, they were thrown out the window.  We considered names like The Advantage Card Scanners, Improv'n Park, and Roberto Clemente, but none really moved us the way that Irony City did.

Where did you all meet?

The troupe was founded in 2006 when the co-founders, Scott Dai and Brian Gray decided to venture into unknown territory and start an improv troupe in Pittsburgh.  They held auditions, inviting some people they knew from their college days, posting ads online, and letting word of mouth spread.  Many came, and the first seven person cast of the group rehearsed for about 6 months.  Sadly, at that time, Scott had to leave Pittsburgh for a new job and a new West Coast lifestyle.  Some other departures, another round of auditions, and the fantastic mix of individuals you know as Irony City emerged triumphantly.

What is improv?  Do you really make it all up?  Is it just like stand-up?

Improv is improvisational theatre—a kind of theater in which the players on stage create all of the plots, characters, dialog, stage directions, music, etc. spontaneously live in front of an audience. When you see an improv show, everything you see is made up on stage while you watch. Often the troupe will have worked on the games they play, the form they are presenting, or the basic scenework principles they use to work together to create theatre in the moment, but the moments you are watching are being created out of the minds of 2 (or more!) people at once while you sit and laugh.  How exciting!

This is a bit different from stand-up, in which a comedian (in many cases, just one comedian alone on stage) has prepared some material ahead of time and delivers that material to the audience. Both tend to be funny (hopefully!), but the content is often quite different.

What kind of comedy/improv does Irony City do?

We don't really have a particular style of comedy.  We make it all up, so we never really know how it's going to end up.

As far as improv goes, the troupe performs mostly short form improvisation.  At any given show, we'll perform a series of short games, each lasting a few minutes.  For each game, we will get a suggestion or a number of suggestions from the audience to inspire the improvisation, and the game will add some constraints to our work that will further inspire our creativity.  At many of our shows, we also perform some long form improvisation.  These are longer, more theatrical pieces in which one audience suggestion is explored for 20 or 30 minutes through a series of scenes, stories, songs, and more.  In either case, we hope to examine everyday ideas in fun and interesting ways. 

Where does the troupe perform?

We have done shows at Vegetarian restaurants, art galleries, theaters, and clubs.  We typically perform in the East End, but we have been all the way out to Moon!  We have a regular gig (The Serious Comedy Show) the last Saturday of every month that we highly recommend.  For more info on that or other performances, check out our performance calendar

Have a suggestion?  Want to bring us to your venue? Let us know!