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 long form improvisation. That means we get a suggestion at the top and improvise scenes, like a short play. We've also done short form improv–a series of shorter theater games–and musical improv–making up songs. And a bunch of other stuff–sketch, genre work, improv for children–we love it all!
When is the next Irony City Show?
We are honored to be the regular opener for the award-winning Dinner with the Nolens, the first Saturday of every month at Arcade Comedy Theater. We typically perform in the East End, but we have been all the way out to Moon! For more info on that or other performances, check out our performance calendar.
We perform from time to time at other shows throughout town. We've performed at Vegetarian restaurants, art galleries, theaters, and clubs and in cities from Philadelphia to Phoenix. We also occasionally put on original headline acts like Irony City's Holiday Reunion Spectacular or the Irony City 10-Year Anniversary Show.