Some of our teachers are also available for private coaching.
Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

Kimberly Alu

Kimberly Alu

Fundamentals of a Form, Approach to Dramatic Improv, Start an Indie Improv Team, 1:1 Coaching

Kimberly Alu has been an actor and improviser for the better part of 10 years. Her credits include roles in “New Girl” and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, as well as extensive off Broadway credits including performances at The Duke on 42nd Street. Currently, you can catch Kim live with her musical improv house team YETÏ every Wednesday at the PIT Striker Stage AT 6PM or with her sketch house team Kennedy’s Mistress (see website for next performance). Keep up with Kimberly by checking her website AluWho.com or by following her on Instagram at @alu_who

Kim is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

 

 

 

Emily Asaro

Emily Asaro

Artistic Team

Character Class, Intro to Self-Producing, 1:1 Coaching

Emily is a New York native who can be seen killing it in the comedy scene. Born and raised in Eastchester, Westchester, Emily quickly found an interest in entertainment and dolls. Check out the other things Emily can do at www.emilyasaro.com. You can also Google her. She likes that.

Emily is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

 

Sunny Atwal

Sunny Atwal

Joy of Improv, Intro to Public Speaking

Sunny Atwal has over a decade’s worth of public speaking experience. He is a former State Champion in poetry. He has written, acted, and produced several shows for the Indy Fringe festival as well as his own 45 minute Solo Show, Taxi Cab Driver, at SOLOCOM 2019. Sunny has also hosted for the Indy Visitor’s Channel which played throughout Indianapolis hotels explaining tourist attractions.  Additionally, he produces an all South Asian casted Improv Comedy show for The People’s Improv theater.

Anoo Tree Brod

Anoo Tree Brod

Let’s Get Serious: Experienced Improvisers Only

Anoo Tree Brod is an award winning actress and speaker, performing improv professionally for the past 20 years with Transactors Improv Company, the longest running improv company in the Southeast. She is a founding member of  Danny Canoe, and also performs with various other improv companies in the Triangle, as well as producing and directing. In addition to performing on stage and in film, she teaches improv in various locations throughout the U.S. to corporations, organizations and individuals who want to enhance leadership and communication skills in creative and unique ways. She recently became an adjunct Professor at UNC’s Kenan Flagler School of Business teaching Applied Improv to Masters of Accounting (MAC) students. She loves spreading the joy of improv far and wide!

Jordan Carlos

Jordan Carlos

Writing Cable/Streaming Comedy Spec Script Intensive

Stand up comedian and Texas native, Jordan Carlos, has written and performed for “The Nightly  Show With Larry Wilmore” (Comedy Central), “Divorce” (HBO), and “First Wives Club” (BET). He also appears on the current season of Black Mirror (Netflix). In addition, Jordan co-hosts the hit podcast “Adulting” on WNYC with Michelle Buteau. Other notable writing credits include “The White House Correspondents Dinner” (2016) as well as “The Not The White House Correspondents Dinner” with Samantha Bee (2017).
 
Christi Chiello

Christi Chiello

Womxn’s Stand Up Workshop

Christi Chiello is a comedian based in NYC. She made her television debut on Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle, opposite legend Jimmy Carr. She was named a “New Face of Comedy” at the International Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and has appeared on Rachel Dratch’s Late Night Snack, Comedy Knockout & IFC’s Comedy Crib. Christi wrote and stars in her acclaimed one woman show It’s Christi, B*tch! which had sold out showings at Joe’s Pub and Ars Nova, was featured in the New York Times and hailed a “must see comedy event” by Time Out New York. Currently, Christi stars in Chris Gethard Presents on Manhattan Neighborhood Network. You can hear her as Baby Saffron on the PBS Kid’s show Pinkalicious and Peterrific and see her in national television commercials for IKEA. She hosts her own show Christi Chiello’s Lost and Found at The Stand & is the warm-up comic for The XChange Rate on Yahoo! Christi is the opening act for Nicole Byer at clubs and theatres all over the country and you can see her in the upcoming season of This Joka starring Will Smith on Quibi. Fore more information you can visit christichiello.com or follow her @christichiello!

Christi teaches annual intensive workshops at Muhlenberg College and Arts Quest in PA. She is the founder of “Finding Your Voice” at QED and has sold out private & group classes on ZOOM. In 2018 Christi was a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College and taught the entire Spring Semester of Stand Up Comedy 101. She is excited to bring her teaching styles to the PIT!

Ali Reza Farahnakian

Ali Reza Farahnakian

Founder of The Peoples Improv Theater

Auditioning for an SNL-Type Show, Writing an SNL-Style Sketch Packet

Ali Reza Farahnakian was born in Esfahan, Iran in the fall of ‘68. He came to America in the summer of ‘69. He is an immigrant. He is not eligible to seek the office of the presidency in America and is therefore a second class citizen in this country. Maybe that’s why he got into “comedy”. His teachers include Michael McCarthy, Charna Halpern, Del Close, Maryanne Thebus and Wynn Handman. He is an alumnus of ImprovOlympic, The Second City Chicago and SNL. He was a founding member of UCB and The PIT. He has acted at The Steppenwolf, BAM, and Playwrights Horizon. He has been in numerous TV shows, commercials, films and voiceovers. He has been doing this work for over three decades because he loves it and because it doesn’t seem like work. We started The PIT in 2002 in New York City.

You can check out his website at www.AliRezaFarahnakian.com.

Spread the Word !

Chris Griggs

Chris Griggs

Improv Level 3, Adv. Improv: The Monoscene, Intro to Stand Up

Chris was a regular host for TV Land’s “Prime Movies” and has made appearances on NBC’s “Blacklist”, Bravo, IFC, E Television, Hulu, Netflix, Starz and The Discovery Channel.  He also was selected to represent New York on the TV show “World Cup Comedy” produced by Kelsey Grammar.

Chris has been featured in the feature films “The Co-Exist Comedy tour,” “Twenty Million People” “The Best Man” and “Generation Iron 2”.

He’s a regular standup around New York and you can catch him on Saturday nights at 8pm with the Pit’s longest running house team The Baldwins.

 

Listen below to hear more about Chris’ teaching style and improv philosophy, and learn more about The PIT in his discussion with PIT Founder Ali Farahnakian.

LaGina Hill

LaGina Hill

Sketch Writing Level 1, Your One Man Band- A Character Class

LaGina Hill is a writer, comedian, and director based in Brooklyn, New York.  She attended NYU, receiving a BFA in Theater. As a performer, she is an alum of Characters Welcome at UCB, an honor that has earned her invitations to Austin Sketchfest, the Women In Comedy Festival, SOLOCOM, and NYC Sketchfest. As a comedy writer, her work has appeared at Funny Or Die, The Root, FUSION TV, Horizon Theater (Atlanta), The Future Is Female Festival, and the People’s Improv Theater. Since 2015, LaGina has directed Super Sketch Tuesday, the house sketch program at The Peoples Improv Theater. Last year, she was named The Peoples Improv Theater’s “Best Director.” In 2019, her pitch for her pilot “Wonderland” won top honors at the Women in Comedy Festival and merited a mentorship from HBO and industry exposure at TruTV, NBC, CBS, Pearl Street Films. Currently, the pilot script for “Wonderland” is a semifinalist for the 2020 Cinestory Fellowship. In her spare time, she volunteers with Young Storytellers, an after school writing program, and tries to get into as much trouble as possible.

Tom Kalnas

Tom Kalnas

Premiere Pro Drop-In, Live Producer Bootcamp

Tom specializes in workplace gossip. His qualifications include: 1 high school diploma, 2 bachelors degrees (William & Mary), 3 years in Manhattan, 4 years of improv, 5 toes on each foot, 6 former restaurant jobs, and 7 samurai. He loves theater marketing & producing indie comedy. He loves theater & theatre. He’s from Pittsburgh. @tomkalnasty

Patrick McCartney

Patrick McCartney

Joy of Improv, Improv Level 2, Sober-Prov, Acting for Camera, How to Solo Show, 1:1 Coaching

Patrick McCartney is an actor and Improviser. He got his start in Chicago in the late 1990’s where he studied with Del Close and Mick Napier. He spent two years in Chicago’s Second City Touring Company Blue Co where he toured the country with Ali Farahnakian, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. His love of the theater kept him working steadily in plays outside of the world of improv. He was a member of Chicago’s Center Theater Ensemble and did plays at Stage Left, Steppenwolf and The Bailiwick. He moved to LA briefly where he studied with Ivana Chubbuck. In NYC he became a regular at ASSSSCAT and a teacher at the first UCB space. He was a member of Shira Piven’s Water Ensemble where he starred in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Pilgrims” at the Tribeca Playhouse. He was an original member of the improv groups “Centralia” and “Beer. Shark. Mice.” He’s done television and film including Elf, “Conan O’Brien”, “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy” and “Law and Order”. He has recently returned to the world of improv and has been teaching at the PIT. Patrick is a member of Centralia who perform Saturday nights at the PIT Loft. Patrick’s solo show about addiction and recovery Sinister Kid is currently playing at The PIT loft on Friday nights.

Stay updated on all things Patrick at www.patmccartney.com

Patrick is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

Matt Prigge

Matt Prigge

Artistic Team

Joy of Sketch, Sketch Writing Level 1 & 2, Intro to Self-Producing, 1:1 Coaching

Matt is a director, producer, performer, writer, and proud member of the PIT community. Matt is the supervising producer of Group Kid, a comedy collective producing balls-to-the-wall, immersive, themed sketch shows bimonthly at the PIT.

Matt is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

Will Purpura

Will Purpura

Artistic Team

Polishing Your Jokes, Intro to Self-Producing, 1:1 Coaching

Will Purpura is a comedian, writer, and actor based in New York City.  He studied dramatic writing at New York University receiving a BFA and has since written award-winning plays and screenplays. He served as Artistic Director at the PIT Chapel Hill where he also taught, produced, and performed stand up, improv and sketch comedy. Will has performed stand-up in the Westside Comedy Festival (LA) the North Carolina Comedy Festival (Greensboro), and Devil Cup Comedy Festival (NY). He was a finalist in both the 2019 NC’s Funniest Competition and the 2020 Ultimate Comic Challenge in North Carolina. He is currently part of the Artistic Team at the PIT in New York.

Will is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

Kihresha Redmond

Kihresha Redmond

Joy of Improv, Let’s Get Physical

Kihresha is an improviser and actor who hails from Cleveland. She has performed and studied at Florida Studio Theatre with FST Improv. She is currently performing with the indie team Last Team on the Left.
On stage Kihresha has recently performed new works with Tantrum Theater and Shakespeare in bars with Backroom Shakes here in NYC. Last but not least she is an occasional poet, amateur ukulele player, and an Adam Sandler enthusiast. To learn more and see what she up to next you can check out her Instagram @redefinedby_k
Roy Rodriguez

Roy Rodriguez

Remote Level 1 for Educators IMPROV(e) Your ClassZOOM!

Roy Rodriguez is a veteran K-12 Theatre Teacher and Director based in College Station, Texas. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Texas A&M University. As a 5th grader,  Roy’s childhood friends told him that he wasn’t funny enough for theatre class. Since then, Roy has made it his life’s mission to prove them wrong. As a teacher, director and performer, Roy has found unique ways to reach his audiences and students- from his world famous improv Friday lessons to his charity improv shows. Roy sees his work in theatre as a way to give back to his high school theatre teacher, Charlotte Brown, who always believed in him. Roy has worked closely with Dana Shulman as a contributor/host on Socially Distant Improv and is a graduate of her remote level 1 improv course from The PIT. Roy has been trained in theatre curriculum and directing from iTheatrics (Level 2 Educator), Broadway Teachers Workshop and the Texas Educational Theatre Association. He serves as a Board Member of Navasota Theatre Alliance and as an official One Act Play Adjudicator for the State of Texas.

Mandy Schmieder

Mandy Schmieder

Connect to Your Co-workers

Mandy Schmieder is an actress, comedy writer, and improviser. She earned an M.F.A in Acting from UC-Irvine and has been performing regionally and in NYC for the past 8 years. Before her foray into improv, she portrayed such roles as Lady MacBeth, Medea, Helen Jones in Machinal, and other women who are killed or kill themselves. Comedy was the next logical step. She’s been performing improv weekly on a P.I.T. house team for over 5 years and currently performs with teams, Local 154, Sid Viscous!, Lucy, and Local News. She has taught improv, beginning acting, and coaches independent improv teams. She most recently wrote & starred in her first solo show which premiered in NYC & the Piccolo Fringe Festival in Chas., S.C. For additional film, theater, & commercial credits, please visit mandyschmieder.com.

Dana Shulman

Dana Shulman

Improv Level 1, Remote Level 1 for Educators IMPROV(e) Your ClassZOOM!, 1:1 Coaching

Dana is a performer, teacher, coach, and ridiculous distance runner. She is originally from Framingham, Massachusetts and is currently in a long term relationship with Washington Heights. Dana performs weekly with her improv loves Student Driver at one of The PIT’s longest running shows Indie Road on Sundays at 7PM in The Underground. Student Driver also celebrates indie improv by hosting The Indie-pendence Day Festival every year on The Fourth of July. You can see what happens when comedy and marathon running collide at her Instagram @followthatfannypack or you can check out her performance schedule on her website. www.danashulman.com

Dana is also available for private 1:1 coaching! Please email classes@thepit-nyc.com for more info!

Taren Sterry

Taren Sterry

Small Group Life Coaching

Taren Sterry is a proud Pitizen and has been teaching and performing at the PIT for over 15 years. She loves helping adults work through their fears both on the stage and in life. Taren teaches Level 0 and Improv Your Public Speaking, she performed with the now infamous improv groups Fancy Dragon and Tomahawk.

Joe Whelski

Joe Whelski

Write Your Own Screenplay, Script Analysis, Directing Workshop, Film School in a Night, From Actor to Director

Joe Whelski is an award winning NYC Director, Writer, Producer, Instructor & SAG-AFTRA and Equity Actor. His feature indie comedy “Yellow Scare” (director and co-producer), won best “Best Comedy” at the Golden Door International Film Festival (NJ), and his darkly comedic web series “Mystery Mansion” (director and co-producer), won “Best TV Pilot” at the Hoboken International Film Festival. His original work has been featured on Funny or Die and the UK’s number one Star Wars fan site, JediNews. Joe directed the national commercial campaign for Unpakt.com, and created international commercials for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Born Free USA, and DAVSS (featuring ‘Doctor Who’ number 4, Tom Baker). His latest national commercial for the Duke Lemur Center features the VO of John Cleese. Joe is a founding member and creative director for the Magnet Theater Video Lab. As an actor, Joe has played various characters on ABC’s “One Life to Live”, appeared on “SNL”, and has starred in over 30 stage productions in NYC, NJ & PA. He’s had the privilege of working for legendary directors Ridley Scott, Sydney Pollack, Anne Bogart, and David Hugh Jones. He is an alumni of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The New School, The School for Film and Television, and earned his BFA in Communication Design from Kutztown University in PA (while also studying design at Buckinghamshire College, England).