Monday, June 25, 2012

Best of the Burgh 2012 - Pittsburgh Magazine - COMEDY WINS!

Best Addition to Pittsburgh’s Comedy Universe:
Steel City Improv Theater

Baltimore, Philly, Washington, Boston, New York, Chicago, even Buffalo — plenty of neighboring cities have well-established homes for improv comedy. And until early 2011, Pittsburgh could not join them on that list; while we had talented performers, there wasn’t a go-to space hosting off-the-cuff hilarity. Fortunately, Steel City Improv Theater (SCIT) showed up to expand our horizons. In an intimate, tucked-away North Side space, SCIT presents between one and three shows every Friday and Saturday night, along with budget funny in the form of its weekly Totally Free Mondays showcase. SCIT also offers classes for improvisers-to-be. If you’ve only ever seen improv at Chicago’s Second City — or if you’ve never seen live improv before ... period — head to the North Side, where the group is ready to introduce you to some homegrown talent. — S.C.

Amazing job - Kasey Daley & Justin Zell for making Improv MAINSTREAM in the 'Burgh!

Best local comic
AARON KLEIBER
A youth minister turned funny man, Munhall-based Aaron Kleiber, who studied at the legendary Second City, has been blessed with talent and determination. His star is on the rise, with a steady stream of stand-up gigs, both local and on the road. aaronkleiber.com

Best ’Burgh-Born Viral Sensation:
“Pittsburgh Dad”

We’ve been blindsided by the whole thing,” says Chris Preksta, co-creator of “Pittsburgh Dad,” about the online sitcom’s meteoric popularity. Preksta and Curt Wootton, who stars as the Dad himself, write the script for each show and post new episodes on their YouTube channel Tuesday mornings. Each short episode truly is classic Pittsburgh; the Stillers, Klondikes — and even Sally Wiggin — receive mentions. Fans from all over the world, including those in Japan, Brazil, England and “every corner of the globe” (as Preksta says), are watching in droves — causing the duo to rack up more than five million views since October 2011. Preksta says their favorite comments come from troops stationed all over the world, who love getting a weekly taste of their beloved hometown. — J.W.
youtube.com/pittsburghdad

Best local twitter feed
@PITTSBURGH_DAD
Curt Wootton portrays Pittsburgh Dad, a character he created with friend Chris Preksta. You can catch episodes of this Web series featuring the archetypical local Everyman on YouTube, or catch Dad’s bon mots n’at on Twitter. Get aht! twitter.com/pittsburgh_dad

Best local blog
YA JAGOFF!
Feelin’ nebby? Yinz got a beef n’at? Find out who’s a jagoff, or nominate one at this sassy blog. And there’s lots more fun, quintessentially Pittsburgh stuff, too, at Ya Jagoff. Check it aaht: yajagoff.com

Best writer
GENE COLLIER
Best known by local readers for his award-winning work in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he has covered sports, politics and media criticism, Gene Collier has been in the business for 30-plus years. He’s been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, and he’s also a co-author of a one-man play, The Chief, about the life of Steelers founder Art Rooney. genecollier.com 

Gene also is a stand-up comic - opening for Billy Gardell at the Byham Theater for his DVD taping of 'Half Time' last August!

Best morning drive team
RANDY BAUMANN AND THE WDVE MORNING SHOW
Head out on the Parkway. Looking for adventure—like a pig wandering the roadway and backing up traffic. Randy Baumann and crew make the drudgery of driving to work more tolerable for WDVE Radio listeners. In the case of the perplexing porker, Baumann even composed a song, “Pig on the Parkway,” to mark the occasion. dve.com

The Morning Show team includes Pittsburgh comedian, BILL CRAWFORD! Congrats Bill! www.BillCrawfordlive.com

Best local actor
BILLY GARDELL
A hard-working 40-something actor and comic from the ’Burgh, Billy Gardell has landed roles on network TV and currently portrays Mike on CBS’s “Mike and Molly.” A Steelers fan, he also maintains hometown roots via guest appearances on the WDVE Morning Show. billygardell.com

Best children's entertainer
VENTRILOQUIST CHRIS DONAHOE
With more than 40 characters in his puppet family, Chris Donahoe has a wide range of opportunities for demonstrating his voice-throwing talents. He’s available to entertain kids (and adults) at birthday parties, science shows, scouting banquets and school assemblies. backstagepassparties.com

Chris Donahoe ALSO does adult comedy - seen at the Pittsburgh Improv. Congrats Chris!


See the rest of the results at the PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE website!

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