Peoples Improv Theater

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The Peoples Improv Theater
PIT 123 E24 jeh.jpg
The PIT's Flatiron location, housing the Striker and Underground stages.
TypeTheatre group
PurposeImprovisational comedy, sketch comedy, stand-up comedy, theater, and variety shows
Artistic director(s)
Ali Farahnakian
Notable members

The Peoples Improv Theater (PIT), also known as the PIT, was a comedy theater and training center in New York City, founded by comedian Ali Farahnakian in 2002.[1] Shows combined improvisational comedy, sketch comedy, stand-up, theater, and variety. Each show was hosted by a combination of "house teams" of comedians hired by PIT and by outside comedians.[2]

The PIT consisted of three venues: Striker, Underground, and the Loft, located in the Chelsea and Flatiron neighborhoods of Manhattan.

Notable alumni of the PIT include The Office actress Ellie Kemper,[NB 1][3][4] comedian and voice actress Kristen Schaal,[NB 1][5][6] and comedian and actor Hannibal Buress.[7]


The Peoples Improv Theater's Loft location was founded by Ali Farahnakian and Armando Diaz in 2002. The PIT moved its headquarters to 123 East 24th Street, New York on December 31, 2010. From September 1, 2015, the original location of the PIT became known as The Pit Loft and officially became the third venue of the PIT.

Wednesdays were designated as "Super Free Wednesday" in the Striker location, with free shows offered to the public. Musical improv troupe Vern performed weekly since 2014.[8][9]

In 2018, Farahnakian opened The PIT Chapel Hill in his home state, at 462 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.[1]

In February 2021, the PIT announced the closure of its Flatiron location, leaving only the Loft open in Manhattan.[10] In February 2021, PIT closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11]

The PIT also published comedy sketches to a collective YouTube channel named PITtv.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b house improv team: Big Black Car


  1. ^ a b Fernelius, Katie Jane (29 November 2017). "The PIT Wants to Fill the Disgraced DSI Comedy Theater's Void. But Will It Just Replicate the Same Toxic Culture?". INDY Week.
  2. ^ "SKETCH HOUSE TEAMS". Peoples Improv Theater.
  3. ^ "Scott & Ellie".
  4. ^ "Ellie Kemper". The PIT. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Kharakh, Ben. "Kristen Schaal, Comedian and Actress". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 2018-02-25. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  6. ^ "Kristen Schaal". The PIT. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  7. ^ Hoare, Peter. "Meet the Most Sought-After Man in Comedy Right Now: Hannibal Buress". Complex. Complex.
  8. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Magnet Theater Announces Lineup For 10th Annual New York Musical Improv Festival". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  9. ^ Desk, BWW News. "TRUDY CARMICHAEL PRESENTS: THE IMPROVISED ONE-WOMAN HERSTORY! to make a daring Premiere at The NY International Fringe Festival".
  10. ^ Clark, Anne Victoria (February 19, 2021). "The Peoples Improv Theater Is Closing Its Main Space". Vulture. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  11. ^ "30 iconic NYC institutions that have now permanently closed". Time Out. Retrieved 22 April 2021.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°44′26″N 73°59′05″W / 40.74052°N 73.98474°W / 40.74052; -73.98474