Comedian Profile: Nicholas Mirra

Editors Note: In this segment, we step away from the stage and take a look at comedians in the Philadelphia area… Learn a little more about where they come from, what they do while not performing and of course the question we all ask ourselves… Why do we do it?


Might have seen him in: Leo Callahan

Hangs his hat in: West Philly

Stomping Grounds: Tacoma, WA

Pays the Bills as: Non-profit Fundraiser

Other Hobbies: ultimate frisbee, creative writing

Why Improv?

My introduction to improv was in college as a fall-back plan upon not being accepted into a campus sketch comedy group.  Improv comedy was fun, creative, collaborative, and a good way to meet people.  When UCB’s “Dillinger” performed at Haverford, my eyes were opened.  I think I laughed harder at their show than I had ever laughed at a movie, play or sketch.  What’s more, I was deeply impressed.  Their show made me realize improv’s sophistication, complexity, and capacity for deeply satisfying humor.

I have been doing longform improv for about seven years now.  Obviously, getting on stage and putting on a great show is a wonderful feeling.  I keeping doing it, though, because I still find improv deeply challenging and frustrating.  To me improv is a very intellectual activity, and one I enjoy thinking and talking about with my friends.  There are so many ways of approaching a scene and a show, and so many very smart people who have tried to articulate the essence of the cooperation that makes improv successful.  Improv can be frustrating to perform, because you never know how a show will go, and so much of the difficulty is hidden behind the curtain, so to speak.  An audience, particularly one not familiar with improv, may not realize all that’s going into the performance.  But when it works, oh boy, it’s a wonderful thing to watch and be a part of.

If you know someone who you think should be profiled, we’d love to hear about them.


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