I was born in Lakewood New Jersey and moved to NYC after I graduated from college to attend drama school. My acting/improv/comedy role models are too numerous to list completely but my pantheon would include Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, the original casts of SCTV and SNL, The Pythons, Christopher Guest, French and Saunders and Tracey Ullman.
I got started in improv because I had taken a break from acting and was feeling kind of rusty. I wanted to do something to limber up. I decided that improv would be a perfect way to shake off the dust creatively. I began taking classes and I was pretty immediately taken with the fun, spontaneity and of course the laughter.
What I love most about performing improv is the playful collaboration between the performers and the audience. I also love how sometimes a malapropism or a mistaken identity or some other unintentional gaffe can be as funny if not funnier than something that happens intentionally.
I began performing in 2007 with Kim Schultz’s Happy Hour and became part of her house team Hi Robot. We performed at Stand-Up New York, HA! Comedy club, Ochi’s Lounge at Comix and did Test Drive at The Magnet. I am currently performing with the Hi Robot splinter team, Tri-Robot and we have performed at, The Broadway Comedy Club, The PIT, Artistic New Directions and The Wild Project.
My first improv teachers were Kim Schultz and Tom Soter. I have also taken classes with Bob Verlaque, Carl Kissin, Chris Griggs and Tom Carozza, workshops with Carol Schindler, Michael Gellman and Gary Austin and had coaching sessions with Rachel Hamilton and Dave Razowsky. I’ve learned important things from them all.
Sunday Night Improv is great fun! It is a genuine treat to perform with such talented and funny improvisers and the ever-changing mix of performers presents all kinds of opportunities to learn new things.
Improv is full of challenging and rewarding moments. There were many moments when nerves were a big challenge for me. When I first started performing, I often felt like Shelly Duvall in The Shining on stage (yeah, not good). Because improv is all about listening and keeping your mind open to what unfolds in the moment, focus is pretty essential. The more I took classes and performed and learned to focus on the immediate nerves, fortunately, became less and less of an issue. I’ve often found that the biggest challenges reap the biggest rewards. Each challenge I have faced as an improviser has taught me something valuable and has been galvanizing in some way. So, I would say my challenges have been my rewards. Sometimes the fortune cookie is right.
When I graduated from drama school I worked on a few plays and then took a break from acting. I recently had a part in the latest APAR Films project, Subliminal Mutilations. As for where exactly I want to go with this, I suppose what I’d really like to do is direct.
Regarding my worst improv experience, well even though my inclination is to make lemonade out of life’s lemons sometimes there’s just not enough sugar. Hi Robot had a performance slot in a cabaret showcase. We were the only comedy act in an evening of song. There was a large and fairly tipsy group who were there to see a friend sing. She was slated to go on after us. During our set they began to chant her name. (Who knew the cabaret types were so rambunctious?). This was bad for obvious reasons, but especially bad when you are trying to get audience suggestions and all you can hear is one person’s name. Limiting indeed. Pretty awful then but pretty funny now.
SEE PEGGY AT SNI, 236 W. 78th ST. ON AUG. 5 & AUGUST 26 AT 7 PM!