NYC: People's Improv Theater to close main space

I was a big fan of the PIT, and visited often with my friend Rob.


Another staple of the New York comedy scene has fallen victim to the pandemic. The Peoples Improv Theater announced in an Instagram post on February 19 that it is vacating its main location on East 24th Street — home to the Striker theater and PIT Underground — where it has been since December 2010. "It's been over 11 months that we have been shut down and eventually we have to surrender to survive," the statement from owner Ali Farahnakian read. "So we are in the process of surrendering the space." The venue originated the Off Broadway show Puffs and was one of the rare venues in the city, along with the now-shuttered Creek & the Cave, to offer free stage time to comedians.

Farahnakian runs two other venues in the city, the PIT Loft and Pioneers Bar on 29th Street, but said on Instagram that those spaces were not being surrendered yet: "The PIT LOFT and Pioneers still remain for now, but tomorrow is promised to no one during a once-in-a-century global pandemic." The news comes ten months after the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre closed its doors for good, and four months after comedy club Dangerfield's shuttered after 50 years in business, in a year that has forced comedy venues all over the city to either close or go underground.

Having once owned an improv theater in Los Angeles, I feel the pain.