As an alumnus of Chicago comedy troupe Mission Improvable, Ryan Kiessling brought the Chicago style of long form improv to Pittsburgh through a series of improv workshops in the summer of 2006. At downtown Pittsburgh's Future Tenant, Ryan molded performers from across the city, building upon their shared experiences. Within a few weeks, members of the workshops represented virtually every troupe in the area.
In time, the focus of the workshops shifted from learning and teaching long form improv and began directing towards performance. With this new goal, the revolving door policy of the workshops had to change. The demands of a regular performance schedule required a dedicated group of performers who were able to regularly rehearse. Six performers emerged to create what would become Hustlebot; they were David Fedor, Drew Ludwig, Christine Nangle, Larry Phillis, Anne Marie Sweeney, and Joe Wichryk II.
(l to r: Fedor, Sweeney, Wichryk, Nangle, Ludwig, Phillis, ladder, Kiessling.)
Under the guidance of Ryan, these performers trained in the longform style, and Hustlebot marched forward as the main attraction of Future Tenant's EVICTED series. Performing alongside other local talents, Hustlebot anchored the bi-weekly showcase, created by Kiessling and Abby Fudor. It was at these shows that Hustlebot garnered attention, earned its stripes, and proved themselves to be Pittsburgh's best comedy troupe.
It was early 2007 that saw a few changes in the Hustlebot lineup. Drew exited the team, relocating to Buffalo for an exciting job opportunity. It was at his farewell party that Hustlebot's official toast was coined, "To Drew!" a toast that is still employed to this day. Actor and improviser John Feightner became the newest member of the team shortly thereafter. One month later, in May of '07, Christine left the troupe to further pursue comedy in New York City. Hustlebot's founding father, Ryan Kiessling, ended his run as director of the troupe in the summer of '07, focusing his energy towards family and planning for his eventual move away from Pittsburgh. To ease the transition away from having an external director, Hustlebot hired professor Michael Fuller as an acting coach and advisor through the end of 2007.
Hustlebot peformed at the EVICTED shows at Future Tenant until the fall of '07.
(l to r. Sweeney, Fedor, Phillis, Wichryk, Feightner)
Have a favorite Hustlebot story to share? We would love to hear stories about ourselves, especially Joe. Send us a quick email and tell us your story and you might just find yourself winning free tickets for an upcoming show!
Also, be sure to check out our bio pages to find out more personal information about your favorite members of Hustlebot.
While our height speaks for itself, Hustlebot will also boldly proclaim itself as the sexiest improv troupe in existence. There is a standing open challenge to any group of improvisers who feel they are as attractive or even as tall as we.
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