Hampton grad earns laughs as comedy finalist at Pittsburgh Improv
Wednesday night, the jokes are on Adrianna Ferraro, who will be competing in the final round of Stand Up Pittsburgh, an amateur comedy contest at the Pittsburgh Improv in Homestead on Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.
The 2010 Hampton High School alumna will get six minutes to humor the crowd against 11 competitors, one of whom will win best comedian decided by votes from audience and guest judges, said Ferraro.
Along with support from her family and friends, she really has to thank her ancestral heritage as she says her comedy is “more like a self-deprecating Italian. I talk about my family and my Italian traditions.”
Ferraro, who is studying for her doctorate in physical therapy at Chatham University, started crafting jokes as a stress outlet when studying last year. It became a sort of hobby but she doesn't “think she's funny by any means.”
The competition started in October with four nights of preliminary rounds solely based on audience votes, of which five from each night made it to the semifinals, said Ferraro. Then, those top winners competed, narrowing it down even further. The latest round of semifinals occurred on Nov. 30. Her semifinal round included seven due to a tie.
Now the remaining lot will compete for first-, second- and third-places, the top winning $300 and an opportunity to open for a professional headliner comedian, said Ferraro, 24.
The competition was created eight years ago by local and national comedian Tony T Robe Roberson who emcees the event and is also a judge.
“This is the cream of the crop,” he said of the 13 finalists. “I think they're pretty solid.”
Roberson, who is from Penn Township, said some are new and some have been doing comedy for years, but all are unpaid professionals. And he takes into account a persons experience when judging.
Ferraro did try this competition last year but didn't make it past the first round as she said her material wasn't relatable enough to the audience. This year she said she has jokes that anyone can get, hopefully.
“This year I know more what to expect,” said Ferraro, who now lives in Shadyside.
She's a little superstitious as she only practices in front of three people, not including her mom, whom she said will be a little bias and say every joke is funny.
Ferraro, whose favorite comedians are Jimmy Fallon and Sebastian Maniscalco, said as far as pursuing professional comedy, she wouldn't rule it out while she's working on her doctorate if given the opportunity.
Tickets cost $10 and the event is for ages 21 and older.
As to whether it's hard to stand up in front of a crowd to make them laugh with only a strict six-minute window, Ferraro said she's comforted knowing her family and friends are there to get her jokes at least.
“My grandma's here and she'll laugh at anything,” Ferraro said.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.