Thursday, April 11, 2013

Offstage with Sarah Shook

Sarah Shook has been all over The Second City this past year, performing as an understudy in Touring Company and holiday shows, and at UP Comedy Club in Improv Extravaganza Explosion and Four Girls (And A Guy). She's now a full-fledged member of the Touring Company, and is slated for a summer show at UP. We talked with Sarah about understudying, her love for pies and her biggest female influences.

What have you worked on with Second City, and what’s next for you?
The first things I really did for Second City were Twisty and BenchCo and then got hired to understudy the Touring Company. Understudying was awesome 'cause I got to do so many different shows and work with seasoned Second City folks as well as the up-and-comers like me. I ended up going in for two weeks once. And then a month later, I had to learn 3 different shows in one week. Understudying can be super stressful, but it's totally worth it.

You're a transplant of Maryland. How did you get into acting and improvising?
Oh man, I really had no intention of coming to Chicago. I wanted to move to New York with my best friend from home and she was the one that mentioned Chicago. I hated the idea. But I did theatre in college and I remember a girl in my class talking about Second City. And then one of my professors suggested I move here. I still wasn't convinced but the seed had been planted. I knew no one. I had never done improv and didn't even really know what Second City was. I've been here just over 3 years and I love it.

What are some of your hobbies?
Pie! I love baking pies, thinking of new recipes, reading about them. I'm a pie nerd. I used to bake a different pie every week and bring it to my conservatory class. I even have a website: I'll move onto another hobby before I start to sound too pie-thetic. And there we go...

What movies, TV shows, etc. influence your comedic style?
Oh man, I don't really know. I have movies that I love, like What About Bob and Waitress.

What other comedians inspire you?
Oh geez, so many! Growing up I watched I Love Lucy like it was my job. I was a huge Nick at Nite nerd. So I love the classics Lucille Ball, Lily Tomlin, Gilda Radner. More recently, Jet Eveleth. I remember my conservatory teacher telling me to go watch her because she plays strong female characters. I think Jet is the only person in Chicago whose bits on stage have made me cry laughing. And of course the girls I play with. My friends who are out there just gettin' it done! Punam Patel, Claire Mulaney, Blair Beeken, Lily Sullivan. Seeing those girls work hard and kill it and knowing I work with them is inspiring.

When you're not acting, improvising or writing, what are you doing?
Probably talking to my cats. Or sitting on the couch with my roommate talking about my cats. I also like french films a lot or just good movies, ones that make you feel something. I LOVE being outside too. It's getting warm out, so you know I'll be trying to hit the beach for some beach volleyball. I just got a new bike. Trying new ice cream flavors. Baking pies. I like beers too, and karaoke!

By Pamela Birchard

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