“Did you hear there’s now an app so Catholics can use their phone to go to confession? Now that’s something I’d use. ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned… see attached photos…I hope you’re near a Wi-Fi, Father, because some of these files are pretty big…’”
When Hartsdale’s Andy Pitz was in the fifth grade around 1979, he’d come home from school and listen to his father’s Rodney Dangerfield and George Carlin albums. He became obsessed with Carlin, and it was at that early age that he set his sights on standup.
“Even then, I visualized myself as Carlin,” he says. “I wanted to be him, but it was really hard growing a beard and getting drugs in the fifth grade.”
He broke into comedy through his job working the counter at a pizza shop in his college town of Cortland, New York. “I did such a good impression of one of the owners that I could fool his wife on the phone,” he says. “So before the company Christmas party that year—it was 1989—my bosses George and Tony told me I was going to entertain everyone for a bit. That was my very first time standing in front of people and trying to make them laugh.”
After 22 years in standup, Pitz, who today lives in Hartsdale with his wife of 13 years and their 8-month-old baby, has ascended to the coveted headlining position. To Pitz, the beauty of being a headliner isn’t so much the status or the pay; it’s the luxury of having the time to work on his craft.
“The most valuable thing for a comic is stage time, the sheer number of minutes you get to spend on stage. That’s where you learn about yourself, your act, and develop your voice,” Pitz says.
Pitz spends the majority of his time working corporate shows. “Doing corporate shows is entirely different than club work,” Pitz says. “Clubs have no rules about material, but a corporate gig means no profanity, no politics, no sex—you really have to be able to perform forty-five minutes to an hour squeaky clean.”
Corporate gigs are far more lucrative than club shows; Pitz can make more from just one than in a normal three-to-four-show weekend. They also offer the luxuries of working during the day, in the middle of the week, and to sober crowds.
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“Going on the road from one club to another all the time is really a grueling grind,” he says.
Pitz prides himself on being able to turn off the act when the stage lights are dimmed. “I got a really great compliment recently. I was at a wedding talking to someone I just met. He asked me what I did. When I told him I was a comedian, he said he never would have guessed that. That made me feel good.”