Amy appears on Super Channel’s Tiny Plastic Men, and has contributed to CBC Radio’s This is That, and The Irrelevant Show.

Amy was born and raised in Edmonton and loves her city. She was also a co-chair of Make Something Edmonton, an initiative focused on exploring Edmonton’s image and identity, and continues to be involved on the volunteer committee.

@shostakattack

Amy Shostak

Amy has been performing with Rapid Fire Theatre since 2002, and is a former Artistic Director. She can be seen weekly at Theatresports, and often at CHiMPROV too.

Amy loves leading corporate workshops on communication and team-building. She also is a trainer and judge for Rapid Fire’s high school festival, The Wildfire, and leads improv workshops for the public at the Rapid Fire Academy.

Improv has taken Amy many places. She is so pleased to have been able to perform at The Canadian Comedy Awards in Toronto, The Vancouver International Improv Festival (ViiF), The Winnipeg Improv Festival (IF), The Lost in Translation Festival in Milan, The Wurzburger Impro Festival, The Berlin Impro Festival, The Dad’s Garage World Domination Theatresports Tournament in Atlanta, Monkeyfest in Bogota, and Vancouver Theatresports League’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Amy graduated in 2007 from The University of Alberta, with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama, and Art History (minor). In 2012, she was named on of Avenue Magazines Top 40 Under 40. In 2013, she was named one of Alberta’s Rising Stars by Venture Magazine, in addition to winning a Canadian Comedy Award for Internet Search History Revealed, which Amy co-wrote with fellow RFTers Kory Mathewson and Arlen Konopaki.

From 2009-2015, Amy served as Rapid Fire’s Artistic Director. Under her leadership, Rapid Fire’s programming doubled, two new festivals were created, and the company moved to The Citadel Theatre. In 2015, Amy received an Excellence in Artistic Direction award from the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.

Amy has written several scripted shows with fellow Rapid Fire members, including Gossamer Obsessions with Paul Blinov, My Name is Jonas with Kory Mathewson and Colin Matty, A Watched Pot Never Boyles with Arlen Konopaki, as well as several awesome plays with Kirsten Rasmussen.

She appears regularly on SuperChannel’s Tiny Plastic Men, and on CBC Radio’s The Irrelvant Show.
Amy was born and raised in Edmonton and loves her city. She was also a founding co-chair of Make Something Edmonton, an initiative focused on exploring Edmonton’s image and identity, and continues to be involved on the volunteer committee.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE:

TV Shows: Deadwood, The Wire, The Mighty Boosh
Actors: Woody Allen, Janeane Garofalo, and Charlton Heston
Food: Popcorn
Restaurant: The Golden Bird, Padmanadi, Khazana
Books: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, and The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless
Websites: Pinterest, The Onion, CBC Music
Clothing: Black shirts with the sleeves cut off, wedge sandals, and printed dresses
Music: The Melvins, Murder City Devils, Loretta Lynn, Beck, Paul Simon, and early Metallica
Place in Edmonton: Tie between Super Flea (the flea market with 50 cent hot dogs) and Ukrainian Village
Vice/Guilty Pleasure: Gross slush drinks and Hugh Grant

WHAT DO YOU DO AS RAPID FIRE THEATRE’S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR?

As Artistic Director I generally take care of everything artistic including the content of the shows, casting, festivals, as well as public workshops, corporate workshops and corporate entertainment. Basically all the programming Rapid Fire does, except Wildfire our high school festival, which Joe Vanderhelm runs.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A SHOW?

On the best days, I arrive at the show and don’t have to do any administrative work like signing cheques or talking to anyone about their progress.  That stuff is great, it’s just a separate headspace. One of the best things I learned was from Mike Kennard in a clowning workshop. Mike says that there is a difference between being nervous-scared and being nervous-excited, and before going on stage you need to make sure you’re in the nervous-excited category because the audience can smell fear, just like a dog.  The audience is a dog.

WHAT IS THEY KEY TO A GOOD IMPROV SCENE?

Commitment. People say that saying ‘yes’ is the biggest tenant of improv, but you have to remember that it’s not just about saying yes to your improv partner, it’s also about saying yes to the offers you’re making and I think people forget that sometimes. The best scenes happen when make a strong character choice or strong emotional choice and the other person does that as well. The worst improv scenes are when everyone is being really polite and no one’s making any choices, and people come on and are vague because they don’t want to offend anyone. The best show overall is when everyone gets a moment to shine, but you have to make those moments for yourself, because no one is going to give them to you.

WHO ARE YOUR IMPROV MENTORS?

Becky Johnson from Toronto is one of the first women I saw on stage and I was like, ‘Wow, you can be a cool woman on stage doing improv!’  Some women are okay with looking ugly or acting evil, and some aren’t. Becky is willing to take huge risks and look like a jerk or any way that she feels she wants to look, for that matter. The first time I saw her I was blown away. She’ll be here for Improvaganza 2012 – so everyone should try and see her!

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE UNJUST STIGMA PLACED UPON FEMALE COMEDIANS?

I definitely don’t think that women are inherently less funny than male comedians. It’s a societal stereotype that is behavioural and taught to us. I mean, if you keep breaking people’s confidence and putting people down they are not going to be funny. Men are rewarded for mischief and being funny.  They get away with the whole, ‘Oh, boys will be boys’ or ‘Class clown’ treatment their whole lives. And that treatment certainly breeds some hilarious men!  It’s just a shame that women aren’t afforded the same leeway. Female comedians aren’t being nurtured the same way as men. There isn’t a clear path for them.

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THIS PERSONALLY?

I started doing stand up for a while and it was fun, but an unsupportive environment. Often I would be the only woman there out of 14 comedians, and I would get up and do my thing and the audience would love it, but there were a lot of weird comments made by the other performers. They would hit on me or make incredibly rude comments. There was this one guy who came up to me, I was wearing a knee-length skirt, and he said, You better cover up your legs, or you don’t know what’s going to happen. I just don’t need that. So much stand-up comedy is just horribly offensive for the sake of being offensive. That same night there were eight sets in a row based on rape jokes. Sorry, my skin isn’t that thick. That’s not okay with me.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY ON LOW-BROW VS. HIGH-BROW AUDIENCE SUGGESTIONS DURING A SHOW?

Technically there’s no such thing as a bad suggestion. We could totally do a hilarious scene that takes place at a gynecologist’s office about a woman who has a problem, and it would be great. But those suggestions come from the audience because that’s what they think comedy is. They get a laugh in that moment and it probably feels great for them, but we want to train our audience to give a suggestion about something they actually want to see a scene about. No one actually wants to see Joleen Ballendine and I actually talk about women’s issues in a sincere and hilarious way. They didn’t come to a comedy show prepared for that kind of honesty.  When we’re doing scenes that are based entirely on innuendo what kind of innuendo are you able to give when the scene is taking place in a gynecologist’s office? It takes the comedy out of it because it’s too on the
nose.

Amy won the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award for Internet Search History Revealed