Photo by  Mike Holland

Photo by Mike Holland

So many things to love about a comedy festival. This weekend is packed with amazing artists. Have you seen Off One Letter? We saw their submission tape, and knew they had to be part of the California Comedy Festival.

Get to know 50% of the duo! We had an opportunity to ask Erin some questions.....


Q: When and where did you begin improvising?

A: December 2011 - I had a GroupOn for 4 drop in classes at Pan Theater in Oakland. Improv was always something I wanted to try and I chickened out multiple times. I figured for $20, if I hated it I wasn't out too much money. Instead I fell in love with it (and my savings account has been lighter ever since). 

Q: What troupes and individuals were your early passions and influences?

A: Doug Kassel was my first teacher. He worked with Viola Spolin when he was a child. I was introduced to David Razowsky very early on. He solidified for me that the patient, grounded work that comes natural to me has a place in the world. TJ & Dave were the reason I wanted to do a duo after watching their documentary. 

Q: How did your troupe come together?

A: Erik and I met at a drop in class at Leela in San Francisco in December 2013. We hit it off immediately. We kept seeing each other around the Bay Area improv scene and would hang out before or after shows. One night we went to see another duo perform (The Unwritten Bedroom) and post show were walking around San Francisco inspired. I (seriously) got down on one knee and asked Erik if he wanted to be in a duo with me and HE SAID YES! 

Q: What do you love about your troupe?

A: 100% trust and support. There is a freedom in knowing that whatever you say or do will be supported and not judged. 

erin daruszka

Q: Improv can be exhilarating. What do you personally consider to be the most exciting moments in your work?

A: I am most excited when I surprise myself or my partner surprises me. Those moments when something comes out of your mouth or their mouth and takes you off guard and takes the scene in a different direction. 

Q: How would you define what differentiates a successful live performance from a poor one? What can improvisers do from your point of view to improve their live act?

A: I try not to get too down on myself post show. The show happened and it is over. I can't change it, so let it go. For me, a good show is where I feel in the flow, the time flies by and I am having fun just playing. A not as good show is one in which I am not being present and get in my head and start judging myself or the work while it is happening. 

Improvisors should be having fun! I LOVE watching a team who loves being on stage and you can tell are having a good time. Be in the moment and enjoy!

Q: What's the most important lesson you have learned as an improviser?

A: Wow, there are so many...for me the most important lesson is that there are lots of different styles and ways of playing and there is room for it all. I do not need to like them all or be good at them all. I need to follow what lights me up and find my own voice within the art form. 

Catch Erin and OFF ONE LETTER this Friday, at the California Comedy Festival!