‘Pitt Tonight’ remastered: Andrew Dow hosts season three premiere

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‘Pitt Tonight’ remastered: Andrew Dow hosts season three premiere

New 'Pitt Tonight' host Andrew Dow throws bread at the audience during a comedy bit. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

New 'Pitt Tonight' host Andrew Dow throws bread at the audience during a comedy bit. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Thomas J. Yang

New 'Pitt Tonight' host Andrew Dow throws bread at the audience during a comedy bit. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Thomas J. Yang

Thomas J. Yang

New 'Pitt Tonight' host Andrew Dow throws bread at the audience during a comedy bit. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

By Luke Stambaugh / Staff Writer

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“The bread here is incredible — you have to try some,” new Pitt Tonight host Andrew Dow said as he threw dinner rolls at the audience of the Charity Randall Theatre Sunday.

Dow pretended he was on a date with the crowd at the season three premiere of “Pitt Tonight,” Pitt’s student-run late night show. Kicking off the episode with a monologue, Dow introduced himself as “Pitt Tonight’s” first gay host — or, as he jokingly corrected himself, “openly gay host.”

Despite the joke at his expense, former host Jesse Irwin’s reaction to the show was nothing but positive. And as the founder of “Pitt Tonight,” he was confident that this episode was a good sign of what’s to come.

“Andrew did exactly what everyone hoped he would do — everyone knew that he would go into this hosting a TV show zero times. He has [now] hosted one, and he will be twice as good next time he does it,” Irwin said.

Sitting on a comfortable-looking tan couch, Dow calmly interviewed new Student Government Board members Nihita Manem and Zuri Kent-Smith about the Towers Patio protests last Monday and how students can utilize SGB’s services.

Dow then played a game called “Which Sandwich” with Sid Ali — known as Frenchi to Oakland residents who frequent his deli — giving him the choice between two increasingly ridiculous kinds of sandwiches to decide a winner.

Flipping through the cards, Dow seemed to have been reading some of them for the first time, cracking a smile before reading them aloud to a confused Frenchi.

Head Writer Shannon Kelly, a senior at Pitt majoring in fiction writing, said there were a lot of last-minute changes, and that this episode in particular was more of a test run to see how the writers’ jokes would sound coming from Dow’s voice.

“Andrew is an improviser and does not have a lot of experience reading other people’s jokes,” Kelly said. “But I think that as he gets more used to reading jokes, and as his voice becomes a larger presence in the writers’ room, things will get a lot more out there — a little weirder.”

Andrew Dow hosts members of Pitt’s Student Government Board during the ‘Pitt Tonight’ season three premier. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Zac Enick — a Pitt senior French and Italian major — attended the show and enjoyed it, but agreed “Pitt Tonight” was still finding its voice with a new host.

“You could definitely tell that he was nervous up there, but I think anyone would be,” Enick said. “I’m excited to see him come into his own.”

The premiere was also the last episode of “Pitt Tonight” before applications are due for new staff. There was a common sentiment among the organization’s current members that things are going to change moving forward.

The format of this season stars a different sidekick each episode, which is a change from Irwin’s past two seasons. This episode featured one-time sidekick Elisa Ogot, one of Dow’s fellow Ruckus members.

Ruckus, a Pitt improv group, is where Dow picked up a lot of his comedic skills. And because of this, his voice as a comedian differs entirely from Irwin, who drew most of his inspiration from Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.

But besides the difference in sidekicks and individual comedy style, the premiere served as a reminder that even though faces are changing, the show still has the same format and conventions.

Associate producer Sonia Panic — a sophomore civil engineering major — said there was a sense of nostalgia in the premiere being the last chance to be the “new people.” Going forward, she said, the current staff will be mentors to those trying to get more involved in television and film production on campus.

Pinstripe Sunny’s lead singer, Dave Pirozzi, performs at the premier of ‘Pitt Tonight.’ (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Echoing Panic, new executive producer Annabelle Hanflig pointed to “Pitt Tonight” as an important organization in spreading awareness to students, especially new students. The entertainment industry is a viable career option, she said, and there is no better time to start than college.

“We are a student organization. We do not have help from [higher up] faculty in producing this show every month, so it is up to us to make sure it is good,” Hanflig said. “We have to make the show the best that it can be because honestly, for those who want to make a career out of this, we kind of serve as that beacon.”

Popular Pitt band Pinstripe Sunny performed a short set of two songs before “Pitt Tonight” host Andrew Dow emerged from backstage to formally end his first show.

“I cannot believe how fast it was — it felt like I was up there for five minutes,” Dow said after the show. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, and it felt wonderful.”

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