Pitt Tonight and Andrew Dow: Year 3


Issi Glatts | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior communications major Andrew Dow is beginning his third and final season as host of Pitt Tonight.

By Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

Andrew Dow, the host of Pitt Tonight, remembers being featured in The Pitt News after his first opening night in 2017. While he’s come to peace with it now, Dow said he was frustrated when he first read a quote given by a fellow student.

“I was described as nervous,” Dow said. “I remember I was just so angry when I read that, ‘what do you mean I’m nervous? I worked so hard.’ And now I [realize I] was so nervous, it was true.”

Now a senior communications major, Dow hosted the first episode of Pitt Tonight’s fifth season on Aug. 25, beginning his third and final year as show host. Dow and his fellow staff said they hope the new season comes with opportunities for more creative projects — and fun — during the show.

The season’s first episode was lighthearted and centered on a welcome-back theme, according to the show’s staff. Many delighted in a sketch featuring Dow and head writer Clare Donaher, where Dow’s character prepared a frightened first-year portrayed by Donaher for the aftermath of hot girl summer: “ugly boy fall.”

Dow said he was happy with the first episode — which also featured interviews with SGB President Zechariah Brown and Pitt business professor Ray Jones, followed by a musical performance from local artist Treble NLS — as well as his progress as a host. He based this progress on the anxiety he experienced during his first season last year.

After a nervous first year, Dow said last year was much more enjoyable.

“I think last year I started to have fun,” Dow said. “Now I’m just in this place where I’m like ‘I know what I’m doing, it’s okay.’ I just love how much fun I have on stage.”

Those working behind the scenes want to ensure that Dow continues to have this kind of fun on stage. Donaher mentioned that Dow does especially well on the show when he is tasked with acting a part.

“His strengths are definitely when he’s able to do character work. Something of more where he is kind of the joke,” Donaher said.

When writing the show’s script, Donaher and the other writers said they like to give Dow the opportunity to channel his background as an improv comedy performer.

“Andrew’s a great improviser,” Charlotte Bloys, sophomore English writing and film double major and writer, said. “Whenever he has an opportunity to do that is definitely good for us.”

Dow agreed with the lead writers’ analysis and emphasized how much he enjoys improv as opposed to other comedic forms.

Before succeeding Jesse Irwin, Pitt Tonight’s founder, as the show’s host, Dow wasn’t even involved with Pitt Tonight. He was involved with Ruckus, an improv performance group at Pitt, and some of those who were members of both clubs at the time encouraged Dow to audition for the host role.

Dow said he’s participated in both improv and the traditional standup comedy associated with late night television, but definitely prefers one over the other.

“I did standup for a while, and I hated it. I’m just an improviser, I’m just a sketch person,” Dow said. “I love characters. I love to change what I’m doing. I like to be myself, but I don’t like to be this other, weird kind of being myself and delivering monologues.”

Because Dow has more fun being in character, he and the lead writers hope they can implement more sketch comedy into the show this season. While they don’t plan on changing the general format of the show or making it any longer, Dow has some ideas on how to toy with the general outline they already have.

“There’s going to be more interaction with the audience — I want to really engage. I don’t want anyone to say they’ve seen Pitt Tonight and that be the reason why they don’t have to see it a second time,” Dow said.

In addition to trying some new things during the live show, the staff said they hope to start creating more comedy content outside of the live show. Executive Producer Jack Habib, a senior English writing major, hopes to work with Dow and the writing staff on producing more content on various platforms, such as the show’s YouTube channel.

“There are 60 people working on this show month to month. We can create weekly content on YouTube, on Facebook, Instagram. We can make so much content digitally. Because of that, we can create an actual audience on a digital space,” Habib said.

Habib explained how the show’s staff has a few things in mind on which they want to start filming some digital content. One of the ideas was working on an interview-type video that highlights Dow’s talents as both an improviser and a great one-on-one communicator, according to Habib.

Pitt Tonight has experimented with this kind of interview before. Back in February, the Pitt Tonight crew filmed Dow interviewing the owners of a vintage store in Lawrenceville. Habib said this kind of interview format was much more relaxed and displayed Dow’s talents as an interviewer, which he wants to capitalize on beyond Pitt Tonight’s regular episodes.

“There’s a different aspect of an interview that’s happening, other than just speaking about each other’s careers or what have you. I want to add a different dynamic to it, so stuff like that, other than just Pitt Tonight content,” Habib, who’s also entering his senior year, said. “If I’m going to put any kind of mark on Pitt Tonight, it’s making [digital content] a part of Pitt Tonight.”

Dow, on the other hand, will spend his senior year hosting Pitt Tonight for the third season in a row. Although he is comfortable with this year being his last and confident that an excellent host will take his place when he graduates, Dow understands the gravity of this being his final season.

“There’s no later for me now,” Dow said. “Everything I ever wanted to do with Pitt Tonight, I’m doing now.”