Sandi Rankaduwa w/Jen Kirkman, Bob Kerr, Jon Blair, Aisha Alfa
Friday, October 24, 7pm
The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street
"I did the improv intensive program at iO Theatre," says Sandi Rankaduwa, a Halifax comic who's been hanging out at Chicago's best comedy joints for the last year. "It's a lesser-known improv institution but it's still very renowned in the comedy-theatre world and the experience kind of changed my life."
Born in Sri Lanka but raised in the Maritimes, Rankaduwa took a break from stand-up while writing and making live music videos for Exclaim! and The Coast, as well as drumming in Old & Weird. She was doing web-work with 22 Minutes before she realized that comedy was it. "I came to a point where I knew this is where I want to put my focus and I really wanted to commit to it," she says.
She got back onstage opening for Todd Barry then headed west to The Second City. She's had a full-on comedy immersion in Chicago. "I've been taking classes with former SNL writers and people who have worked for Conan. It's pretty crazy," she says, "And then just seeing great comics like Maria Bamford, Rory Scovel and Tig Notaro here, I mean, comedy's really in-your-face in Chicago. You can see a lot of different types of comedy, which helps you figure out what you want to do."
Also working with Annoyance Theatre, she says she's still developing her own voice, but the deep-dish experiences have been crucial to her growth as a comic.
"With improv, everything exists in the moment, and I'm learning you just have to be yourself, as cliche as that sounds," she says.
Her comedic topics range from Wu-Tang Clan to her Sri Lankan heritage, and she can be shockingly offensive in really smart ways. "I think I poke fun of myself and I think I make fun of a lot of things that I really love," she says. "I come at it from a very playful angle. I like really dumb, silly things."