New platforms for a funny couple
Who: Noah Savage, 35, and Alyssa Wolff, 35
Where: New York
How did you become an actor?
Alyssa: I was working in a job that was going nowhere and decided that I needed to do something else to explore my creative side. I signed up for a class and then got very lucky and started doing shows and festivals.
Noah: I went to the New York Comedy Club in sweatpants in 2009 and asked, “How do I get on stage? Quite quickly I started doing “bringer” shows, where I had to bring a certain number of spectators every Wednesday.
How did the pandemic impact comedy?
Alyssa: The whole industry was shut down, all the bars and places. And stand-up comedy is only really good if you’re in person. Even when you watch a special on Comedy Central or Netflix or whatever, they have an audience there; you watch people react to the comedy in real time. It has been a really tough year for the entire industry. People who were more successful comedians than me or Noah before the pandemic almost lost their livelihood in the last year.
Noah: I have two friends who had just made the jump into acting full time, and they were opening for some really big names. Then all of their shows were canceled. For me, as a college basketball announcer as well, I did 40 games the year before, and then last year I did six. The Zoom comedy shows and the shows in the park were not for me. Instead, I chose to do a web-series on YouTube called Break 90 on the golf course. And I just spent my time on this and our podcast, The world according to Noah Savage (with Alyssa Wolff now too).
Do you plan on doing comedy full time?
Alyssa: I did stand-up full time, and he’s basically a full time freelance writer. The only time you make real money is when you’re on tour, doing a ton of shows, and bringing a crowd. You have to be a household name for this to work. The financial aspect is extremely difficult. You think of New York City as one huge comedy city, but if you do three club spots in one night, you’re probably only going to make $ 100.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Noah: I think this pandemic just revealed what a lot of the comics already knew about wardens and the people telling them no or that they need an agent: in fact, you just need to go do what you think you are funny. And then if people like it, people like it.
Alyssa: If you get into acting to make money, you’re playing the wrong thing. But if you’re doing it because it’s something you love, then it’s like a part of who you are. There is still no guarantee that you will make any money from it, but there is a greater chance that you will find a way to build a career. Comedy is “competitive,” some say, but there is actually room for everyone, especially now that the Internet is there; you can make your own path which will be nothing like the next five comics.
How is everyday life with two actors?
Noah: Hope each couple laughs a lot and that we are not unique in that way. But actually, I don’t know if other couples are doing everything we do.
Alyssa: I think if there was another person here all the time they would find us extremely boring. If one of us does the smallest, dumbest thing, it’s like canceling our plans for the day, because we’re just going to laugh at the other for it for the next 24 hours.