Fake It Till You Make It

By Andrew Andrews

The impeccibly-dressed Carmen Mendoza and Ree Ree Soko share their expertise about Faking It Till You Make It, on the Underground stage at the Peoples Improv Theater in the Flatiron District.

We never know what to expect when we descend into the basement—er, “Underground”—of the Peoples Improv Theater. We’ve enjoyed some very funny shows there (such as Dale Radio before it moved to the Slipper Room and became Deep Night with Dale), but generally enter with lower expectations than we have for their larger, upstairs Striker Stage (where we last caught Taboo Tales back in May). So tonight, when our proprietary recommendation engine told us that we’d love Fake It Till You Make It, we wondered whether there was a glitch in the system or if the suggestion would be spot-on.

Hosts Carmen Mendoza and Ree Ree Soko—whom you most certainly will not remember from their roles as stand-ins for famous actors in blockbuster movies and appearances as extras in network television shows—take what is essentially a night of stand-up by local and nationally-known comedians, and turn it into something special, by interjecting self-help seminar-inspired sketches and videos promoting their own questionable accomplishments. Implying the promise that you, too, can become as almost-famous as they are, Ree Ree and Carmen share footage of famous scenes into which they’ve been photoshopped into the background, man-on-the-street interviews with would-be fans, and plenty of on-stage bragging about being SAG-eligible and brushes-with-greatness that could have been.

Tonight, guest comedian Greg Barris connected with the crowd by shaking hands with the front row and personally acknowledging every laugh, as he air-kissed the audience and talked about his parents’ new occupation: driving for Uber! Next up, Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor enthralled us with her spot-on impersonation of a squirrel, and Josh Gondelman recalled the antics of the DJ/Michael Jackson wannabe at his recent wedding reception. Joe Pera—whose shtick might best be described as a character impersonation of storyteller Adam Wade (from New Hampshire) performing stand-up comedy—polled the audience about breakfast choices and offered plenty of feedback, then Unicorn Candy closed out the show by opening our eyes to the importance of treating everyone we encounter as though it is their birthday.

All of tonight’s talent made us laugh, and Carmen & Ree Ree have perfected the attitude and appearance of a duo that have already made it. In fact, we were impressed by the entire audience, which was filled to capacity with attractive fans that were so well-dressed, they would have looked less out-of-place on the catwalk or red carpet than crowded into the basement of the Peoples Improv Theater!

It looks like our system was correct in predicting that we’d enjoy Fake It Till You Make It, and the next time it tells us to visit The PIT Underground, we’ll trust it to know what it’s talking about. You, too, should give it a shot, then come back here and let us know what you think of our recommendations! Whether you like them right away or it takes a little time to figure out your tastes, your reviews help others decide which shows they should attend, and your ratings help us find future events and activities that you’re sure to love!


Andrew Andrews attended Fake It Till You Make It at The PIT/Peoples Improv Theater in Manhattan on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 @ 8:30pm to write this review.