Current Cast of Laughing Gas
MEET THECAST! - Click Here To View Our Hall of Fame
Dustin Aiken was born in York, raised in Miami and schooled in Gainesville, where he performed with the University of Florida's resident improvisation troupe, Theatre Strike Force, while getting a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Biology. Now back in South Florida for graduate school, he's a graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Carlos Albizu University, specializing in Forensics. He indulges in urban exploration, writing, and contemplating the ways of the world to kill most of his down time between classes.
Click here to see his picture.
Nicole Areu moved here a couple of years ago from Los Angeles, CA where she performed in various plays, sketch comedy shows and was seen in numerous independent films such as The Coven, Legend of Dead Man's Canyon and Wash, Dry and Spin Out. She also produced an independent film and a sketch comedy TV show. While in LA, Nicole studied at the Stella Adler Academy, The Van Mar Academy and with various casting directors. Since arriving in Miami she has taken it somewhat easy. She recently performed as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing at the Main Street Playhouse and is very excited to be a part of Laughing Gas.
David Wing Armstrong is originally hails from Detroit, Michigan. From there he joined the US Marine Corp. and then attended Sam Houston State University where he studied acting. He has performed in theatre performances of Oklahoma!, Grease, Odd Couple (Female Version), and Murder On The Nile. He made his film debut in a Death Plots: My Stalker Death (2005). From there he can be seen in such films as All Wrapped Up (2006) & No Reply (2005). He also has been seen in the TV Shows Dexter (on Showtime) & E.R. (NBC). Wing, got his comic start working the circuit as a stand up comic, performing at The Hard Rock Seminole Improv, West Palm Beach Improv, Mark Ridley’s Comedy Club, & Chaplin’s Comedy Club to name a few. He aspires to be a reality show contestant maybe Big Brother or Amazing Race. The accomplishment he is most proud of is he is exactly 2 steps away from Kevin Bacon in the “Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon” game.
Click here for Wing's picture and resumé.
Gene Ballardis a native New Yorker who relocated to Florida, where he rekindled his love of improv. When in New York , Gene performed with the National Improvisational Theater, and he also committed many a crime while working with Dial A Murder, an interactive murder mystery group. His movie credits include Dead Silence and Romeo and Julia. Gene appeared as a gangster in the independent feature film, Quick Pick. He appeared most recently in Andy Sottilare's short mockumentary film, Boxball, The Movie. When not acting, Gene is playing music--if you remember the sixties, Gene fronted the band Artemus Troll, and in the seventies it was Mirage. Today he is working on a solo project that is sort of country and sort of not....
Anthony Camilo is an IT man by day, improv actor the rest of the time. He started doing Improv after taking Laughing Gas Improv classes with Gerald Owens. After befriending the troupe, being very comfortable with technology, he ran lights and sound during many shows of Laughing Gas's 15th season. In the summer of 2007 Anthony also trained with fellow cast-member Todd Rice at the Fort Lauderdale Improv. In November '07 Anthony visited Chicago to watch Improv and sketch shows at The Second City, Donny's Skybox and the IO Theatre (formerly Improv Olympic). Anthony occasionaly directs Laughing Gas. In October ' 08, collaborating with castmate Fawad Siddiqui, started the Improv blog The Miami Harold where every week they publish a schedule of Improv shows in South Florida. He also performs with Impromedy's Rock It Pack and another side project with castmate Dustin Aiken called "Igdy In The Park". You can bump into him doing a hybrid Improv and beat poetry thing with castmate Benny Shahoulian at Theater De Underground at Churchill's Pub some Monday nights.
Anthony has been a cast-member since the summer of '07.
Click here to see Anthony's headshot.
James Carrey was born in New York City. He has been singing from an early age. He joined the Florida Singing Sons Boy Choir in 1989. As a vocalist, James has performed at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts and various clubs around South Florida. James' entrance into the world of acting and writing came in 2000, when he joined the improv comedy troupe Name Change Pending. Since then, he performed improv with Name Change Pending until he joined Laughing Gas in the summer of 2003. James composed the musical score for local playwright David Sirois' play Secrets Of The LaCroix. Last year, he appeared in the short film, The Test, directed by Gerald Owens. More recently, James completed a role in the upcoming Sean Astin film, Thanks to Gravity. He most recently appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The Main Street Playhouse. He has also received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida Atlantic University.
Valerie Carrey , The Artist Frequently Referred to as "The Girl With The Curly Hair," is a young and curiously pocket-sized actress/comedienne, originally from Palma de Mallorca, Spain. However, for no particular reason at all, she was raised (and probably fed way too much sugar), right here in Miami. Valerie has had show-biz aspirations of a humorous nature for as long as she can remember, and enjoys being a vehicle for hilarity within any and all situations that trigger her almost clinical compulsion to perform. Although she often plays the "dumb-brunette" when appearing with Laughing Gas, offstage she is a closet-genius and can control otherwise natural weather patterns with her mind. And if that doesn't do it for you, she can be seen practicing the fine art of self-exploitation whilst wearing only a bikini in the American Idol afterbirth/feature film, From Justin to Kelly. Last summer she appeared in Blithe Spirit with the Main Street Players. She also starred in the short film, The Test, directed by Gerald Owens, and in 2004, she landed the romantic lead in an Italian feature entitled Christmas in Miami. Valerie now appears as her alter ego, Carmencita (aka la Fanatica) on the Univision television series El Gordo y la Flaca. She is currently developing a Spanish-language sketch comedy pilot for television.
Click here for Valerie's picture and resumé.
Kimberly Cox is a Jersey girl, recently transplanted to South Florida. A gifted actress and improviser, she discovered the joys of improvisational theatre in college. She has now become involved in Miami's burgeoning independent film scene, and most recently, she starred in the short film, The Key, directed by Gerald Owens, and most recently appeared in a new independent feature, Quick Pick and stars in the horror short film The H Man from Silver Sun Films. She appeared most recently in Andy Sottilare's short mockumentary film, Boxball, The Movie. Besides Laughing Gas, Kim is also a proud member of Model Citizens on South Beach and of the improv troupe THEY improv.When she is not performing with Laughing Gas, Kimberly is attending graduate school at the University of Miami.
L.A. Edwards is an up and coming actor and standup comedian eager to develop his skills in all levels of entertainment. His favorite performers include Jim Carrey, Dave Chapelle, Charlie Murphy, Jack Black and Martin Lawrence, just to name a few. He has attended Miami-Dade College and Florida Memorial University. When he is not performing with Laughing Gas, he can be found expanding his standup repertoire at comedy clubs around South Florida, including The Improvisation Comedy Clubs in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and Churchill's Pub. You can also visit him on his myspace comedy page at http://www.myspace.com/la_edwards
Mark Ginzo is a local actor of Cuban-American descent, originally from Union City, NJ. He is a member of Miami's Shakespeare In the Park and has performed Romeo and Juliet with the troupe in Spanish. He is a veteren of the local stand up comedy scene as well as the local music scene. Mark recently completed work as Antonio on Much Ado About Nothing, a film for a PBS project. Mark sings, and plays the baritone ukulele and if you need a backup harmonica you could do a lot worse. He is an amatuer maker of wine and spirits and speaks three languages including Esperanto. Mark strives to be the best darned improv actor he can be and is currently enrolled in The Kenneth Tigar Online School of Acting.
Click here for Mark's headshot.
Denden Girmay sure gets around. Born in Eritrea (that's in East Africa, for the geographically challenged), she has lived in Italy, Connecticut, North Carolina and now finally, Miami. She is an actress, singer and model, and received her B.A. degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She's trilingual, too (okay, she speaks American English, French, and Tigryna, the language of Eritrea).
Jessica Gross was born and raised in Boynton Beach, Florida, before attending school in North Carolina. A model, spokeswoman, actress and stand-up comedienne, as well as a gifted improvisor, she has returned to Florida to pursue her entertainment career. She was voted Miami New Times Best Club Comic for 2010. She is funny, quirky and outgoing, and she's big enough to beat up anyone who disagrees with that.
Click here to see Jessica's website.
Carl Guerra is a native New Yorker. Carl is veteran stand-up comedian, and when he is not doing improv with Laughing Gas, he appears in comedy clubs all over the United States, as well as on many cruise ships. He has been featured on the Arts and Entertainment Network's An Evening at the Improv, as well as Comedy Central's Stand-Up, Stand-Up.
Carl has also had roles on One Life to Live and America's Most Wanted, and he has appeared in commercials and industrial films, including a promotional film for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Prior to joining Laughing Gas, he performed in New York with The Improvables, Some Assembly Required, The Comic Strip Improv, and the CBGB Improv companies. He was featured most recently in a commercial for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. He is a graduate of Cornell University.
Click here for Carl's website for his resumé and photos.
Linda Jarvis-Guerra is a native of South Florida and a long-time professional actress/comedienne, in roles ranging from "Blanche Dubois" to "Mammy Yokum." She has also been seen on national TV commercials and heard on radio. In 1996, she and husband Carl Guerra were featured in a promotional film for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Her favorite role, however, is her most recentas "Mom" to a ten-year-old bundle of energy named Dylan. She performs daily from 7:00 am to midnight. Tickets will be available for this production for the next 11 years. Linda is certain an academy award is in the bag...the uh...laundry bag.
Linda performed previously with the Wit Happens and 'Til Somebody Puts An Eye Out improvisation troupes, and was also a member of the Mental Floss Comedy Improv Theatre Company. She is one of the founding members of Laughing Gas, and its Vice President.
KIMBERLY ANN JONES
Kimberly Ann Jones comes from Oxford, PA where she had a very athletic childhood. At the University of Pittsburgh she studied... get this Rehabilitation Science and Technology with a Concentration in Athletic Training. She is now certified in said field, but after living in Washington, D.C., she needed a vacation and went to Miami Beach, never to return. In the fall of 2007 she officially dedicated herself to pursuing a long-lost desire to show natural human behavior on camera or stage. In doing so, she's behaved as humanly as possible in several short films, a couple of commercials and some theater. In addition to appearing with Laughing Gas, she's currently portraying "Wanda the Villain" in the feature film Crime Fighters (title subject to change) directed by Kurt Donath, co-host of the TV documentary series The Knee Diaries, and "Amarosa," the narrating elf, in the children's musical Jack and Jill and a Special Wish. She is also pleasantly enrolled in The Acting School of South Florida Conservatory Program.
Click here to see her headshot and here for her resume.
Heather Kashick was born and in Miami, Florida and continues to progress artistically in her hometown. She was a Theatrical Arts Major at Broward Community College and the recipient of the Theatre Scholarship. During this time she had the opportunity to star in several productions including The Tempest, The Diary Of Anne Frank and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. When not appearing in onstage, Heather was working behind the scenes in every aspect, including makeup artistry, wardrobe and as production assistant. Heather wrote and directed her own play, Turn Off the TV. She had the opportunity to direct the play What, Is This Everything? She managed casting, costumes, lighting, make-up and sound, all while directing. Heather is also a lover of poetry and has hosted spoken word poetry nights at various locations, including the Wallflower Gallery.
After college, Heather continued to study at the Hollywood Acting Sudio in the Conservatory Program and paticipated in cold readings, and script analysis. She was in the play the House of Yes and in a promo for the Coca-Cola Museum. Her latest gig was appearing as a spring breaker in the upcoming pilot, Burn Notice.
She enjoys modern dance, writing poetry, painting, making short films, photography and living life to its fullest.
Damian Lang is currently enrolled as a Theatre Arts major at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Prior to that, he attended Palm Beach Community College, where he was a member of the college's own improvisational theatre troupe, Cheese and Crackers. You can also visit him online at myspace.com.
Click here to see Damian's picture.
Aniela McGuinness hails from from fabulous Hollywood, Florida. Though she describes herself as 'a huge dork,' she is more properly described as a beautiful redheaded actress, model and improv comedienne. She is also a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE). That’s right, she’s a union stagehand who works at the Carnival Center and other area arts venues on operas, Broadway shows and more (her parents wanted her to have something practical to fall back on). Maybe we're biased, but she's much more fun in front of an audience than behind the scenes. She appeared most recently in Andy Sottilare's short mockumentary film, Boxball, The Movie. Click here for Aniela's headshot.
Amed "A.J." Navarrete Amed "A.J." Navarrete was born on the wrong side of town, Havana, Cuba, later to be raised on crude toxic humour and love, Union City, New Jersey. He has appeared in several plays at Miami-Dade Community College, including the 1 act montage, Welcome to the Moon & The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder. He's a veteran of numerous student films (both as an actor and director). An actor and avid drummer, A.J. loves to bring out his Cubanismo on stage. In 2000, he worked on the Andy Garcia HBO film, For Love or Country. And in 2001, he appeared in a public service ad for WPBT/TV for improving work attitudes in the workplace. He has worked for a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre company called ACTA (Actors for Charity Theatre Alliance), which raises money for charities doing an improvised/scripted dinner show called Who Killed the Director, and he has also appeared in the Christopher Durang comedy, The Actor's Nightmare in Broward County. He's played & won a "Sabrina Award" for "Snoopy" in the classic musical, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and more recently, he appeared in The Music Man, The Pirates of Penzance & The Musical Revue : And the World Goes Round with the Main Street Players. He's also appeared as the Preist in Tony & Marias Wacky Italian Wedding. Since April of 2005, AJ has been working on his "clowning around" skills, with The Big Apple Circus @ The Miami Childrens Hospital in Coral Gables, making it easier for sick children and the stressed out staff to go on with thier days and nights. Most recently, AJ appeared in the new independent feature film, Quick Pick. You can also visit AJ on myspace.com. AJ's new band, Vladez, has released its debut CD. To order the disk or find out about live performance dates, visit their band page on myspace.com. He was also seen in the new play Cloudcuckooland at the Abanico Theatre in Coconut Grove.
Click here to see A.J.'s headshot. Click here to see A.J.'s resumé.
Gerald Owens has worked in South Florida as a professional actor and director for twenty years. He received his B.A. in Speech and Theatre from Wake Forest University in 1979, and an M.F.A. in Acting and Directing from Florida Atlantic University in 1986. In 1983, Gerald was an intern at the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre, where he received his Equity card. Most recently, he filmed a scene in the upcoming crime drama, Lonely Hearts, starring John Travolta, James Gandolfini and Salma Hayek. He was also seen in Big Trouble, the feature film starring Tim Allen and Rene Russo, based on Dave Barry's novel, which was released in 2002. Other film roles include Folks, starring Tom Selleck and Don Ameche, and Scam, starring Christopher Walken and Lorraine Bracco. In 1998, he portrayed a sleazy attorney in the premiere episode of the USA Network's short-lived detective drama, Sins of the City. His stints on network television also include Moon Over Miami, True Detectives, and two roles on Miami Vice. He has appeared in numerous plays and industrial films, as well as many radio and television commercials, including a recent national TV campaign for GameZnFlix.com featuring former "Dell Dude" Ben Curtis (click here to view the commercials). From 1986 until 1992, he performed with the Mental Floss improv troupe in Miami, where he also served as a staff instructor for four years.
He is now the President of the Laughing Gas Comedy Improvisation Theatre Company, which he helped found in 1992. Gerald is also the staff instructor, and he has taught acting classes at the Miami Actors' Studio, The Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, as well as The Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training and the John Robert Powers School in West Palm Beach. In 2004, he joined the faculty of Palm Beach Community College. He also works as a private acting coach. Most recently, he has begun writing and producing digital films, and his 5-minute short, Hot Pork, reached the finals in the 2003 Entertainment Industry Incubator Short Film Contest. His most recent short, The Key, starred Andy Sottilare and Kimberly Cox. You can also visit Gerald on myspace.com, where you can find more YouTube video links to his work..
For information on Gerald's weekly improvisation classes in North Miami, click here.
Todd Rice has lived a varied life, having lived in Texas, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and now South Florida. He has worked for the Speaker of the House in Washington, D.C., the Federal Aviation Administration, on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and for an Internet Service Provider in Latin America. As an improvisational actor, Todd trained at The Second City, as well as Improv Olympic and Blue Velveeta at The Improvisation Comedy Club in Chicago. As a writer, Todd helped run screenwriting seminars in Chicago and was a Board Member of the Chicago Screenwriters Network. Todd appeared in Picasso at the Lapin Agile as Gaston for the Miami Stage Company, hosted Football Tonight on Chicago radios' WCBR, appeared in various short films and was almost type-cast as a Chicago cop in features, having appeared uncredited in a couple of big-budget films including the Fugitive (1993) and Blink (1994). Todd was featured in 1 Anunaki (2005) and Luxbel (2005). Todd appeared in the independent feature film, Quick Pick (2006). Todd is currently cast in 2 feature films that are in production while also performing corporate and voiceover work, being the voice of State Trust Life and other corporate entities. Todd has also organized another improv troupe in Broward County, THEY improv, devoted to corporate improvisation and murder mystery dinner shows, and has a satellite troupe based in Boston for corporate clients.
Click here for Todd's picture and resumé or see Todd Rice's website.
Rita Ritvin was born in Ukraine but grew up in Israel and is currently residing in Miami (she is fluent in Russian, Hebrew and American English). Along with her talent and passion for improv comedy she also loves to sing, dance and write fiction and poetry. Since her first acting gig at the early age of 10 in a national Israeli commercial, she had taken part in numerous original and classical productions in her hometown and has written and performed original songs and sketches. She is a Drama major at Miami-Dade College and had taken part in such productions as Ponies, Triangle and Hurry! She also appeared most recently with actor/comedianRobert Wuhl in his history lesson through comedy, Assume the Position at the Kravis Center. She considers music as the one thing that she could not possibly survive without and listens to an unbelievable variety and amount of music on a regular basis. Her main goal is to make everybody laugh. Hey, she’s doing well on that one! Click here for Rita's headshot.
Benny Shahoulian is one of Downtown Miami’s resident artists. That’s right, Miami has an arts underground--Miami actually is more than bimbos and Mojitos. There are great spots for poets, for underground musicians, for whoever does whatever. When he’s not improvising with Laughing Gas, you can catch Benny reading his unique poetry at various Miami arts hangouts, like Churchill's and the Wallflower Gallery. To sample his poetry and find out where he’s performing next, visit his myspace page.
Fawad Siddiqui knows one thing: that Socrates knew nothing. When not pondering the immeasurable complexities of this statement, he may be found doing one or more of the following things: journalism, drawing, singing/songwriting/playing guitar, writing prose/poetry, researching comic books, teaching English/art to Muslim middle-school children, improvisational acting, and, most recently, using a profuse number of backslashes in sanctimonious self-written biographical paragraphs. He is from Hialeah, Florida and his family is originally from Pakistan, which he visits often. Oh, yeah, he attended the University of Miami, where he was allowed to do some very curious things on the radio late at night. Fawad played the evil policeman/narrator in the hit musical Urinetown at the The Main Street Playhouse. He appeared more recently in Andy Sottilare's short mockumentary film, Boxball, The Movie. Fawad has been shuttling between Miami and Chicago, where he has been studying at The Second City and the IO Theatre (formerly Improv Olympic). He even picked up a commercial there, where he got to do an authentic Pakistani accent! He just shot an episode of the USA Network's offbeat spy series, Burn Notice, where he plays a Pakistani consular official.
He now travels the globe and hopes to someday be numbered amongst the GREAT nondescript ethnic, stereotypical, brown "Middle-Eastern/South Asian" actors of ALL times: the Sabus, the Apus, the Anthony Quinns, the Kal Penns, the--dare he say it?--yes, yes, he must--the ART MALIKS of the world! *Thunder* Oh, to dream, but in dreams, what dreams may come? Quick, Indy, THIS WAY! Click here for Fawad's headshot.
Andy Sottilare is a native Floridian, born at North Shore Hospital in Miami. Andy has studied comedy and acting for most of his natural life. Onstage, in 1998, he became a writer and performer with Punch 59, a sketch comedy troupe based out of Hollywood, Florida, and also helped form Best Medicine in 1999, a non-profit sketch comedy troupe that performed without charge for pediatric patients at Miami Childrens Hospital and for the elderly at retirement homes. In September 2001, he appeared as "Fenney," in the South Florida premiere of the musical comedy, The Singer, the Dancer, the Painter and the Muse at The Hollywood Performing Arts Center. He then happily joined Laughing Gas in 2003 as a performer and writer.
Andy has acted on television since 1989, first appearing as a party guest on the last episode of Miami Vice. In 1996, he produced his own improvised comedy-cable access TV show, Drive In TV, for Miami Springs TV Productions in the Doral area of Miami. More recently, he portrayed "Roger ," Jewel's ex, in the 5th installment of the Swedish/American nighttime soap opera, Ocean Avenue (2002) , slated for US release in 2005. He portrayed Detective Ron Kastell in Breakaway Films' production of the crime-drama, Carlita's Secret (2004) (starring with Eva Longoria from ABC's Desperate Housewives), as well as "Dr Ari Ptah" in the indie Sci-Fi thriller, 1 Anunnaki (2004). He can also be seen in a cameo appearance as a hysterical bank loan officer in Breakaway Films hip-hop comedy, The Bahama Hustle (2004). Most recently Andy directed the short mockumentary film, Boxball, The Movie. You may recognize Andy from local and national commercials, as well as an occasional print ad. Andy is currently producing the horror short film The H Man. If you see him at a show, be sure to say hello.
Photos of AJ Navarrete, James Carrey, Deborah Sherman, Andrew Sottilare, Ethan Smith, Todd Rice, Valerie Zach and Gerald Owens are by Bob Lasky.
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