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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

“Extend PUA for Us Artists!” says Financial Analyst with Insurance Who Recently Took an Improv Class

by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.

NEW YORK, NY - Artists and performers nationwide have been advocating for the federal government to extend PUA benefits to talent who are unable to generate income - perhaps none more vocal than local, self-proclaimed “improviser” Dan Pocken, a full-time financial analyst aggressively attempting to lump himself in with artists actually in need of assistance, sources confirmed.

“Artists like myself and my community depend on federal aid right now,” says Pocken, who recently finished level two improv at the People’s Improv Theater and was the only member of his class not invited to join the indie team.

“As someone who’s brought boundless joy to audiences those two times I went up at the Magnet jam, it’s time for the government to recognize what I do and to provide assistance to make sure I and all of my contemporaries on Broadway and beyond can delight audiences for years to come,” added Pocken, who makes $380,000 annually, has incredible health insurance, and is currently gathering other investors to purchase UCB.

Some of Mr. Pocken’s classmates had mixed responses to his advocacy.

“It’s awesome that someone like Dan is really pushing to help us,” says actor Melanie Hanson, who booked her first Off-Broadway role before the pandemic started. “I just wish he would stop saying this affects ‘us’ and ‘our community’ and ‘me, Dan, specifically’. Improvisers make no money, and that’s an entirely separate issue that needs to be addressed, but this is a side gig for him. He makes so much money. This is a really important moment that affects the livelihood of many artists, but - and I say this as someone who loves performing and watching improv - please don’t give this man any money.

Hanson recently turned down Pocken’s invitation to perform at his “Virtual Rally for Masters of Our Craft”, in which he was set to perform a 45 minute solo improvisation along with performances by singers, musicians, dancers, stage & screen actors and puppeteers, all of which he claims to be “on the same level or perhaps a small step down from what I do”.

Other local performers are attempting to see the bright side of Pocken’s actions.

“He enrolled in all of my virtual performance workshops,” says veteran acting coach Lynn TiGetri. “It wasn’t until after that I realized he thought he was signing up to teach the workshops. But, hey, the check cleared.”

At press time, Pocken was seen also advocating extended unemployment for restaurant workers, stating that this “affects all of us in the food service industry”, referencing the time he microwaved himself a Kid Cuisine.


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