Meet The Team

Reared by Pittsburgh’s booming comedy scene, The Big Deal is a sketch comedy troupe comprised of James Jamison, Alex Murphy, Margaret Ogden, & Mary Stewart. Founded in 2014, we create worlds of comedy through live/video content crossovers. Our content ranges from dark to silly, adorable to topical, each underscored by the trademark social awkwardness that exists within each member. We have an affinity for the weird, a love for puppets and cardboard prop construction, and we want to make find the silliest thing and make it sillier.



James Jamison-

Writer/Actor/Pun Master

James is the punniest guy we know. Seriously, word play is his forte as well as crazy ideas, big reaching dreams, and funny funny shit. He acts, he writes, he sings, he writes songs, he’s working on a book, he loves naps. He’s gonna write me a bio- I know it, but for now can I just say his tech skills in the booth are only trumped by his dedication to the absurd and far fetched in the writers room and on stage. He performs regularly with Arcade Comedy Theater’s house team Side Quest.



Alex Murphy-

Videographer/Writer/Actor/Jeopardy Savant

Alex moved to Pittsburgh in 2014 from Philadelphia while he misses cheesesteaks and having a NBA team, he’s finding the burgh to be a great mecca for all things creative. Alex’s writing style can be summed up in ‘ends in a big explosion from a character’, and his ability to pull random trivia facts throughout time is uncanny. His work can be seen wit Secondhand Sketch Show, the Big Deal, & through various video fundraising campaigns he co-runs with Mary. Alex’s eye for detail makes the Big Deal’s integrated video and live shows possible.


 Margaret Ogden Hannapel-

Writer/Actor/Legal advisor

Margaret is a ball of pure joy and energy that radiates its awesomeness throughout the big deal (and most of Allegheny county). She moved to Pittsburgh cuz she’s awesome and started doing improv because it was a terrifying concept. Her brand of funny is the silliest pun in the room, the deepest literary cuts, anything involving dogs. She’s also a bad ass lawyer so she’s helpful when we’re thinking of breaking laws, which doesn’t come up often, but always could. Margaret lives in Pittsburgh with her wonderful doctor husband Nathan, and 2 beautiful dogs in a 120 year old house with a deck. She performs regularly with Arcade Comedy house team Game Shark. #livingthelife



Mary Stewart –


Mary’s idea of comedy stems from watching Groundhog day over and over again. Mary’s idea of comedy stems from watching Groundhog day over and over again. After 10 years in Philadelphia for college, work, & freelancing in video & theater production, Mary moved to Pittsburgh in 2013, took an improv class, and her world was never the same. Mary runs various side hustles, and tries to make the world a sillier place through use of Google documents & spreadsheets. The Big Deal is a culmination of all the things Mary enjoys: task/time management, complicated prop construction, & breakfast foods. She co-runs a freelance video fundraising with teammate Alex, and lives with her beautiful dog Pepper in a 120 year old house she’s been renovating for ….like a really long time.


Featured Actors:

Katherine Caringola


Tim Bickerton


Retired Members



Ben Korman- Writer/Actor/Founder

Ben helped co-found The Big Deal out of the simple idea of let’s make some weird crap. Ben, James, & Mary all met during their first house team at Steel City Improv- Nude Beach in 2014, a team of people who liked getting naked (this really never happened) and going to the beach (also never happened) and doing improv (actually happened!). Ben’s style of comedy and rigorous ability to collarborate and re-draft sketches helped form and grow from TBD into The Big Deal. Ben can be seen regularly performing around Pittsburgh on various teams, including Arcade’s house team In Another Castle and independent puppet improv spectacular Stranded with Strangers.



Andrew Phillips- Writer/Actor/Moved to LA to chase the big dream. His talents helped the team realize their dreams of building fake commercial ads, helped us get weirder, and opened the team up to the joys of cocktail crafting and dance parties. We wouldn’t be who we are without him and we wish him a boatload of look on the west coast.