A group of students is about to take a test. One of the students, Mary, asks to use the restroom. While she is out of the room, each of the students gets a suggestion from the audience. Tonight’s answers are Portland Seadogs, Country Road, It, and Barack Obama. After Mary returns, the test begins. Mary doesn’t know the answers, so she asks the other students for help. Then, one by one, they act out the answers without talking. Impressively, Mary gets all of the answers quite quickly! It’s hilarious watching them act out the answers and then after she gets the answer, they always have a few one liner jokes to tack on. This combination of a sketch and improv is absolutely fantastic and has the crowd laughing non stop.
Everyone in the cast is making their debut on the Second City Mainstage. Andrew Knox (Gaslight District, Grinning from Fear to Fear) is absolutely hilarious in every scene in which appears, especially as the stranger at the bus stop hesitant to make a new friend. Adam Schreck (America; It’s Complicated!) also shines often. This includes playing a father who puts on a game show to determine who ate his pretzels. Asia Martin is so funny, especially when she is making her very silly faces and dancing. Jordan Savusa is also great and his song about being from Hawaii is golden. Mary Catherine Curran is excellent throughout and really shows her chops in the classroom scene. Lastly, Sara Dell’Amico is solid as the girlfriend who is suspicious of her too perfect boyfriend. This cast is so good, that surely at least of them will end up on Saturday Night Live. Catch them now while they are still in Chicago!
Cost of a ticket: $36
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
The founding fathers are out late partying when suddenly they realize that the bill of rights is due tomorrow! They decide to do it now and to continue drinking. “I want to say whatever I want!” says Jefferson. Great, freedom of speech. “Lots of guns!” says Adams. Great, the right to bear arms. Then they ask the audience for something that bothers them. “Loud farts!” Oh yes, they all agree. Paul Revere has the loudest farts because of all his horse riding. That should definitely be illegal. “Homework!” Absolutely should be outlawed! If someone asks for your homework, plead the fifth!
This is a great example of how they blend improv with a scripted scene. The following scene on the other hand, is completely improvised.
A stewardess (Atra Asdou) ask a couple (Laurel Krabacher and EJ Cameron) what they would like to drink mid flight. The woman wakes up her husband to ask what he would like. He is way less then upset that he should be for being woken up. He calmly asks for warm milk. The stewardess only has cold milk. “Can you warm it up?” “Let me check” she says. In the back of the plane, another flight attendant (Andrew Knox) tells her that the milk comes out ice cold from the dragon’s nipples and they don’t have any way to warm it up. Suddenly, turbulence hits (announced by Chuck Norment) and the dragon (Mark Campbell) flies away. “Sorry, we are out of milk. The dragon flew away!” Scene!
As you can see, the entire cast joined in on this scene. They all improvise really well together and bring out each other’s strengths. Their scripted scene are also great including a game show called Toss and Turn about trying to fall asleep and an extremely awkward dinner with your girlfriend’s parents. Saying anything further would be spoiling some of the fun. While the current main stage show is very political, this one provides a break from politics, It really is funny for everyone!
Brad Williams is a very funny guy. He is a dwarf, but he doesn’t let that stop him from doing anything. It also allows him to poke fun at others with disabilities. For example, he told a story about making fun of man in the audience who had no legs. It made the crowd uncomfortable, but the man was enjoying it immensely. He told Brad that he was currently going through a divorce. And that she really did take half of everything!
He went on to tell the story of how he met his wife, who is a tall Asian. They met through an app where couples look for a third person. “I know”, he says, “a hot Asian woman who likes dwarfs and threesomes! I scored the jackpot!” He says it is very easy for them to find women to take home. When they approach girls, they say, wow, this completes two items on my bucket list! It’s a joy to hear him talk about this and he does it with style.
Before leaving the stage, he goes over a few rules for meeting him at the merch table. Firstly, you can kneel down or stand up, he doesn’t care. Secondly, don’t pat him on the head. Lastly, and he can’t believe he has to say this, don’t pick him up! He’s even funny when he is explaining rules!
See his standup special now on Netflix, The Degenerates.
Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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“We will now do a dramatic scene for you. We need the name of a dramatic movie never seen before.” “The Killer Grapes!” “I’m afraid of the grapes.” “Why?” “They have seeds!” “What? I thought all grapes at Whole Food were seedless!” “We need a scientist!” “How about a mathematician?” “Let’s get some graph paper!” “Have you ever had sex on graph paper?” Blackout. “Sorry, our algorithm failed to create a dramatic scene. Enjoy this intermission while we fix this issue!” This was one of the wild completely improvised scenes that shows the talent of the ensemble.
This truly is a great cast. Kimberly Michelle Vaughn has a great energy on stage, especially during the dancing scene where she plays a wife just left at the altar. Nate Varrone is absolutely hilarious as a guy wearing Bluetooth, while having sex. He says himself that he looks like the child of Billy Mays and Borat! Emma Pope is a solid actor always willing to be the straight man in a scene. Ryan Asher is consistently funny especially while improvising scenes about puppies. Tyler Davis is a solid guitar player with good comic chops. Lastly, Jeffrey Murdoch is hilarious as the man tied up and held hostage stripped down to his underwear.
All in all, it was a good show, but not one of Second City’s best. Dream Freaks Fall From Space was definitely better. However, the cast is still strong, especially in the improvised scenes. They have started performing two shows on some Sunday nights, so unfortunately there wasn’t an improv set at the end of this performance.
“I heard you need a DJ! I usually do ping pong parties, but now I’m ready for Bar Mitzvah’s and weddings.” Cut to two people playing ping pong. “You know what this activity needs, a DJ!” “I know! But my DJ quit to do weddings! They should make a law against that!” A man jumps into the scene. “I’m a congressman and I’ll get to work on that law right away. We have nothing better to do!” Blackout! This complete scene was made up on the spot in a true showcase of the improv talent on display on the ETC stage.
The majority of the show is written sketches, as opposed to improv. In order to not give away many of the jokes, suffice it to say that many of the sketches feature a scene hole. When a character jumps through the scene hole, they can only speak the absolute truth. This leads to a scene with Andrew Knox doing an excellent impression of Donald Trump. He tries to jump through the whole and WHACK, he can’t go through!
Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity makes a victim question their reality in order to gain power over them. This is where the title comes from and is a running theme in the show. It involves a lot of lying and is what a certain political leader is doing. That being said, there are a good number of political jokes, but in no way does it dominate the show. It’s a good balance with non-political material. Thus, this show continues the tradition of Second City making the funniest theatre in all of Chicago, and probably the nation!
Cost of a ticket: $35
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value!
New Rating Scale:
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The red curtain parts and the song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead Or Alive starts to play. Six characters dressed in tuxedos with colorful eye makeup launch into a choreographed dance in front of a golden backdrop. It’s all on a circular stage that is slowly spinning, which matches the song perfectly. It’s quite a sight and the audience really gets into it by clapping, hooting, and hollering. When the song ends, they strike a pose for the applause. However, since the stage is spinning, they have to keep walking to stay at the front of the stage. It’s quite hilarious to watch them fight amongst each other to be in front.
Throughout the show, various objects are thrown on stage. Kale, an air horn, and a blowup suit are just a few of the things they find. For each item, they act like they have never seen one before and they try to figure out what it is and how to use it. Watching one of them stuff all of the kale in her mouth, and then in turn spitting it all out is one the funniest parts of the show.
An assorted few are convinced they are stuck on a spinning revolve, in There Will Be A Climax at the Old Fitz Theatre in Sydney, from 9 January to 3 February 2018. CAST: Toby Blome Oliver Crump Duncan Ragg Geneva Schofield Alex Stylianou Contessa Treffone CREATIVE TEAM: Created by: Alexander Berlage & The Company Directed by: Alexander Berlage Produced by: Red Line Productions in partnership with the National Institute of Dramatic Art Set & Costume Design: Nicholas Fry Dramaturg: Alexander Lee-Rekers Lighting Design: Alexander Berlage Sound Design: Katelyn Shaw Choreographer: Toby Derrick There Will Be A Climax was originally presented at The National Institute of Dramatic Art, as part of the 2016 Director’s and Designers Graduating Productions. Photo by Robert Catto, on Monday 8 January, 2018. Please credit & tag the photographer when images are used – @robertcatto on Instagram & Twitter, @robertcattophotographer on Facebook.
It’s a very artistic piece which at times is quite bizarre. Without any dialog, the audience has to pay close attention to figure out what is happening. It’s a production that would work very well in a modern art museum theatre. It does work at The Old Fitz Theatre, which is very small space that fits about 80 people in a room below a bar. However, perhaps because of the location, it seemed like at least half of the audience didn’t understand what was happening. Pay close attention and notice the climax, then the falling action, and resolution. It will pay off with the unexpected and quite interesting ending.
It was a wildly fun night at Happy Endings last night. The MC of the night, Daniel Townes, was hilarious. “90% of communication is non-verbal, and I reckon neck tattoos prove that.” He had funny comments all night long about the previous comedians and great audience banter. You can find out more about him at http://www.danieltownes.com/.
“This is what is sounds like when someone says something racist.” Says Rowan Thumbar. He then goes on to play the stereotypical Chinese melody on a keyboard. “And this is what that same comment sounds like to someone who is racist.” He then plays a beautiful song and everyone cracks up. It’s a great original bit and he plays many more funny ones to the audience’s delight.
John Cruckshank was also on point tonight. As an electrician, he gives off a cool casual blue collar vibe. “I have a usual after work routine. I go and get a pie and a milk. Then I sit down and say, ‘Fuck this shit!’” He goes on to say that he doesn’t need to turn on the comedy for his standup, his whole life is comedy. And we believe him!
What if the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer isn’t all that it seems? What if we only know the toned down kids version. The Eight explores the very adult side of the story. It turns out that Dasher is a big fan of the drink. Cupid is the only gay reindeer. Well, the only openly gay reindeer. Prancer is a movie star who now goes by the name Hollywood. The shocking revelations go on including some very strong allegations against Santa that are all too relevant this year.
The acting in this production is fantastically funny. A rotating cast is used for the eight roles. Each role is played by two to three different actors, who each give their character a uniquely hilarious interpretation. This has allowed the show to stay fresh in its 14th straight year. By just adding a few modern references, it feels like the entire show was written this year! Also, the theater is small and intimate, which plays well with the monologue format.
Skip The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol this year and get tickets now for The Eight: Reindeer Monologues through December 23rd!
This is a very musical cast. Jeffrey Murdoch plays the trumpet. Tyler Davis plays bass and guitar. Tien Tran (who was also in Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno) plays violin. Nate Varrone (the one who looks like Borat) plays drums. Kelsey Kinney (who was also in The Winner… of Our Discontent) rocks a tambourine. Ryan Asher sings. Together, they integrate these skills very smoothly into the show and it pays off in spades. Here are the Top 5 Moments from the show:
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” starts to play. A woman begins to singing it to a man of the left when a clown with a large knife approaches from behind her. In synch with the song, he continually begs her to “Turn Around”. Is this song actually about a killer clown?
Everyone asks “Where’s Waldo?” But nobody asks, “How’s Waldo?”
“Saturday in the Park” by Chicago starts to play. A man begins to tell a story, in synch with the music. “I think it was the 4th of July.” The music stops and his friend interjects “It was the 5th of July!”
It was a great night of laughs on Monday at Broadway Comedy Club, which is in a basement on 53rd St, just off Broadway. There was a 13 year old in the audience, but it’s really a show for adults. Here are three of the best comedians that night, and a few of their best jokes.
Rodney Laney (Comedy Central, MTV, BBC, HBO, CBS Late Show)
So you were guided into a dark basement without windows in the middle of NYC. You should feel lucky that you are alive!
My name is Rodney. They named me that because when I was born, my rod extended to my knee! Also, you should meet my brother, Rod-Ankle.
Mike Somerville (Letterman)
I travel often as a comic. I was just in Oklahoma where I ordered three beers. “$3 dollars says the bartender.” “I said three.” “I know.” “Wow, I feel rich!”
“I love you.” “I love you more.” “Ah, I guess you’re right”
Joe Devito (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, CBS Late Show, FOX Red Eye)
“Dating is hard at my age. Dinner, sex, and a movie. Pick 2!”