Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Children of a Lesser G-d to close

News from IO...Children of a Lesser G-d will be closing in 5 weeks. They perform on Sundays at the Del Close Theater upstairs at IO.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Tess Vigeland talks to current Jeff-nominated ETC star Amanda Blake Davis and mainstage alumnus Brian Gallivan.

Friday, September 25, 2009


During the free improv set at Second City last night, the cast using using the improvisational method of Trigger. I don't know as to how long this method has been used but it was certainly unique and different.

Anyway, between last Thursday and last night, the previews for the new set are looking great. Some new material was previewed last night (it's new to me anyway) and I was cracking up a storm.

The revue is slated to be opening in November and I will do everything in my power to be at opening night.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brad Morris in Sears commercial

Catch Brad Morris in the recent Sears commercial with Brett Favre.

Second City doing previews...

If you are heading out to Second City for a Mainstage show and stay around for the free improv set, you'll be able to catch some of the scenes being worked on for the next revue, which I believe is being directed by Mick Napier.

If you laugh a lot, it will likely be in the next revue. If you don't, well, they'll just have to work harder. That last bit? Andy St. Clair's words, not mine.

But, in all seriousness, they've got some good stuff being prepared. You can't go wrong with some CTA action, be it a bus or a train. I won't ruin it but it's a scene with Emily Wilson and Shelly Gossman. I was cracking up a storm.

Another scene features Lauren Ash as a camp counselor. I halfway thought that it would feature some improvisation with the audience. Nope. I was cracking up a storm.

Another one is at an abortion clinic. That has Emily Wilson and Shelly Gossman. It's funny despite a controversial topic.

There's a scene with Anthony LeBlanc and Emily Wilson, where Anthony is eating tacos for dinner. I love the direction where this is headed.

I want to say there was one with Brad Morris, but that may have just been the improvised part of the night.

While they continue to rehearse the new revue, I highly suggest you check out the free set after the regular show. I think that Friday night is the only night that they don't have a free set.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That roast...

This was from Joe Canale's roast...it's not safe for work.

The Reckoning

Last night, I saw The Reckoning perform in the Del Close Theater at iO.

It started out with Jake Schneider reading a short story that he wrote after last week's show, combining someone's birthday with 9/11. Even though I feel 8 years is too soon for jokes about a tragic day, I was laughing up a storm.

Then we got into the long-form improvisation that iO is known for.

Unlike prior shows that I've seen, be it at iO or even Second City, this one was different in that they went from scene to scene without any kind of a wash across the stage. I don't know if they are the only ones that transition that way but it works. I had no idea it was coming but it definitely works.

The idea suggested last night was Kanye. All in all, this group is one that you have to see if you enjoy improv.

The Reckoning consists of Jet Eveleth, Beau Golwitzer, Charlie McCrackin, Holly Laurent, Eddie Pina, Pat O'Brien, Brian Jack, Brad Morris, and Jake Schneider. Missing from last night's show was Beau Golwitzer, Brad Morris, and it goes without saying that Pat O'Brien wasn't there either. I hear he's writing for some television show...

EDIT: JTS Brown was in effect last night. Good to know.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Middle Age Comeback/3033

Last night, I walked over to iO to see the double feature of Middle Age Comeback and 3033. They perform back to back every Sunday night at 10:30 in the Cabaret theater.

Middle Age Comeback consists of Jim Carlson and Craig Uhlir, both of which have been performing together for years.

The word suggested last night was babies. Immediately, we see Craig as a person at the doctor's office asking Jim as to what he wants to name the kid. We also see a look into the kid's future with the different names such as Farn, Charn, Darn, Rarn, and Dave. Except for Rarn, the "kid" was played by Craig. Rarn was a tupperware salesman played by Jim. Rarn gets killed by Zarn.

It was very hilarious to watch as they play different characters in the same scene.

3033 mainly consists of members of the former house team People of Earth, mainly Bill Arnett, Alex Fendrich, Rush Howell, Danny Mora, and Andy St. Clair.

The suggestion was weather man and we immediately are taken to a dry run of the 6 PM news in which there is a head anchor that comes up with sexual innuendos in every lead story during the dry run through. Both the weather man and sports reporter try to do the other reporter's news. We also see how some of the news team meets at college and the b-roll for Donald Ferraro's introductory reel, which is at least 5 minutes long, if not more. Not to mention how the news team goes from Albuquerque to Chicago. The improvisation is solid and consistent.

Thanks, Larry Pubes!

For only $5, you can see two talented groups perform on a Sunday night. It's not a bad price to pay.

Friday, September 11, 2009

iO cuts house teams

Willie Nelson Slept Here and Electric Mayhem were both cut from iO.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

SCTV Reunion

Tickets go on sale this upcoming Monday for the SCTV reunion as Second City celebrates 50 years!
Anniversary celebration in December, The Second City is proud to announce that tickets will go on sale Monday, September 14th, at 10:00am for the SCTV Reunion Show for one night only on Friday, December 11th.

This once-in-a-lifetime performance will feature beloved characters, scenes and songs from The Second City and SCTV, performed by the comedy icons that made them famous. Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short and Dave Thomas will reunite for one night only to kick off The Second City 50th Anniversary festival weekend December 11th-13th. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Second City Alumni Fund, a resource fund for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams at The Second City and SCTV.
For more on the 50th anniversary celebration, just point your browsers here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shows to check out

Some of the best shows in town that folks should check out include:
Williams and Martinez (performing every Monday night at 10 PM at The Playground)
Felt (performing at 8 PM at iO on Wednesday nights in the Del Close Theater
Best Church of G-d (Every Sunday starting September 20 at Lakeshore Theater)
The Reckoning (Del Close Theater at iO, Tuesday nights, 10:30 PM)
Improvised Shakespeare (Fridays at 8 PM and 10:30 PM at iO
TJ and Dave (Wednesday nights at 11 PM at iO)

Joey Bland goes from Rod Blagojevich, Superstar to ETC

With Andy St. Clair moving to mainstage, a void has to be filled on the ETC cast. Joey Bland, who just finished a run as Rod Blagojevich in Rod Blagojevich, Superstar, has been promoted to the Second City ETC cast. Bland is a former member of The Second City Touring Company. In town, you can find him performing in Baby Wants Candy and The Improvised Shakespeare Company.

Studs Turkels' Not Working

Directed by Matt Hovde, and until this past Sunday, the cast featured Andy St. Clair, Christina Anthony, Amanda Blake Davis, Timothy Edward Mason, Beth Melewski, and Tom Flanigan. The 33rd revue by the Second City ETC theater is very hilarious.

This revue recieved quite a few Jeff Award nominations. The nominations are as follows: Production – Revue, Ensemble, Director – Revue, and Actress in a Revue (Amanda Blake Davis – "Studs Terkel's Not Working").

If I had my way, I would have nominated all six of them.

The show starts off with a very hilarious song about the city of Chicago, with scenes incorporated, but the song also includes a reminder to turn your cell phones off.

One of the improvised scenes happens when Tim Mason comes out asking "You wanna fight the machine?" The punchline at the end: "Vote Republican." That's a way to find the sole Republican in the audience...

They spoof the Hall of Presidents and later, take a tour through the city of Chicago.

One of the best scenes, maybe because of the audience member chosen, had to be where they solved the crime. Tim Mason did his absolute best Thursday night. The audience member, not so much.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Andy St. Clair is moving to Mainstage

Andy St. Clair, a veteran of the Second City ETC stage, ended his run on the ETC stage this past Sunday with his final performance as a cast member of Studs Turkel's Not Working. Andy is a very talented comedian. I've seen him perform several times. Before I moved to Chicago, one of the first things I was told a few years back (2005, actually) was that I HAD to see Andy St. Clair perform. This was back when he was performing Sunday nights at iO with Molly Erdman as a member of Pie.

I saw a performance of Brother, Can You Spare Some Change? around the start of June. I was laughing up a storm when I saw it. During one of the parts where they take audience suggestions, I screamed baseball. Andy acted as a manager attempting to pull Tom Flanigan out of the ballgame. Flanigan didn't want to come out of the game if I recall correctly.

However, during this performance, they were doing previews for the new show. Three of the sketches that I saw did make it into the new revue directed by Matt Hovde. One of the sketches features Tim Mason as a writer of a crime novel. An audience member is picked and has to solve a crime. It's always different every night and the show that I went to last Thursday was unique to say the least because the audience member probably didn't give his real name. Another sketch that made it in was based on the Hall of Presidents at Disney and included Barack Obama. This one never gets old.

I try and catch the free shows every Wednesday night at iO where Carl and the Passions perform regularly. I imagine that Andy's run with them is moving to a close very soon since mainstage cast members perform nightly. However, for the time being, you can catch Andy in the following shows at iO: The Armando Diaz Experience (I think the cast in this show changes every week but don't quote me on it), 3033, and Don Tremendous.

Pat O'Brien hired by SNL

This is a repost from my other blog, The Kentucky Democrat. I had the chance to meet Pat at the send-off party following the free improv set on his last night (August 19, 2009) as a cast member of America: All Better!. Pat was a founding member of The Reckoning, performing weekly every Tuesday night at iO.

In SNL news, they've made some hirings for their writing staff. One of the additions is Pat O'Brien, who was most recently seen at Second City appearing in the revue, America: All Better! O'Brien's final show was last Wednesday night.

Michael Patrick O’Brien, is now starring in the Second City production, ‘America All Better!,’ in the windy city, but will be heading to New York in the fall to write for NBC’s 35th season of SNL.

O’Brien performed with the Second City touring company and the iO team the Reckoning before joining the show’s cast. According to the Chicago Sun Times, O’Brien teamed with Peter Grosz, a writer with the famed ‘Colbert Report’ in a widely praised iO sketch group entitled Misled.
Charna broke the rules when Lorne Michaels was here to audition Chicago improvisers. For SNL's sake, I'm glad she did. See here.
Any time "Saturday Night Live" head man Lorne Michaels visits Chicago on a talent-scouting trip, he has one rule with iO founder Charna Halpern: Don't showcase an actor Michaels has already flown out to audition.

Halpern broke that rule when the "SNL" crew visited several weeks ago. She put up Michael Patrick O'Brien, an actor who performs with The Reckoning at iO and on Second City's Main Stage, in the showcase's opening slot.

"I thought long and hard about it and decided that if Lorne didn't hire [O'Brien] before, it was because he didn't get to see enough," Halpern said. "Lorne and Seth [Meyers] said they were glad I broke the rule."

O'Brien now has two weeks to pack for New York City, where he'll join "Saturday Night Live" as a writer.

"It's one of the reasons we all sign up for that first improv class," O'Brien said, "to be on that show one day."[...]

After the iO talent showcase in late July, O'Brien was flown out to audition at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. O'Brien stood on the same monologue stage as Will Ferrell, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, and performed his "5 minutes" -- the standard set of characters and impersonations sketch comedians prepare.
Tim Baltz has since been promoted to Mainstage.

Pat can be found in Pratkour:


Welcome to Chicago Improv Celebrity News!

This is a new blog that will be covering a lot of the improv happenings within the Chicago community. Who knows, maybe even an interview or two. Or three? We'll see what happens.

Chicago is the mecca of improvisation and sketch comedy. This goes back to 1959, when Second City was founded.

Want long form improvisation? Check out iO Chicago, formerly known as Improv Olympic.

If you are up for more, then check out The Annoyance Theatre and Bar.

Those are the big three names around here but that doesn't mean you should ignore the other ones.