Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
TJ Shanoff and Megan Grano spoke to the press in Baltimore about the upcoming show, The Second City Does Baltimore.
Grano and Shanoff are aware that they are treading on sensitive ground. “What’s a little tricky—and we’re anticipating this in Baltimore—is that we’re gonna have reviewers come in saying, ‘Who the hell do these people think they are?’” Shanoff says. “We’re not trying to say we’re experts. But Second City has a certain pedigree, a certain way of doing things that’s very unique.”[...]
Shanoff has learned that you can’t always predict how a joke will go over. In Atlanta, one scene bombed so badly it was pulled from the show. The skit concerned a Georgia theme park called Stone Mountain. “It’s funny because it used to be the home of the Klan,” Shanoff says. “Now it’s where families—Hispanics, blacks, whites—all hang out and watch laser light shows and listen to classic rock music. But the gift shop had all these super racist items, like Mammy salt-and-pepper shakers and Confederate flag magnets.” So the comedy team wrote a scene spoofing on the gift shop; it included a line to the effect of, “Honey, we’re out of swastika magnets.” No one laughed.
Shanoff hopes to avoid falling flat in Baltimore by running jokes by locals prior to opening night. “Here’s an example,” he says. “I desperately wanted to find a piece that would rake Michael Steele over the coals and [the staff at Center Stage] wound up saying that even when Michael Steele was lieutenant governor nobody cared about him.” Despite his recent bid for re-election, the Republican National Committee chairman will not be appearing in the upcoming show.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
NPR News informs us that Beth Melewski is going to be in the Chicago spinoff of Cash Cab on Discovery.
The Discovery Network show that turns a New York City cab ride into an instant game show is launching a spinoff version based in Chicago next spring. Comic Beth Melewski, a "Second City" cast member, will be behind the wheel.
The expansion comes after a triumphant year for "Cash Cab." The series, itself a remake of a British TV's similar game based in London, won its second Daytime Emmy award for best game show. Ben Bailey won his first Emmy as best host.[...]
Melewski had the combination of smarts and knowledge of her city to work well in the cab, he said.
"Beth feels real-deal Chicago," he said. "You've got to have, for these shows at least, a feel for the city."
He doesn't expect expansion beyond these two cities in the United States, Bunting said. Other "Cash Cab" versions air in Canada, Japan and Australia.
The Chicago shows will begin airing within the two-hour block of four "Cash Cab" episodes that Discovery airs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time, probably after the broadcast networks end their season in May. Bailey has been taping fresh New York episodes that will begin airing earlier. He's already made more than 200 since the game began in 2005.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Kate Duffy was interviewed last week a few days ahead of TourCo's stop at the Ridgefield Playhouse. She talks about how she got her start with Second City, amongst other things.
Q: How did you start performing with Second City?
A: It's funny, because if you asked every actor that, their paths and their journey would probably be different. I'm from the East Coast. I'm from Massachusetts originally and I've always wanted to be an actor or a comedian, and I knew Second City was the launching pad for all the greats. After college I tried to live in Boston for a while and have a normal 9 to 5 job and it just didn't stick, so I packed it all in and headed out here (to Chicago), and I just started by taking classes there actually, about 10 years ago now. So I went through their training center and then I started teaching there, and then I started touring with them about eight months ago.
Q: What's the show like?
A: The show is a two-act. In any show that we do you're going to have archive scenes from the last 50 years; these are best-of scenes that our past casts have written. We also do some of our original stuff that we're writing as a cast. And you'll probably get a little bit of music and some improvisation, as well. And Second City is known for its political and social satire, so nothing is sacred and we poke fun at just about everything.
Q: So many comedians have gotten their start at Second City and then gone on to "Saturday Night Live" and stardom. Is that something the cast is conscious of?
A: I think for a lot of people in Chicago, Second City is often the destination they're going for. There's always the what's next and what's after, and the great thing about Second City is that it has been such a launching pad for such talent, that people do come there to look for talent quite a bit. So you will have Lorne Michaels coming through Second City once a year if he's looking, or L.A. producers will come out, so there is a great opportunity for connections.
Q: Any favorite sketches that you're performing in?
A: Right now a sketch that we're doing is an archive scene that Tina Fey and Rachael Dratch (the "Saturday Night Live" alumna who played Debbie Downer) did back in the '90s called "Wicked." It's basically a mom and a daughter that go shopping at the mall and it's a very Boston-based scene; they have very thick Boston accents. It's really fun for me because I'm from Boston and I know a lot of people that sound like that, but it's also just a very well-written scene that Tina and Rachel put together.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
TJ & Dave will be taking a rare night off next Wednesday, and seeing as they're irreplaceable, we'll be bringing inone of our favorite performers for a free solo set starting at 10:30. iO fans will recognize Steve Waltien from the Improvised Shakespeare Company, Whirled News Tonight, and Bullet Lounge/Chaos Theory. Steve will be presenting material from his new one man show, "Stand-Up to Live: A Work In Progress", partially inspired by the sudden death of his father this past April.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
If you had your suspicions that someone from Chicago was involved with the bar sketch at the end of this weekend's SNL with Robert DeNiro, you'd be correct. Pat O'Brien said he was 1/3 responsible for it. You can view the "It's a Living" sketch at NBC.com