Monday, December 27, 2010

The Baltimore show

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.

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