Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Who Do We Think We Are” 2nd city’s 100th revue

Recommended*** It is amazing! The second City in Old Town has been making people laugh and drink for over 50 years and at this time, with several stages in Chicago, celebrates the 100th Revue since they began. While I go back to the early days,  mean the Jack Burns/Avery Schrieber days, and I have been witness to many smart reviews under the current leadership, I do long for the days when the performance was all improv and each night the show changed. In today’s world, we have a script and a general story-line with a scene here and there that is created from scratch “on the spot”- ah, give me the good old days!>

As it is an election year with lots of speculation as to what will take place in November, there is a political overtone in this production , with Edgar Blackmon ( the only African American) playing President Obama who has a small debate with Romney ( played by Steve Waltien) and to be perfectly honest, the political “schtik” is not as funny as what we read in the daily papers ( or online for those of you who do not read print anymore). In fact, as much as I love Second City and laugh my A_ _ off, at every new show, this one, is not as funny as the previous , lets say 23. I have come to expect only the best of comedy and improv form the talented members of this troupe and felt a little “let down” by this particular show. Matt Hovde, directs these 6 talented comedians in an almost two hours of skit after skit with two improv moments where the customers determine what is next.

The improv section is very funny as instead of just doing it, they hold an auction where the audience pays ( money goes to charity) to get their dream skit performed by these talented players. Tonight, they did a 70 year old man gyrating ( prompted by his daughter wishing to acknowledge his 70th birthday) while two dogs were doing it on stage ( this was the original request, then came the gyrating 70 year old man and then an audience member paid more to have both at the same time. Funny bit- natural- and very old school The second City!

There were several other skits about who we are, who we are supposed to be and each one has something of value to take form the minutes spent on the concept. Yes, we laugh, but one of the wondrous parts of The second City is that what they do and say, also makes us think- are we better off today than we were just four years ago? Did our actions in our school years change what we became or even more, what we will become in the years to come? These are just a few of the biting questions in this two hours of comedy presented by Mr. Blackmon ( who does a great cheerleader in drag), the very funny Mary Sohn, Katie Rich, the adorable Holly Laurent, Mr. Waltien and the always reliable Tim Baltz.

These are talented performers who write their own material and are pretty quick on the uptake when they need to ad lib and do improv. While, I must say, in the old days, being less scripted, the performers had to be ven quicker, these are sharp cookies who know how to reach an audience. I know, in looking around the room tonight that it was not every bit for every member of the audience, but who could ever expect to please each and every member of the audience for almost two hours? Based on what I witnessed, I would have to say that this ensemble was able to make this audience feel good about the experience of visiting The second City- first time or many times, a visitor, each walked away with a laugh or two and a feeling of having a great time. This is what comedy is- a diversion. A way of taking your mind off the problems of the job, your life or the world. At The Second City, to make sure you get what they want you  to get, brings the things that you want to divert yourself from to the forefront so you can laugh with them and walk away understanding who you are and that these little set-backs in life will not alter your very existence. This show goes to extremes to explain to the viewers that all the crap in our lives is just that and that despite the good, the bad and the ugly, our lives are very special to us and to those who rely on and love us.

“Who Do We Think We Are” is scheduled to be an “open run” which means that as long as people buy tickets ( and drinks) they will continue following this story-line ( although, I think after the election in November it will change a bit) with performances on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and 11 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.

Tickets  range from $23-$28 and are available at the box office located at the theater- 1616 N. ells Street ( just North of North Avenue), by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com


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