The Chicago-based improv group The Second City made its 20
The six-person ensemble of comedians barreled through one quirky skit after another: a desperately salacious scene involving one of the females mimicking a blow up doll, another centered around a child on Christmas Eve ramped up on sugar, a motivational dance troupe called "Step Up and Vote" with a leader who quizzed audience members on voting rights in a Harry Caray-like voice, a guitarist performing an Adam Sandler-esque ballad on why fast food is delicious and a playful dramatization of how Sharon and Rob, a couple unadvisedly seated in the front row, first met.
Poor Rob seemed pained in having been singled out from the crowd, and I slouched in my seat in empathy. I’ve learned the hard way what it can be like to sit up front in a comedy club and, buried in the middle of a row midway back in the auditorium, I was planning on coming out of this thing unscathed, humility intact.
Some of the scenes were a bit edgier. Two of the comedians dexterously weaved the night’s presidential debate, the Spanish Inquisition and a toaster—three unrelated things offered up by the audience—together around what they decided was their common thread -- that all three were a conspiracy against black people. The group polled the audience on how the military could attract more gays, and stereotypically funny -- or unfunny -- answers like Cher and Indigo Girls performances were tossed out. Momentum mounted until the climax of the night, a spoof on the final dance number in Dirty Dancing, with a military man and a Muslim woman in hijab standing in for Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Why? Because nobody puts Medulla Oblongata in the corner.
As I was sitting there, I was thinking about how I could be watching the next Steve Carell, Tina Fey or Stephen Colbert, all Second City alumni. Seth Weitberg, one of the performers, could be the next Chris Kattan; he certainly matched the former SNL star in energy, and stature. And I was thoroughly impressed.
For those who missed the show (or were there, but crave more), Second City will be back in the area this weekend, performing an all-political sketch show called "DeFace The Nation" at the Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse. Check 'em out.
(Image Courtesy of The Second City)