July 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
If you know Chicago comedy, you know the brilliant sketch group Hey You Millionaires (twice named the “Best Sketch Comedy Group in Chicago” by the Reader). In which case you’re likely a fan of Jim Fath, the tallest member of that trio and one of Chicago’s sharpest comedic minds. Well, sadly for Chicago, Jim and the guys are relocating to LA later this year, but fortunately they’re going out with a bang. Case in point, Jim’s debuting his first solo show at iO in July and its going be a treat.
Arguing with a Quadriplegic is on a rockstar triple bill called Jim Paul Jet Paul and it touches on being thankful for those shameful moments in life that end up strangely helping you later on.
“The title Arguing with a Quadriplegic was inspired by a TV audition where I actually had to debate politics with another auditionee,” explains Mr. Fath, “a quadriplegic man arguing for the second amendment. It was absolutely awful and I felt like a real jerk but it actually prepared me well for auditioning later on in my career.”
Besides Hey You Millionaires, Jim’s made a name for himself in Chicago as a memorable contestant and now co-host in the comedy talent competition Impress These Apes. He’s also performed and written shows with iO, The Annoyance, The Noble Fool, and many others. Before moving to Chicago, he worked with Second City Cleveland where he also taught improvisation and comedy writing. In 2006, his writing was featured in the book Look at my Striped Shirt: Confessions of the People you Love to Hate (Broadway Books).
Of his new work, Jim says, “I’ve strived to bring both personal material and relevant social comedy together so that it’s never too much of either. You get to see a little bit of me and a little bit of what I see.”
Jim Paul Jet Paul
One time slot, three amazing shows. Alongside Jim Fath’s Arguing with a Quadriplegic, audiences are also treated to Comedogenic starring Paul Thomas, the man nytheater.com called “Gut-bustingly hilarious,” and Ted and Melanie starring Jet Eveleth (The Reckoning) and Paul Brittain (Topaz, Mike Helicopter) in a scripted show inspired by scenes from their longform improvisation. The Chicago Reader calls Brittain one of the “straight-up funniest guys in town,” and praises Eveleth: “You really have to hang on to every word—but that’s easy to do with Eveleth, whose shape-shifting face is rich with emotion and humor.”
Thursdays @ 8pm, July 8 – August 12, 2010.
iO Chicago, the Del Close Theater, 3541 N Clark St (Addison & Clark).
Tickets are $12 and are available at 773.880.0199 and Chicago.iOImprov.com.
March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Arise, my creation! Arise!
Unfortunately, I’ve badly neglected my Wickepedia over the last several months. (Can someone, anyone tell me how people have the TIME to blog?)
Much has happened, but a few highlights are…
GayCo’s Audacity of Nope
I had the honor of working with GayCo Productions to promote the premiere of their latest revue, The Audacity of Nope or How I Fell for a Pansy Scheme at the Strawdog Theatre. I succeeded in wrangling 8 reviewers to attend this hilarious and subversive show, resulting in descriptions such as “extremely entertaining…brilliantly subversive…impressive wit, contagious camp and explosive humor,” (Chicago Stage Review) “surprisingly fresh and funny…an endearing evening of comedy,” (Centerstage Chicago) and “the music is fun, the comedy is fresh and the writing doesn’t pander…it’s like a gay SNL. Except that it’s actually funny, really funny.“ (Chicagoist). It was a pleasure to work with this talented group and help their 15th original revue make an impact.
Instant Musical @ LOL
Back in October, I announced Laugh Out Loud Theater‘s debut of Instant Musical, the latest addition to their popular new Thursday night lineup. The cast of some of the top improvisers in Chicago, with live piano accompaniment, creates songs on the spot based on audience suggestions, ranging from love ballads to blues numbers and rap. Then, they unite in the second half of the show to create a completely improvised Broadway-style musical. This show has done so well that it’s still running every Thursday! LOL is blowing suburbanites’ minds with fully-improvised musical hilarity!
This terrific production has earned some great reviews on Goldstar Events, where members can snag some discount tickets. Here’s one I thought was notable:
“A hilarious retreat into absurdity, talent, and audience fun. We had a blast.
If you [don’t live] very close to Chicago’s Second City, this is your next best bet, and in many regards this comedy troupe is superior.” – Jake Lawrence, Goldstar Member
There you have it. Laugh Out Loud is superior to Second City, or in some ways a very close runner-up. Not too shabby.
Experience this night of improv set to music for yourself!
Chicago SketchFest 2010
Then of course, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival completely took over my life. This January’s 9th annual SketchFest was a huge success and brought some incredible talent in massive quantities to Theatre Building Chicago for 2 whirlwind weekends of performances and fun.
the tim&micah project: CONTINUE
Following SketchFest, I took a nap for 3 weeks. Afterward, I was thrilled to once again work with my friends the tim&micah project as they returned to Donny’s Skybox for their third revue (which had just debuted at SketchFest). Far beyond a typical sketch comedy show, the tim&micah project: CONTINUE took you on a roller coaster of emotions and immersed you in a mind-bending non-stop theatrical experience. Writer/performer duo Tim Soszko and Micah Philbrook once again demonstrated their “unbridled comic genius” (Centerstage Chicago) with an intelligent, original and meticulously-planned revue full of silliness, physical feats of wonder, and surprisingly real moments. Doing away with the structural conventions of sketch comedy, their scenes morph into each other through dance and performance art transitions, weaving “a web of scenes straight out of a David Lynch fantasy” (Time Out Chicago). You never quite know what’s real, or what to expect as the tim&micah project continues to defy convention and push the boundaries of sketch comedy.
“It’s a nice change of pace when sketch comedians actually treat their audience members like smart human beings.”
Hey You Millionaires in Hollywood
Comedy trivia: The name Hey You Millionaires was taken from the first sketch of the first episode of the HBO show “Kids in the Hall.” A couple of years ago, HYM actually got to meet and hang out with the cast of Kids in the Hall, thanks to the brilliance of journalist Steve Heisler. They played Whirlyball. Steve’s Time Out Chicago article about the encounter can be read here. One of my favorite Chicago comedy stories.
More writing in my web log to come soon…