**** Recommended **** The Second City continues to do what they do best, making people laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more, with their 107th Mainstage Revue, “Algorithm Nation or, The Static Quo”. The Second City formula – a revue filled with snarky commentary on the news of the day, silly sketches, music, improv, audience participation, even a little slapstick comedy – has been very successful over the years, but this revue falls a little short on the hilarity scale. 3 ½ Spotlights
This year’s review begins with a loud buzzer, a flashing light and a disembodied voice – a computer maybe? – which apparently controlled the cast by interrupting whenever. If that sounds like a weird sentence, it’s because the whole thing was weird – and not funny.
The talented cast, Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Emily Fightmaster, Jeffrey Murdoch, Nate Varrone and Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, doesn’t have enough to work with. There are some really funny skits, but too many are just not funny. As I watched the Women for Trump skit, for example, reminded me of the noise made by chalk on a blackboard.
Ironically, the funniest bit of the night was mostly unscripted. One of the cast members, Nate Varron, decided to escape from the algorithm (I think). He ran into the audience and took a guy named Andrew hostage, stopping to make fun of him because he was still wearing his jacket (actually it was a winter parka with a fur-trimmed hood) and it was Act II. After dragging Andrew onstage, he made him read a statement out loud. Andrew displayed surprising aplomb and good timing. The audience was really into it as they kept Andrew onstage for more of the skit.
• The Good Morning Cleveland skit, in which the costars celebrate an anniversary with some not-so-politically-correct clips from past shows
• The Palestinian Uber driver annoying his Israeli passenger with his musical choices
• The ‘60s style girl group
• The VP trying to dance – very badly
• Seduction with a Blue Tooth
• The above-mentioned Women for Trump skit
• The training video
• At least three different gun-related skits
The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue, “Algorithm Nation or, The Static Quo” is in an open run at The Second City Mainstage Theater, 1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago. ‘Bar-food’ and drinks are available throughout the performance. Parking in the adjacent garage is readily available but pricey.
Running time is just under two hours, with an intermission. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:00 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:00 and 11:00 pm; and Sunday at 7:00 pm. Tickets start at $31. FYI (312) 337-3992 or www.secondcity.com.
Read all of my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.