Best Variety Show | Best of Chicago 2010 | Arts & Entertainment | Chicago Reader

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Best Variety Show 

click to enlarge impresstheseapes.jpg

Fuzzy Gerdes

Impress These Apes

929 W. Belmont

There’s a lot that can go wrong here. Impress These Apes is an eight-week talent competition, now in its fifth iteration, in which contestants prepare assigned acts—stand-up with a puppet, say, or anti-comedy—to be judged American Idol-style by “hyper-intelligent apes from the future” (three comedians in masks). The acts might easily flop—or, worse, they might not be bad enough to elicit sufficient zingers from the apes.

And yet there’s never a dull moment.

Blewt! Productions has engineered Apes with silly backstory and wacked- out characters enough to keep things lively. And the contestants—who’ve endured a rigorous audition process for the chance to win prizes, $500, and the title of Least Pitiful Human—are always up for the increasingly weird tasks at hand. The possibility that Apes could fall apart at any moment only means that when something special happens, like an underdog pulling out all the stops, it’s glorious. It runs through July 26, Mondays at 8 PM; tickets are $10.

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Best Free Movie Series

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Best New Play

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Best New Theatrical Form

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Best Theater History Collection

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Best Variety Show

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Best Improv Group

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Best Stand-up Comedian

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Best Sketch Show

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Best Commentary on Modern Technology by a Choreographer

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Best UnderĀ­appreciated Chicago Novel

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)