Funnier on the Way Out | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Funnier on the Way Out 

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Funnier on the Way Out, 50¢ Chili, at Phoenix Ascending Theatre. The five members of this new sketch-comedy troupe have plenty of improv experience. Too bad it hasn't helped them recognize what's been done before or inspired them to be more creative. Funnier on the Way Out might better be called "Funnier the Last Time We Saw It."

This is definitely late-night humor, perhaps more enjoyable to those who've had a few drinks. The 55-minute show begins (and ends) with a paean to the effects of chili. From bathroom humor it moves on to jokes about smoking pot, guzzling beer, profanity, and blow jobs. Heavy on black humor, Funnier on the Way Out is best when it's zany. A scene in which Brad Olson plays all five characters in a soap opera is a great physical-comedy showcase. Michael Kinnavy's brief appearance as "Rozdower," a mop-topped man performing great feats with a Styrofoam cup, is funny, and Charlie McCrackin gets the audience laughing as a singing and dancing "backyard nymph."

But overall, tepid performances and unoriginal writing do the show in. The group can't sustain the comedy even in scenes that have potential. Their sketches end haphazardly or lose momentum early, or the actors simply smother the punch line.

--Jenn Goddu


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