Operation Push, Push in the Bush | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Operation Push, Push in the Bush 

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Operation Push, Push in the Bush, Brownco, Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio. Second City's brand expansion into the African-American and Latino markets is neither biting in its commentary nor prescient in its observations. But it is funny. Mixing Second City classics with new material and improv, it's at its strongest when presenting archival sketches. In "Fishing," from Second City in Detroit, a young man and his father are forced to acknowledge that they live in two different worlds whose only intersection is marked by Motown melodies. And in "Porches," a Buppie couple, giddy over their move to Wrigleyville, meet their new neighbors--recently relocated from Cabrini-Green as part of the mayor's CHA Plan for Transformation.

Second City audiences are accustomed to mining nuggets of gold from evenings filled with silt. And so it is with Operation Push. A flat, interminable piece of Jackson-and-Sharpton-are-bumbling-clowns minstrelsy is almost redeemed by the punch line, "You know what's funny?...bastard children." A predictable sketch about the indifference of a discount store's sales staff ends with an aria on underpayment.

The cast is consistently strong, though Kevin Douglas and Jonathan Keaton break away from the pack. But conspicuous by its absence, especially considering our current rich resources, is actual political pungency--the edginess and commitment that can inspire out-of-the-park payoffs from improv and sketch-comedy groups.

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