Second City Didn't Want Us, or Is There a Spot in the Touring Company for My Girlfriend? | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Second City Didn't Want Us, or Is There a Spot in the Touring Company for My Girlfriend? 

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Second City Didn't Want Us, or Is There a Spot in the Touring Company for My Girlfriend? Factory Theater.

Second City has been ripe for satire ever since it became obvious in the mid-80s that the actors who hacked and hotdogged their way through those increasingly miserable shows were just doing time until they got their own sitcoms. But until now no one dared ruffle the feathers of Mother Second City, even though there are literally hundreds of bitter Second City wannabes running around town with ugly, funny stories to tell.

Of course, no one wants to bite the hand that might feed them. No one, that is, except the rabid cast of Factory Theater's mostly very funny Second City Didn't Want Us. Written and performed by an ensemble of disgruntled Second City Training Center graduates, the show is structured just like a Second City revue. Some of the criticisms hit home, as when Amy Seeley and Jenny Kirkland complain about the secondary roles women are assigned or Sean Abley deconstructs the formula for a typical Second City cast (a good-looking funny guy; a tall, thin funny guy; a fat funny guy; a Jewish funny guy; a good-looking funny girl; and a less beautiful funny girl), revealing that there's no room for a gay funny guy. Other complaints are considerably more whiny and self-serving.

Then there are the inevitable tales about getting caught in the bureaucratic machinery, as when tall, funny, vivacious Brooke Dillman--the very model of a Second City woman--gets cast but ends up never performing because she has to wait for one of the women currently in the company to leave. The show is also full of personal attacks on, among others, producer Kelly Leonard, director-actor Ron West, and critic Larry Bommer, some of which are quite funny, though others seem gratuitous. (What are those vicious jokes about Larry doing here?)

The irony is that this show comes at a time when Second City's artistic fortunes are rising, which takes some of the wind out of Factory Theater's satiric sails. But not so much that this snickering look at Second City's dark side is spoiled.

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