Stella | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Stella 

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David Wain and Michael Showalter's film Wet Hot American Summer--an extended goof on Meatballs set at a Jewish summer camp--ran roughshod over 80s teen sex-comedy cliches with a quasi-graphic depiction of gay sex, a falling chunk of Skylab, a shot-by-shot homage to Animal House, and a talking can of vegetables. This perversely funny 2001 film was a natural outgrowth of Stella, the anything-goes weekly cabaret Wain, Showalter, and Michael Ian Black began hosting at New York's Fez Cafe in 1997. Fans of The State will likely remember Wain, Showalter, and Black from that short-lived MTV comedy series of almost a decade ago, but the trio's humor is sharper and a whole lot raunchier without a bunch of network suits watching over them. Now they're touring a stripped-down three-man version of Stella across the country, with comedian Eugene Mirman opening the show. The group's ingratiating stage personas--which they've described as "sweeter, dumber, and gayer" versions of themselves--are part of the attraction. But the biggest draw is their prerecorded video (for sale on DVD at the Stella Web site). Most of the shorts culminate in a bloody fistfight and/or simulated group sex and/or the arrival of an abnormally large dildo. The three also delight in singing comparatively straightforward a cappella medleys of their favorite pop songs--proof, at least according to Wain, that there's something here for everyone. Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600. Friday, July 11, 10 PM. $15.

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