The Program | iO Theater | Improv/Sketch | Chicago Reader
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The Program

Courtesy Jamie Brew

When: Fridays. Continues through June 24 2016
Price: $14
Created by Jamie Brew, head writer for the Onion’s viral-content parody website Clickhole, this may be the first computer-generated comedy show on the scene. Brew’s computer program, called “Philip” but inspired by 2001’s HAL, is similar to a phone’s predictive text function, except it draws from more specific sources. Satire is strong in bits culled from Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, the lines of which sound surprisingly plausible for the off-the-cuff chef. “It’s delicious to be a poet of life,” says Bourdain, played by an appropriately puffed-up Sameena Mustafa. Other sketches, mixing nonsense with the wackily profound, are based on everything from Romeo and Juliet to The X-Files. While most are short enough to maintain the language’s novelty, a deeper dive into Philip’s background and relationship to his creator could help add comedic variety. —Marissa Oberlander

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