Interviews

Early Bird Gets the Laughs: A Q&A with Steven Springer

Guess which facts about Steven Springer are true or false: The first time I was impressed by Steven Springer was when I happened on his YouTube clips about seven years ago. His delivery is on an almost magical frequency – both inscrutably deadpan and intriguingly charming. I wanted to hang on to every word. The …

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It’s Time to Celebrate “Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue”: A Q&A with Vic & Paul

PHOTO: DANA OLSEN, VICTORIA ZIELINSKI, PAUL BARROSSE The legendary Practical Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue at Studio5 in Evanston from December 29-31 and January 4-7 with a special New Year’s Eve edition. The sketch comedy and music extravaganza stars Victoria Zielinski, Dana Olsen and Practical …

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It’s Time to Celebrate “Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue”: A Q&A with Dana Olsen

PHOTO: DANA OLSEN, PAUL BARROSSE, VICTORIA ZIELINSKI, STEVE RASHID If you spot Dana Olsen playing with his grandson at a North Shore park, know that you are not looking at just any grandpa. Dana’s comedy partners Victoria Zielinski and Paul Barrosse describe him as a “tall Nord” and “as fine a comedy writer as there …

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Doug! A Q&A with Matt Braunger

PHOTO: Matt Braunger/Photo by Mindy Tucker ****************************************** As Matt Braunger toured nationwide honing material for his new special Doug, he discovered a problem. The surprise twist at the end had unintended consequences. “It happened almost every weekend,” Matt said. “I would look online and people had shot video of my show, unbeknownst to me. They …

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Behind the scenes with the Bad Momz of Comedy: from comedy class to Kelly Clarkson

What are your favorite TV moments of 2022? Mine happened on October 12 between 3-4 p.m. I was watching The Kelly Clarkson Show on NBC. Jay Leno was on. He confessed that Kelly’s next guests had comedy kudos that even he lacked. For one thing, he’d never brought down the house at a P.T.A. event, …

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The Comedic Optimism of a Sexy Liberal. A Q&A with Hal Sparks

Never mind Covid, there’s an epidemic of pessimism these days. If you could inoculate yourself against pessimism, would you do it?  Well, you can! This Saturday, Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Save Democracy Tour arrives at the Harris Theater in downtown Chicago. The tour is the brainchild of Hal Sparks who makes a persuasive case that …

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Sinisterhood in Chicago: Comedy comes to creepy curses

No one does Creepiness, Comedy and Camaraderie like Sinisterhood! A Q&A with Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney —– Heather McKinney first saw Christie Wallace in 2017 at an improv show at the Dallas Comedy House. In her lyrical Texas drawl, Heather told me, “I remember spotting Christie. She was a teacher. She was on all …

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From Geico caveman to cold sober comedy: A Q&A with John Lehr

As Geico’s spokesperson, John Lehr played the most highly evolved caveman in the history of humanity. He was known for his metrosexual style, sensitive nature, and pained response to the word “Neanderthal.”  Business Insider called him one of the greatest, most recognizable brand icons of all time. After infusing the prehistoric spokesman with unforgettable personality, …

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Paper Machete celebrates American women in media with an original May 22 event

I’ve always wanted to know how Christopher Piatt creates a once-in-a-lifetime show every single week. For over a decade, I’ve also been curious about the name of that show: Paper Machete. What does it mean? Does it mean that like paper, the show is essential to civilization, discourse and the arts? And like a machete, …

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The Gift and the Not Gifted: Ross and AJ are now on Whatifi!

Parties are stressful! Never mind the pressure to be social, fascinating and bubbly. What about birthday parties and the search for the perfect gift? Ross Kelly and AJ Lubecker nearly died on that quest on a sweltering day in Topanga Canyon. There was no other way. Their friend Bob bestows a “Best Party Person Award” …

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Smash the patriarchy. Keep the pawtriarchy. A Q&A with Cara Connors

Cara Connors describes herself as a “former Catholic high school/current queer, corn-fed comedian.” That’s just part of the story. She started out in the Chicago suburbs, then moved to New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, all the while picking up experiences, insights, and brilliant comedic steam. Cara grew up in Niles and attended Regina Dominican …

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Natasha Pearl Hansen’s comedy is a toast to life

Natasha Pearl Hansen canceled her wedding. Then she did something even more surprising. Never mind that the wedding was weeks away and the venue was nonrefundable. Of more concern, friends and family had saved the date and booked their hotels. They wanted an occasion. This award-winning comedian was not going to let them down. On …

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Gianmarco Soresi brings award-winning pessimism to Lincoln Lodge this Thursday

Gianmarco Soresi’s comedy has inspired some notable events. His pandemic comedy special Shelf Life, available on Amazon Prime, was nominated for three Emmy awards. Billy Crystal rewrote a movie scene for him. And worst case scenario, he once had to figure out how to keep an audience laughing at an election night comedy show … …

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