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February 3, 2012 | By Julia Borcherts for RedEye
Every advice columnist we can think of encourages keeping your professional and love lives separate. But what happens when Cupid strikes onstage? With Valentine's Day around the corner, we checked in with the founders-producers from three venerable sketch and improv comedy houses--who happen to also be couples--to find out what happens when your significant other is also your partner in the business of making the rest of us laugh every night. Dan Abbate and Kelly Williams Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.; gorillatango.com Together: Since January 2004, when Kelly auditioned as an...
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NEWS
April 15, 2014 | By Emily Brown, @emily_brown88 and RedEye
There would be no big-time comedy festival in Chicago in 2014, it seemed, until four Chicago comics and a journalist decided to create their own. The Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival, sponsored by TBS, had been hosted in Chicago for five straight years until it was canceled this year. To replace it, local comedians put their heads together to establish the Comedy Exposition of 2014, set for July 11-13.  Four Chicago comedians - Katie McVay, Stephanie Hasz, Zach Peterson and Goodrich Gevaart - as well as comedy writer Matt Byrne have banded together to create the once-a-year...
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NEWS
November 27, 2012 | By Zara Husaini @zarhus
“The Guilt Trip,” the upcoming movie starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand will be taking a trip around the country. Exclusive screenings will be held at participating AMC movie theatres in major cities on December 2, well before the film's December 19 release datte.  The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Rogen and Streisand responding via satellite from LA.  The movies is about a son and mother duo who embark on a road trip...
NEWS
March 31, 2014 | By Julia Borcherts @Julia Borcherts and For RedEye
Did your childhood dreams include jumping into a tub of mashed potatoes or flinging yourself down a chocolate syrup-coated slide on Nickelodeon's "Double Dare"? If so, here's your chance to cross that dream off your bucket list, complete with host Marc Summers running the show. On Sunday, Summers hosts ComedySportz's "Improvised Double Dare," a live, comedic game show inspired by the beloved '80s and '90s program where teams of kids competed in trivia quizzes and messy physical challenges for fabulous prizes.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 12, 2014 | By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol and RedEye
I admit it; I'm not a huge fan of rap music. So I wasn't expecting to like the animated rap comedy "Chozen" ( 9:30 p.m. Jan. 13, FX; 1.5 stars out of 4 ) What's surprising is how much more I like the musical segments than the rest of it. When the gay white "rappist" of the title openly boasts about his sexuality with the same bravado as any straight rapper would about his, the only slightly amusing "Chozen" finally gets real, yo. The show, from former "Eastbound & Down" writer's assistant Grant Dekernion and produced by the "Eastbound" (David Gordon Green, Danny McBride)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 2013 | Elliott Serrano, for Redeye
Considering my - um - history with Star Trek folks, you'd think that I wouldn't be so welcome in their universe. Let's face it, the first time I met William Shatner he tried drowning a Jean-Luc Picard Action Figure that he assumed was mine. Newsflash, Captain Kirk! It wasn't! Anyhoo... Despite my checkered past with the crew of the Enterprise , the funny folks of " Improvised Star Tre k " have invited me to be a part of their show this Friday! I'll be a contestant in "The Away Mission Game"...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 2013 | Matt Pais, @mattpais and RedEye movie critic
** (out of four) A by-the-book FBI agent. An all-over-the-place cop. Imagine the sparks that will fly if they become partners! Actually, you don't have to imagine. You've seen this dynamic in practically every buddy cop movie ever, just not with women as the buddies. The parts land square in the comfort zones for Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, who annoy each other and me in “The Heat,” which should have considered inverting the roles and allowing the actresses to play against type a la Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in “21 Jump Street.” ...
NEWS
May 20, 2013 | By Julia Borcherts, @JuliaBorcherts and For RedEye
When Chicago actor Scott Duff joined forces with Laugh Factory to debut an LGBT-themed showcase, he knew he wanted his first headliner to be no-holds-barred comedian Jessica Halem, who spent 12 years - 1996 to 2008 - at the top of the Chicago comedy scene before returning to New York. "I really wanted a strong female presence," said Duff, a founding member of About Face Theatre who also has appeared in productions at Steppenwolf, the Goodman and other Chicago stages. "Whenever you think about the gay community, you think of gay...
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 2012 | By Curt Wagner and RedEye
NBC has ordered a full season of "Chicago Fire," an "action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department. " The series pilot was filmed in Chicago and, according to an NBC rep, the series will continue to be filmed in the Windy City. From "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf, the series stars Taylor Kinney ("The Vampire Diaries"), Jesse Spencer ("House"), Monica Raymund ("The Good Wife"), former Chicagoan David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City")
ENTERTAINMENT
February 16, 2012 | By Georgia Garvey, RedEye
Name a comedian - any comedian - and chances are that performer either passed through the doors of the famed Second City in Old Town or worked with someone who has. From Bill Murray to Tina Fey, the alumni list from the improv club boasts more big names than an issue of People magazine and more stars than the Oscars telecast. The Second City celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple of years ago, and the list of those who turned up included Jim Belushi, Steve Carell, Bob Odenkirk, Harold Ramis, Stephen Colbert, Catherine O'Hara, George Wendt, Martin Short - if you've seen a comedy (or a drama,...
NEWS
March 17, 2014 | By Julia Borcherts @Julia Borcherts and For RedEye
Have friends or family expressed wonder - or concern - about your encyclopedic knowledge of "Battlestar Galactica?" Ever passed up a date to avoid ending a role-playing game marathon? Does your idea of a perfect weekend include binge-viewing "Dr. Who"? If you answered "yes" to any of the above - or even if you just have a passionate interest in what others who don't own lightsabers or 20-sided dice might call geeky pursuits - the second annual Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival is for you. "There are just a ton of wonderful nerd comedy groups in Chicago," said Katie Johnston-Smith, who...
NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By Julia Borcherts @Julia Borcherts and For RedEye
Amanda Drinkall may have grown up in a conservative Presbyterian family in Oswego, Ill., but that doesn't mean that her family isn't supportive of her decision to step into a pair of stiletto-heeled boots - and not much else - for her role in the Chicago premiere of "Venus in Fur," by New York playwright David Ives. "They're excited; they're so proud," she said when we caught up with her at the Goodman Theatre after watching the final on-stage run-through before that evening's dress rehearsal.
NEWS
January 21, 2014 | By Sean Ely, @theseanwow and RedEye
For so many comedians, New York City is the goal. The path? Work hard, write new material, perform as many times as you can on stage in a week, get noticed and then move to the Big Apple … never looking back. The road for Hannibal Buress - who has lived in New York for five years - follows that general direction. Until, of course, you get to that last part. “Chicago is where I'm from,” said the 30-year-old comic while enjoying a drink at Old Town Ale House during a trip home over the holidays.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 12, 2014 | By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol and RedEye
I admit it; I'm not a huge fan of rap music. So I wasn't expecting to like the animated rap comedy "Chozen" ( 9:30 p.m. Jan. 13, FX; 1.5 stars out of 4 ) What's surprising is how much more I like the musical segments than the rest of it. When the gay white "rappist" of the title openly boasts about his sexuality with the same bravado as any straight rapper would about his, the only slightly amusing "Chozen" finally gets real, yo. The show, from former "Eastbound & Down" writer's assistant Grant Dekernion and produced by the "Eastbound" (David...
NEWS
January 6, 2014 | By Julia Borcherts and For RedEye
In 2001, Brian Posen rented the Theatre Building Chicago - now Stage 773 - to stage a musical, which fell through. In order to honor the rental commitment, he invited 30 local sketch comedy groups to share stage time and The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival was born. Approximately 2,000 people attended the shows. Thirteen years later, it's grown into the largest festival of its kind in the country, with 159 sketch comedy troupes performing 188 shows to 10,000 audience members over eight days.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Sean Ely, @theseanwow and RedEye
Lights dimmed, music levels rose and, in a matter of just seconds, the entire energy at The Second City e.t.c. Theater warped into something very few could possibly put into words. This isn't your run-of-the-mill comedy show. Despite having no idea what to expect, I knew I - and the 200-plus audience members in the theatre - were in for a unique, high-energy and hysterical evening of Chicago's best comedy. “A Clown Car Named Desire” burst onto the stage in front of a sold-out audience, and their addictive camaraderie was apparent seconds into the performance.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 2011 | By Curt Wagner and RedEye
We all deal with certain amounts of stress in our lives. How we cope, though, sets us apart. "I probably smoke too many cigarettes, which isn't a very good thing," said Elijah Wood, best known for playing Frodo Baggins in "The Lord of the Rings" movies. "I don't have any extraordinary sort of coping mechanism. I certainly don't talk to a dog. " That's exactly what his character does in "Wilfred," the unapologetically bizarre FX comedy that premieres at 9 p.m. June 23. Wood plays Ryan, a suicidal guy who strikes up a relationship with his neighbor's dog, Wilfred.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 30, 2013 | Matt Pais, @mattpais and RedEye movie critic
* (out of four) A big star in Mexico, “Instructions Not Included” star/director/co-writer Eugenio Derbez may best be known by American audiences as Felipe/Felipe's grandma in Adam Sandler's horrible comedy “Jack and Jill.” Quite the reference point. For his directorial debut, Derbez takes a page from Sandler, playing a much-younger ladies' man despite any obvious explanation of his appeal. He also pretends to tell a story about family when really the whole movie is about him. The 50-year-old actor plays Valentin, a...
ENTERTAINMENT
October 28, 2013 | By Julia Borcherts @Julia Borcherts
EAT Witch's Ravioli Nando Milano Trattoria 2114 W. Division St. 773-486-2636 Take advantage of this seasonally spooky supper option featuring housemade pumpkin ravioli filled with robiola cheese and spices and topped with sage-butter sauce ($19). Up the ante with $10 spirits pairings including the house-crafted Wine of the Living Dead sangria or Immortal Elixir, made with Aperol, prosecco and soda. 5-10 p.m. $2 Pizzas Bella Bacino's 75 E. Wacker Drive 312-263-2350 Bacino's 2204 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-472-7400 Celebrate the last week of National Pizza Month...
NEWS
October 15, 2013 | By Julia Borcherts, @JuliaBorcherts and For RedEye
He's a TV show host by day who turns tricks at night. But no, this isn't Justin Willman's dark secret. He started performing magic as a kid under the stage name his mother bestowed, Justin Kredible. He's kept it - but ditched the nickname - as an adult and, along with his gigs as the host of Food Network's "Cupcake Wars," "Halloween Wars" and "Last Cake Standing," has continued to make magic with the likes of actor Hugh Jackman and filmmaker Kevin Smith on such programs "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and his own monthly sold-out shows in the back of an L.A....
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