The Second City asks for your vote but doesn't want to reveal its positions in this election-season revue.
There’s plenty to satirize in the current election season, to be sure. But the Second City’s new topical revue, produced in conjunction with the news and culture website Slate, seems at first to have the same problem as so much journalistic coverage of the horse race: The first few scenes, in their apparent determination to maintain an air of objectivity, treat all sides as worthy of equal mockery, and come across as rather toothless for it.
One can understand the attempt to appear neutral—particularly since this show will be going out on the road after its initial run at UP, heading into a number of swing states just as the debates are getting underway. But this is no ordinary election season (even if we say that every four years, it’s surely more true than ever now). Fortunately, the scripted sketches pick up the pungency as the show goes on, with jabs at Hillary, Trump and Bernie and their respective supporters. And, of course, the situation is so fluid that you can imagine the script being revised nightly.
Perhaps to that end, Unelectable You offers a bit more space to improv than a traditional Mainstage or e.t.c. revue, which at the performance I attended led to, among other things, a creative skewering of the Libertarian Party based on an audience suggestion of “Gary Johnson.” Improv seems to play to the skills of the solid performers better than much of the scripted material, which seems to blend archival sketches with new stuff written by a committee that didn’t include the cast. Compromise may be the only way to get things done in politics, but it doesn’t serve personality all that well.
UP Comedy Club. Written by Tyler Alexander, Billy Bungeroth, Marla Caceres, Tyler Davis, Ed Furman, Scott Morehead, Carley Moseley, John Thibodeaux, Steve Waltien, the casts of the Second City. Directed by Matt Hovde. With Carisa Barreca, Frank Caeti, Cody Dove, Alan Linic, Ian Owens, Tien Tran. Running time: 2hrs; one intermission.