CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
CHICAGO – When he got his chance, writer/director Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”) completely understood what he had to do – combine his skewered hilarity, love of horror movies and true social conscience, and put them all into one great movie. Ladies and germs, “Get Out.”
CHICAGO – Chris Rock wants you to take him seriously, so he has made a comedy with inconsistent laughs, and a nod towards the weird fishbowl lives that today’s celebrities endure. It’s a rare film where the last part is stronger than the first few acts, a mishmash that is “Top Five.”
CHICAGO – While the “Conan” show spends a week in Chicago during the TBS “Just for Laughs” comedy festival, some of his writing staff are showcasing their talents around town in a couple venues. Comedian and “Conan” writer Deon Cole hosts and performs at these events.
CHICAGO – T.J. Miller is not yet a household name, but his comic stylings are memorable in such films as “Cloverfield,” “She’s Out of My League,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and the upcoming “Our Idiot Brother.” Those comedic roots are in Chicago, doing stand-up and improv here.
CHICAGO – “I like the word ‘somewhat’”, mused Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday night onstage at the Chicago Theatre in front of what is now her standard roused audience. “Like you can say, ‘I’m somewhat gay. But my girlfriend’s really gay.’”
CHICAGO – Ellen DeGeneres has always been a woman of many hats. Whether taking a seat as host (or featured dancer) on her Emmy Award-winning talk show “The Ellen Degeneres Show”, offering musical insight to hopefuls on “American Idol”, or lending her voice to the LGBT community, DeGeneres has become a trailblazer of the entertainment industry.
CHICAGO – Legendary comedienne Lily Tomlin has made a career on her ability to hear voices. Whether in the form of the pestilential operator Ernestine, the aristocratic Madame Lupe, or precocious 6-year-old Edith Ann, Tomlin has engrossed audiences with her unique approach to character humor for nearly four decades.
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
CHICAGO – In a landscape of increasingly lower ratings for quirky TV comedy (talk to the producers of “Scrubs” if you don’t believe me), I’m kind of amazed that “Better Off Ted” made it to the air. If “Arrested Development” and everything Andy Richter has ever tried couldn’t find an audience, who thought people would be attracted to this left-of-center workplace sitcom? And the fact that it doesn’t live up to the potential of its concept means the show’s thin chance of survival just disappeared.
CHICAGO – It’s impossible for a critic to thoroughly defend something he finds funny but fully realizes that a large majority of the audience may not. Sometimes a film just hits your funny bone in right way. “Burn After Reading” does so for me, but may not for audiences without a little bit of a mean streak.