Category Archives: #chicago

At Last the 1948 Show–Live!

1948 Show poster

I’ve been waiting a long time to make this announcement, and at last I can tell you what I’ve been working on lately.

Have you ever wondered what sort of comedy show John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman would be writing if they had been born 50 years later in Chicago with ovaries? Well, wonder no more.

Coming soon to Chicago’s iO Theatre is the first-ever stage production of At Last the 1948 Show, fully authorized by John Cleese, and directed by yours truly. It will star Camilla Cleese and a cast of Chicago’s finest sketch actors, along with yours truly.

I’ll be writing more soon about this once-in-a-lunchtime production, but if you want more information or a link, here’s a link, or just keep reading:

 

After 50 years of preparation, rare sketches from one of British television’s silliest shows are being presented in America for the very first time for two weeks only.

At Last the 1948 Show—Live” is written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman, and the cast is headed by Camilla Cleese (who is no relation to Chapman, Brooke-Taylor, or Feldman), with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell, although they are also in the cast).

The live show is produced and directed by Johnson in association with Wing Commander Muriel Volestrangler, F.R.H.S. and Bar, and the iO Chicago.

At Last the 1948 Show” aired on British television in 1967. Afterward, the network realized they could save a little money by recording over these comedic masterworks, and it was only through the tireless efforts of Wing Commander Volestrangler and others that copies have been found and scripts reconstructed. While a few of these sketches were later re-recorded by Monty Python, and others can be found in the darkest corners of the internet, many simply don’t exist anymore. But now, Chicago audiences can experience them live on stage for the first time ever.

Camilla Cleese, with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell)

Call 312 929-2401 to purchase tickets or purchase them online.

 

PythonProv and the Python Process

My Python Process writing class and PythonProv improvisation classes at the iO Chicago are getting ready for their graduation shows, and I couldn’t be prouder. If you want to see why I’m so happy with them, stop by the Jason Chin Cabaret at 7 pm at the iO Tuesday, April 18 for PythonProv, and next Sunday night at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO. You will laugh.

Cleese on Grail

Grail B&W1

Looks like it’s okay to announce this now.

If you’re disappointed because your part of America didn’t have a chance to see Eric and John last year and this year. you’re still out of luck. But if you’ve always wanted to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail presented by John, with a full discussion of the film and audience Q&A, you’re in luck. During the month of January, there will be lots and lots of opportunities. Only three have been announced so far, but there will be more. Honest.

14 January – Providence Performing Arts Centre, Rhode Island.  Tickets are on-sale NOW, right here.

20 January – The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Maine.  You can access the PRE-SALE tickets using the password: GRAIL here. Pre-sale ends Monday 10 October at 10pm.

 
22 January – The Chicago Theatre, Chicago.  Tickets are on-sale NOW, right, here.  

A PythonProv day…

What’s better than teaching a PythonProv workshop at the iO Chicago for 16 students from around the world?

Remembering to take photos of the class so that I could have posted them here…

 

Saturday Night this Sunday!

We had a great crowd and a great show last Sunday when we presented “Pythons in a Van” at the iO Chicago as the student show for my Python Process class.

If you missed it, you have a chance to see its silly cousin, “Sunday Night Live,” at the Farley Cabaret in the iO at 7 pm this Sunday night, June 19th. Different show, a few familiar faces, and an awful lot of laughs. This is a great group of students and some terrific writing, and it’s absolutely free.

If you missed Colin Jost in town this week at Zanies, we have our own Colin Jost, sort of. And our own version of Michael Che. And pretty much doppelgangers for the whole cast (at least the ones we need, anyway). You don’t have to travel to New York, or stay up until 10:30 (and the older you get, the more appealing this will be. Trust me.). It’s the best deal in town!

Sunday Night Pythons Live in a Van…

Baron's B reunion

A couple of cheap laughs–actually, they’re free!–are coming up if you’re in the Chicago area in June.

You may already know that I teach at the iO Chicago. Well, this session, I’ve been teaching two writing classes.

The first, for the great Michael McCarthy’s Comedy Lab, is an SNL Sketch Packet class, designed so that at the end of our eight week session, the students will have a packet of sketches ready to send out to seek representation.

The second class is my Python Process class, in which I teach my students how to use the methods used by Monty Python to write sketches more efficiently and more creatively.

At the end of our eight week sessions, each class will be casting and directing a staged reading in the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO Theatre. And those days are almost here!

This Sunday night, June 12, we will be presenting “Pythons in a Van” at 7 pm. We auditioned and cast our actors for this show yesterday and, honestly, I’ve never heard this much laughter from a group of jaded actors reading student sketches. This is going to be very funny.

And next Sunday at 7 pm, June 19, we will be presenting “Sunday Night Live,” featuring our talented writers and an amazing cast doing some equally funny sketches in the style of SNL.It’s a wonderful mixture of writers and performers that range from a very talented high school student writer to my old pal and fellow Baron’s Barracudas member Bill Russell, who keeps getting funnier and funnier as he gets older and older, and is sidesplittingly hilarious in these shows.

And the best part is, you’re all invited. It is absolutely free.

Come and laugh.

And by the way, if you like what you see, I’ll be teaching two more classes starting Sunday June 19. The first is Talk Show Packet for Michael McCarthy, and if you show up and do the work, at the end of the eight weeks, you will have a packet of material and know how and where to submit it.

The second, for improvisers, is a session of PythonProv, in which we used Monty Python to affect our longform improv. My last group did a series of four shows at the iO, doing some pretty amazing work. If you’d like to be a part of it–for either class–be sure to contact the iO at classes@ioimprov.com. End of commercial.

io Old sign

My pal Homer

image
Honored to join the ranks of The Simpsons pop culture references last night!

Thanks for the shout-out, Homer (and the whole Simpsons gang)!

PythonProv Rising!

…You may recall that I’ve been teaching PythonProv–where Monty Python and Improv come together–at the iO Chicago theatre recently. My Level 2 class is wrapping things up in a big way–with a free show this Friday night at 7 pm in the Jason Chin Cabaret at the iO.

This one is going to be fun, folks, and a great way for the class to go out in a blaze of glory. You’re all invited. End of commercial.