I spent the weekend substitute teaching for Michael McCarthy's writing classes at the iO. Here, I'm showing the Sketch-writing class Monty Python's Joke Warfare/Funniest Joke in the World Sketch as we study editing (an appropriate choice on the Python anniversary weekend, I thought). This was my first time teaching in the new building, and I'm still amazed just walking into the place. I always have to think back to the crumbling, barely building-code legal Crosscurrents cabaret, where the iO (then ImprovOlympic) first started; to say it's come a long way is hugely underestimating it. I highly recommend anyone in the Chicago area stop by for first-class improvisation (or, in the case of Dave and TJ's Mission Theatre, first-class sketch comedy), and stick around for drinks and dinner as well. It's only been a couple of months in the new building, but it's fast becoming a landmark. In fact, it's the Great Wall of China of Improvisation. Go now and thank me later.
Thirty-five years ago this week, on June 27, 1979, the first Secret Policeman’s Ball was presented in London to benefit Amnesty International. It wasn’t the first Amnesty benefit, and it wouldn’t be the last, but it was certainly one of the best shows. In addition to John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Neil Innes, it offered a whole slew of other British comedy greats. And they didn’t come much greater than Peter Cook. This is one of the highlights of the highlights–Peter Cook playing opposite John in “Interesting Facts.” I think you’ll really enjoy this one.