Campaign Supernova!, or How Many Democrats Does It Take to Lose an Election

Last night I saw a preview for the new Second City e.t.c. show, Campaign Supernova!, or How Many Democrats Does It Take to Lose an Election. It was Friends and Family night, ’cause that’s how I roll. (Actually, my wife works there.) I have a number of friends who are involved with Second City in some capacity, so I find myself seeing shows there on a semi-regular basis. Last night I saw probably the best SC show I have ever seen.

In the late ’60s my dad went to high school on the South Side and he used to go to Second City shows all the time. He told me once that he regretted never auditioning or taking classes there himself. When he comes into town nowadays we try to get over there and see whatever’s going on. He still loves it, but he has often wondered what happened to their “edge.” I wasn’t sure what he meant. I mean, all of their shows are topical, address current politics, whatever.

Then came last night, and suddenly I think I know what my dad has been talking about.

The lights came up, they grabbed the crowd by the balls and did not let go. It was relentless. I hurt myself laughing. But even better, there were moments when this cast dared not to be funny. One scene involved the female cast members jumping back and forth between a trio of Lincoln Park trixies at a gym and three Middle-Eastern women torn by war and oppression. The overall effect made the whole wide-eyed audience sit up and say, “Yikes.” But in a really, really good way.

The theme of the evening focused on normal Americans’ desire to do good in the world, and how that desire is tempered by the temptations and necessities of living in modern America. A stand-out scene centered on a couple on their wedding day, their relationship strained by the effort of making everything socially conscious, while secretly they yearn for overpriced-yet-useless knickknacks from Crate and Barrel.

The cast worked together with a precision rarely seen in sketch comedy. The musical moments and choreography were sharply executed, and every performer had stand-out moments. The closing moments in particular held moments of poignancy and hilarity combined.

Also, there are paper mache puppets. You know you don’t want to miss that.

Campaign Supernova!, or How Many Democrats Does It Take to Lose an Election officially opens Thursday, May 8. (Yes, I copy-and-pasted the title just then. I’m not typing that beast twice.)

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