Chicago

Proof the Election Was Rigged: The Cubs Take the White House

Cubs Win Less than a week after winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have stunned America again. In fact, the entire planet is flabbergasted after the Cubs won the U.S. presidential election Tuesday night through an unprecedented write-in campaign, winning precisely 270 electoral college votes.

“No one’s more shocked than we are,” admitted manager Joe Maddon. “No one saw this coming. Everyone wants to know about our transition plan. Heck, we haven’t even gotten to Disney World yet. Half of us are still hung over. We’re hoping they’ll give us a few extra days. Maybe lucky 108?”

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred was summoned before a Congressional panel early Wednesday morning on suspicion of a connection between Major League Baseball and the Kremlin.

“Given Putin’s love of hockey, wouldn’t the Kremlin have preferred the Pittsburgh Penguins?” fumed an indignant Manfred. “They took the Stanley Cup this year.”

A CIA insider revealed that director John Brennan’s pointing his finger at Cuba. “Now that Cuba and the U.S. have re-opened relations, we suspect that Cuba may be angling for a MLB team. Given Trump’s threat to close that relationship down again, it makes sense,” said the anonymous source.

Secretary of State John Kerry declined to comment when asked about a midnight tweet from Cuba’s President Raúl Castro.

@PresCastroCuba Nuestros amigos al norte. No fue nada. De nada. (“Our friends in the north. It was nothing. You’re welcome.”)

Meanwhile, the Cubs have been sequestered in a locker room huddle exploring what a Cubs presidency might look like. Ben Zobrist, World Series MVP, was named the Cub’s presidential spokesperson.

“This is the first time in U.S. history where the oval office will be held by a team of people,” Zobrist said. “We’re still trying to work out the details. Do we have a rotation like we did in high school, when you got to be 'Principal for the Day?' Who gets the Lincoln Bedroom? Can we make hot dogs and apple pie the official foods for state dinners?”

Players are tweeting ideas for the first 100 days and monitoring fan feedback. First baseman Anthony Rizzo took on the issue of the national anthem.

“The most popular idea is to replace the 'Star Spangled Banner.’ Chicago’s favoring ‘We are the Champions’ but we’re not sure we can get the rights," Rizzo said. "So, we’re looking at ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’ Either way, it’s so much easier to sing.”

Jason Heyward, the “J-Hey Kid,” who’s been active in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign against breast cancer, suggested repainting the White House.

“I think it’s time for the White House to represent the changing color of America," Heyward said. "Half of America’s ladies, so I thought why not pink? This isn’t polling well. Maybe ecru or taupe?”

Pitcher Jon Lester reportedly wants a jumbotron and bleachers in the Rose Garden.

“Listen, we weren’t running for president," Lester said. "We’re sort of like a third party candidate team. So, we want to be transparent to the people we now represent. We want to live stream from the oval office and the situation room. America’s bleacher bums can sit there and watch, heckle us, push us to be the best presidents we can be. This is polling in the 79 percent range with a four-point margin of error.”

When asked how he felt about his team being elected president, owner Thomas Ricketts said, “I hope Harry Caray’s watching this from heaven. I can just hear him saying, ‘Holy cow, it’s a bee-yoo-tiful day! We all know the moon isn't made out of blue cheese...but if it was made out of bbq spare ribs would you eat it? Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs?’”

Gretchen Martens is a DCH graduate who performs with Been There Done That and Brain Wearing Pants. When she’s not working as an executive coach and trainer, she writes satire for her blog www.PotatoNationUSA.com. She is finishing her first play, sanINity, an irreverent look at losing a loved one to mental illness.

(Image: Boing Boing)

DCF2016: Adam Burke

It’s almost that time again! Obviously, the most wonderful time of the year, Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) kicks off on Tuesday, March 22. To help you put together your festival schedule, we want to make sure you get to know as many of the fabulous out-of-town acts as possible that will be dropping into Dallas Comedy House. Adam Burke

Let's first get this settled: Yes, I'm friends with Adam. Known him for a while now. More than decade known him. But you know what? I've never seen his stand-up in person. That's a knowing shame. (OK, I'll stop with all the "knows.")

Adam didn't start performing stand-up until he moved to Chicago after he wrote an article about comedy for a local magazine. After that, it was nothing but a slingshot to the stars with appearances on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, Doug Loves Movies, and The Bob & Tom Show...heck, you can read Adam's bio on his website, where you can also watch videos and download his album. In the meantime, let's get to know (sorry) him a little bit more.

You're from the U.K. How does being from another country influence the type of comedy you perform in the U.S.?

I think it's different for everybody, obviously. I guess there's this idea that you notice things that are so ingrained in the native culture of the country that you've moved to that the locals kind of take them for granted. I have a story that might be a little different from other people's. I actually have tended to downplay that but I'm addressing it more onstage. Some people demand that you talk about it. My accent is pretty muddled but there have definitely been instances where I didn't address it and people have yelled out, "Where the hell are you from?" Some people say my style is different but I don't know if that's true.

How did you get involved with Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!?

They tape the bulk of their shows in downtown Chicago, so I guess it's convenient for them to have a local. There was a local guy, a very funny man named Brian Babylon, and he moved on to L.A. so they were looking for a replacement. Some of the producers (including the house producer, Tyler Greene) had seen me skulking around stages in Chicago and I guess they thought I'd be a good fit. What's crazy is: in the early days of my doing comedy, I didn't have a lot of goals for myself but the one thing I thought I might be OK at is that, so, so far so good.

Please visit the Dallas Comedy Festival blog to learn more about Adam Burke and to purchase tickets.

Jason Hensel is a DCH graduate who regularly performs in the troupes The '95 Bulls, .f.a.c.e., and the DCH Book Club. He also has perfect kneecaps. 

DCF2016: Rehner & Nixon

It’s almost that time again! Obviously, the most wonderful time of the year, Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) kicks off on Tuesday, March 22. To help you put together your festival schedule, we want to make sure you get to know as many of the fabulous out-of-town acts as possible that will be dropping into Dallas Comedy House. Rehner and Nixon

It’s been said that the sign of great teamwork is when the team’s whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Look at mac & cheese for example. Individually, macaroni is noodly goodness. On its own, cheese is glorious. But, combine the two and it’s something exponentially more magical and delicious. Like Thelma & Louise, Laverne & Shirley, Bert & Ernie, or Ben & Jerry, Chicago sketch comedy duo Rehner & Nixon are simply better together. With wacky characters and a few wacky wigs, Mollie Rehner and Katie Nixon use personal stories and a dash or two of feminist wit to create fresh, exciting, laugh-out-loud shows. Rehner & Nixon are delighted to be performing at Dallas Comedy Festival 2016 and are also excited for all the Tex-Mex and margaritas along the way.

Hi Mollie and Katie, we’re so happy to have you two funny gals at this year’s Dallas Comedy Festival! For those who might not be familiar with you two, could you briefly describe your performance style? What might one expect to see at Rehner & Nixon show?

Mollie: Our style is high energy, musical, absurd, and fun…

Katie: But, also smart and personal and filled with emotion. We create a lot of material based on our real-life experiences.

Mollie: You can expect personal stories and big, wacky characters. Lots of wigs.

Katie: There’s a high probability of PBR tallboys and Chuck Taylor sneakers, too.

You two make quite an awesome pair. What well-known dynamic duo do you ladies relate to most, and why?

Mollie: We wrote a piece once where we described ourselves like chicken and waffles.

Katie: Yeah, how the two are so different but end up creating something together even better than you could have imagined.

Mollie: All the salty, meaty chunks with the sweet topping.

Katie: Exactly. The contrast of salty (our emotional material) and sweet (it’s a comedy show, after all).

Please visit the Dallas Comedy Festival blog to learn more about Rehner & Nixon and to purchase tickets.

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.

DCF2016: Pure & Weary

It’s almost that time again! Obviously, the most wonderful time of the year, Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) kicks off on Tuesday, March 22. To help you put together your festival schedule, we want to make sure you get to know as many of the fabulous out-of-town acts as possible that will be dropping into Dallas Comedy House.

Pure and WearyThis year, the gals in Pure & Weary, a Chicago-based sketch duo, will be making their second appearance at DCF.

Meet Katherine and Leah, also know as Pure & Weary!

Describe what your show at this year’s Dallas Comedy Festival will be like. (Without, you know, giving everything away.) What’s it called?

Katherine: This show is called Queen Dweebs. Our show, Nerd Alert, ran in Chicago last summer and this combines our nerdy themes from that and adds a bit of royalty. Audiences will be able to let out all their middle school nerdiness but also leave the show feeling likes kings and queens. Nerdy and empowering!

Leah: It’s a good one. There are some songs, some drink tutorials, and what else….oh yeah, I make Katherine rap. And she’s actually really good at it. Who knew? Little Midwest, Appleton, Wisconsin, football lovin’ Cheesehead slash rapper.  

Your Facebook says (yeah, sorry, I’m a creep) that many of your sketches are “written over a bottle of red wine with Stevie Wonder humming in the background.” That sounds glorious. As if this type of situation wasn’t enough, tell me about some of the other things that inspire your sketches.

K: We like to write full shows under a theme or sometimes, with our videos, we'll center our sketches around a holiday or relevant event. We also write about observations we make in passing (we say, “That's a sketch!” all the time) or anything we get fired up about. We have a massive Google Drive folder with an absurd amount of sub-folders. It makes me very happy.

L: A lot of our stuff comes from real-life experiences, too, which then become exaggerated real-life experiences. One of my favorite sketches we had (that we did last year at DCF) was Katherine and I playing ourselves outside of a bar for trivia night. I refuse to go inside because the bouncer is a guy I used to date and Katherine has to run scenarios with me of how it might go to get me inside. That really happened. I’m such a chicken. But I did eventually go inside! (In real life and in the sketch - spoiler alert!)

Please visit the Dallas Comedy Festival blog to learn more about Pure & Weary and to purchase tickets.

Megan Radke is currently a Level 3 student at DCH. She is a copywriter and social media manager by day and an essayist and mediocre musician by night. She is a constant consumer of books, music, film, and all things comedy. She is also great at racking up copious amounts of credit card debt with spur-of-the-moment travel.

DCF2016: The Late 90s

It’s almost that time again! Obviously, the most wonderful time of the year, Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) kicks off on Tuesday, March 22. To help you put together your festival schedule, we want to make sure you get to know as many of the fabulous out-of-town acts as possible that will be dropping into Dallas Comedy House. The Late 90s

The late 1990s was a magical time filled with Nokia brick phones, 12 oz. cans of Surge paired with a slice of pizza, rollerblades, beepers, and, of course, inflatable furniture. It was a time spent listening to Kid Rock on CD Walkmans and hitting up strangers in AOL chatrooms. All in all, it was a damn good time. And, when it comes to good times, The Late 90s improv team knows a thing or two. Awarded “Best Harold Team” at iO Chicago for two years, The Late 90s (Cat Abood, Bill Cochran, Ollie Hobson, Katie Klein, Dan MacAvoy, Scott Morehead, Clayton Margeson, Scott Nelson, Vince Portacci, and John Sabine) always bring the fun, the energy, and a little bit of crazy to the improv stage. These improv dynamos are able to seamlessly weave ingenious and ludicrous scenes together using strong callbacks and unwavering side support. When they aren’t busy being the best at The Harold or preparing for Dallas Comedy Festival 2016, The Late 90s are a humble group who reminisce over the good old days of Tamagotchi and Netscape Navigator.  

First, congratulations on being awarded "Best Harold Team" at iO Chicago for two years. That's awesome! Since you guys are fancy-pants award winners, and winners know a thing or two about being the best at things, what qualities do you think make an improv team a "best" team?

Oh, we have no idea. We won it three years in a row and we are convinced it was a three-year fluke.  We’re probably more qualified to win “Above Average Harold Team.”

For people not familiar with you, how would you describe your performance style? What is something one might expect to see at a Late 90s show?

We started out as a Harold Team, but now we do tend to do more scenic pieces. Lately we have been starting our shows with a group scene, which can be a little different.

Please visit the Dallas Comedy Festival blog to learn more about The Late 90s and to purchase tickets.

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.

My Trip to Chicago and That Time I Called a Flight Attendant “Mom”

Chicago River Last week, I took a short trip to Chi-Town for my b-day (because sometimes you just got to treat yo self) and it was amazing. So, for this week’s blog, I decided I would give you cool cats a little recap of my travels and encourage all you comedy lovers to hop a plane and head out to the Windy City sometime, too.

Ah, Chicago: a land of windy days, deep dish pizzas, and awesome Midwestern accents. It’s a magical place where hot dogs live on poppy seed-speckled buns and improv comedy resides on every street corner and seedy back alleyway. Seriously, with iO, The Second City, Zanies, The Annoyance Theatre, and a slew of others, it's no wonder why Chicago is largely considered America’s comedy capital. Thus, I was super pumped to be spending a few days there.

I stared out the window, enthusiastic to catch my first glimpse of the city below. I felt like a little kid that received a ticket to Wonka World (obviously, the Gene Wilder version, not the Johnny Depp travesty that will forever be synonymous with shame). I nearly wet myself out of excitement. In fact, I was so excited and caught up in my own giddy thoughts, that instead of saying, “Yes, ma’am” after the nice flight attendant lady asked if I would like something to drink, I replied with a triumphant, “Yes, mom.” Then, I immediately lowered my head in embarrassment and internally told myself to “calm your tits.”

But who was I kidding; I was fired-up and ready to explore this comedy nerd paradise. From the get go, I could tell this was going to be a grade-A trip, mostly because the O’Hare bathrooms had these lovely automatic cellophane seat covers. For me, that was a sign. A sign that the City of Chicago is a city that  knows how to treat a girl, right down to the health and cleanliness of my own derriere, so clearly I would be in a for a good time.

For the majority of my trip, I spent my time putting one delicious thing in my belly after another. I ate, and ate, and ate some more. I believe I started eating as soon as I stepped off the plane and continued non-stop until I got back home to Texas, or shortly before as I realized I’d have to purchase an extra plane ticket for the massive food baby amassing in my abdomen. I think I might have been carrying food twins.

My first food stop: a place to get top-notch pizza. The original Pizano's on State Street has some of the best pizza and pasta you will ever be fortunate enough to shove in your piehole. If you don’t take my word for it, trust Oprah’s, as she fully endorses Pizano's too. They’ve got everything delicious, and cheesy, and Italian, that will make your tummy very, very happy. If you like seafood, head to Shaw’s Crab House. I had a tuna burger the size of my head there, and I ate the whole thing. No regrets. They have a full oyster bar and live jazz music, and it’s a ton of fun. Plus, there’s a karaoke bar right across the street, so your night is set.  From gelato to cheese fries to gourmet popcorn and to a divine French toast bagel with maple cream cheese (try it at Fabcakes, highly recommend), I think I tasted it all.

The second night, I spent more than four hours laughing my butt off at Howl At The Moon, a dueling piano bar that is my new mental happy place. I was thoroughly content with the piano man’s renditions of my requests for "Don’t You Want Me" and "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." Because it was snowy and wet and generally cold out, I opted for more indoor activities. The Art Institute of Chicago is breathtaking and you can spend a full day there. Unfortunately, the Skydeck at the Willis Tower had zero visibility the day I went, but was still pretty cool to check out. It does cost a wazoo to do, but on a sunny day the view may be worth it. Also, it should be noted that the glass doors there are incredibly clean and they do hurt when you walk into them.

The Second CityWithout a doubt, though, the highlight of my trip was seeing a sketch revue at the The Second City Mainstage. As soon as I walked in, I immediately drooled over all the photos of its famous alumni. The faces of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Alan Arkin, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, John Candy, and so many others adorn the Second City walls. I even touched a picture of Tina Fey’s face in the hopes that maybe it had magical comedy powers that could rub off on me. I also tried uber hard not to break into full fangirl mode and start crying like that one kid did during Sanjaya Malakar’s performance on American Idol (does anyone else remember that?).

The show, Fool Me Twice, Déjà Vu, was incredible. Playing with themes of re-occurring events and time out of joint, for the show’s second half the cast revisits its earlier bits with several hilarious callbacks, twisting the gags and reversing points of view to...wait for it...fool you twice. Selfie sticks, bad bitches, the staying power of Papa Roach, and gluten vs. non-gluten free diets are but a few of the many topics I found myself lol-ing over.  The improv set I stayed to watch afterwards was super impressive and inspiring. How they managed to weave bee farms and arsenic-laced pancakes into hysterical scenes, I don’t even know. I bow down to them. I’m not worthy.

I was sad to have to return to Dallas, but alas my trip had to come to an end. No worries, I fully plan on going back in the near future. Chicago, you have my heart and also a pair of my socks, which I’m pretty sure I left on the dresser in the hotel. With that said, until we meet again, friend.

Have you been to Chicago and have cool stories, awesome trip recommendations, or general fun facts/trivia you’d like to share? If so, put them in the comments section below!

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.