Dave Maher, high-concept mischief-maker, revives his Coma Show this weekend


Dave Maher - ADAM SHALZI
  • Adam Shalzi
  • Dave Maher

As a performer, comedian Dave Maher is a high-concept mischief-maker. During his recent six-week stint at the Annoyance, he spent one night intentionally shirking his responsibilities, setting up a microphone and announcing that anyone in the audience could get up on stage and say anything; he would do nothing but listen and ask questions. Another night he dressed as the devil and spent most of the show insulting the audience.

But in his one-man autobiographical piece Dave Maher Coma Show, revived for a two-night run this weekend, he’s comparatively well-behaved. He recounts in exquisite, excruciating detail his descent into a diabetic coma, caused, he readily admits, by his own stupidity. (He sold his test strips to support his voracious pot habit and saw no pressing reason to measure the amount of insulin he injected—he figured he was smart enough to just wing it). Ketoacidosis, coma, and a month on life support followed. When he returned to consciousness, he discovered that his friends had assumed he was done for; his Facebook feed was a virtual memorial service.

It’s a carefully observed, discomfitingly intimate, disarmingly funny monologue. But for all his candor, Maher finds time to let his inner imp out—for starters, he rates the eulogies his friends composed for him, even naming the worst. And late in the show he invites audience members to ask him any question they want—then reaches into his pocket, hands them a paper to read, and insists, “Here’s a better question.” 

Dave Maher Coma Show Fri 10/7-Sat 10/8, 8 PM, WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest, 312-692-9327, wiptheater.com, $15.

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