Brother, Can You Spare Some Change? | Second City E.T.C. | Improv/Sketch | Chicago Reader

Brother, Can You Spare Some Change? Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 13 2009

What's comedy supposed to do besides make people laugh? Mock? Expose hypocrisy? Maybe even inspire hope for humanity? Second City E.T.C.'s latest revue, Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?, focuses a lot on that last score, especially in the message-heavy closing number, "Hang On." But it's still one of the funniest sketch shows of the year, thanks in part to new musical director Michael Descoteaux, whose original compositions and effects invigorate the humor. The hard-to-hit president-elect escapes the punch lines--it's our desire to see him as the ultimate fixer that takes the blows. According to a litany of his powers, he can "make smoking good for you." Other targets include anything-goes Internet etiquette and government bailouts. A few sketches end with a thud, but the likable players--who shine in the more intimate bits--inspire forgiveness. Christina Anthony embraces the "Michelle Obama effect" of "white boys" buying her drinks, Andy St. Clair brilliantly turns the audience into a jury as a public defender trying to clear an audience volunteer of murder, and Timothy Edward Mason's solo bit with a guitar reminds us that, though we may be hardened in these hard times, the mere mention of balls, farts, or Sarah Palin is still good for an easy chuckle. --Ryan Hubbard

Price: $20-$25

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