Dave & Chuck's Contract With America | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Dave & Chuck's Contract With America


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Dave & Chuck's Contract With America, at the Body Politic Theatre.

"Truth in Comedy" is the name of the improv handbook Kim "Howard" Johnson wrote with ImprovOlympians Charna Halpern and Del Close. But even though Johnson nominally directed Dave & Chuck's Contract With America, truth is one of the qualities missing from Dave Neiman and Chuck Morgan's leaden vanity production. Also missing are humor, charm, spunk, and that ineffable gift for making an audience hang on your every word and laugh at even the lamest joke.

None of this is Johnson's fault. Dave and Chuck just don't have it. And they don't have it in spades, a fact these awkward comedians try to hide by underplaying their material. It wouldn't be such a bad tactic if their material were any good--but it's not--or if only one of them underplayed while the other acted the loud, obnoxious, or otherwise flamboyant fool. After all, this tactic worked on the old Bob Newhart Show, in which shy, stuttering Bob was confronted by an array of loud, larger-than-life eccentrics.

In Dave & Chuck we have two smaller-than-life comedians, both of whom mutter through setups, stumble through punch lines, and generally come off like a couple of stiff guys from the office used to getting lots of fake guffaws for the mild jokes they crack around the Xerox machine.

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