Dept. of Misunderstood Thespians | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Dept. of Misunderstood Thespians

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Thank you very much for sending a reviewer to my show, "Local Comedian: A Show About a Comedian Doing a Show About a Comedian Doing a Show." I understand it was a quick turnaround for you to get it into the paper [August 9], and I appreciate the effort. Unfortunately, Ms. [Kim] Wilson seems to have had trouble understanding my show. Let me illustrate my points using her review. "Brad Steuernagel's solo effort is yet another example of a grossly underprepared improv-school graduate renting a space and stringing together an hour's worth of lame, disconnected gags with a smidgen of material that has actual comic potential."

This is the actual point of the show, as I'm playing an inept comedian doing a show.

"In this case, Steuernagel wobbles in and out of character as a comedy student trying to win his audience over with skits and tricks derived from various comedy textbooks and writing sessions at Starbucks."

I have a hard time believing Ms. Wilson knew the difference between Brad Steuernagel and Brad Steuernagel: Local Comedian from reading the rest of the review, so how can she say I "wobble in and out of character"?

"He launches many bits with a rambling introduction explaining why his shtick should work, according to the textbook, then stops most of them short, mumbling apologies for their stupidity."

Again, my character is an inept comedian, so yes, some of his material falls apart. It's part of the show.

"Steuernagel demonstrates a modest flair for pantomime and physical comedy--not when he slips on a banana peel during a make-believe Saturday Night Live audition, but definitely when he poses as a drummer waiting out the world's longest guitar solo. But it's not enough to compensate for the aimless blather."

"Aimless blather"? So far I've managed to confuse Ms. Wilson into thinking I'm actually a clueless comedian. Sounds like I'm hitting my target of satirizing inept comedians.

"Trying out one's wings is admirable and necessary, but even novices owe their audiences a polished best effort."

Again, is she talking about me or the character?

"Ironically, toward the end of the evening Steuernagel rails against wannabe comics who consider themselves performance-ready just because they've passed all their improv classes, accusing them of 'clogging the system.' Someone should have given him that speech before he took the stage."

Now, this is proof Ms. Wilson doesn't get the show. She has taken a joke out of context, so the only irony here is that she thought my rant was serious.

Again, thank you for sending a reviewer, but the point of my show is to satirize "bad comedians," and I obviously did, fooling your reviewer with a convincing performance. I think the joke is on you.

I love comedy!

Brad Steuernagel

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