Fun Factory | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Fun Factory, at the Playground Theater. Jason Anfinsen's late-night solo comedy show is a walk through the dark, twisted fun house of his mind. He uses props to showcase bizarre characters in even more bizarre situations: a Ku Klux Klan karaoke emcee who secretly lusts after black men, a frat boy in a wheelchair who's trying to rob a bank, a noir-style "part-time detective and full-time puker" who's too drunk or afraid to open the door when someone knocks. Three other characters--a slimy record producer, an ingratiating waiter, and Satan--seem designed solely to toss off one-liners.

At first the show seems to be about an interesting though not novel subject: the hidden angst and desires of aggressive men. But it quickly loses its way, becoming just a pile of random bits. Anfinsen is sometimes funny in an "Oh my god, did he really say that?" kind of way, but most of his gags--a Spanish weatherman with Tourette's, for example--are more humorous in concept than in execution. Being squashed together also makes it obvious that most bits would do better as snippets in another show. Director Dan Izzo does a fine job keeping this hour-long piece moving, though the last quarter hour is lengthened by seemingly endless blackouts.

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