Unfiltered, Those Guys | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Unfiltered, Those Guys

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UNFILTERED, THOSE GUYS, Six Pack Productions, at ImprovOlympic. What a difference an intermission makes. Whatever the Six Pack Productions cast is taking between the two acts of Unfiltered, Those Guys, it transforms a sophomoric, forgettable sketch-comedy revue into a mildly funny show. The most engaging bits are those that attempt the least. The electric finger work of a high school band conductor who flashes dirty looks at an overbearing percussion section is the show's simplest yet wittiest moment. A scene in which the cast derides one performer's naughty-minded sketch idea is both delightfully self-deprecating and surprisingly mature. And a Barnum-like wrap-up of the evening's running gags ends the show on a high note.

But these bits represent a total of about 20 minutes--and the rest of the show is an amalgam of overworked, underfunny scenes with nearly indistinguishable characters and truckloads of worn jokes: carelessly performed butch drag, fag gags of the variety that assumes homosexuality is hilarious, silly hats, a crass Hitler scene. There's even a mildly retarded, overenunciating character, Mr. Cooney, who elicits easy laughs with his lame, thinly veiled allusions to Ed Grimley.

The energetic cast are good-natured, but their efforts are swallowed up by the third-rate yuks and overblown yarns. Only Matt Chapman stands out, buoyed by an oddball delivery, sharp timing, and the shrewd mug of a young Bob Hope.

--Erik Piepenburg

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