Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Wendy Liebman

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Wendy Liebman, whose broad smile and imposing jaw conjure the spotlighted cartoon mopper at the end of The Carol Burnett Show, doesn't tie up loose ends with her punch lines--she tangles them. "I ate at a family restaurant tonight. Apparently not a family known for its cooking." "I dated a musician for three years. He would play his songs for me on the phone. Or maybe he was putting me on hold." She further dislodges audience expectations by finishing jokes with the driest of dry tones and the straightest of straight faces. Though you know it's coming, Liebman's wide-eyed stare--a mix of confusion, wonder, and desperate resignation--is a wonderfully unsettling assault. It's no surprise she's been on Letterman more than Leno. These are her only midwest stops this year. Wed-Thu 8/16-8/17, 7:30 PM, Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 312-337-4027. Fri 8/18, 8 and 9:45 PM, Zanies, 230 Hawthorn Village Commons, Vernon Hills, 847-549-6030. Sat 8/19, 7:30 and 9:45 PM, Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main, Saint Charles, 630-513-1761. All shows $23 with a two-drink minimum, 21+.

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