Interview: Irene Marquette, director and creator of The Raven and The Messenger

Thank god for The Annoyance. There is nowhere else in Chicago that would but such immense support behind an original comedy/drama/musical about Jim Jones that isn't about Jonestown. In addition to the really, really great new Mick Napier-directed sketch show Invisible World, the brand new Annoyance Theatre is staging the world premiere of The Raven and The Messenger a new play created and directed by friend of The Steamroller, Curio Show curator, and Super Human Irene Marquette, and written by The Reckoning's Charlie McCrackin.

The Raven and The Messenger explores the relationship forged between 1960s spiritual leader Father Devine and Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones, who would eventually absorb Devine's followers into the Peoples Temple. The cast features Paul Jurewicz, Greg Hollimon, Sarah Ashley, Laurel Krabacher, and Michael Brunlieb, with original music by Lisa McQueen. The show opens tonight, (Friday, June 6th) at The Annoyance at 8pm and runs every Friday through July 25th.

In anticipation of tonight's premiere, I spoke with Irene about the show and got her thoughts on why media based around New Religious Movement is so engaging.

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Getting to Know CAVES!

CAVES is a brand new improv team formed in March 2014, featuring four talented performers named Jen Burns, Kristina Felske, Jennifer Mills, & Becca Slack. They've secured a run of shows at the Upstairs Gallery on Saturday evenings at 8pm through the end of May, performing alongside a slew of Upstairs Gallery house teams like Dead $$$ and Big Trees!

As a means of getting folks introduced to CAVES, they've put together and answered a questionnaire full of interesting and provocative questions that reveal shocking truths about all four members.

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This Weekend: A Double Dose of The Steamroller Presents...

So this weekend is a big one! The Steamroller is presenting two huge events, one recurring show that you're read about before, and one all-new one, that you've also read about before. Tonight (Friday, May 16th) at 11pm is the latest edition of Goofballs United, a hybrid sketch/improv/standup comedy show presented by The Steamroller and Upstairs Gallery at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

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Interview: Pitbull & I's Brian McGovern and Pitbull

Brian McGovern is a well-known Chicago based sketch and improv performer, praised for his work with groups like Pizza Party, Kill All Comedy, and the Other Other Guys. He's teamed up with Pitbull, a Grammy-nominated musician whose chart-topping hip-pop hits like "Bon Bon" and"Give Me Everything" are beloved worldwide, to present a new hourlong sketch showcase called Pitbull & I: A Comedy About Friendship on Thursday nights all month long here in Chicago.

I was lucky enough to speak with Brian and Pitbull about their partnership in advance of tonight's premiere at the Public House Theater at 8pm. I've been assured by Brian, as well as by Pitbull's publicist, that this show is 100% legitimate and not any kind of joke, but in fact all real.

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Claymore & WiseSnatch starring WiseSnatch and Claymore

Claymore (creators of the wildly awesome Exquisite Corpse pilot you've read about on here before) and WiseSnatch (who DESTROYED at Goofballs United a few months ago, I've never seen improv like that) have teamed up for a run of shows at iO starting tomorrow night, Thursday, May 1st at 10:30pm.

In anticipation of this series of shows, they've put together an awesome one-take promo video that perfectly captures the silly/sinister vibe both groups pull off so well. I'm seriously in love with this thing.

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Q&A with Performance Anxiety’s Kevin Brody and Kristin Clifford!

Performance Anxiety has a brand-new co-producer in Kevin Brody (who is rad). In light of that, and in light of the fact that we get a lot of questions from interested comedians and the occasional non-comedian, we thought we’d update the old Q&A that the wonderful Goodrich Gevaart had submitted

Below are our own answers to some of the more common questions we get. Any other ones? Just ask us! We’re nice.


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Which Transmission producer are you?

Dave Maher and Drennen Quinn are best friends. They are also the producers and hosts of a new stand-up showcase called Transmission, which starts this Saturday, April 26 at 7pm. The show takes place at Transistor, a Lakeview-based record/art/book/audio shop. Transmission is the result of Maher and Quinn's shared vision for a showcase in an alternative venue that sheds a spotlight on the variety of Chicago's up-and-coming comedians, from exciting current open mic-ers to established touring comics. Transmission is also a chance for Dave and Drennen to explore their combative onstage dynamic as co-hosts. 

For those of you who do not yet know Dave or Drennen, what's up? What's your name? How do you spell that? Oh, sure. Like it sounds! Hey, check out this Cosmo-style quiz to get to know Dave and Drennen a little better. 

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Upstairs Gallery and The Steamroller team up to bring a night of cross disciplinary comedy. Sketch. Standup. Improv. All that fun stuff. Join us!

We're very excited to host special guests Wham City Comedy!

"Fresh off their Adult Swim debut, celebrated arts collective Wham City is embarking on a month-long multi-media comedy tour of the East Coast and Midwest United States this April.

The Baltimore group’s tightest show yet, the Wham City Comedy Tour is a 75-minute multi-media performance featuring four alt-comedians offering up all original stand-up, videos, skits, and monologues."

Volume 4:
Wham City Comedy *sketch*
The Puterbaugh Sisters *stand up*
UG House team Dead$$$ *improv*