I've lived in Chicago for almost 4 years. For most of that time, I've known Conor Sullivan, my good friend who is leaving for Los Angeles next month. For a lil while I'd had plans to eulogize Conor here on the Steamroller, but I don't think that would be fair to him because Conor leaving Chicago to bigger and better things is nothing but a positive thing. He is moving on to do things he's always wanted to do, and I am sincerely proud of him.
Conor's been a member of my group Collector's Edition since it started back in 2012, a live lit music show where he, myself and our friend Richard Joyce talk obsessively about the music we love. It's the one show I love more than anything, and this Friday will be Conor's last show with us. I encourage you to come down to the Upstairs Gallery tonight at 8pm - it's going to be sentimental, it's going to be dumb, and it's going to be wonderful. And Conor's gonna get to do a ton of shit he's never gotten to do in a Collector's Edition show before, and that's gonna be special.
But just as a lil preview, and as a tribute to Conor, I wanted to talk about a sketch that dates back to 2010, a sketch that led directly to the Collector's Edition we know today: known ominously on YouTube as "A primer on modern popular music."
I love this sketch dearly. This was the beginning. In late 2010, I was in a monthly midnight show at the Playground called The Telethon, and Conor was a member of sketch group Oh Theodora. Oh Theodora are, for my money, the best sketch comedy group Chicago has had to offer for the past 4 years, far and away hands down no contest. I met Conor after they'd already performed a couple of sets at the Telethon, during my weird first few months in Chicago where I didn't know anybody and wasn't sure if anybody had the same sense of humor I did. With Oh Theodora, it clicked immediately, the fist time I saw them: "these people laugh at the EXACT same dumb things I laugh at." That's a beautiful connection that cannot be matched.
We loved them immediately, and thankfully they thought we were funny too and we started working together. After a show Conor started singing "Promise" by Eve 6 on a whim, and I joined in, both of us screaming the lyrics into each others' faces despite not knowing each other very well at all. Any awkwardness was brushed aside by the sheer joy of knowing someone else who knew all the lyrics to "Promise" by Eve 6.
Of course, we eventually started working together, and the Telethon and Oh Theodora did a Christmas show in December 2010. Some of the guys had seen Conor and I obsessively talking about 90s alt-rock bands at the bar and asked us to write a sketch - paraphrasing - "where you guys just talk about music in that funny way you do." Conor and I didn't really know what to do until introduced him to an obscure Canadian boy band gem by the name of "Get Down" by b4-4, and we were off to the races. We hung out for an afternoon, wrote this sketch, and that was it.
This is a simple story, one that might not hold a lot of meaning to you, and that is OK. I am fine with this. I only hope you see what I see when I rewatch that sketch - two dudes who are having a really good time making jokes about shit they love. I hope you see the joy in there, because I was feeling it. More than just a precursor to what Collector's Edition would become, it is going to be a loving memory for me, for a long time. A memory of a friend who I've known for awhile who is no longer going to be here.
I hope you make it out to the show tonight, because I think you're going to see a great one. And if circumstances prevent you from coming out, all is forgiven. Just do me a favor and give this dumbass sketch a watch. I think you'll have a good time.